Raising a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not easy. You may get angry and frustrated by the behavior and poor learning skills of your child. You may get the impression that you are a bad parent. These feelings are understandable but unjustified. ADHD is a disease, and it is not the result of poor parenting. ADHD can be effectively treated, and by understanding your child’s condition, you can help him!
What is ADHD in children: a short description
Children with ADHD experience difficulties in concentrating their attention and, in connection with this, cannot always cope with study assignments. They make mistakes due to carelessness, do not pay attention and do not listen to explanations. Sometimes they can exhibit excessive mobility, turn around, get up, commit many unnecessary actions, instead of sitting still and concentrating on studying or other activities. This behavior is unacceptable in the classroom and creates problems both in school and at home. Such children often have low academic achievements and are often considered mischievous, disobedient, “terrorizing” the family and peers at school. At the same time, they can suffer from low self-esteem, it is difficult for them to make friends and be friends with other children.
In fact, the reason for the above behavior is the lack of certain biologically active substances in some parts of the brain.
How often does ADHD occur?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, ADHD is a common disorder that occurs in 3-7% of school-age children.
How does the behavior of children with ADHD differ from the behavior of other children?
Features of behavior for ADHD – the characteristic is divided into three categories:
1. Symptoms of inattention. Such children are easily distracted, forgetful, hardly concentrate their attention. They have problems with performing tasks, organizing, and following instructions. They often make mistakes due to inattention, lose their school supplies and other things.
2. Symptoms of hyperactivity. Children seem impatient, excessively sociable, fidgety, cannot sit still for a long time. In the classroom, they tend to break out of place at an inopportune time. Speaking figuratively, they are all the time in motion, as if wound up.
3. Symptoms of impulsivity. Very often in class, adolescents and children with ADHD cry out the answer before the teacher ends their question, constantly interrupting, when others say they find it difficult to wait their turn. They are not able to postpone the receipt of pleasure. If they want something, then they should get it at the same time, not yielding to a variety of persuasions.
Your attending physician has all the necessary information about ADHD and can make the right diagnosis based on the diagnostic criteria at his disposal.
How is ADHD diagnosed?
ADHD is revealed if the child’s behavior is different from that of other children of the same age and development level for a relatively long time, at least six months. These features of behavior arise up to 7 years, later they manifest themselves in various social situations and negatively affect intrafamily relations. If the symptoms of ADHD are expressed significantly, this leads to social disadaptation of the child in school and at home. The child should be carefully examined by a doctor to exclude other diseases that can also cause these behavioral disorders.
Depending on the underlying disorders, doctors can diagnose ADHD with a predominance of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, or a combined type.
What causes ADHD?
The exact cause of ADHD is not clear to this day. However, experts believe that the symptoms of ADHD may be due to a complex of factors. Here are some of them:
- ADHD tends to be inherited, which indicates the genetic nature of this disease.
- There is a reason to believe that drinking alcohol and smoking during pregnancy, premature birth and prematurity can also increase the likelihood of a child developing ADHD.
- Brain trauma and infectious brain diseases in early childhood also create a predisposition for the development of ADHD.
At the heart of the development mechanism of ADHD is the deficit of certain chemicals (dopamine and norepinephrine) in some areas of the brain. These data underscore the fact that ADHD is a disease that requires appropriate diagnosis and proper treatment.
How can I help my child if he suffers from ADHD?
There are many sources, from which you can get useful information. A child with ADHD needs to be monitored by a physician, including a psychologist. One of the parties to the treatment is psychological support and support of the child.
Talk with your child’s teachers about his behavior. Make sure they understand what is happening, and so you will help your child.
How to treat ADHD?
The most optimal is a combined treatment, consisting of a combination of drug therapy and psychological correction.
How do I behave at home if my child has ADHD?
1. Develop a positive attitude.
Children and adolescents with ADHD react painfully to criticism. Instead of criticizing the child and telling him that he should NOT do, pay your comments in a more positive way and tell the child what he SHOULD do. For example, instead of: “Do not throw your clothes on the floor” – try to say: “Let me help you clean your clothes.”
Help your child develop a habit of positive thoughts. For example, instead of thinking, “I can not do it,” help him tune in to what he can do: “I can do it!”
2. Do not skimp on praise.
Children blossom when their parents praise them. For example: “You did your homework today well and quickly,” or: “I’m proud of you.”
All of us sometimes make mistakes and minor offenses. Instead of getting angry when your child messes up something, say something like: “Do not worry, it can be mended.”
3. Help your child not to worry.
Activities such as quiet games, listening to pleasant music, taking a bath, will help your child calm down when he is annoyed or disappointed.
4. Make simple and clear rules for the child. Children need a specific schedule. With his help, they know when and what they need to do and feel calmer. Do the daily work at the same time of the day.
- Have dinner and have supper at the same time.
- Help the child not to postpone the cases that must be done.
- Keep a list of important matters.
- Teach your child to plan his day. Begin by collecting school supplies in advance.
5. Communicate more.
Talk to your child. Discuss with him different topics – what happened at school, what he saw in the movies or on TV. Find out what the child thinks. Ask open-ended questions that suggest a story, not a monosyllabic answer. When you ask a child a question, give him time to think and answer. Do not answer for it! Listen when he talks to you, and give positive comments. Let your child feel that he and his deeds are interesting to you.
6. Limit the number of distractions and monitor the child’s work. When your child needs to focus on the task, he needs special conditions. Reducing distractions will help you better concentrate.
- Make sure that your child has enough opportunity to “let off steam.” Often children need a respite between school and homework.
- Make sure that the child understands what is required of him when performing the task.
- Some tasks must be divided into several parts to make them workable.
- If necessary, supervise classes and household chores.
- Regular breaks will allow the child to relax and then concentrate again.
7. Correctly react to bad behavior.
- Explain that it was you who became angry with his behavior.
- Avoid generalizations (for example, instead of: “You never listen to me,” say: “I’m angry because you did not listen to me right now”).
- Punishment must be fair and correspond in its severity to the perfect misconduct.
- Do not argue with the child.
- Be adamant in your decisions, but do not resort to tactics of threats.
Clear rules and a certain daily routine will facilitate the adoption of the child’s standards of conduct.
8. Rest yourself. Sometimes you also need rest and time for yourself. Invite someone to sit with the child or send the child to a trustworthy friend.
9. If you feel that you are not coping, talk with the doctor who will give the necessary advice.