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The Hood Magazine

Parenting a Child with ADD/ADHD

Jul 28, 2020 08:29AM ● By Melanie VanderPol-Bailey, Licensed Certified Social Worker - Private Independent Practice, Sioux Falls Psychological Services

By: Melanie VanderPol-Bailey, Licensed Certified Social Worker - Private Independent Practice, Sioux Falls Psychological Services

 

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are more complex than having a “busy” or “inattentive” child.  Children with ADD/ADHD think and process information differently.  ADHD is brain glitch, a deficit in a person’s executive function: the part of the brain that has the ability to think and plan ahead, organize, control impulses, and complete tasks. 

ADHD is a common behavioral disorder that affects about 10% of school-age children. Boys are about three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD.  Children who experience ADHD act without thinking, are hyperactive, and have trouble focusing. They may understand what's expected of them but have trouble following through because they are not able to sit still, pay attention, or focus on details.

All children (especially the younger ones) act this way at times, often when they're anxious or excited.  The difference with ADHD is that symptoms are present over a longer period of time and happen in different settings.  They impact a child's ability to function socially, academically, and at home.

As a parent, your parenting style for children with ADHD needs to change to accommodate this brain glitch.  Parenting the ADHD child means that you will need to take over as pilot of your child’s executive functioning while your child gradually acquires the skills for flight on his/her own. 

The symptoms of ADD/ADHD can be exhausting.  It is imperative to remember that the child with ADD/ADHD who is ignoring, annoying, or embarrassing you is not acting willfully.  Children with ADD/ADHD want to sit quietly; they want to make their rooms tidy and organized; they want to do everything their parent says to do—they just do not know how to make these things happen.

Having ADD/ADHD can be just as frustrating as dealing with someone who has it. If you keep this in mind, it will be a lot easier to respond to your child in positive, supportive ways. With patience, compassion, and support, you can manage childhood ADHD while enjoying a stable, happy home. 

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