What Is ADHD?
ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental condition characterised by impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention. It usually begins in early childhood, and misdiagnosis is more common in girls because they exhibit fewer signs of impulsivity and hyperactivity. If left undiagnosed and untreated, ADHD does not go away on its own. Instead, the symptoms take on different forms as the individual enters adulthood. This is also why ADHD and parenting are so deeply connected; parental awareness and support can make ADHD manageable in the long run.
What Are Some Signs Of ADHD In Children?
a) Symptoms Of Inattention
- Makes careless mistakes/lacks attention to detail
- Difficulty sustaining attention
- Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
- Fails to follow through on tasks and instructions
- Exhibits poor organisation
- Avoids/dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort
- Loses things necessary for tasks/activities
- Easily distracted (including unrelated thoughts)
- Is forgetful in daily activities
b) Symptoms Of Hyperactivity/Impulsivity
- Fidgets with or taps hands or feet, squirms in seat
- Leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected
- Experiences feelings of restlessness
- Has difficulty engaging in quiet, leisurely activities
- Is “on-the-go” or acts as if “driven by a motor”
- Talks excessively
- Blurts out answers
- Has difficulty waiting their turn
- Interrupts or intrudes on others
How To Support A Child With ADHD
While it can seem very confusing initially, there are some very effective parenting strategies for children with ADHD. The goal of these strategies is not to hinder your child from doing what feels natural to them. Having ADHD or being neurodivergent should not be looked at as a bad thing. Instead, consider these suggestions as ways to help you parent in an adaptive manner that aligns with your child’s needs.
a) Get Learning!
The most important step in supporting your child is to be fully aware of their needs. So learn as much as you can about ADHD through various support groups for parents, online resources, and books by experts and professionals. More importantly, trust your child’s narrative, and honour their wishes through strategies involving collaboration rather than conflict between you and the child. ADHD is different for every child, so focus on determining how it affects them and what is more prominent out of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity.
b) Start Small
As you continue to learn more about ADHD, so will your child. Moreover, it will be far more distressing for the child to figure out how to work around their impulses than for you as parents to implement your set of rules and expectations. So start small and gradually build up to higher expectations. Take things at the child’s pace. It is important to ensure they don’t feel suffocated or overly restricted. Allow them to have spaces where they don’t need to monitor their behaviour 24/7. Reward and appreciate positive behaviour.
c) Communicate With Others
Effective parenting can never be done in a vacuum; as a parent, you require a social support system, and so does your child. Instead of hiding the fact that the child has ADHD, it can be so much more helpful to instead discuss it with other parents whose children are neurodivergent and with your child’s school teachers. Increasing knowledge and awareness of everyone around your child can significantly increase their chances of adapting skillfully and growing up feeling accepted rather than shamed.
d) Set Realistic Goals
No matter how effective your parenting strategies are, expecting the child to stop displaying any signs of ADHD is not only unrealistic but also unfair to the child. Children are impulsive and easily distracted in general; for a child with ADHD, such behaviour is heightened. So it’s important to set our expectations accordingly and focus on what is good for the child rather than how we’d “like” them to behave.
e) Seek Professional Support
Parenting is difficult, and if you’ve noticed symptoms of ADHD in your child, it is vital to get a professional consultation and diagnosis. It might be helpful to reflect on whether you or your partner may have ADHD as well since it is often genetic too. This can help you understand your needs and be a more effective support system for your child.
We hope these strategies help you effectively support your child with ADHD. It’s important to remember that these tips are not a replacement for professional support. If you’re looking for a mental health professional with expertise in ADHD and other disorders commonly found in children, Rocket Health’s services are a convenient and affordable option!