Parenting ADHD children: 4 steps to help get your family on the same page

When it comes to parenting ADHD children, it can be unbelievably common for family members to have different viewpoints on ADHD and its impact on the family. Getting on the same page, however, is a crucial first step for families in helping their child move forward. 

This is DEFINITELY easier said than done, we know. But, the fact is, the more the whole family understands and learns together about the impact of ADHD on a child and a family, the easier it is to find innovative ideas and strategies to try.

With that in mind, here are 4 steps to consider when you’re trying to get your family on the same page:

Step 1: Learn about ADHD.

We know so much more about ADHD than we used to, and that means we now have more tools to explore proper diagnosis and to learn how the symptoms impair various domains of life. ADHD is not just about having difficulty listening to the teacher. It impacts emotional regulation, impulsive decision-making, self-esteem and emotional intimacy in relationships. As you learn about the symptoms, you will be able to recognize them in your child.

Step 2: Learn about ADHD for your child.

Explore how ADHD is impacting your child in particular. The official symptoms of ADHD are impulsivity, inattention and hyperactivity, but they are not all present for every individual and usually they are not so clear cut. Take time to ask your child how he is feeling when trying to do homework, or what goes through her mind when given instructions for getting ready for school. It will take both of you having an open mind and listening. It will take time to learn how your child experiences challenges in his/her world.  You should also be aware of the amazing perspective your ADHD child can bring. She/he may be noticing details you walked right by!

Step 3: Build up rather than put down.

When we see undiagnosed adults, they share stories of being told they were lazy, stupid, and underachieving. They have heard this from parents, teachers and influential voices all their lives. Their self-esteem is extremely low and they feel very misunderstood.

Although, as a parent, it can feel unbelievably frustrating to set your child up at a desk, ask them to start doing their homework, and return back 30 minutes later to a blank page, this is a perfect opportunity to choose to build up rather than put down.

This doesn’t mean you should let your child use ADHD as an excuse. It is not a crutch. Instead, take the opportunity to figure out what was blocking your child’s progress, and then provide cues to help work through the steps alongside them.

Have patience. Track progress. You need to believe in your child for your child to believe in him/herself.

Step 4: Celebrate small steps: Yours, your partner’s and your child’s.

Progressing forward is something everyone should celebrate. You and your partner working together, your child learning to be more independent and your family working as a team are all things to reward. The more you understand, the more you explore, and the more you track progress, the less your family will feel stressed. Sound workable?

If you and your partner are on the same page, your child will feel the difference.

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