Having children is hard enough for any parent. But when your child has difficulties, those challenges are amplified. Whether your child has a disease, defiant disorders, mood disorders, or even ADHD, the challenges of parenting are ten-fold. How can you be the parent you want to be, manage all of the stress that comes with parenting, and provide your child with what they need to thrive? This blog will give the top tips for parenting a child with ADHD and help you see if ADHD therapy for kids can help!
If you’re a parent struggling with this in Brevard County, Florida, or any parents of children with ADHD in Florida, you can reach out to True You Always Counseling. We will help you to find a therapist who will work with you and your family. This is most beneficial because you get treatment plans and techniques that are specific to your family and your needs.
Helpful Tips for ADHD Parenting and Helping Your Kids!
The best thing in which you can do is honestly the best thing any parent can do. That is reward positive behavior and remove the rewards when poor behavior takes place. You are teaching your child that behaviors have consequences and that they are held accountable for their actions. Punishment/reward removal is something each family will determine as are the rewards. This form of positive reinforcement helps establish rules as well as outcomes for decisions.
The key to success here is to be consistent.
It can be challenging when you are stressed out or tired to not just give in “one time”. But this can quickly become a recurring theme and any structure created is quickly lost. Another important factor is input. While it is important to allow your child to help determine what rewards and reprimands are suitable for each situation, you must remember that the family should have a hierarchy in which caregivers are at the top. Structural family therapy believes that each member has a say in the function of the family, but caregivers are at the head of the system and if they are not clear on the rules chaos can quickly take place.
This is a collaborative process!
You and your child can work together to determine what acceptable behavior looks like and what poor behavior looks like. In the same way, you can determine proper rewards and what happens when poor behavior is chosen. You can also remind them of this new system in place and take some time to allow them to acclimate to it.
Your child will likely take some time to become accustomed to the new rules. Likewise, you will likely need some time to get used to enforce these rules. But when things begin to take place, do not be afraid to allow some flexibility. You do not want to be too strict with the rules as your child will make mistakes. It may also take them longer to become adapted to the changes while dealing with their ADHD. Lastly, you do not want to discourage your child’s uniqueness. There is a proper balance to be found and this is where working with a therapist will be most beneficial.
Allow your child to explore their personality, assuming that the behavior is not harmful to themselves or anyone else within the family. If it is an unusual behavior that is harmless, allow them the freedom and safety to express themselves. Children with ADHD, like all children, need that freedom to help create their identity. Not allowing this to take place will cause more harm in the long term.
Managing Aggressive Behavior
Outbursts are not uncommon for children with ADHD. This is one of those moments were working with your child to determine proper rules on behavior and reward vs punishment are most important. You may utilize time-out, take something for a period of time, or remove them from the situation. This is not just important for helping your child calm down, but also a chance for you to get grounded again. If your child is throwing a temper tantrum in a public setting—or even just at home—your temper can rise as well. There is nothing wrong or unusual about this, you are human as well.
Taking a few minutes for everyone to calm down and take a few minutes to regroup is going to allow for more effective handling of the situation. Perhaps, you realize, your child just needs to release pent-up energy. This will be handled differently than if your child is doing something harmful. But if you try handling the situation while frustrated with the outburst, you may punish too harshly. Or if you are too frustrated to emotionally or mentally deal with it, you may not punish at all.
There are countless benefits to physical exercise. However, for a child with ADHD it can be beneficial in ways you may not have considered. Engaging in physical exercise not only allows your child to burn off extra energy he or she has pent up, but it also teaches them to focus on one activity at a time. It can also help improve focus while also decreasing the risk of anxiety and depression.
If you engage in the activity with your child, you gain the added benefit of connecting with your child. Exercising together will help build a sense of unity, and teamwork, and show them that you are on their team.
Limit Screen Time and Regulate Sleep
These two could be separate tips, but recent studies have shown a clear connection between screen time and sleep patterns. Sleep is critical for brain function but can also exacerbate many of the symptoms of ADHD, such as restlessness, lack of focus, and hyperactivity. Cutting out all electronics an hour before bedtime, creating a soothing routine, and cutting out other stimulants such as sugar and caffeine early in the day can also help improve sleep.
By limiting screen time not only will you help them sleep better, but it will allow them the opportunity to engage in other activities. Many of which will provide an outlet for pent-up energy, whether it is playing outside or engaging in something that is creative.
Promote a Balanced Diet
Many additives in foods today have been shown to have links to attention and behavioral issues in children. Promote a well-balanced diet that limits added sugars and other additives to help promote healthy growth in your child. This, of course, does not mean they cannot enjoy candy or special treats every once in a while. But limit these things to once a week or once a month rather than every day or multiple times a day. Doing this will also help promote better sleep.
Prioritize YOUR Self-Care
As mentioned several times above, parenting is stressful enough. Add a diagnosis such as ADHD on top of that, and the stress is magnified. Be sure to prioritize time for yourself. Not only will this help prevent lashing out, but will also allow you time to focus on what is important. Self-care, ideally, is something you can do every day. That may be going for a walk, reading, exercising, a hot bath, or sitting in your car for a few minutes of quiet alone time.
Whatever it is that revitalizes you and charges your battery. It can be for twenty minutes or it can be for an hour. Whatever your schedule allows, it should be something you do regularly. Just as your child will have rules to follow, this is an expectation you should set for yourself. It should be just as important as anything else in your schedule and making sure that you do not skip out on it is just as important.
Having a positive mindset can help in many ways, and maintaining a strong self-care routine makes it easier to have a positive mindset. Having a positive mindset will help in preventing you from feeling lost or hopeless. It will also help you keep the situation in perspective and know that during an outburst or on rough days, the next day will likely be better. ADHD parenting in Florida is a process and not something that will change overnight. It takes consistency and consistency is much easier when you feel more positive.
ADHD Treatment in Florida and ADHD Parenting
ADHD therapy for kids in Florida is a safe place for everyone to speak their minds openly and freely. It allows everyone to bring their concerns and hopes to light in a neutral setting. But it also allows everyone to get the stress off their shoulders. Counseling will also help you figure out what expectations your family needs to set, what reward vs punishment system works for your family, and which of these tips will work better for you than others.
Family counseling is ideal for ADHD as the entire family experiences the disorder in their own way. However, individual counseling for some or all family members can sometimes be easier to open up knowing the rest of the family will not be in a session. Support groups can also be helpful in knowing you are not alone in your struggles when it comes to ADHD parenting. Each family will be different in what they find the most benefit in, so meeting with a counselor and learning all of your options is a great start.
One last note about ADHD in kids and ADHD parenting in Florida
Almost 7 million children aged 6-17 are diagnosed with ADHD in America. In 2011, Florida ranked the 13th highest state with children suffering from ADHD at nearly 9% (the national average being 8.8%). 6% of Florida children were on medication treatment for ADHD. Being connected with others who also live with the disorder is very important in your journey. As mentioned, that will look different from family to family, but finding what works best for yours will go a long way in the successful parenting of a child with ADHD.
Begin ADHD Treatment for Kids in Florida and Get a Better Handle on ADHD Parenting!
If you and your family need support in managing ADHD parenting, therapy for ADHD can help. We offer support via online therapy in Florida. To get support and get started, follow these simple steps:
- Call us at 321-613-8685 to get started. During your call, you can share what’s going on for you and ask us any questions you may have. Through understanding your needs we will help you choose the best ADHD therapist for you and schedule you for your first session.
- Call us for your first session today! We’re here to help you through.
- If you prefer, you can also fill out a contact form here. Then we will reach out to you within 24 business hours to get you started.
- Let’s make this happen for you! Get back to a life you enjoy and live free from what is holding you back.
Other Services Offered at True You Always
Here at True You Always, we offer many services with a wide range of therapists. We are here to walk alongside you no matter what you’re dealing with. Our goal is to provide a safe and accepting space for you to breathe and be your authentic self. Along with marriage counseling and couples therapy offered from a Gottman perspective, we offer additional services at our Florida practice.
You may also be interested in therapy for first responders, therapy for work stress, anxiety, and stress treatment, or PTSD treatment and trauma therapy. Additionally, we offer couples therapy, family therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, therapy for disordered eating, therapy for teens and tweens, support for families with a loved one struggling with ED, therapy for adults, substance use disorders, therapy for spouses of first responders, play therapy, therapy for allergies, and chronic illness. All services are offered via online therapy in Florida so you can get help from the comfort of your own space.