Raising a Child with ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a group of behavioural symptoms that include difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Raising a child with ADHD requires a slightly different approach when compared to raising children without the disorder. Children with ADHD have functionally different brains to those of other children, which means that typical, rule making and routines may be difficult to implement.

Though it may be more difficult, children with ADHD are capable of learning and adhering to rules. Be consistent with any rule that you implement by regularly encouraging good behaviours and discouraging destructive ones.

While discipline is important, remember to also leave some room for flexibility. Carol Brady, a child psychologist from Houston, Texas explains that: ‘Parents must make ADHD the enemy—not the child.’ Avoid repeatedly punishing a child for actions and behaviours they cannot control as this may set them up for failure in the future.

Instead, identify the moments where they have become distracted and gently remind them as to what they should be doing. Learning to anticipate potentially explosive situations is another beneficial skill.

Times where problematic issues tend to arise include: going to bed, getting ready for school, carrying out instructions, shopping and attending social occasions. Prepare by speaking to your child about your expectations and possible pitfalls of the upcoming situation. Finally, show that you have confidence in your child’s abilities. Remember that they—like all children—are not perfect; focus on their unique gifts. For further advice, seek help from a doctor who specialises in this area.