Being a parent is a hard yet rewarding role. To many, it’s their most important. While all parenting has it its challenges, ADHD parenting has its own set of concerns. Consider that between 1997 and 2016, the proportion of children diagnosed with ADHD increased from 6.1% to 10.2%, according to research from JAMA. Thus, it appears that the number of children diagnosed is rising, however, there is now more awareness of ADHD and more children being tested.
ADHD Is Better Understood
Whereas decades ago, there were many ADHD kids that slipped through the cracks, as their behavior was just dismissed as “kids will be kids.” Those children probably grew up thinking there was something “wrong” with them. Now, with more education and information about ADHD, impulsive behavior, inability to communicate well, and other symptoms are getting noticed for what they are, and kids are getting help sooner. That’s leading to a new perspective in ADHD parenting.
ADHD Parenting—New Rules
ADHD is not a death sentence for your child’s future. That’s something that must be understood. ADHD children are imperfect like every other child. You didn’t cause this, and it’s not your fault. You can’t spend time blaming yourself.
Instead, you need to embrace the new rules of ADHD parenting and do these things.
Discipline vs. Punishment
If you are not making any progress by yelling, lecturing, threatening, and taking toys away, you may feel like you’ve reached your breaking point and that nothing works. However, the approach here is coming from a place of all negative responses. There’s no positive feedback.
Thus, you need to understand the difference of discipline and punishment, and they aren’t the same. Discipline teaches a child how to behave. It includes an explanation of the inappropriate behavior and redirection to acceptable behavior along with positive reinforcement each time the child makes a good choice. Punishment focuses on fear and shame to force the child to behave.
ADHD parenting requires both. Discipline is that day-to-day framework of behavior. Punishment is a response to something that the child has repeatedly done despite being told not to.
Often, the best way to discipline a child with ADHD is behavior modification. Here, you’ll define age-appropriate goals that reward small achievements until the behavior becomes routine. You reinforce positive behavior rather than always punishing negative behavior.
Separate the Behavior from the Child
Much of the behavior that emanates from a child with ADHD is beyond their control. Their impulse control is not developed, and their attention is all over the place. So, yes, they’ll do a lot of things that try your patience. But one tenet of ADHD parenting is to remember the behavior is not the child. The behavior you should be disappointed in, but your child should always fee loved. To keep this perspective, you may need to take some breaks and deep breaths, so you don’t act out in anger.
Be a Good Role Model
Parents are a child’s most influential role model. Always remember this when reacting to your child. If you lose control, your child may internalize this as normal behavior. It’s normal to get angry. It’s not okay to continue shouting or screaming at your child. This gets you nowhere and reinforces bad behavior. If you do lose your temper, then own up to it and apologize to your child. Let them see how you handle the world in a more serene manner.
Seek Help from Experts
You are not in this alone. ADHD parenting takes a village, too. You should seek counsel from your pediatrician. You can communicate openly with your child’s school as well although the awareness level of ADHD may not be high. Finally, you should add another expert to your team—and ADHD coach. ADHD coaching for your child helps you become a stronger parent. You can learn right along with your child coping mechanisms and new ways to use their innovative brain in positive ways rather than negative.
ADHD parenting can be a bumpy ride. You won’t always do the right thing. What’s important is being honest and working with resources that can help. At Live ADHD Free, we work with children of all ages, and Carol has decades of experience with ADHD kids. She’s been able to helps parents and kids have a more harmonious life. ADHD is a challenge, but one you can conquer. Let’s do it together. Get in touch for more information about our coaching solutions.