Quick Guidelines for Parenting (or Teaching) Kids with Attention Deficit Disorders (page 3)
When there is a child with an attention deficit disorder, reducing stress within the home is a primary concern. Whatever the school can do to assist in this matter will be beneficial, not only to the child, but to the teaching staff as well. Parents need to be taught effective strategies for managing their child.
Since all children with ADHD are different, the management strategies for each will also be different. Consequently, it becomes extremely important that parents develop a thorough understanding of ADHD and the specific ways in which it impacts their own son or daughter. Having this understanding is probably the single most important factor to achieving a positive outcome for the child because it provides the foundation on which all other management strategies will be based. Knowledge empowers parents to deal more effectively with the disorder. Also, the child with ADHD should become an active participant in developing the compensatory strategies he or she will need to succeed in learning and in life.
A child with ADD/ADHD literally sees the world differently than other kids. Though each child is unique, special parenting methods should be used to bring out these kids' strengths in intellect and creativity and to compensate for problems with short term memory, oppositional behaviour, and obsessive compulsive tendencies. It is important to remember that kids with AD/HD can be remarkably purposeful. Helping them achieve their purposes is the best way to motivate them. For this reason it is essential to keep communications open so that you can determine what is currently important to your child in terms of goals, wants, and dreams.
Create positive alternative choices based on your child's purposes and encourage him/her to make a choice.
Example: If you want him/her to finish a project, say "Would you like ten minutes or fifteen to finish your project?" or; If you want him/her to get his homework done, say "When would you like to complete your homework so that you can have your friend over after school or after dinner?
Rather than "you" statements, use "I" statements that move him toward positive outcomes.
Do not say: "Don't talk to me in that tone of voice."
Say: "I'll be glad to discuss this when respect is shown."
Do not say: "Stop arguing with me."
Say: "I'll be glad to discuss this as soon as the arguing stops."
Keep your cool. Know your stress triggers and have another adult available to support you if possible. Kids with ADD react best to "matter-of-fact" communications. When you show anger, they will react quickly, often in an oppositional manner. An ugly battle can result.
Make consequences specific to the problem and dole them out in small increments. If s/he refuses to eat dinner with the family, have him get his own dinner one night a week. If time out is required, make if for 3 or 5 minutes at a time, not a half hour or hour. Make consequences follow infractions shortly after they occur. Short term memory problems makes delayed consequences useless.
Don't get hooked into oppositional arguments. When you notice that you are arguing, state the desired outcome and disengage quickly. Let him have the last word. Allow him to cool off.
Keep rewards visible and immediate to desired action.
Example: If you want him to control his behaviour on the school bus, use a custom designed form that allows him to accumulate points toward a desired outcome when he behaves. Have him keep score each day. "Bus tickets" (behaviour reports) or angry lectures do not work and can make the situation worse.
Reward for work completed. Do not punish for incomplete work.
Example: If you want him to leave the house in time to get his bus, provide a jar of tokens by the front door that he gets to add to each time he gets out on time, or if you want him to do his school work, set up a chip or point system that he adds to each day for work completed and redeems on a weekly basis. Don't be afraid to use monetary rewards. Remember, the best motivators are rewards that help him achieve his purposes.
Don't push them past what they are capable of doing.
Encourage use of the computer. Encourage them to write about their feelings. Have them keep a diary or journal.
Assist with sequencing and transitions and train him to do it himself. Kids with ADD hate to be surprised or rushed.
Examples: If you want him in bed by 8:30 on school nights, Remind him at 8:15 "You need to brush your teeth and be in bed in the next fifteen minutes so that I can read to you." or to help him learn to get his stuff together to get out the door in the morning, teach him a rhyme such as "Two, four, six, eight, get pack, lunch, homework, and wait...". Some Attention Deficit children have a keen ear for music and can carry a tune splendidly. To help him do chores around the house, post a list of required steps on the fridge for him to follow.
Get on problems early. He may signal you that he is "heating up to a confrontation" by facial tensing, or acting angry or silly.
Encourage pretend play, read to them, make up stories. Helping them enjoy active play imagination can relax them and possibly contribute to long term healing. Bring out their natural, zany sense of humor.
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