Has your child recently been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD? Are you concerned that your child’s disorder will be an impediment to his/her success in the future? Raising a child with ADHD can often make parents feel helpless, even hopeless, but there are many things parents can do to help children with ADHD become more successful in life. In this article we will discuss some of these strategies in a bit more detail to help you decide which techniques may be right for you.
How to Help ADHD Children: What Is Your Child Feeling?
A child coping with ADHD endures an abundance of uncomfortable feelings, but sadly, many people mistakenly believe that their behavior is somehow intentional and mean spirited. The truth is that ADHD is a very common brain disorder, and the resultant symptoms, which can include hyperactivity, inattention and impulsive actions, are generally outside your child’s control. According to a number of separate research studies, many ADHD-afflicted children are actually quite gifted, and although they have a strong willingness to learn, the traditional methods of education delivery make it extremely difficult for them to achieve academic success.
How to Help ADHD Children: Strategies Parents Can Utilize to Help Ensure Their Child’s Success
The first step in learning how to help ADHD children is to become well-educated on the disorder, and there are plenty of resources available that can help parents do just that. Online resources, for example, are currently available that can help educate parents on the causes, symptoms and treatments for ADHD, as are support groups that offer firsthand tips on how to ensure a child’s success.
Proper discipline and structure are also paramount to an ADHD child’s success. According to doctors, children with ADHD tend to perform and behave better within the boundaries of a set routine, along with a proper disciplinary approach—one offering rewards as well as consequences. Among the many strategies parents can utilize to ensure correct discipline and structure include:
- Be Consistent. How to help children with ADHD means being consistent with rules and discipline. Failure to follow through with either rewards or consequences sends a message that inappropriate behavior will sometimes be tolerated and accepted.
- Reward Good Behavior. Children with ADHD become so accustomed to being disciplined that they often can see no motivation to control their behavior. Rewarding a child for good behavior will help to reinforce that behavior, and as a result, the appropriate behavior is bound to be repeated.
- Avoid Negatives. “Stop,” “Don’t” and “No.” These are terms heard all too often by ADHD children. Try to avoid using negatives such as these and replace them with more positive and supportive language.
- Keep Your Cool. Parents who “blow up” or lose their cool when dealing with ADHD children, often resorting to yelling, spanking or accusing, are only reinforcing the very behavior they are trying to discourage. Model calm and cool behavior and you have a much better chance your children will adopt it as well.
So how do you help ADHD children be successful in school, at home and in life? The first step is to learn everything you possibly can about the disorder and the way it can affect your child. Once you have become educated, implement a structured, routine-like environment—same bedtime, homework time, etc—as children with ADHD tend to be more successful when there are no surprises or disruptions to their normal routine. Finally, create a solid and fair disciplinary system, one based on reasonable expectations, and reward good behavior when merited, while disciplining fairly and consistently when the child breaks one of the agreed upon rules.