Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of those mental conditions that are not usually diagnosed right at its onset. Parents of the affected children only come to know about their child’s ADHD when it has already taken its roots. The statistics suggest that more than six million children of age 4-17 in the US are suffering from ADHD.
There is no complete cure for ADHD. In some children, it automatically goes away within 3-4 years. On the other hand, some children continue to reel from the symptoms of ADHD even after many years into adulthood. Parenting a child with ADHD is as challenging, exhausting and unacknowledged as it gets.
Many people get so disgruntled with this unrewarding hardship that they leave their children just on meds and clinical treatments. While medical care is essential to mitigate the symptoms and condition of ADHD, it is equally important to make some adjustments in your parenting style to make it easier for the child.
One should remember that the mental complications among children arising during ADHD-phase can be engraved in their minds for the rest of their lives. Therefore, perennial behavioral treatment through parenting should also be in place to improve the condition of ADHD-affected children.
1) Promote Hyperfocus Over Distraction
Children suffering from ADHD often swing between distraction and hyperfocus. When things are least interesting, they get extremely distracted and from there most of their behavioral issues spawn. On the other hand, hyperfocus is elicited when they indulge in something interesting, complicated and engaging.
In between distraction and hyperfocus, the latter is a better or least bad option. In comparison to distraction, hyperfocus takes a lesser toll on the mind of ADHD-affected child and the people living around. Besides giving them more challenging tasks in their academics, there are some other things that you can use to inculcate hyperfocus and shun distraction.
Make an Intricate Schedule for Their Day
It might get really exhausting in the beginning, but it is a good way to make ADHD-affected children more focused. When they have a detailed itinerary of their day in front of them, they are less likely to get distracted.
Promote Exercise and Physical Activity
Increased physical activity is another way to improve the concentration of an ADHD-affected child. If your child is at the age where it can play sports and can involve in certain high endurance physical activities (as per children standards), then you should definitely encourage this. Make a dedicated spot in their daily schedule. Besides improving their concentration through managed hyperfocus, it will also help in improving their sleep pattern and keep them away from anxiety and depressive thoughts.
While you are trying to put your child on hyperfocus track, it is important that you also keep the distractions around them as minimum as possible. Toys, TV, cell phones and other electronic gadgets are some of the most common distractions in any house. Keep them away when the child is doing his/her homework or any other important task.
2) Promote Thinking Out Loud
One of the major problems ADHD children suffer with is they don’t have any control over impulsive actions and reactions. They do and say many things without thinking it through. Not only does it land them in trouble quite often, but it becomes an embarrassment for parents on many occasions as well.
One way to get better control of impulse is to train them ‘thinking out loud’ at home. There are many benefits of doing this exercise. To begin with, you can have a better idea of the thought process of your child. Moreover, it will help them in identifying their own thoughts and consequently the reaction that they should give on it. It is a long process, but it can certainly help in minimizing the impulsive reactions of ADHD-affected children.
In a similar manner, introduce a wait window to them. Ask them to wait for, say, 10 seconds before saying or doing anything. This will also facilitate the thinking out loud practice.
3) Watch Your Language
This is the most pressing issue with parents when they deal with ADHD-affected children. Many times they don’t realize that the way they are talking to the child is only making it worse for them. For instance, if you keep on ‘commanding’ your children instead of ‘instructing’ and ‘explaining’, then it will only fuel more anxiety and confusion among them.
Similarly, scolding and strong language only work as a negative reinforcement for their disruptive behavior. Many ADHD-affected children already consider themselves hateful and dislikable. So, all the bad commentary regarding their actions and behaviors only adds to that devastating feeling.
We know that it’s not easy to keep up with your patience around ADHD-affected children all the time. But you have to keep reminding yourself that your positive feedback and instructive language is the part of the treatment.
4) Don’t Get Complacent with Total Treatment Program
The symptoms of ADHD span on years and sometimes more than a decade. During this long course, many parents become careless about the medical treatment that their child needs. It is important that you don’t push medical treatment to the backburner during the acute phase of ADHD.
Medicines like Vyvanse help in mitigating the hyperactivity and impulsiveness among the ADHD-affected children. This article about Vyvanse can guide you further regarding the safe use and other implications of administrating Vyvanse.
5) Go Easy on Yourself
Putting so much effort in improving the condition of your ADHD-affected child can get quite overwhelming sometimes. Therefore, it is important to break out of that routine from time to time. Also, don’t nitpick at every behavioral action of the child. Keep in mind that every child occasionally misbehaves and acts impulsively.
Also, don’t isolate yourself. You are not the only one that has to put up with an ADHD-affected child. You can join a support group for parents of ADHD-affected children to feel better about yourself and to understand how other parents are coping with this ever-present challenge.