When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, parents are often overwhelmed and at a loss. Wait times for neuropsychological evaluations are months to a year. While we don’t know what causes ADHD, we do know that early intervention is key. But where do we start? It is stressful to have some many unanswered questions and an uncertain future, but what can you do to navigate these choppy waters?
Stay Calm and Be Positive; Prepare to LEARN
Anxiety is a common thread that runs through the ADHD population. Kids with ADHD would not have the diagnosis if they had not already been through some tough times. So, best not to impart our own concerns and anxieties on them. The opportunity to model calm and positivity is never more important than it is now. Rather than fear, it is wise to shift our focus toward curiosity. Writing your questions down rather than trying to hold them all in your head is a good start to LEARNING.
Supporting Your Child
Children with ADHD need to believe in themselves and that starts when they see that we believe in them. Daily affirmations, on a regular basis, will be the foundation needed for their current and future endeavors. It is very natural for parents, before they understand ADHD to be critical of their kid’s behavior. Imagine, how life is for these kids by the time the diagnosis comes. Their behaviors have been the source of pain for them at school, around friends and at home. While natural and understandable to try, with criticism, to redirect your child behaviour, this approach is counterproductive. Collaboration and affirmation is a far more productive approach. For more information, please read or listen to Ross Green, the Explosive Child. This is not a book for only parents of strong willed kids. This premise of this book is collaborating with your child to find his or her best path for success.
Don't stress the small things
Focus on progression, not perfection. This means setting realistic expectations and being flexible. It is important to properly channel your energy, focusing on what went well while learning as opposed to what did not. If you have not read Mindset by Carol Dweck, I strongly suggest you do. It is about enjoying the learning process, and understanding that we learn through struggles and mistakes.
Utilize your village
A strong team will be necessary for you and your child throughout this life journey. Support from your partner/spouse, family, educators, therapists, physicians will help meet the needs of both you and your child. Additionally, support groups are a safe space to connect with other parents facing similar triumphs and challenges. It is in these groups that you can get the recommendations and contacts you need for supporting your child's challenges. You are not alone- you will be surprised how much people want to help.
Self-care is Crucial- pu your own oxygen mask on first!
So much of the advice out there, about working with children with ADHD is focused on the children themselves, but as a parent it's crucial that you take care of yourself. This goes back to utilizing your team which allows you to take those needed days off. Taking time for restoration and renewal, will allow you to be at your best for you and your child. And, how do you think modeling self care for your kids will benefit them in the long run?
Follow a Routine
Regular routines will provide the needed structure for a child with ADHD. If you have not read Atomic Habits by James Clear I would recommend it. “Becoming 1% better in anything really adds up. Small changes make big differences, but they take time. You do not rise to the level of your goals; you fail to the level of your systems.” - James Clear What systems can you create for a routine?
The last and most important suggestion I can personally offer is that you sit down in one of two chairs and invite the Lord to sit in the other. This concept comes from 2 Chairs by Bob Beaudine. This one-on-one time with God, who knows what we need before we even ask is the most powerful way for you to process everything you are going through. It is about voicing, outloud if necessary, what your concerns are; and then, sitting quietly to receive the direction the Spirit leads. Nothing I can recommend to you is more powerful, or productive than that.
I would love to support you and your child through this journey. Feel free to contact us to book a free call for more information.