All parents strive to be the best parents they can be. If your child was recently diagnosed with ADHD, no matter how much you try, your best effort may fall short. Do you feel like you don’t understand your child? Feel hopeless in managing the symptoms of ADHD? Parenting a child with a medical condition that you don’t quite understand can be tough.
Being proactive is one of the first steps in ensuring that your child is happy, healthy, and successful. Here’s everything you need to know about parenting a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD.
It’s a hard pill to swallow knowing that your child is different from others, but no child or parent is perfect, which means that the first thing you’ll want to do is to be accepting. Children who suffer from ADHD tend to stand out in the classroom. They may be known as the classroom clown or the kid that always gets in trouble.
Children are sponges and any anger or resentment that you have about their future can be damaging. A child needs a supportive, loving, and caring environment in order to thrive. While growing up with ADHD has its challenges, the condition doesn’t define your child or their future.
Instead of focusing on the negative symptoms that come with an ADHD diagnosis, focus on the positive. Your child is full of life and energy. He/she is likely to be much more creative and imaginative than other children. Know that your child is destined for greatness, but to achieve it, your wholehearted support is needed.
Don’t Let the Bad News Define Your Child
It can be hard to hear that your child is unmotivated or uninterested in learning. While children with ADHD often struggle in school, there is nothing that keeps your child from learning and thriving like any other kid. What your kid needs is an advocate. Take the time to talk to your children’s teachers. Work with them to better understand your child and make a plan for educational success.
To help make improvements in your child’s learning abilities:
- Stick to a set schedule
- Be accommodating
- Break down big assignments into smaller tasks
- Provide time for your child to get up and move around
- Offer positive feedback and praise
With a few simple changes at home and at school, you can prepare and position your child for success. Your once uninterested kid can completely turn things around with the right support.
Learn About Treatment Options
For children with ADHD, there are a variety of prescription medications that can be used to minimize or completely alleviate ADHD symptoms. Be sure to discuss both stimulant and non-stimulant options with your pediatrician.
Using medication to treat ADHD can be tricky. First, you have to find the right dosage. Too low of a dosage can have no impact while too high of a dosage can cause “rebound” which makes children super irritable and aggressive. Scheduling also plays a role in how your child reacts to certain medications.
Another factor to consider is the cost. For example, if your child is given Vyvanse as treatment, you’ll want to know the Vyvanse cost with insurance, as well as the cost at various pharmacies. To save money on prescriptions, ask your doctor about generic options, which work the same as name brand medications.
Know Medication Isn’t the Only Option
Without a doubt, most children experience minimized symptoms when taking ADHD medication. While medication is important, it’s not the only option to improve your child’s focus, concentration, and high energy levels.
Though you’ll never want to take your child off of his prescribed medication, incorporating other treatment options is also beneficial. For example, daily exercise has proven to be just as effective as some stimulant medications. Just like stimulants, exercise promotes the release of dopamine in the brain which controls concentration and overall mood.
Children with ADHD don’t often do well with competitive sports, so encourage your child to participate in activities like tennis, martial arts, swimming, and even outdoor activities like hiking or kayaking.
Don’t Punish Your Child for What They Can’t Control
We all know that children can be horrible listeners. Others just don’t like to follow directions. When it comes to children with ADHD, it’s important to think first before punishing your child.
Let’s say you asked your child to put his toys away and tidy up the room. Half an hour later you walk into a half clean room and your child playing on his tablet. In this instance, would you punish your child? Before jumping to the conclusion that your child is being defiant, think about the possibility that your kid isn’t ignoring your commands, but instead got distracted. In this situation, the best approach is to remind your child of what you asked. Chances are that he will get back to cleaning the room.
Parenting a child with ADHD is different, but it’s not impossible. With the right understanding and plenty of patience, you can mold your child into someone who is bound for success.