Dayna Sharp, LCSW
What You Need to Know about ADHD
Has you Child been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? Or maybe you're at your wits end because living with your child feels living with a tornado? There’s a lot of misinformation about ADHD that can make your experience more confusing than it needs to be. So here’s the real deal:
1. Kids do well when they can. If your child is having emotional, academic or behavioral issues, they are trying to communicate that something is going on. If they could do what
Is expected by their loving grown ups, they would.
2. Understanding is Key. In order to have compassion, stay connected to and respond effectively to your kids, its necessary to try to understand what’s going on with them.
3. It’s helpful to think of ADHD less of an attention-specific problem and more of an ineffective manager. We all have a manager in our mind that helps us organize, plan, problem solve, regulate emotions, contain impulses and regulate attention. All children are growing their inner manager. For kids with ADHD, their Manager takes A back seat.
4. Routine, routine, routine. Because kids with ADHD don’t have a strong manager, they need more support. Some parents worry about coddling kids. Research shows that this just isn’t the case. Kids want to do well. They want to be independent. Creating systems can help kids feel more competent and in control, and will also teach them life long skills.
5. Medication. It’s become a controversial topic for kids with ADHD. A knee jerk reaction is often, “If I put my kids on narcotics maybe they will grow up to abuse substances”. However, long-term research shows that the opposite is true. Kids with untreated ADHD have significantly higher rates of substance abuse, while kids who are treated for ADHD have significantly lower rates than their peers. If you don’t need a medication, yes, you should stay away from it. But if your child needs it, step out of the stigma and do what you believe is best for your kids.
6. ADHD is like having a Ferrari engine for a brain with only race car brakes (Dr Hallowell, Harvard U). Teach kids concrete skills to grow their brakes. Counseling can help and is often a part of the holistic treatment plan kids with ADHD need.
7. Advocate for learning supports. Kids with ADHD have the legal right to accommodations. Click to read more about a 504 plan.
8. Exercise. Can’t be overstated. Kids need a way to get their energy out and also learn important executive function skills (everything the manager is responsible for) and social skills.
9. Relentlessly look for your Child’s strengths. Make sure your child knows his strengths. ADHD can negatively impact your r with your child and your child’s self esteem. Don’t let it! Make sure you make time for positive contact with your child. Love and laugh together!
Parenting a child with ADHD can be extremely taxing on yourself and on a marriage or committed partnership. Self care is crucial. Creating Space Counseling and Wellness can help you and your child to better cope with ADHD. Call today to schedule an appointment!
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