Parenting

Parenting in the Fast Lane: Raising a Child with ADHD

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder that affects 3-7% of children and adolescents. It is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Inattention: The child has difficulty paying attention to details or staying focused on tasks. He/she may be forgetful and easily distracted.

Hyperactivity: The child moves around constantly, often fidgets with hands or feet, talks excessively (e.g., blurts out answers before questions have been completed), has trouble sitting still during dinner or schoolwork time etc…

Impulsivity: The child acts without thinking about the consequences first (e.g., blurting out answers before questions have been completed).

Diagnosing ADHD

When you suspect your child has ADHD, the first step is to get him or her evaluated by a professional. The process of diagnosing ADHD can vary depending on where you live and what resources are available to you, but there are some general guidelines that apply everywhere:

• The best way to diagnose a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD in the past is through observation. If possible, observe the child in various settings (home, school) over time before making any conclusions about his or her behavior.

• Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your doctor should be able to explain everything he/she does during an evaluation so that it’s clear why certain decisions were made regarding diagnosis and treatment options going forward.

Treatment Options

There are a number of treatment options available for children with ADHD.

Medication: Medication can be an effective way to help manage symptoms and improve functioning for some children with ADHD. However, medication alone does not address the underlying causes of the disorder and will not result in long-term improvement without additional treatment approaches (e.g., behavioral therapy).

• Behavioral Therapy: Behavioral therapy helps children learn how to manage their behavior so they can achieve more success at home, school, work and other settings. Behavioral interventions include teaching parents how to set up structure and routines that support good behavior as well as strategies for reducing conflict between parent(s) and child(ren). They also teach specific skills such as problem solving or anger management; these types of interventions are often used along with medication for those who need them both together instead of just one approach alone because each has its own benefits depending on what kind of situation your child is facing at any given time during his/her day-to-day activities.”

Managing Symptoms

• Create a routine.

• Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior and reward your child for doing well.

• Develop problem-solving skills by teaching your child how to deal with everyday situations that may be difficult for him or her, such as being bored at school, getting along with siblings, or finishing homework assignments on time.

Strategies for School Success

Communicating with Teachers

It’s important to be in constant communication with your child’s teacher(s). You can do this by emailing or calling them regularly and asking questions about how your child is doing in school, if he/she is making progress and if there are any issues that need to be addressed. If you feel comfortable doing so, ask if there are any accommodations or modifications that could help your son/daughter succeed in the classroom. The more information you have access to, the better equipped you’ll be when making decisions about their education plan later down the line.

Finding Support

• Connecting with other parents.

• Finding a mental health professional

• Exploring support groups.

Caring for Yourself

It’s important to remember that you are not alone in this journey. There are many resources available to support you and your child, including:

• A support network of other parents who have walked the path before you. You can find these resources through local organizations like schools or parent groups, or online communities such as Facebook groups.

• Professional help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in ADHD. I recommend seeking out someone who has experience working with children with ADHD so they can best understand what challenges your child is facing, while also being able to offer coping strategies that work best for them specifically.

Tips for Dealing with Challenging Behaviors

• Remain calm.

• Set boundaries and limits for your child, and stick to them.

• Utilize time-outs if necessary, but don’t use them as a punishment; they should be used when you need a break from the situation or your child needs to calm down.

Navigating Social Situations

Navigating social situations is a challenge for many children with ADHD. In order to help your child make friends, teach him or her how to interact with others in a positive way. Whether you’re at home or out in public, practice role-playing different scenarios so that your child can learn how to respond appropriately when faced with certain situations.

If your child has trouble making friends and interacting positively with other children, encourage them by setting up play dates with other kids who have similar interests as yours (e.g., if your son loves soccer and baseball games). You can also look into joining local sports teams together where all the players are on equal footing–this way there’s less pressure on either party!

If bullying becomes an issue at school or elsewhere (for example: online), talk about ways that you can prevent this from happening again in the future such as reporting incidents immediately so they don’t escalate into something worse down the line.”

Fostering Resilience

As your child grows, you can help him or her become more resilient by encouraging self-advocacy and building coping skills.

Encourage self-advocacy: Children with ADHD are often told what they should do, rather than being encouraged to think through the situation themselves and decide how best to proceed. Help your child develop assertiveness skills by asking open-ended questions (e.g., “How do you feel about this?”) instead of telling them what to do or making demands for compliance (“You need to clean up your room now”).

Build coping skills: As children mature into teens and adults, they’ll encounter many challenges that require them to manage their emotions effectively in order not only survive but thrive as well. Helping kids learn how cope with stressors early on will make all the difference later on down the road when life gets harder!


If you’re the parent of a child with ADHD, rest assured that you’re doing your best to support your child. With all the challenges that this child has, it’s important to remind yourself that you’re their biggest advocate, and understand that there are many other parents in the same position as you.

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