Parenting the ADHD Child -by Emily Hasselquist, LCSW

Having a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be challenging for parents.  ADHD, usually characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity requires parents to adapt to their child’s individualized needs.  Expectations such as following instructions, staying still, waiting his or her turn, and completing tasks such as schoolwork or chores can be extremely difficult for the child or teenager with ADHD.  As parents, supporting these children with love, patience, and consistency is key.

  1. Stay calm

Children with ADHD can get easily distracted, often leave tasks unfinished, make mistakes and may excessively talk or interrupt others.  These behaviors can be frustrating and downright annoying.  The child with ADHD does not intentionally do these things.  As the parent, it’s important to patiently work with your child on correcting, not scolding, these behaviors. Showing frustration or anger will only upset both of you.

  1. Consistency

Establishing structure in your household and maintaining consistency will be extremely helpful for the child with ADHD.  When expectations are clear, tasks will be easier to accomplish.  Simple household routines like meals at a specific time, a special homework location in your house, or weekly assigned chores will leave little room for confusion or disorganization if your child knows exactly what is expected of them. These expectations need to be consistent.  Constantly changing household rules or schedules will make it more difficult for your child to understand and focus on what they need to do.

  1. Connect

Reach out to your child’s support team on a regular basis.  Communication with their teachers, therapist, school, and doctor is important.  They may have helpful feedback on behavior management tips, organizational strategies, and whether or not medication may be helpful for your child. Your child may also require certain accommodations in the school setting if their disability is impacting their ability to be successful in the classroom.  Connecting with other parents of children with ADHD through support groups or online forums will remind you that you are not alone in this struggle.

Having a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD can be devastating to hear.  As a parent, you worry about how this will impact their future.  You may struggle with the idea of how family, friends, and teachers may respond to some of your child’s behaviors.  A child with ADHD can cause stress for the family as a whole, but know that you are not alone.  If you are concerned your child may have ADHD or need support for either you or your child struggling with ADHD, the staff at Gurnee Counseling Center can help.  Please contact us at 847-336-5621 for further information.