Parenting children with ADHD:
Parenting a child or children with ADHD can be a stressful experience. Research indicates that parents of children with ADHD experience more parenting stress than parents of non-clinical control groups and that parents of children with severe ADHD symptoms experience increased levels of stress (Theule,Wiener,Tannock, Jenkins, 2010). Parents often have the tendency to blame themselves for having a child with difficulties. It is really important when parenting children with ADHD to keep the following points in mind:
ADHD is not caused by the following factors:
- Poor parenting
- Family discord
- Bad teaching/ineffective schools
- Too much TV
The above factors can however aggravate symptoms and make parenting children with ADHD all the more difficult and stressful. It is also important to remember that a child with ADHD is not behaving badly intentionally.
The challenges involved with parenting a child with ADHD are sadly not only linked to school performance but permeate the entire day. Children may struggle to wake up for school in the morning, as well as struggling to get ready for school. At school they may struggle to keep up in class and also have problems with peer relationships. Homework and studying for tests is also not a task easily performed by a child with ADHD, and finally bedtime may also prove difficult as a child with ADHD may struggle to settle down and fall asleep.
What feelings do parenting children with ADHD evoke for the parents? Apart from the feelings of stress that surpasses those of parents of typical children, parents of children with ADHD also experience:
- Feeing less welcomed and supported by teachers and schools
- Feeling unable to help their children
- Feeling singled out as inadequate parents
- Feeling they are asked to participate in their child’s school functioning more frequently
As a parent of a child with ADHD, it is important to find ways in which to reduce stress for both you and your child. Tannock, R; has a few useful and valuable suggestions that may make parenting a child with ADHD slightly more manageable. These include:
- Choose your battles; decide what behaviours are completely unacceptable and which behaviours you can live with in your home
- Prime your child to react appropriately before behaviour evoking situation arise
- Clearly state rules and requests, only once
- Make sure your child knows they are expected to obey the rules they have been presented with, give no more than one warning before following with a consequence once a rule has been broken
- Ensure that your child knows exactly what the consequences will be if the rule is broken
There is however no fool proof, quick or easy solution to problem behaviour. Parenting a child with ADHD will always be a challenge and will always be stressful. There is help out there though, someone that can help with both homework and test preparation as well as with managing behaviours at school and at home. Why not give the team of well-trained and dedicated professionals at Catch up Kids a chance to help you as you parent your child with ADHD?
- Tannock, R. ADHD: The major challenges at home and school. What can you do?
- Theule, J.,Wiener, J., Tannock, R. & Jenkins, J.M. (2010). Parenting stress is families of children with ADHD: A meta-analysis.