If your child has ADHD, you may find yourself struggling to figure out the best ways to nurture him. I know I do a good job of being patient in some situations, but there are many times I am so frustrated that I lose my temper or am at a loss as to how to react to his acting out. If you can relate, take a look at these four ways you can nurture your child and create an encouraging environment that will lead to a well adjusted teen and adult.
1. Listen to your child.
This may sound like common sense, but so many people only want to listen to their children when they are obeying. It’s easy to feel that if we, as parents, are loud enough, we can actually control their behavior. That simply isn’t the case. ADHD children need to be heard.
Listening to your child helps him know he is accepted by his family and is understood. Children with ADHD have enough trouble outside of the home, where they are under constant pressure to conform that it is extra important that they know their family accepts them unconditionally.
2. Pay attention to what your child does.
A problem often rears its ugly head before you or your child know what to do about it. One issue we have is that our son with ADHD loves our neighbors’ dog. The neighbors have kids and have never had issues with the dog getting upset if the kids are rough with it. However, the dog growls at Max and generally seems to fear him. We don’t know what exactly our son has done to upset the dog — he isn’t mean to her intentionally — but apparently he’s been too rough with her or scared her in some way. He tends to want to touch dogs’ faces and tails, and often dogs dislike this. So now we are paying close attention to Max anytime he is outdoors because we don’t want him (or the dog) to end up hurt.
3. Keep your voice down.
This is hard for me because I struggle to react calmly when our son is intentionally pushing my buttons. It takes a lot of power to not yell and get flustered. Just remember that your child learns self-control a little bit at a time from your actions. Set a good example always. Kids with ADHD do not react well when parents raise their voices and/or lose control. Yelling confirms the negative thoughts and feelings they have about themselves. It is, of course, okay to be firm and stern with your child.
4. Assign them chores.
Chores teach responsibility and reinforce that your child is part of the family and is expected to cooperate and do his share around the house. However, too many chores can overload your child’s brain. You know that when your child is overwhelmed, he will stop in his tracks and probably not do anything. As you assign him responsibilities, make sure to give him just one thing to do at a time. If your child can read, you can make a short list so he can check off the chores off as he completes each one. Ensure he knows what is expected of him and why. We have a chore chart with easy chores, such as clearing his plate after a meal and putting his clean clothes away in his dresser drawers.
Parenting your child with ADHD is not an easy task. There are probably times when you feel helpless, but keep your head up. These tips can help you nurture your child and help him grow into a responsible and rational teenager and adult.
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