If you’re a parent dealing with your child who’s been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), it can be a frustrating experience. You may feel like you’re in a constant struggle for your child’s attention and focus. While you’ve gotten treatment for your child, what about your needs?
How can you best cope with your child’s behaviors and attitudes? Are there things you can do that are more helpful than other things?
Here are some suggested coping strategies for parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD):
- Adjust your disciplinary methods.Many parents find spanking doesn’t help their child. Establish predictable consequences and rules. Learn to use time-outs consistently and without emotional upset.
- Readjust family routines and lifestyles to be more predictable, both for yourself and for your child.This can apply to bedtimes or access to television or the computer, for example.
- Distinguish between the things your child does that are annoying but harmless and are just part of the condition.Learn to selectively ignore those behaviors instead of getting upset about things the child can’t really control, such as fidgetiness or your child’s tendency to interrupt. This will increase your peace of mind.
- Make a concerted effort to not get so overly involved in the child with ADHD that you begin relating less to the other children in the household.Otherwise, they may start acting out because they feel neglected.
- Plan ahead: parents are often able to easily anticipate situations in which their child is likely to get into trouble.Plan out a step-by-step strategy for how you will react so you are prepared. Rehearse alternative behaviors with your child. For example, if talking on the telephone is a problem because your child interrupts you, practice with your child what you want him to do when you are on the telephone.
- Seek social support from people who are experiencing similar problems, either through organized groups such as CHADD or by cultivating friendships. Share your feelings and experiences so you can learn from each other.
You can help both yourself and your child by putting these strategies into use sooner rather than later. Remember, you can only be help to your child if you are also in good mental health.