Written By: The Green Crunchy Mother
Disclaimer: This article is not to be used as a replacement for medical advice. Always consult with a doctor if you believe you are suffering from the following conditions. The Green Crunchy Mother shares her life experiences only and what is working with her own children.
Living with a child who has ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder) can be difficult, but it can be made a lot easier with some coping mechanisms and healthy perspectives. Our family lives with ADHD and I understand first hand how real the struggles are. Here are some tips on dealing with ADHD in your family.
Remember the Positive
It’s easy to think of ADHD as a purely negative disorder – the very terms “deficit” and “disorder” denote that, after all. But it’s important to remember some of the positive aspects of ADHD. These include such traits as:
- Sensitivity, including empathy for others
- Keen observation of one’s environment
- Deep emotions
- Proficiency in sports and athletics
These are just some of the positive traits that people with ADHD exhibit or have the potential to exhibit.
Engage in family therapy together. The therapist can work with everyone in the family and help everyone develop coping strategies. This kind of group therapy is helpful because everyone is on the same page with what’s going on and how to handle things.
Children with ADHD often need routine more than other kids. They find it very helpful when things are predictable. You do not need to enact a rigid schedule, but having a predictable routine can foster a sense of security in a child with ADHD, who is often very sensitive to changes in his or her environment.
Ignore Negative Behavior
Try to resist the urge to nag at your child’s symptoms, such as wiggling and fidgeting. Make sure everyone in the family knows these are symptoms of the ADHD, not character traits of your child. Try to get the whole family on board with ignoring the inconsequential symptoms.
Don’t Blame Yourself or Others
Resist the temptation to beat yourself up about your child’s ADHD, or blame other family members for “making” your child have ADHD. The causes of ADHD are complex and debatable, and you really can’t pin it on a certain parenting style.
Adjust Your Diet
Get your whole family to be supportive via the ADHD diet. There are dietary guidelines for kids with ADHD, and they often help relieve symptoms significantly. An ADHD diet is healthy and your whole family will benefit.
Join Support Groups
In addition to therapy, it helps to find a support group for families with ADHD children. You can get ideas from other parents and share your own breakthroughs and thoughts. It can also be helpful just to “vent” with people who understand. In a world where ADHD is thought by some to be just a discipline issue, families can get stressed when they constantly feel misunderstood. Support groups can help.
Find an Outlet
Your ADHD child likely has many talents and much intelligence. If you can find an activity at which he or she succeeds and in which he or she finds fulfillment, it can help the whole family dynamic. Your ADHD child will develop a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.
What strategies are you using to help your family cope with an ADHD diagnosis?