How to help your child with ADHD

 

Fresh off the press!

Our consultant, Serena In has just published an article on ADHD, where she covers some basics signs and symptoms as well as some DIY techniques that you can try out for yourself at home.

So keep on going and have a read! And maybe you'll learn a thing or two about helping a loved one with ADHD!

“I think my kid has ADHD. What should I do?”

Have you have been feeling concerned because your child has been showing persistent patterns of inattention and hyperactivity. Are you wondering if it is ADHD? The best way to be certain is to get your child diagnosed by a qualified pediatrician or mental health practitioners such as clinical psychologists or child psychiatrists. However, here are some initial signs to look out for in your child typically below 12 years of age:

Inattention: You notice that your child is making multiple careless mistakes in schoolwork and at home, he struggles to hold attention to a particular task at hand, whether it is schoolwork related or for play; he does not seem to listen when being spoken to, has difficulties being organized, always losing things and often does not remember simple instructions.

Hyperactivity and impulsivity: You notice that your child is always fidgeting in his seat or is unable to stay seated for long and hence get up to walk about even when it is inappropriate; he would often talk excessively and has difficulty waiting his turn, and he may also interrupt when people are talking and struggles to take part in quiet activities.

Whilst these signs are sometimes quite commonplace in young children occasionally, they are of concern especially when your child’s behaviours start to affect his performance at school and his overall behaviour at home. If you are uncertain, do schedule for your child to get a proper assessment by a mental health practitioner. Do not self-diagnose and panic. Leave it to the professionals.

After being diagnosed with ADHD, what next? Is it a sentence or a much dreaded diagnosis? If you focus all your energy on how badly your child is doing, you end up magnifying the deficits which could lead to even more frustration. But if you focus instead on how your child may be gifted and their strengths, imagine what potential you could unleash. Parenting on its own is no easy feat. How do you cope with your child who has ADHD? Here are a few useful tips:

Educate. Besides knowing the symptoms behind ADHD, it is important to find out how they affect your child – whether the displayed behaviour is an intentional boundary-testing one or whether it is a true symptom of ADHD. The more you understand it, the easier it would be to help educate your child to adjust to changes in the environment. This would essentially prepare him for the real world with often unpredictable and varying situations. Educate him on how to break big tasks into smaller ones which would make it more manageable. Teach him that there are consequences to breaking agreed-upon rules.

Empower. When things escalate at home due to your child’s emotions getting out of control, avoid reacting to the situation at hand. Pause for a while, remain calm and then seek to empower your child that although things are seemingly impossible, it can be done. Assure your child that you are going through this journey with your child but that eventually, he will be able to walk on his own two feet. Sometimes, children with ADHD feel so frustrated because they are not given feasible options and may be afraid of making mistakes. By seeking to foster independence in your child, you will help your child to make wise decisions on how to manage his/her time more effectively. Don’t do everything for your child even if you feel that you can do things better. Show him that he can do it. Responses such as “How would you like to try this?”, “Wow, that’s a great way of doing things!” and “Hey, looks like you’ve got it covered!” are effective in pushing your child in the direction of drawing from his own potential.

Encourage. In parenting, there is nothing greater than a lovingly persistent parent who would try various methods to engage with their child. Be it to help your child with their homework, to learn to be organized or to remember things. If there are multiple on-going issues, start with the most important and significant issue and move on from there. If one method does not work, try another one and keep at it till you find one that suits the both of you. Emphasize on what your child can do and is doing better instead of zooming in on the failures. The fact that our child is trying, should be celebrated! Eventually, your unwavering support will also help him to be resilient in the event of setbacks.

Finally, celebrate your child’s uniqueness and the fact that you are an amazing parent with your child! Parenting is already difficult enough as it is, in addition to the many other million things you have to juggle with at the same time. So cut yourself some slack, acknowledge the good work that you are doing and keep going. The fruits of your labour would be well worth it when you raise your child to be a competent, healthy and happy individual.

There are also times when you need additional support, especially when you’ve given it your best and nothing seems to be working out for you. If you ever reach a place of neverending frustration and helplessness, it may be helpful to seek our professional help to give you a boost in the right direction. Parents need help too and that’s perfectly fine. Hang in there, you and your child are worth it all!

References

American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental 

Disorders, 5th Ed. Arlington, USA: American Psychiatric Association.

Honos-Webb, L. (2010). The Gift of ADHD. USA: New Harbinger Publications.

Tartakovsky, M. (2011). Parenting Kids with ADHD: 16 Tips to Tackle Common

Challenges. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/parenting-kids-with-adhd-16-tips-to-tackle-common-

challenges/0006557
 

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