ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a medical condition. A person with ADHD has differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. ADHD can affect a child at school, at home, and in their friendships.
ADHD, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, can be broken down into 3 types:
It’s important to remember that raising a child with ADHD may not be similar to raising a child with typical cognitive abilities, as children with ADHD have functionally different brains from those of other children. While your child can still learn what behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t, their ADHD makes them more prone to impulsive and hyperactive behaviour. Promoting the healthy development of a child with ADHD means that you may have to change your behaviour and child-rearing style completely, in order to manage your child’s symptoms. Behaviour management therapy is one of the most powerful tools when raising a child with ADHD.
There are two basic principles of behaviour management therapy:
Behaviour management therapy helps your child learn that their actions have consequences and helps you establish rules and guidelines with your child. It is important to have consistency when using this technique, so these principles must be followed in every aspect of a child’s life. Whether at home, school, or a friend’s house, the rules remain the same, as do the consequences for not following them.
Aggressive outbursts in children diagnosed with ADHD are very common and it’s important that you deal with it in a swift, yet calm and controlled manner. If the outburst is mild, try to ignore it and understand that this is a way that children with ADHD express themselves and release their pent-up energy. If the outburst has become too serious to ignore, an age-old approach to discipline is for everyone to take a “time-out.” It is a simple, yet effective way to calm both you and your child down. “Time-out” should be a few moments or minutes of time just for reflection, in relative or complete isolation, where your child can think about their negative behaviour, but it should not be used as an excuse to abuse your authority- the most effective time out is when you BOTH think about how to reapproach the situation that caused the flare up in the first place to start over with a more solution-oriented approach.
There are lots of other ways to manage the symptoms of ADHD for your child if it all becomes a bit overwhelming to manage at home.
In some cases, it’s important that a child with ADHD be seen by a medical professional. Doctors may prescribe medication that helps activate the brain’s ability to pay attention and use more self-control. If that is something the parent doesn’t want, then therapists can help by working with your child on social skills. Children with ADHD often fall behind their peers when it comes to developing social, emotional, and planning skills and all these skills can be taught and developed by a trained therapist. Finally, it is important that you and your child’s teachers have an open line of communication and a plan in place for providing your child with additional support in school. Don’t be afraid to reach out and use the resources that are available to you!