Living With ADHD
Living with ADHD is no easy task. Many people think that simply giving a child that has been diagnosed with ADHD a pill to control the urges that he/she cannot control will make life easier - Not! As a parent of an ADHD child, I have learned that my actions and behaviors are directly related to my child's actions and behaviors. Not only do you have to find the correct medication - you also have to find the correct balance between your child and yourself.
The single most important thing for a child who suffers from ADHD is routine. Abruptly changing your child's routine can have dire consequences for everyone involved. A schedule becomes your very best friend - do the same things at the same time every day. During the school year, this makes it easier for your child, your child's teacher, and for you. Devise a schedule that will fit into the family's work and lifestyle. Stay as close to the same schedule each day. If your child knows when he/she is expected to get out of bed, when he/she is expected to do homework and chores, when he/she is expected to go to bed, there is less confusion and less frustration for everyone.
One of the biggest traps for parents of ADHD children is treating this child different from other children in the family. Big no-no! Although, sometimes exceptions will need to be made, never treat your child any differently than you would your other children. Have rules that all children in the household must follow - and be sure that all children are held responsible for their actions - even your ADHD child. Let him/her know that actions have consequences - and be sure to reward him/her for good actions. Positive reinforcement from parents will help to build self-esteem in a child who may have a low self-esteem.
Expect your child to put forth his/her best efforts - but don't expect more than he/she is capable of producing. Know your child's limitations and deal with them without emphasizing them. For instance, an ADHD child may have a problem when told, "Go clean your room." Take things one step at a time. Begin with one thing - picking up toys, for instance. Once that chore is done, go to another step. Continue to take things one step at a time and you will find that your child can better deal with the room-cleaning chore as a whole.
Discipline is also another area that can be difficult when dealing with an ADHD child. If your child cannot control his/her impulses, you may need to be creative when discipline is called for. You may have a three-year-old who can sit in time-out for the appropriate amount of time and an eight-year-old child who cannot sit still for longer than two minutes, making time-out as frustrating for you as it is for him/her. The key is to find a punishment that both you and your ADHD child can live with.
The greatest thing that you can do for your ADHD child is to change your way of thinking - if you can deal with the effects of ADHD calmly and rationally, your child will learn to. Learn what works for your child - and stay away from things that do not work. The frustration will be kept to a minimum and your child will feel more confident. One step at a time and one day at a time - and you and your child can conquer the effects of ADHD together. As with any other illness, teach your child to rule the illness rather than let the illness rule him/her - and you will help your child turn into a happy, healthy individual!
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