Public Health

Parenting a Child With ADHD

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If your child has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or you think they might have ADHD, you’re likely wondering how you can help. Our experts are weighing in to help you better understand your child’s diagnosis and add some strategies to your parenting toolbox.

Understanding ADHD

ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder that impacts a person’s ability to pay attention, control impulses, and manage activity levels.

ADHD manifests in each child in slightly different ways, but we find that children with ADHD often:

  • Daydream to the point it interferes with tasks
  • Forget or misplace items
  • Have trouble focusing
  • Jump, climb or roughhouse at inappropriate times
  • Lose their temper or lack self-control
  • Make careless mistakes
  • Need multiple reminders to complete tasks
  • Squirm or fidget frequently
  • Struggle with taking turns and making friends
  • Start activities or assignments but fail to finish them
  • Talk excessively or out of turn

Although symptoms often look the same, it’s important to know there’s more than one kind of ADHD. Understanding your child’s specific ADHD diagnosis will help you know how to help them best.

There are three basic types of ADHD:

  1. Kids with a predominantly inattentive presentation find it hard to organize or complete tasks, struggle to pay attention and may forget details of daily routines
  2. Kids with predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation often feel restless, frequently fidget or move around, talk excessively, interrupt others and struggle with impulsivity
  3. Kids with Combined Presentation struggle equally with all these symptoms

ADHD Parenting Tips

Parenting a child with ADHD can feel overwhelming and sometimes frustrating. There’s no formula for how to parent a child with ADHD because every child and family is different. However, there are actions you can take to help minimize stress for you and your child and strengthen your relationship.

Try these parenting strategies for ADHD to help your child feel their best and achieve their potential:

Advocate for Your Child

Communicating with your child’s teachers and coaches about their challenges and strengths will help create a more understanding environment. Sometimes, children with ADHD need additional school support, such as extra time to take tests, movement breaks incorporated into their days, and even services like occupational or behavioral therapy. Ask your child’s school about creating a 504 plan or individualized education program (IEP) to help set your child up for success in the classroom.

Be Involved

Learn as much as you can about ADHD from trusted resources and medical professionals. Identify how ADHD presents in your child.

Understanding the why behind some of your child’s behaviors can help you be more patient and inform how you parent them.

Connect With Others

Joining groups like the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) can offer support, provide updates on the latest treatments and even offer suggestions to bolster parenting skills for ADHD.

Find Out if You Have ADHD

Taking care of yourself is often overlooked in parenting. ADHD has an identified genetic component, so if your child has been diagnosed, there’s an increased chance you or your partner may have ADHD, too. Receiving an ADHD diagnosis can help you understand your approach to parenting a child with ADHD.

Provide Fair and Consistent Discipline

Children with ADHD can benefit from structure and routine. All children respond best to consistently enforced, clear expectations. Praise positive behaviors, and when expectations aren’t met, enforce fair consequences.

We’re Here With the Support You Need

Life as a child with ADHD can be challenging, but early diagnosis and intervention can make a big difference in outcomes. If your child has been struggling socially, academically or with navigating their day smoothly, schedule an appointment with a pediatrician. Together, we’ll ensure they can thrive now and in the future.

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