Let's be honest. Parenting a child with ADHD can be difficult. Many parents, including myself, understand and know the frustration you may have with an ADHD / FastBraiin child. The forgetting of chores, unfinished homework, missed tasks, feeling like you have to stand over them like a drill sergeant. Ahh, the memories that flood back to me when I re-read this.
I've learned some great lessons when looking back. I see where I became frustrated and where I have frustrated my child. I can see where I needed to approach his behavior and learning style differently. Frequently, I see things I would have changed; mostly about me. And now with these lessons learned, I can offer a smile and some help to others on a similar journey of parenting a child with ADHD.
My son is now 27 years old. I admire his free spirit and sense of adventure, but back then it was all about, “How do I control his behaviors so he doesn’t embarrass me?”
Here are 5 things I would do differently. . .
1. Keep a positive outlook on what your child does well.
When we do this it can only help boost your child’s self-worth and confidence. Take a moment
and think about how productive you are if you have someone in your life that is constantly pointing out your flaws and what you are doing wrong—as opposed to someone who is telling you “job well done.”
When all you hear is the negative approach, you lose heart. No one wants to do things for someone if you think they are going to only tell you it is not the way they wanted. I am not saying that you shouldn’t point out mistakes if your child isn’t doing tasks correctly, but your adjustment may be in how you do it and say it. Parenting a child with ADHD is often about continuously providing a positive voice of encouragement.
2. Keep the big picture in view
In the big scheme of things is this really worth pointing out?
Is what I am about to say going to bring our relationship closer together or push us further apart?
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3. Be your child’s biggest cheerleader.
Everyone dreams to have a fan club or a person they can say is their biggest cheerleader. We all need that person to glance to and count on for support, even if our ideas seem a bit outside the box. Be supportive in your child’s endless decisions to try new things and explore different activities. One day they will find their match and then “thank you”for letting them try. My son is the perfect example. He has tried everything from Improv Comedy, Skydiving, to Midget Car racing. With each new adventure I was there cheering him on, encouraging him to do the best he could and working to be involved with each activity. Yes, I have gained a lot of gray hair with the Skydiving and Midget racing.
I also have let him know that I admire his sense of courage and sense adventure to try things that most people only dream of trying. Parents, get your pom poms ready and cheer them on, even if they frustrate you because they can’t make up their mind where they want to go right now.
4. Have a sense of humor and make things fun.
I am seeing far too many children in therapy that are dealing with anxiety and not knowing how
to cope with controlling their worry. We as parents need to teach our children that life doesn’t have to be so serious. Learning how to handle stress and not focusing on things we cannot change is an important life lesson. Next time your child doesn’t do a chore or complete an assignment, try making the activity or chore more fun, laughing with them rather than standing over them shouting orders. Great parenting a child with ADHD finds ways to make work fun.
At times we parents need to be a bit silly and goofy and let our children see that we still remember what it is like being a carefree kid and to have fun. We lose no respect this way, but often this creates more of that close relationship.
5. Have Patience
Lastly we need patience. Recognize your child is trying their best and all they want is to be recognized for all their efforts in a positive, loving manner. Maybe we could say the same things about our own journey of parenting a child with ADHD. I try to remember a pat on the back is so much better than the pointing of a finger, telling them what they did not do. These items together go a long way in building a nurturing, wonderful relationship.
Relax and take a deep breath. You can do this.