Parenting a Child with ADHD
Tending to the needs of a child with Attention Deﬁcit Disorder/Attention Deﬁcit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) can feel overwhelming. But with effective parenting and behavior modiﬁcation strategies, you can reduce the frustration and begin enjoying your child.
1) Provide Consistent Structure
Children’s brains have underdeveloped frontal lobes, which are the areas of the brain responsible for skills like planning and organizing. So, for any child, but particularly for children with ADD/ADHD,routine and structure in the home are essential. This means having set, regular times for waking up, going to bed, eating dinner, and doing homework. Routines need to be consistent and predictable. Loving, consistent structure will help your child stay more focused, complete tasks, and feel less anxious.
2) Rewards and Consequences
This is the fancy way of saying “sticks and carrots.” However, effective “sticks and carrots” have very speciﬁc components. The “sticks” in this equation are consequences for unacceptable behavior. When giving a consequence or punishment, it is important not to do so in anger. Stay calm and loving, but firm. Do not say anything negative about your child, but instead point out the problem behavior, and tell you child what their punishment is (for example, losing television privileges for the rest of the day). Then, be sure to follow through! Empty threats will only make things worse.
3) Daily “Mommy & Me / Daddy & Me” Time.
Every day, your child should have a minimum of 15 minutes (although more is preferable) of uninterrupted, child-focused time with each parent in the home. This means that for the allotted period of time, the parent does not take calls or interact with other family members. He or she gives undivided attention to the child and engages in any (safe) activity the child wants. for example, if your child wants you to play a video game with him, and you hate video games, you play anyway and try to have fun. This is also a great time to listen to your child (not talk, just listen and try to understand his point of view and how he feels). If you have more than one child, each child should have his own separate daily “Mommy & Me” / “Daddy & Me” time, at the same time every day (like a standing appointment). While this can be a bit time consuming if you have several children, it will pay dividends—I promise you! After a few months of doing this consistently, your child’s behavior will improve and so will your
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Dr. Chantal Marie Gagnon PhD LMHC ‘s office in Plantation Florida offers counseling and testing for kids and adults with ADHD and ADD. Her Plantation FL office serves clients in the Greater Fort Lauderdale Area, which include Weston, Davie, Sunrise, Cooper City, Tamarac, Hollywood and Dania Beach.
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Dr. Chantal Marie Gagnon, Ph.D., LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist, relationship counselor, and life coach in Plantation, Florida. Dr. Gagnon provides individual therapy, family counseling services, and couples therapy in her Plantation, FL office. Coaching services are available nationwide.
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