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Coping with ADHD

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ADHD, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s children. ADHD is disorder affects ones ability to pay attention, has difficulty controlling ones behavior and is characterized by hyperactivity. This disorder is most common in children but can continue through adolescence into adulthood. Parents and teachers have seen a rise in the number of children with these types of problems. So what do they do?

    Medication used to be the number one way to treat children that are affected with ADHD. Adderall and Ritalin are the 2 most popular medications prescribed for patients with ADHD. However, many who have taken these prescriptions or who have put their children on these prescriptions say that it changes the affected person and not necessarily for the better. The other down fall to prescription medications are the side effects and the addictive nature of pills, both of which can have effects on the person later on in life, if not immediately. 

    Other treatments include psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and biofeedback however these can be costly. With more and more parents turning away from drugs, parents need something that they can turn to. They want help for their children but cant necessarily afford many of the alternatives.
    The first step to helping your child is to understand what they are going through. Parents can become frustrated or angry because of the situation, which can reflect upon the child. Aiding your child with their disorder is not an overnight quick fix. It is going to take hard work from both the parent and the child. But hopefully by putting specific tools and steps in place eventually the parent and the child can relate and communicate to each other more effectively.

1) Organize a daily schedule

As a parent we need to offer guidance to our children especially if they have ADHD. Daily routines will keep your child focused and on task. It may take him/her sometime to adapt but once they get on schedule you will see the change. Write down all of the days activities from waking up to going to bed, include any play time activities or chores and keep it posted where the child can see and read it.
Organize your home so that everything has its place. This teaches your child discipline and removes chaos and disorder. Because most kids that have ADHD have trouble in school, organize all of his/her school items. Have a place for everything. Go through your child’s homework with them. If they have trouble completing larger assignments, help them break it down into smaller steps.

2) Be consistent
Set up clear rules and stick to them. The child needs consistency especially with rules. They need to understand them so they can follow them. A system of rewards and consequences can change a child’s behavior rapidly. Give praise and rewards when your child follows the rules. A child with ADHD is most often than not expecting criticism or punishment, therefore it is important to look for the good behavior and reward for it.  However in situations where rules are not followed time-outs are a good consequence. It removes the child from a bad situation and gives them time to calm down.

3)  Give positive feedback

To encourage specific behaviors, give your child immediate feedback. Use positive language to encourage your child. Ignore bad behaviors and always remain calm. As an adult it is easy for us to become frustrated by our children, however this will not help your child. Stress management techniques can help reduce your initial reaction of frustration and increase your ability to deal with stress.  You’re the parent so structure your child’s time in a manner that would be more positive for the child.

4) Become active

If your child likes a sport, encourage your child’s participation. Share an activity that your child likes to do.  Point out only what your child does well and help them in areas that they may be slower on. Encourage your child’s strengths and abilities. Acquire a punching bag. Anytime your child gets frustrated, let them take it out on the bag.

It’s easy to not want to deal with a child who has ADHD. It’s harder for parents to understand and communicate with their child. However, making it easier for your child to comprehend and learn is your job as a parent. Spend the extra time with your child to improve their quality of life. It will help your child, and your family battle the difficulties that this disorder produces.