Does your child have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD? Know that you’re not alone. In 2011, 6.4 million children between the ages 4 and 17 were diagnosed with the condition.1
You might be looking for tips for parenting kids with ADHD. After all, raising a child is hard enough!
However, with a well-rounded approach, it’s possible to set your child up for success. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is ADHD?
ADHD is a brain disorder defined by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity. A child with ADHD may find it difficult to hold a conversation, pay attention, or take turns. They’re easily distracted and forgetful. Ultimately, these symptoms can disrupt everyday functioning and development.2
ADHD often co-exists with other problems, like behavior issues, anxiety, depression, and learning disorders.3
Tips For Parenting A Child With ADHD
1. Attend Parent Therapy
Therapy isn’t just for the child. Parents will benefit from parent behavior therapy, it is also known as parent training. It’ll teach you how to handle ADHD behavior as a parent.4
Parent training can be modified to fit your child’s specific needs. It can also take into consideration the dynamics at home and school. Additionally, researchers think it may decrease parental stress while boosting parental confidence.5 Most importantly, it can improve your relationship with your child. 6
If your child’s therapist suggests parent therapy, keep an open mind. It’s the most effective way to manage ADHD behavior.7
2. Work With Teachers
You can’t do this alone. Teaming up with your child’s school will ensure that behavior therapy continues beyond the home.
A child with ADHD will be placed in a special education program. This includes teachers who are trained in handling ADHD and classroom management.8 Working alongside these teachers is the key to parenting kids with ADHD.
This is known as family-school intervention. Common components include behavioral consultations and daily behavior report cards. By combining parenting with the classroom, behavior and school performance will improve.9
3. Promote Healthy Eating
There’s growing evidence that omega-3 fats can control ADHD symptoms. This includes eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two fatty acids that are linked to neural development.
The journal Pediatrics also suggests cutting out foods high in fat and sugar. Instead, an ADHD diet should focus on fiber, folate, and omega-3 fats.12
4. Give Praise
Practicing praise is a top strategy for parenting children with ADHD. In fact, it’s a standard part of parent behavior therapy.13 Even school interventions involve lots of praise for appropriate behaviors.
For best results, praise should be given five times more than negative comments. Mild, inappropriate behaviors should also be ignored. This will reinforce the good ones.14
Parental praise will also lower positive illusory bias. This is the child’s perception that their own competence is higher than it actually is, which leads to behavior problems. Praise can help keep this in check.15
5. Build A Strong Relationship
Familial support is crucial, regardless of your child’s condition. It’s even important when you add ADHD to the picture.
Your relationship with your child will set the tone for his or her future. This is exactly why parent behavior therapy is necessary.16 The more you’re involved with your child’s life, the more ADHD symptoms will decrease.17
It’s also a good idea to be honest with your child. Don’t hide ADHD from them. At the same time, be patient while you enforce the rules. Be calm – yet stern – to help improve their behavior over time.
|↑1||Data & Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑2||Symptoms & Diagnosis. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.|
|↑3||Other Concerns & Conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑4, ↑16||Treatment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑5||Zwi, M., Jones, H., Thorgaard, C., York, A. and Dennis, J.A., 2011. Parent training interventions for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children aged 5 to 18 years. The Cochrane Library.|
|↑6||Zhang, Y., C. Y. Kang, X. R. Zhao, X. Xuan, K. J. Ding, R. X. Liu, Y. J. Wang, R. X. Yang, X. R. Li, and S. Wan. “Effect of parent training in combination with methylphenidate treatment on family relationships for children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.” Zhongguo dang dai er ke za zhi= Chinese journal of contemporary pediatrics 16, no. 2 (2014): 185-189.|
|↑7||van den Hoofdakker, Barbara J., Pieter J. Hoekstra, Lianne van der Veen-Mulders, Sjoerd Sytema, Paul MG Emmelkamp, Ruud B. Minderaa, and Maaike H. Nauta. “Paternal influences on treatment outcome of behavioral parent training in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.” European child & adolescent psychiatry 23, no. 11 (2014): 1071-1079.|
|↑8, ↑14||School Interventions. Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.|
|↑9||Power, Thomas J., Jennifer A. Mautone, Stephen L. Soffer, Angela T. Clarke, Stephen A. Marshall, Jaclyn Sharman, Nathan J. Blum, Marianne Glanzman, Josephine Elia, and Abbas F. Jawad. “A family–school intervention for children with ADHD: Results of a randomized clinical trial.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 80, no. 4 (2012): 611.|
|↑10||Hawkey, Elizabeth, and Joel T. Nigg. “Omega− 3 fatty acid and ADHD: Blood level analysis and meta-analytic extension of supplementation trials.” Clinical psychology review 34, no. 6 (2014): 496-505.|
|↑11||Omega-3 fatty acids. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑12||Millichap, J. Gordon, and Michelle M. Yee. “The diet factor in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.” Pediatrics 129, no. 2 (2012): 330-337.|
|↑13||Felt, BARBARA T., Bernard Biermann, Jennifer G. Christner, Param Kochhar, and R. V. Harrison. “Diagnosis and management of ADHD in children.” Am Fam Physician 90, no. 7 (2014): 456-464.|
|↑15||Emeh, Christina C., and Amori Yee Mikami. “The influence of parent behaviors on positive illusory bias in children with ADHD.” Journal of Attention Disorders 18, no. 5 (2014): 456-465.|
|↑17||Coates, Janine, John A. Taylor, and Kapil Sayal. “Parenting interventions for ADHD: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis.” Journal of attention disorders 19, no. 10 (2015): 831-843.|