ADHD causes kids to be more distractible,
hyperactive, and impulsive than is normal for their age. ADHD makes it harder for
kids to develop the skills that control attention, behavior, emotions, and activity.
As a result, they often act in ways that are difficult for parents manage.
For example, because they are distractible, kids with ADHD may:
seem not to listen
have trouble paying attention
not follow directions well
need many reminders to do things
show poor effort in schoolwork
Because they are hyperactive, kids with ADHD may:
climb, jump, or roughhouse when it's time to play quietly
be disorganized or messy
fidget and seem unable to sit still
rush instead of take their time
make careless mistakes
Because they are impulsive, kids with ADHD may:
interrupt a lot
do things without thinking
do things they shouldn't, even though they know better
have trouble waiting, taking turns, or sharing
have emotional outbursts, lose their temper, or lack self-control
At first, parents might not realize that these behaviors are part of ADHD. It may
seem like a child is just misbehaving. ADHD can leave parents feeling stressed, frustrated,
Parents may feel embarrassed about what others think of their child's behavior.
They may wonder if they did something to cause it. But for kids with ADHD, the skills
that control attention, behavior, and activity don't come naturally.
When parents learn about ADHD and which parenting approaches work best, they can
help kids improve and do well.
What Parents Can Do
Parenting is as important as any other part of ADHD treatment. The way parents
respond can make ADHD better — or worse.
If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD:
Be involved. Learn all you can about ADHD. Follow the treatment
your child's provider recommends. Keep all recommended therapy appointments. If your
child takes ADHD medicines,
give them at the recommended time. Don't change the dose without checking with your
doctor. Keep your child's medicines in a safe place where others can't get to them.
Know how ADHD affects your child. Every child is different. Identify
the difficulties your child has because of ADHD. Some kids need to get better at paying
attention and listening. Others need to get better at slowing down. Ask your child's
therapist for tips and ways you
can help your child practice and improve.
Focus on teaching your child one thing at a time. Don't try to
work on everything at once. Start small. Pick one thing to focus on. Praise your child's
Discipline with purpose and warmth. Learn what discipline approaches
are best for a child with ADHD and which can make ADHD worse. Get coaching from your
child's therapist on ways to respond to your child's behaviors. Kids with ADHD might
be sensitive to criticism. Correcting their behavior is best done in a way that's
encouraging and supportive rather than punishing.
Set clear expectations. Before you go somewhere, talk with your
child to explain how you want him to behave. Focus more energy on teaching your child
what to do, rather than reacting to what not to do.
Talk about it. Don't shy away from talking with your child about
ADHD. Help kids understand that having ADHD is not their fault, and that they can
learn ways to improve the problems it causes.
Spend special time together every day. Make time to talk and enjoy
relaxing, fun activities with your child — even if it's just for a few minutes.
Give your child your full attention. Compliment positive behaviors. Don't over-praise,
but do comment when your child does something good. For example, when your child waits
her turn, say, "You're taking turns so nicely."
Your relationship with your child matters most. Kids with ADHD
often feel they're letting others down, doing things wrong, or not being "good." Protect
your child's self-esteem by being
patient, understanding, and accepting. Let your child know you believe in him and
see all the good things about him. Build resilience by keeping your relationship with
your child positive and loving.
Work with your child's school.
Talk with your child's teacher to find out if your child should have an IEP.
Meet often with your child's teacher to find out how your child is doing. Work with
the teacher to help your child do well.
Connect with others for support and awareness. Join a support
organization for ADHD like CHADD to get updates on treatment and info, etc.
Find out if you have ADHD. ADHD is often inherited. Parents (or
other relatives) of kids with ADHD might not know they have it too. When parents with
ADHD get diagnosed and treated, it helps them be at their best as parents.