Parenting Tips For ADHD Kids

Expert Parenting Tips For ADHD Kids – Core Difficulties Related To ADHD

Updated on July 5, 2024

If you are a parent having a child with ADHD, or if you have a neighbour or relative having ADHD kids, you might be aware of the difficulties of parenting ADHD kids. In this post, you can find expert parenting tips for ADHD kids from Erin Gonzalez, PhD, a psychologist with the pro clinic at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Outpatient Psychiatry. Parenting ADHD kids is truly a very difficult task depending on the severity of the disease, especially with hyperactive kids. Unfortunately, today, we can find many ADHD children and their parents struggling to manage their life. There are many parents who can’t go out to work but have to stay at home with their ADHD children. That also affects financial problems to manage their living. Continue reading and watch the video to learn more about parenting tips for ADHD kids.

Parenting Tips For ADHD Kids

The “usual” parenting strategies are often less effective for children with ADHD. Let’s discuss 3 core difficulties related to ADHD that make it harder for children to follow instructions and stay motivated. We then identify 3 changes caregivers can make to their parenting approach to help their children with ADHD stay engaged and set them up for success.

What Is ADHD?

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a medical condition. A person with ADHD has differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. ADHD can affect a child at school, at home, and in friendships. You can read more about What is ADHD? – Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Parenting Tips For ADHD Kids

Why do children with ADHD need different parenting strategies?

The following is based on the talk of Erin Gonzalez, PhD, a psychologist with the pro clinic at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Outpatient Psychiatry. She talks about why children with ADHD need different parenting strategies than other kids.

Parenting Tips For ADHD Kids

You may be saying I’m doing all the same things that other parents are doing. I use the same types of ways of rewarding my child and using consequences and my child’s just not responding the same way. And you’re right. They aren’t going to respond the same way because their brain is processing information differently than other children. So you’re in the five to ten per cent of kids who really need a different strategy in order to be able to take that information and use it to change their behaviour. So you may already be providing great parenting for your child but when you have a child with ADHD it’s a lot harder and really super parenting is what’s required. You really need strategies that are kind of above and beyond what other parents are having to provide.

So there are three core difficulties related to ADHD that help us think about how to change our parenting style for a particular tryout.

1. Trouble with self-regulation

The first difficulty is trouble with self-regulation. And self-regulation refers to internally keeping track of what you’re doing. Keeping track of yourself planning ahead shifting from one task to the next. And having that motivation come from within rather than from what’s going on around you. This is how we get ourselves through a routine or a task during the day. Kids with ADHD are gonna have about a 30% lag in their ability to self-regulate. It’s gonna look like a lack of maturity to a large degree. So they may get off track and get distracted really easily when they’re trying to do a routine even though they know how to redo the routine.

2. Inconsistent behaviour

The second core difficulty that we think about is the inconsistency in behaviour. So just as I was saying a child with ADHD may be extremely bright and in fact, we see lots of kids at an extremely high level of IQ who have ADHD. So they know what to do, they know how to do the task, but they’re not consistent in doing it. So one day your child may be able to get themselves dressed and downstairs and ready with a backpack ready to go. And the next day all bets are off. They need help every step of the way and it seems like they can hardly remember what the different pieces are of their routine.

This is one of the most frustrating things about parenting a child with ADHD. It often looks like they’re just not trying or they’re on purpose just not doing their routine. But really the cause of this inconsistency is that kids with ADHD are so vulnerable to input from their environment because they’re not internally self-regulating as well. They’re relying on cues around them for their regulation. And that means anything that’s different in the environment from one day to the next is going to cause them to react in a totally different way or some internal factors may be off from one day to the next. You know how much sleep they got builds up frustration about something there could be lots of factors that just lead them to have an even harder time self-regulating. So they may know what to do but it’s executing and doing that task. That’s one of the key difficulties with ADHD.

3. Different responses to consequences and rewards

The third piece is that kids with ADHD respond to consequences and rewards differently than other kids. You may have felt like you were noticing that for a long time with your child and you’re absolutely right. So often the first time you try a new incentive or a new consequence it has a pretty big impact. So if you’re gonna offer a reward for your child for finishing homework, the first time you offer it they may be really excited and really motivated and focus great on their homework. But then when you try to use the same reward later it loses its value really quickly. Kids seem to get bored with it and just don’t care about it as much.

Same thing with consequences it may feel like. Sometimes whatever consequence you choose, anything you take away, it may phase your child for a moment but then it seems like they forgot about it altogether. And that really comes back to how dopamine is processed in the brain and the fact that kids are not getting as consistent of that sense of reward, that reward chemical from things. So they get may get a burst of it initially but then they’re not getting as much overtime and that’s why they don’t seem to care as much about that reward or consequence.

What do these three core difficulties mean for parenting?

1. Anticipate – Parenting tips for ADHD kids

The first thing that we need to keep in mind for parenting a child with ADHD is anticipating. Because your child is not very good at projecting themselves forward in time and thinking about what’s gonna happen next, and what’s gonna happen if I do X, we as the adults have to think ahead. So think about which situations are gonna be really tough for your child and are gonna require more support. What are the triggers of certain behaviours? What are tasks during the day? What’s the piece of the morning routine that your child always gets distracted during? And we are gonna try to set up more structure and things like clear instructions and more rewards and even consequences in advance so that we’re not having to try to clean up a mess after things have fallen apart.

2. More feedback – Parenting tips for ADHD kids

The second thing that we want to keep in mind for parenting a child with ADHD is that your child is going to need a lot more feedback than other kids will in order to regulate their engine. So as I mentioned they’re relying on their environment to self-regulate and you can be that piece of the environment that gives them accurate input. And we really want to see a lot more positive input, praise, positive attention than correction and negative attention. So we want to praise jump in, give lots of attention when you see anything positive happening. So instead of waiting until your child has completed all the steps of their morning routine we want to jump in with giving attention and praise just for getting started, just for getting out of bed, starting to get dressed. Let them know that they’re on the right track. So they can keep themselves going. They are going to need more correction than other kids two more reminders and redirection as well. But we want to think about how to do that in a way that doesn’t become overly negative and make them feel defeated and like they’re not doing a good job.

3. Motivate with rewards – Parenting tips for ADHD kids

The third implication is that we need to build in more powerful rewards, incentives and consequences for our child. So natural consequences often aren’t going to have the effect that we hope they will. You know for example if your child always forgets to put on socks and you think to yourself, well, the natural consequence is when they’re out at recess they’ll notice their feet are cold. That’s too far in time really for it to change your child’s behaviour. We need to put rewards, incentives, and consequences in place that happen at the point of the behaviour. So that is really connected to when your child is doing a task and are things that your child cares about. Right so for each child, we’re gonna think about what is his or her currency? What motivates and excites them? What gets that dopamine flowing? And can we put in some of those more exciting things, those rewards during the boring parts of the day?

One example would be bedtime. It’s really hard often for kids with ADHD to get into bed because there’s nothing fun that happens once you get in bed right the day the reward of the day is done. So of course they’re gonna stall on getting pyjamas on, getting teeth brushed, getting into bed. But if we can put a special routine that’s exciting for them into place once they’re in bed having that special storytime in bed with their parents. That might be exciting enough to help them get through some of the routines. We got to make it really clear we got to remind them of it in a way that’s powerful and meaningful to them.

Source: Seattle Children’s Watch the video


Hope you could find the above parenting tips for ADHD kids useful. If you have children with ADHD, you can try the above expert tips. You can also share the above parenting tips for ADHD kids with your neighbour, relatives or any other parents who are struggling in taking care of their ADHD kids. Remember, children are gifts from the almighty and hence it is the duty of parents to take care of them. Understanding their difficulties and giving proper care can help ADHD children to live better lives. If you find ADHD kids, encourage their parents to follow the parenting tips for ADHD kids from health experts.

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