Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.
My husband and I recently found out that our 11-year old son, Ryan, has ADHD. It started with a call from his teacher saying that he wasn’t focusing enough in class despite having good grades on tests. We then had a meeting with the school psychologist who said Ryan was showing some behaviors that were similar to other children with ADHD, which was confirmed with a private child psychologist later on. It’s tough at times for sure, but with our son’s psychologist helping us out, it’s starting to get easier. And Ryan is also adjusting better in school!
As parents, your kids mean the world to you, and you’d do everything possible to help them deal with whatever issues or curveballs life sends their way. Dealing with their ADHD can be one such case. We understand that having a child with ADHD can be inordinately frustrating. Sometimes their behavior and struggles may not make any sense to you or even to them!
You are not alone. It takes a lot of learning, experience, trying, and failing for most parents of a child with ADHD to get into the groove of figuring out how best to adapt to their child’s special needs, but our licensed Tampa therapists and psychologists would like to offer some info that may help you.
Know the Myths
When you and your family begin to sift through information about ADHD, you may stumble upon some misconceptions. Whether you find them online or hear them from a friend, you should know that the following aren’t 100% true:
- “ADHD kids are just hyperactive” – Sure, some kids with ADHD can be hyperactive, but a lot of other children with the condition may seem dazed or lacking in motivation.
- “ADHD can be ignored” – Telling a child to “ignore” their ADHD symptoms and they’ll “get over it” is an irresponsible route to take. Even when it seems as if your child is purposely acting up, you have to understand this isn’t always the case.
- “ADHD kids will grow out of it” – There are plenty of adults with ADHD who were diagnosed as children, so this myth doesn’t hold up. It’s not just a disorder of childhood. These days, it is commonly thought of as a chronic condition. Some people, however, do outgrow the worst of their symptoms or learn ways to manage in spite of them, but struggle for a lifetime.
- “ADHD kids are just lazy” – You have to remember that an ADHD child is not trying to purposely get you angry by refusing to do a certain task. Keep in mind that the child’s brain may need a bit of work to develop the areas that help complete any given task. Most importantly, try to get words like “lazy” out of your vocabulary when referring to ADHD kids. This can be harmful in helping them work with their condition.
Raising a child with ADHD is hard work, but there are plenty of things you can do to help keep things in check. Mainly, try to structure a fun and inviting routine for your child. It can look a little something like this:
- A strong start – Make sure your child’s food, backpack, and clothes are ready the night before school. Get them involved as much as possible and avoid distractions like TV and computers in the mornings.
- Movement – Encourage your kids to play and be active after school for a bit before starting homework. This is also a great way to start the day before school, instead of watching TV or playing on their iPad. Also, your child might do better work standing at the table or desk instead of sitting. Think about the new adult trend of using standing desks.
- Homework – This is a tough hurdle to overcome. Help your child start things off at a consistent time (such as right when they get home from school after a snack), supervise as they work, and allow breaks, and having them do their homework can get easier over time.
- Dinnertime – Family dinners are becoming less and less common, but they have plenty of benefits for kids with ADHD. Make it a frequent event and encourage everyone around the table to share their thoughts, experiences, and opinions freely.
- Calling it a night – Let your child wind down at the end of the day in a fun and relaxing way. After their homework is done, let them have a healthy snack (apple slices, grapes, etc.) as they read a book, play quiet games, or listen to some music. Steer clear of electronics during the hour before bed as they can make it even harder for the brain to recognize that it is night and time for sleep.
You Are Not Alone
At Rice Psychology Group, we’re fully committed to the well-being of you and your family. Our licensed Tampa psychologists and therapists are here and ready to make a difference in your life by listening to your story and helping you find answers. Contact us today for more information about the services we offer.