(Mass Appeal) – Settting up a successful summer for children can be a challenge… even more so if you have a child with ADHD. Joining me today with 5 common mistakes parents of kids with ADHD make… and solutions to those problems…. is clinical psychologist Dr Sharon Saline.
Here are 5 typical mistakes parents make with ADHD kids and how you can overcome them:
- Losing your temper: When you become agitated with your child or teen, it only adds fuel to their fire. As adults, we can calm our intense emotions better than our neurodiverse kids whose pre-frontal lobes finish maturing after age 25.
Solution: Practice Self-Control: Start by managing your own feelings first so you can act effectively. Slow things down by taking a pause in the action, breathe slowly and deeply like a Navy Seal (4x) go to the bathroom or get a drink of water. Settle yourself first and then help your child do the same.
- Misunderstanding their experience as a young person living with ADHD.
It’s tough to remember that your child or teen with ADHD is living with significant executive functioning challenges. When your son forgets his history project or his bag for camp, he’s struggling with working memory and organization, not being lazy and forgetful.
Solution: Find Compassion. Meet kids with ADHD where they are, not where you think they should be. They’d like things to be easier too. Nurture Compassion for them and for yourself. You’re both doing the best you can with the resources you’ve got.
- Excluding their participation in solutions aimed at helping them
Wherever kids with ADHD go, they hear from adults and peers about how they’ve missed the mark and what they should do differently–even if these ideas don’t work with their brains.
Solution: Start with Collaboration: When you include the opinions of kids with ADHD to address problems, there’s more buy-in and cooperation. Work together with your child to find solutions to daily challenges and use a “we” attitude instead of a “you” attitude. Ultimately you have the final word, but, by including them, they participate more readily.
- Not following through.
Kids with ADHD, despite their protests, thrive on routines and predictability. When parents struggle to stick with a behavioral plan or improvise a spontaneous punishment, it’s confusing. Do you mean what you say or give in when they pester?
Solution: Stay as Consistent as possible without aiming for perfection
Forget about parenting perfection. Instead, aim for clear messages and similar consequences for the same behavior as often as possible. Aim for steadiness and explain when and why you change your mind.
- Focusing more on the outcome than any efforts.
Many parents want to see immediate changes in their child’s behaviors when they give feedback or start a behavioral plan. Criticism and disappointment often backfire as kids lose motivation.
Solution: Notice progress and acknowledge completion: Practice Celebration by validating both positive efforts and outcomes. Studies have found that a 3:1 ratio of positive comments to negative ones makes a big difference in promoting behavioral changes and can-do attitudes.