Every parent wants to have a better relationship with their child. This goes without saying. And for some, this comes naturally. But for many, especially when we're talking about ADHD relationships, it can be a huge challenge. The good news is that no matter how bad it may be, or even how good it may be, your relationship with your child can improve with proper guidance and support.
Here are a few helpful tips to improve parent-child relationships.
1. Do Your Research on ADHD relationships
As a parent, it’s important for you to become an expert on ADHD and how to best help your child. This means you must be intentional about reading books, blogs, taking notes and asking questions at the doctor, therapist, and educational/academic appointments. It means finding a support community and other parents that are going through similar trials, or maybe have already gone before you, and asking them for advice. Having a child with ADHD means parenting strategies have to be tweaked to meet your child's needs.
2. Set Realistic Expectations And Goals
Understand your child's strengths and limitations. If he is not a good time-manager, don't leave him alone for 30 minutes and expect that he has brushed his teeth, dressed himself, and packed his lunch for school… likely, he will still be on task one and distracted. If you set unrealistic expectations and goals, both you and your child will become frustrated, which drives your relationship apart. Realistic goals, on the other hand, foster an environment that can bring you closer together.
3. Be Patient in all your ADHD relationships
Your child is watching you and learning from how you respond to him. If you always respond critically or in anger, your child will begin to develop a negative self-esteem and begin to resent you. Your child will begin to develop an "I'm not good enough complex" or "I never do anything right" complex. Compassion breeds Compassion… Anger breeds Anger. Having patience with your child over the long term shows your child that you are there for him or her. Your child will begin to develop an attitude of trust and love towards you rather than developing fear.
4. Be Positive
All children (no matter the age) crave love, affection and positive attention from adults. Catch your child doing the right thing and praise him… A LOT! Rather than making a big deal about his mistakes, make a big deal about him doing well. ADHD relationships are enhanced by positive interactions. If you are positive toward your child there is a much greater chance of your child being positive in return.
5. Use Visual Reminders And A Task List (To Reduce Conflict)
Children and those with ADHD in particular, need clear, easy to follow, directions. Keep them short! Make 3-5 task reminders and post them in his room or in the kitchen, depending on the nature of the tasks. Ex: Morning Routine: Brush teeth, Wash Face, Get Dressed (clothes picked out the night before), Go to kitchen (where he finds the Kitchen routine): Eat breakfast, take medicine, get on shoes, etc. Clear instructions go a long way in reducing relational conflict.
6. Have Consistent Quality Time With Your Child
How can you expect to develop a relationship with someone whom you never spend time with? You can't. This goes for parent-child relationships as well. Therefore, make it a priority to spend daily quality time with your child. Try reading a book, watching a funny video, cooking together, playing outdoors, washing the car, etc., but be sure it is something your child wants to do, not just something you want to do.
7. Don't Give Up
Parenting isn't optional! Keep trying! Some days will be more challenging than others, but not every day will be difficult! When its challenging, be willing to change up your parenting strategies and try something new for a few days and see if you can all ‘reboot’. Remember, if you are frustrated, your child is probably frustrated too. These are times to run toward your child, to press into those ADHD relationships, not away from them. Resist the urge to check out. That’s when your presence might be most critical.