This is a sponsored post about parenting a child with ADHD by me on behalf of Lifescript.com.
Parenting a child with ADHD can be a VERY stressful experience especially if you aren’t aware of the condition and/or how to handle it. When I started dating my husband, his son (now my son) was five years old. I VERY quickly got a crash course in parenting a child with ADHD.
One thing a lot of people may not know about me is that though it may seem I joke about having ADD, I truly DO have adult ADD. I was diagnosed as a kid, but wasn’t aware of it until I was an adult, and as it turns out I am one of the 60% of folks with childhood ADHD/ADD that continued it until adult hood! Yeah, me!
What does that mean as far as a parenting a child with ADHD? Remember I used the word crash course? It wasn’t just because I was going from being a mom to two girls to having a son, it was because my ADD and his ADHD bumped heads like two kids fighting over the last piece of cake at a birthday party! When I first became his mom, it was R O U G H.
There are a lot of things that people don’t realize about ADHD. When they here the term, they think of a kid that just can’t sit still and stay focused. There are SO many other symptoms of ADHD. Lifescript has a great list of these symptoms in their childhood ADHD website. Honestly I wish that I had known about this website when I first met my son. At the time I met him, my husband just kept saying “oh he’s just a boy.” It was my attention to my son’s habits and patterns that I noticed that what he was doing wasn’t just about being a boy.
Symptoms of ADD/ADHD include (list courtesy of LifeScript ADHD Parenting Center):
- Inattentive (classic ADD)
- Easily distracted by sights and sounds
- Doesn’t pay attention to detail
- Doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to
- Makes careless mistakes
- Doesn’t follow through on instructions or tasks
- Avoids or dislikes activities that require longer periods of mental effort
- Loses or forgets items necessary for tasks
- Is forgetful in day-to-day activities
- Has difficulty organizing tasks
- Hyperfocuses on certain activities
- Has difficulty with transitions
- Is restless, fidgets, and squirms
- Runs and climbs and is not able to stay seated
- Has difficulty playing quietly
- Talks excessively
- Blurts out answers before hearing the entire question
- Interrupts others
- Has difficulty waiting in line or waiting for turn
- Combined (most common type)
- Has a combination of the above symptoms
Lifescript ADHD Parenting Center has some amazing resources about parenting a child with ADHD. I highly recommend you check it out you think your child might have ADHD or are newly diagnosed. I have also come up with 10 tips to parenting a child with ADHD. These are things that my family has learned that help us with our son and has helped our family move a WHOLE lot smoother.
8 Tips for Parenting a Child With ADHD
1. Set up an Immediate Reward System: Kids with ADHD are all about getting their immediate needs met. If you need your child to do something that isn’t on their “to do” list find a great way to reward them when they do it without problem. I personally don’t recommend rewarding every time, because the ADHD child will easily start to maniuplate situations to try and get the rewards more often. Reward them enough for the task that they know if they do it they will get the reward. If you reward to seldom they will give up and not complete the tasks.
2. Use small blocks of time: If your child has homework or housework they need to do, set a timer and break it up into smaller blocks of time. When my child was younger we set a timer for 15 minutes, after that time he could play video games for 10 minutes. As he has gotten older we stretch that time a little bit longer. It helps keep your child more focused.
3. Take parenting time outs: Raising an ADHD child can be EXHAUSTING. Make sure that you have a “time out” system for yourself. Have a way to tell your significant other if you need a break, or have a babysitter on call when you need to get away for a bit.
4. Give a few choices: ADHD kids can be all about controlling their world. Make sure to offer choices where you can. Don’t give TOO many choices as this will also overwhelm them, but offering them choices you will be more likely to get them to easily go along with the plan.
5. Schedules, schedules, schedules: Kids with ADHD are allll over the place all the time. Having set schedules will help you with your sanity and theirs. Keep in mind though, ADHD kids love to test those schedules, so you really need to stay vigilent and keep those schedules in place no matter what. Otherwise life will be chaos pretty quickly!
6. Plan LOTS of physical activity: These kids have TONS of energy, trust me it’s exhausting. Make sure to fill their day with TONS of physical activity. Have them go outside and play, put them on sports teams.
7. Crystal Clear Consequences/Positive Reinforcement: ADHD kids are usually very impulsive, meaning they do without thinking. Make sure that you have crystal clear consequences when it comes to misbehavior, and also make sure to randomly surprise the child with positive praise when they have a good day. It’s really easy to only correct the behavior you don’t want, and that can quickly lead to low self-esteem in an ADHD child.
8. Tell them the differences between being bad and bad choices: Low self-esteem can be a big problem with ADHD kids. Make sure that you show examples of what making bad choices are and that does not make them a “bad” kid. Reinforce this message anytime you can.
Want to find more posts relating to Childhood ADHD? Then be sure you do not miss these articles:
- Facts About Childhood ADHD
- Dealing with Bullying: Tips for Parents of ADHD Children
- Helping an ADHD Succeed in School
Lifescript’s Childhood ADHD Health Center features tips, quizzes, recipes and articles – all by professional health writers, experts and physicians – covering how to help your child succeed in school, advice for getting through the morning routine, how girls’ ADHD differs from boys’ and more. Please visit the Lifescript Health Center on Childhood ADHD for more information.
Many of your tips for parenting a child with ADHD are great parenting tips, period! Thanks so much for sharing your story and your experiences.
Ashley Sears says
Thanks, Sarah 🙂 I could also write the guide of what NOT to do as an ADHD parent, but figured this one would be more helpful
Tiffany C. says
I really enjoy life script. I’ve spent a lot of time up there gathering info about SAD. I like the last photo, very cool. Sounds like you have a lot of useful info to get your through the good, bad, and the ugly of raising a child with ADHD.
Sarah BB @ East9thStreet says
I think these are great tips that can be used for all children! I know for a fact that my daughter being “naughty” is when I haven’t kept her active enough.
Thank you SO much for this! My son is having such a difficult time at home and at school. He’s frustrated with himself and he feels everyone else is frustrated with him. It just breaks my heart to see him suffering.
🙁 It’s great to read the positive and have a few starting points to make changes at home. Thank you again.
Ashley Sears says
Sarah, So glad I could help. Hang in there it is frustrating both as the child and the parent. We still have our days when it’s not so great in our house, but you just need to emphasize to the child that you love him no matter what even if you are frustrated as heck!
Thank you for your post. Dealing with my newly diagnosed son (8 yrs) is trying. But it helps to know I’m not alone. Thanks again for the tips!
Wow.. Is all I can say! My son has been diagnosed not only with ADHD but also with a mood disorder this will help me bunches! Thanks!
I am an adult with ADHD trying to parent a 12 year old boy with ADHD and possibly a 5 year old with ADD, and I am a teacher! We constantly struggle to stay organized. I am battling with my oldest son’s school over his 504 plan, and I am truly exhausted! I just stared a page specifically call “ADHD Runs in the Happy” to help my friends and others cope and live. Thank you for this resource. I plan to pin it, and many others from the site you shared. This is a wonderful start , and it has been very helpful. Be blessed!
Thanks for posting this (actually, for pinning it). Do you have additional tips on dealing with #8? My son is getting pretty frustrated with himself, and to be honest, any kind of discpline he receives turns into a “everybody hates me” breakdown….. 🙁
Ashley Sears says
The thing that I have found that has worked the best is making sure to have “date nights” with each of your kids. My son and I take walks around the block so he can have my undivided attention. This is a good time for him to talk about how he is feeling and realize that though he makes frustrating choices that he is ultimately in control, and we love him even when he makes the “bad” choice. Constant checking in with them has helped a lot, and really celebrate when he does make the good choices.
Hey thank u so much for this post we have been trying for a two yrs to have my son tested for ADHD when ur a parent u see things that are not right and u do research just as I did I’ve had teachers tell me they believe I am correct as well bc he has many symptoms the dr finally agreed with me and had set me up an apt with a specialist but ur post is so helpful I’ve been going all about this in the wrong way completely I will be taking ur post as help and trying new things thank u so much for ur post it’s helped open my eyes to things my son needs
I am so happy to have found you and your site! I knew there was a chance that he had ADHD and things have been getting worse this summer(he will be 7 tomorrow). I cant wait to use some of your tips! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!
Thank you so much for your information. I am raising my 9 year old adhd and high functioning autistic grandson. My life is also very challenging but I believe this information is going to be VERY helpful.
Ash Sears says
Brenda, Big hugs to you! Raising a child with ADHD can make you feel like you are going to pull your hair out at times, but I can say it’s totally worth it. My son is 15 now and has totally turned his life around. He’s growing up to be such an amazing young man and I am sure your grandson will to.
Chuck Habing says
I am new to the whole ADD or ADHD issue. Started looking into it when people came up to me at shows where we display our product and mentioned that it would be good for their child with ADHD and gave me reasons why. Then I started looking into the disorder and keyed into the fact that I have some of the symptoms myself, or at least I think I do. Anyway I liked your article and the suggestions of using small blocks of time, schedules and exercise. Thanks for furthering my education.