Do these words sound familiar?
“What is of a greater concern is that because of the ADHD, we have been battling with his bad temper and a rage I have never before seen in a child.”
“Christine, I need help for this child who is otherwise intelligent and very loving. He tries so hard but feels like he is losing the battle.” He says things like “this world is unfair” and “why did I have to be born like this”? 1
–By a Grandmother seeking help for her ADHD Grandson . . .
ADHD is a condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity. ADHD begins in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. As many as 2 out of every 3 children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as adults.
Symptoms of ADHD can differ from person to person, but there are three basic types of ADHD. Each one is identified by the symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. When the main symptoms are inattention, distraction, and disorganization, the type is usually called primarily inattentive. The symptoms of hyperactivity and possibly impulsiveness appear to diminish with age but are seen in the primarily hyperactive/impulsive type. The third type has some symptoms from each of the other two and is called the combined type.2
Whether it is one of the aforementioned types or a combined type, the following tips will help parents deal with their ADHD child’s anger.
- Be a good role-model. Children learn how to handle anger from their parents, so avoid physical punishment, such as hitting your child, or dragging them to their room for a time-out.
- Reward their appropriate, non-aggressive behaviors every time you notice them. Children crave attention, and praise will reinforce the positive and appropriate behaviors you are hoping for.
- Set up a behavioral contract. Let your child know exactly which behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not. Include a chart to track progress towards these goals, and set up a reward schedule for when the child reaches these goals. Rewards can include a treat, time playing together, or a special outing.
- Teach your child appropriate behaviors, such as assertiveness, problem-solving, and decision-making skills as well as conflict resolution skills and social skills, and model these behaviors and skills yourself. Play Attention integrates feedback technology with cognitive skill training and behavior shaping. You may learn more about Play Attention at one of our upcoming Speed Webinars,3 At the webinar you can learn how Play Attention can help your child develop coping skills that will last a lifetime.
- Play perspective-taking games. Aggressive children often perceive conflict where there is none, and games where you role-play other people may help your child see what the other party’s actual intent was. Role-play how to deal with conflict once it arises.
- Eliminate sources of stress and anxiety for your child, as these may be contributing to your child’s aggressive behavior.
- Know when to seek professional help. If your child is out of control, does not seem to show empathy, or is cruel to animals, you should seek professional help and guidance to determine how to help your child.4
It can be exhausting—mentally, emotionally, and physically—to be the parent of a child with ADHD. Be sure to care for yourselves as individuals and as a couple. Take breaks from your child, no matter how much you love him or her. You won’t be at your best for your child if you let yourself get run down without a break. Find a way to have some quiet time on a regular basis and perhaps dinner and a show without the child tagging along on occasion.
There is an adage, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Reach out for help when it available to make your child’s life more consistent.5
3 Speed Webinars http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/