I have great news!
Surprisingly, most of your frustration with your ADHD kid’s behavior isn’t a gigantic problem; it really just takes some tweaks and a whole lot of consistency and follow through to grab your ADHD child’s attention and turn that hyperfocused (or unfocused) brain into a parent-focused brain (however briefly).
Let me share some techniques I use with families:
- Remember that your child has ADHD and can’t be parented the same way as other children. You need to come at the situation from an opposite or, at least, a “diagonal” perspective. We are taught in school to face problems head on. This doesn’t work for ADHD kids. Instead of the logical response, try an atypical response, even (GASP!) an illogical response! Instead of a head-on approach, try looking at it creatively (diagonally). If a child talks back, for example, instead of being offended, ask him/her what’s going on. Instead of heading directly to a punishment, simply say, “You know that’s rude.” And leave it there.
- Listen instead of talking. NOBODY wants to hear a lecture and there’s no perfect lecture that will finally turn your child around. The lectures need to stop and it’s time to listen to your kids. They will tell you exactly what they need from you. In case you’re afraid to hear what they have to say, here are the most common things kids would change about their families: 1) no more yelling, 2) able to spend more time with their parents, 3) more trust from their parents, 4) parents should stop being so frustrated and figure out what to do instead, 5) parents should assume that their child has good intentions.
- Use a kind tone of voice. If you can’t muster a kind tone of voice, wait to talk to your children until you’re calm. Take a time out yourself (they work better for parents than for kids!). If you’re not in the middle of an emergency (your child is about to be harmed or your child is about to harm someone), what you have to say can wait. You can tell your child, “I need to think about this. I want to make the best decision and not just react in anger. You don’t deserve that and that’s not who I am.”
- Back up a few steps and start over if your child seems unable to complete a particular task. If you have diabetes and your blood sugar is high, you wouldn’t keep repeating, “Why can’t you make more insulin? Come on! It’s easy. Other people’s bodies can make plenty of insulin. Why can’t you?” Instead, you would stop and assess the situation. You might give yourself a shot, you might adjust your eating, you might make an appointment with a Medical Doctor or a Naturopathic Doctor. You might do all three. In short, if you have diabetes, you need to learn how to handle a variety of situations. Instead of punishing the diabetic for not making enough insulin, we teach the patient how to manage their condition. It’s the same with ADHD. Getting frustrated or angry won’t accomplish a single thing. We need to teach our kids to manage their condition. If you don’t know how, calling a professional in is the next course of action.
- Change your view of ADHD. Instead of thinking of ADHD as a problem, think of it as a treasure that you’re searching to uncover. Many of your child’s talents, like a treasure chest, will be hidden, locked away. But what if you knew that there was a reward for your efforts to learn what you can and follow your intuition and your heart rather than your fear and your anger? Because that’s exactly what’s hidden: a big treasure trove of riches. Find that, cherish that, support that, and your child is set for life.
Most of the time, ADHD kids either aren’t aware of what they’re doing or they’re looking for more parenting or more parental attention. Yes, more parenting! Many kids that act out are just using that to get your attention.
Power is also appealing to ADHD kids, who often feel powerless. Imagine not having control of your actions. Your heart wants to be good and kind and attentive, but your body chemicals won’t support that intention. Can you imagine how defeating that is? It’s true for ADHD adults and it’s true for ADHD children. In most cases, these adults that are frustrated are those that didn’t have support for their ADHD when they were children.
Which one of these tweaks will you try first? Just scroll down and share your thoughts in the comments section. I love, love, love hearing from you.
Copyright 2017 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved
What troubles you about parenting an ADHD child or teen?
Let’s talk! No judgment, no salesy come-on. However you WILL receive a good deal of TLC and a slew of strategies. You can say anything. You can cry. You can swear. Your confidentiality is guaranteed, and I promise to listen and give you hope and relief. (You might even find yourself spontaneously doing a happy dance).
“Thank you Yafa. You’ve given me incredibly helpful tools! It was really a pleasure to speak with you. I’ll be back in touch in the coming weeks.” Stella R, Portland, OR.
“I really appreciate that I could be vulnerable and you didn’t shoot me down. I feel comfortable with you and your humor brightened the call.” Danielle A, Bellingham, WA.
“I talked with you a year ago, Yafa, and your voice is always in my head, guiding me. I just wanted to email and thank you.” April W, Queensland, Australia
“Thank you for your encouraging, enlightening suggestions.” Jill E, Seattle, WA.
Thank you for ‘being there’ to share your wealth of knowledge and personal experience with us who are ‘floundering’ and ‘lost in the forest’ when it comes to ‘dealing with special and difficult circumstances’. Gratefully yours, Rochelle H, Alberta, Canada xox ((((BIG HUGS)))
Just confirm your time zone and then click on the date/time that works for you: