Thursday, June 13, 2013

How to deal with your ADHD child - #3

I've already shared two chapters of my work in progress, the parenting guide "How to deal with your ADHD child."

The first chapter is mostly an introduction followed by a brief explanation on how ADHD affects life, both for the person with this disability and for the entire family.

The second chapter is basically a test: are you ready to embark on a journey to become a better parent to your ADHD child with all the pain and life value reconsiderations this may hold?

In the third chapter I will present you with three key words. These key words are meant to be easy to remember and practically adaptable to your every day life as a parent to an ADHD child.

Ready?
Here we go:

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Basic key words
In this chapter I will present you with some basic key words. The aim of these key words is to provide you with something easy to remember that you can always fall back on, when a situation gets tense. To get the most out of this book, I encourage you to memorize these key words and get them imprinted in your heart for quick access in those difficult situations, where things get really troublesome.

Keyword #1: Firm Patience
Remember that a person with ADHD is not deliberately trying to be a nuisance. They have issues making it hard for them to interact with other people in the most common way. This is a part of their behavioral challenge. This means that for you to be the best parent possible you need to be patient.

But there is more…

Being patient, however important it is - and it really is! - it does not sufficiently help your child, if it stands alone. There's another element that enhances the power of patience: Being firm!
You need to be firm in the way you discipline your children and in the way you pass on your values and share your experiences.

No child has the experience needed to know right from wrong and for a child to learn, the parents must be firm. This is even more important when raising an ADHD child, because having ADHD makes it even more difficult to sort out issues based on their importance. As a parent to an ADHD child you have to be the filter he/she doesn’t have. Therefore, your firm character is necessary to give your child the best foundation possible to take their first few steps toward independency.

So, these two put together: Being firm and being patient, become Firm Patience, a very powerful tool in any kind of work raising a child. The patience establish positive relations between the two of you and the firmness raises your child to the best possible base for a good life.

Lose the chatter
When communicating with others we tend to use more words than we actually need. There are many reasons why. One reason is that using words is a sort of tool to get our thoughts sorted, that is: we think when we talk. Another reason could be our wish to be polite in the manner of which we address each other.

In most cases, this is not a bad thing. It usually improves our communication and helps us building relations with each other. But when communicating with someone with ADHD the excessive use of words has the very opposite effect. One of the basic challenges when you have ADHD is the lack of concentration and the difficulty of sorting which input is important and which is less important.

And when a sentence has more words than needed to pass on the intended message, the person with ADHD needs to use way too much mental energy in trying to figure out what that message is.

A person with ADHD has a much better chance of understanding what you’re trying to say, if you lose the chatter – that is: if you get rid of words not needed to pass on your message.

Choose your Battles
Every parent knows this: choosing your battles greatly improves the chance of success. But being parents to children with ADHD, this advice is crucial!

Having a child with ADHD you face all the issues of having a ‘normal’ child multiplied by 100. Facing each possible battle you would do yourself – and your child – a great favor, if you stop to think for a second and ask yourself two questions:

#1: Is this battle important to take on?
#2: Is this a battle that can wait?

The first question seems rather simple, but as you probably know it really is quite complicated. Most of the time, we don’t think too deeply about our own behavior. Our actions and decisions are based more on patterns we’ve built throughout our lives rather than carefully considering our options in each situation. And of course it has to be this way. If we took the time to think through every possible outcome of every single choice in our lives, nothing would ever be done.

But if we are to improve the outcome of our efforts, in parenting as well as any other part of life, occasionally we need to stop for a moment to ask ourselves what the best course of action is – and more importantly: why?

The second question is about prioritizing our efforts. Even if the battle in front of us is an important one, it’s not always beneficial to fight it right now. From time to time, it’s better to let it go for the time being and wait for a better time to take it on.

When asking yourself if the battle can wait, you should include another question: if I take on this battle now, what are the chances that my child and I can win the battle together?

Always remember what I pointed out earlier: you are in this together and no battle is won before you both gain from its outcome. If you win a battle, but the outcome does not better the situation for your child, then you really have gained nothing and the battle has been lost for the both of you.

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And now it's question time
If you have been following the latest posts on this subject and if I have provided you with anything useful, you might have some questions you would like to ask?

It could be anything: questions about the text itself, questions about ADHD in general or questions about real situations in your every day life dealing with a child with ADHD.

I will try to answer any kind of question to the best of my ability and remember this:

The only stupid questions are those never asked when given the chance, because not asking is the only sure way to not get an answer - and that is kind of stupid isn't it?

Additionally, I'd like to focus your attention to my new FaceBook Page, where you can keep yourself updated, ask questions, share your story, give and get advice etc.

How can you use what you´ve read till now?
Is there something you would like me to elaborate?
Feel free to tell about your situation and ask me for advice: