- It takes a village to raise a child.
When you read this ancient African proverb, you can appreciate the sentiment that a child needs more than just the parents’ direction when growing up. It is important that the entire society is involved to nurture and meet the needs of the child.
Family support comes in many forms. It may come from a spouse, older siblings, a grandparent, teachers, a pastor, or a licensed professional. Parents need to feel they can reach out for help.
If you are a parent raising a child with ADHD, it’s even more important to ask for help when you need it. Here are some strategies to use when thinking about support:
- Family units need to remain strong. If you’re in a marriage, divorced, or raising a child as a single parent, your family can be the greatest source of strength. Be sure to include friends, immediate family, and extended family members in your support circle. Even the smallest thing like an older cousin taking your child out to shoot some hoops while you clean the house is a huge help. While you’re tidying up, your child is exerting some of that never-ending energy and forming another family bond.
- Daily support – Find support from a spouse or friend. This person should be someone you can talk to on a variety of difficult issues. It may be someone who is also raising a child with ADHD. Even if they’re not, it’s helpful to have someone to share your thoughts.
- Divide and conquer – Don’t be afraid to divvy up responsibilities. Solicit the help of an older sibling, or a friend’s high school student to help with homework. Have a grandparent come over while you take a walk or go to the gym.
- Keep things simple – To offset crazy schedules and hectic lives keep things simple whenever possible. For instance, once a week, serve a nutritious meal of “make your own sandwich,” along with a salad, served on a recycled paper plate. This simplifies at least one evening meal.
- Support from school – Talk to your child’s teacher often. Take time to discuss your child’s progress in the class and strategies you can use at home. A classroom teacher deals with many students with attention challenges. You can learn from their expertise.
- Spiritual Guidance – You may choose to ask for guidance from a pastor that you have a relationship with. Meditation may also offer a way to de-stress and keeps one grounded.
- Consult a professional – When a child or adult is diagnosed with ADHD, professional counseling may be recommended. When looking for a professional, be certain that person understands your outlook on ADHD. Look for a counselor that is willing to help the whole family. Since we know that it takes a village to raise a child, getting the entire family involved will lead to a greater understanding and a better chance of success.