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What are some ways to parent an ADHD child?

If your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), think of your role in parenting as being like that of a coach. A coach doesn't hide in shame when she sees a player miss a shot or goal. A coach thinks of her job as building skills and solving problems. A coach realizes that for a player to perform well, he needs to practice, practice, practice. She knows that sometimes a simple change in technique can improve performance. A coach knows that in order for a child to reach some developmental levels, she will need to repeat herself over and over again. A coach doesn't resent the need for repetition but understands it as an essential ingredient in building skills.

I remember when I was training as a figure skater and every single time I had a coaching session, I was reminded many times, “Keep your weight on the ball of your foot.” The coach didn’t get frustrated that she had to repeat this every single time she met with me. She didn’t feel the need to punish me when I didn’t conform to perfect technique. It’s probably the same as being reminded to bend your knees when skiing or to change hand positioning when golfing or playing tennis.

In a similar way, you may need to say every day, multiple times to your child, “Talk in your normal voice” when he is whining or “Talk it through” when he starts to act out his anger.
The Gift of ADHD Activity Book: 101 Ways to Turn Your Child's Problems into Strengths (Companion)

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To help you and your child cope, you can try parent training, which teaches you how to help your child with ADHD (and helps you cope with it too).

  • Keep to the same routine every day, from early morning until bedtime. Include set times for play and homework, and post the schedule in a prominent place so your child can see it.
  • Help your child organize everyday items, such as clothing, backpacks, and school supplies. Keep everything in the same place.
  • Use notebooks and organizers to make sure your child writes down homework assignments and brings home needed books and supplies.
  • Remember to praise your child. Children with ADHD receive a lot of criticism, so look for good behavior and hand out gold stars whenever it happens (yes, gold stars still work).
  • Ask your child’s teacher to provide feedback to your child in private and to avoid asking your child to do a task in front of others that might be too difficult for him.

From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

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The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents

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The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do! "Moms and dads need expert guidelines, especially when it comes to their kids' health. This book reveals the inside strategies I use myself-I'm a parent,...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.