Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Join Kate, a real ADHD mom, as she addresses the principals . . .

Dear All Principals of All the Schools My Children Have Ever Attended,

     Let me introduce myself. I am the parent that consistently brings their child in late. I’m the one running through the door after first bell – my child trailing behind me dragging their half opened backpack eating breakfast on the go. I’m the one you give the ‘stink-eye’ to when you see me in the hallway. I’m the one whose child gets sympathetic glances from you that seem to say, “Poor you….your mom doesn’t care enough about you to get you here on time. Tsk,tsk…what a pity.” I’m the one you write the attendance warning letter to every spring. Anyway, Hi! Nice to meet you. I’m Kate.Kate_SM
     Can I tell you that any day I even get all three of my children to school is a win for me? If I get at least two out of three there on time, it’s a bonus win. All THREE to school ON TIME? Well, then I consider myself a gold medal finalist.
    Now, I love my kids. They’re delicious to me and I enjoy every minute with them, but to get them all out of bed, help find their clothes for the day, pack lunches, find shoes, let me repeat, find shoes, and get them all to their respective buses on time? Well…to ADHD me, it’s like climbing Mt. Everest every morning (without a Sherpa).
     You see, first I have to remember every day what time each one has to get out of bed, which is like…impossible. Then I have to remind myself not to get sidetracked by the stories they tell over their bowls of cereal. Then, I have to remember not to get sidetracked by the stories I tell them over my bowl of cereal. And so on..and so on…By the time we get to looking for that one shoe that is MIA, we hear the bus rumble by. “The Twinkie, mom! The Twinkie!” my son will yell. (Get it? Big and yellow and shaped like a…yup, Twinkie…Are my kids the only ones who even know what a Twinkie is anymore?)  Anyway, we’ll all run to the door to see the bus driver give us a sad little wave as he drives the Twinkie by our house yet again.
    So, dear principal, unless I receive a Sherpa for Easter, our relationship will most likely remain the same – you’ll give me the ‘stink-eye,’ and I’ll be pumping my fist that I got at least some of my kids to school today.
   Nice to meet you. See you tomorrow. (After first bell, of course)
~Kate

 

How to deal with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Learners

 

Written for teachers and parents as well, this article expounds upon the essentials of schooling a child with ADHD. The lecturer also accentuates the importance of communication between parents and teachers to ensure an appropriate leaning environment. She concludes by stating the key factor for handling an ADHD child – PATIENCE.*

“You probably have these kids in your class: their eyes gawk at everything else but you. Even if you used super glue, they wouldn’t be able to keep their bottoms in the chair. I am talking about those students whose hands go up before the question is asked, and will answer the question, ‘Who can tell me what a noun is?’ with ‘Mrs. M, do you dye your hair?’ They solely display the hallmark symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It gets more frustrating with the knowledge that the brainpower is there but just can’t seem to focus on the material you’re working diligently to deliver.

In spite of your patience and motivation, such students can easily arouse frustration in you. Most teachers end up reprimanding or even punishing them, not knowing that attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) is an undeliberate disorder. Students with ADHD pay the price for their problems in low grades, scolding and punishment, teasing from peers, and low self-esteem. Meanwhile, you, the teacher, wind up taking complaints from parents who feel their kids are being cheated of your instruction.

A child doing his homework in the witchen table

The ultimate question then is: how do you teach a kid who won’t settle down and listen? The answer: with a lot of patience, creativity, and consistency. As a teacher, your role is to evaluate each child’s individual needs and strengths. Then you can develop strategies that will help students with ADHD focus, stay on task, and learn to their full capabilities.”[1]

Concentration is crucial to learning. Play Attention’s staff is composed of teachers and parents who’ve had the same kinds of experiences you’ve had. We’ve taught children who couldn’t focus in class, fidgeted incessantly, or couldn’t make friends.[2]

“Teachers at schools must understand the struggle a student with ADHD goes through and make certain that an ordered, safe, predictable classroom environment is set for such students. Educators should equally establish a gallant, working relationship with the student’s parents. Learn about their child’s strengths, weaknesses, interests and achievements outside the school.

Similarly, teachers should be aware of the teaching methods which are most effectively used at home by the parents. If teachers can communicate often and send encouraging notes home so that the parents are aware about the progress of the child, the results would be remarkable. However, it must be said that this depends on the mutual aid of the parents.

Further still, you can decide together on a sign or a code that you can use to remind the child to focus on the task. For example, make eye contact with the child or pick up a particular object to signal the child for attention.

Nonetheless, this can only work if they are looking at you. With their inattentive tendency, you may have to call on them most of the time to get their attention.

Teachers should avoid criticizing the child in front of his or her peers. Instead, they can use a point system, tokens, stars, or other methods to reinforce and appreciate appropriate behavior in the classroom. Notice and provide feedback on any improvement, however slight, in the areas of behavior and academics to the parents.

One other important thing that teachers should see to is giving directions in simple, concrete terms and simplifying instructions, tasks and assignments. Always get the child to complete one step before introducing the second step. Divide lessons into relatively short segments and use a variety of teaching aids such as movie clips, audio lessons, and group workshops to reinforce the child’s interest in the lesson.

Besides, you can also modify required homework to accommodate students who are severely impacted with ADHD. Avoid giving them long home or class assignments. Pause before asking questions or ask the inattentive child a question to gain his or her focus. Always Use the student’s name while addressing a question to him or her. Walk around the room and pat the child gently on the shoulder or tap the place in the child’s book that is being read to help him or her stay focused.

Seat the ADHD child in close proximity to you and in the area that has the least amount of distractions for example doors, windows and naughty students. Watch for signs of increasing stress in a hyperactive child. You may want to reduce the workload or provide an opportunity for the child to release some energy. For example, have the student assist you in carrying books to the staff room, minding the class, or running errands for you. Provide opportunities for physical activity. Choose the hyperactive child to hand out note books ,collect assignments or do other classroom jobs that can help release pent up energy and contribute to his or her feeling of self-worth.

Dear Teachers, ADHD children can perform better within a familiar, consistent, and structured routine at school with positive reinforcements for good behavior and subtle consequences for bad. Communication between parents and teachers is especially critical to ensuring an ADHD child has an appropriate learning environment. The key factor for handling such children is PATIENCE.[3]

*  Christine Osae: lecturer at The Adventist University of Central Africa.

[1] http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2016-03-09/197805/

[2] http://www.playattention.com/solution/focus/

[3] http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2016-03-09/197805/

 

Fidgeting May Help Students with ADHD Learn

Have you ever wondered why your ADHD child acts like the energizer rabbit? Well, so do the researchers. “We don’t know whether they do it to help or because they are anxious, or whether it is helping,” Interesting but inconclusive article read on to learn more…

“MONDAY, Feb. 29, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Students who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often get into trouble for fidgeting in the classroom, but that fidgeting may help them learn, new research suggests.

‘The prevailing view has been and continues to be that hyperactivity is a core deficit in ADHD,’ said study author Michael Kofler, an assistant professor of psychology at Florida State University in Tallahassee. ‘When we think of it as a deficit, we are saying it’s a bad thing and it’s interfering [with schoolwork]. Our work has been challenging that thought.’

Little cute active girl with key on back

Kofler’s team gave 25 boys and girls with ADHD, aged 8 to 12, a series of working memory tasks, observing the amount of fidgeting as the children did them. In one set, the students had to remember where a series of dots appeared on a screen and then reorder them mentally, based on color. They had to then remember a series of numbers and letters, mentally reordering them, numbers first from smallest to biggest, then the letters.

In the easier test of dots on a screen, the children knew in advance how many items they would have to remember. In the more difficult test, the amount of items they would have to remember was random so they didn’t know in advance how many items they would have to remember.

The children fidgeted during all the tests, but fidgeted about 25 percent more when they couldn’t predict how many items they would have to remember. The tests were alike in every other way, so Kofler said this shows that demands on working memory affect the level of hyperactivity in ADHD students.

The fidgeting may increase ‘physiological arousal,’ Kofler speculated, similar to what stimulant medication does for a child with the disorder. But the study didn’t prove that point, he said, and the researchers don’t know if the kids were fidgeting on purpose.

The study was published online this month in the Journal of Attention Disorders.

The findings echo some from a study published last year from the University of California, Davis. Researchers there looked at 26 children with ADHD and 18 without. They found that when the children with ADHD fidgeted more, they did better on a test. Fidgeting among kids without ADHD had no effect on test performance.

Dr. Trevor Resnick, a pediatric neurologist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, said, ‘We’ve known [intuitively] for many years that kids with ADHD often do better when they are fidgeting.’

However, Resnick said, the interpretation of why they fidgeted more has not been proven. ‘We don’t know whether they do it to help or because they are anxious, or whether it is helping,’ he said.

Kofler agreed, saying his team next plans research ‘to link the movement with the arousal and the performance, to see if we are right about that is why the movement is helpful.’

Meanwhile, until more is known, students with ADHD should not have free rein to do what they want in the classroom, Kofler said.

But the new study does suggest that teachers and parents should focus less on whether a child is sitting still and more on whether the work is getting done, regardless of the movement level, he said.[1]

You should be aware that not all fidgeting is conducive to learning.  Some movements are simply self distracting behaviors that the students tend to start when they become bored or anxious.  Play Attention’s unique behavior shaping tool can actually detect which behaviors help a student’s attention and those that simply interfere.  Check out our unique, patented behavior shaping program that is integrated throughout Play Attention, http://www.playattention.com/solution/behavior/[2]

[1] http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2016-02-29/fidgeting-may-help-students-with-adhd-learn

[2] http://www.playattention.com/

ADHD News & Updates: Study Suggests Drug Ritalin Makes No Long-Term Difference for Kids with ADHD

Time for a New Approach?

Although Ritalin has been a mainstay in the day-to-day treatment of ADHD symptoms, much debate continues whether the drug provides long-term benefits for children.

“A new study suggests that long-term drug Ritalin makes no difference to children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). According to Sydney Morning Herald,[1] a research team at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute has found that ADHD children who are treated with Ritalin continue to struggle mentally and academically as they get older.

For three years, the research team has been following 212 children without ADHD and 178 children with ADHD. The aim of the study is to identify the factors that make a difference to the development of children with ADHD.

Adorable five year old African American Girl and mother having an argumentAccording to Ten Eyewitness News[2], the Children’s Attention Project funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council has found that by the age of seven, children with ADHD show severe mental, social and academic differences compared with their peers. Preliminary findings suggest that these disparities persist three years after the start of the research.

Four times as many ADHD children aged 10 years old suffer from mental health problems such as oppositional disorder and anxiety. Children with ADHD are also well behind their peers in their reading and mathematical abilities. The study did not find differences in outcomes between girls and boys.

One of the chief investigators of the project, pediatrician Daryl Efron, said that all of the children with ADHD continued to be at risk of mental health and academic problems at 10 years old, just like when they were seven years old. At age 10, those children in the study under Ritalin medication for ADHD were not doing better than their peers not taking the medication. This suggests that Ritalin medication doesn’t improve the long-term outcomes of children with ADHD.

Dr. Efron cautioned that drugs like Ritalin can be very effective in reducing the day-to-day symptoms of ADHD, helping children to be calmer and more focused. However, the treatment options for ADHD haven’t progressed very much beyond treating day-to-day symptoms. Medical researchers need to find a better approach to ADHD in the future to make a real long-term difference.”[3]

[1] http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/no-evidence-ritalin-makes-a-difference-long-term-for-adhd-kids-20160311-gngmeb.html

[2] http://tenplay.com.au/news/national/march/study-reveals-the-truth-about-ritalin

[3] http://www.parentherald.com/articles/28101/20160314/adhd-news-updates-study-suggests-drug-ritalin-makes-difference-long.htm

 

Children Diagnosed with ADHD: Relative Age May Play a Crucial Role

The following research tells us that a proper diagnosis can sometimes be confused with a child’s maturity. Additionally, the combination of immaturity and a test heavy curriculum with inappropriate expectations make these students really struggle and stand out. Read on…

“Researchers examined medical records of nearly 400,000 children aged from four to 17 in Taiwan and found rates of the condition changed significantly depending on the month when they were born, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Just 2.8 per cent of boys and 0.7 per cent of girls born in September were diagnosed with ADHD, compared to 4.5 per cent of boys and 1.2 per cent of girls born in August.Kids_Walking_School_SM

Dr Mu-Hong Chen, a psychologist at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan and lead author of a paper about the research in the Journal of Pediatrics, said: “When looking at the database as a whole, children born in August were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and/or receive ADHD medication than those born in September.

‘Relative age, as an indicator of neurocognitive maturity, may play a crucial role in the risk of being diagnosed with ADHD and receiving ADHD medication among children and adolescents.’

‘Our findings emphasize the importance of considering the age of a child within a grade [school year] when diagnosing ADHD and prescribing medication.’

Over the past decade in the UK, the number of prescriptions of drugs designed to treat ADHD has doubled to 922,000 a year. They can cause adverse reactions such as suicidal thoughts, weight loss and liver toxicity.

According to the NHS website, common symptoms of ADHD include a short attention span, restlessness, constant fidgeting, over-activity and being impulsive.

Dr Kuben Naidoo, consultant psychiatrist and chairman of ADHD Foundation, said: ‘The study highlights the importance of ensuring the assessment for ADHD is rigorous and relies on a variety of sources of information that support the clinician in deciding whether the diagnosis is met.’”[1]

The research was published in the Journal of Pediatrics.[2]

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/children-diagnosed-with-adhd-may-simply-be-immature-for-their-class-a6922301.html

[2] http://www.jpeds.com/content/JPEDSChen

Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Join Kate, a real ADHD mom, as she talks about a day in the life of an ADHD family…

Sometimes the combination of having an impulsive ADHD parent a super absent-minded ADHD teenager trying to navigate life together can lead to some pretty hilarious moments. I reflect on this as I sit here with grass in my hair and muddy knees calmly waiting to interview for a new position at work.Kate_SM

You see, it all started last night. We pulled into the driveway and my teenage son realized he forgot his only sneakers at the lacrosse field. (Surprise, surprise) It was 9:30 pm and I was interviewing for a new position in the morning. I wasn’t about to drive the 15 minutes it would take to go back to the field and look for them.

So, this morning, after he went to school in his sister’s flip flops, I decided I had just enough time to drive over and grab the sneakers.

Well, the lacrosse field has a 6 foot chain link fence around it and is locked up tight during the school day. (You see what’s coming, don’t you?) Being an impulsive – don’t think about consequences kind of girl, I kick off my heels and start climbing the fence. Mind you now, I’m dressed to impress in a skirt, blouse, nylons, etc… I immediately get stuck on a wire and rip my clothes. Do I stop, turn around and find someone to unlock the gate? Nope. I persevere and fling my somewhat-overweight-44-year-old body over the fence. Victory! I grab the sneakers, toss them over and begin to haul myself back to the other side. At the top of the fence, just as I have completed that awkward straddle move required (you all know the one) I see a park security guy leaning up against his truck watching the scene with an amused smile. I don’t even try to explain. I just hold my head up high, stumble over to my car, adjust my shredded nylons while pulling grass out of my hair, give him a little wave and drive away.

I wonder what stories he’s going to tell his coworkers at lunchtime today?

~Kate

ADHD: Daylight Savings Time and Your Child

The Effect on Our Child’s ‘Circadian Rhythm’

As with many ADHD adults, many of our ADHD children also experience a disruption in their ‘circadian rhythm’ or ‘sleep’, due to the change in daylight savings time.

“It should be noted that children and adults behave differently as a result of sleepiness. Adults usually become sluggish when tired while children tend to overcompensate and speed up. For this reason, sleep deprivation is sometimes confused with ADHD in children. Children may also be moody, emotionally explosive, and/or aggressive as a result of sleepiness. In a study[1] involving 2,463 children aged 6-15, children with sleep problems were more likely to be inattentive, hyperactive, impulsive, and display oppositional behaviors.”[2]Kids_Dog_Sleep_SM

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. At the webinar you will learn how Play Attention can help you and your child develop focus, attention and coping skills that will last a lifetime. http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

 “ADHD is linked with a variety of sleep problems. For example, one recent study[3] found that children with ADHD had higher rates of daytime sleepiness than children without ADHD. Another study[4] found that 50% of children with ADHD had signs of sleep disordered breathing, compared to only 22% of children without ADHD. Research also suggests[5] that ’restless legs syndrome’[6]and periodic leg movement syndrome are also common in children with ADHD.”[7]

Parent Tips for Daylight Savings Time (DST)

 

“Many people are affected when the clock springs forward or falls back every year. However, kids with ADHD, learning differences or behavioral disorders, particularly those just about to enter or who are already in the puberty years, often suffer more than others. These daylight saving tips for parents may help when your child is struggling to sleep.

Keep to Regular Routines

When you’re coping with your child with ADHD and time change at the same time, it’s even more important that you keep to regular bedtime and morning routines. If your child eats, has a shower and reads before going to sleep, make sure that pattern is strictly followed during the days before and after DST. The same applies in the morning. Showering, getting dressed and eating breakfast should happen in the same order as it normally does.

Avoid Mental Stimulation Before Bedtime

For many children with ADHD and related conditions, the evening is the time when they are most mentally alert. This is usually fine during weekends, when kids can stay up later if their parents agree, but during the two weeks before and after the daylight saving time change when time springs forward, it’s not advisable to let kids be too busy before bedtime. One way to make sure this happens is to avoid rowdy games, exciting TV programs, electronic devices and any other activities that may energize your child.

Block the Light

Whether it’s spring forward or fall back time, light either at bedtime or on waking can be a problem for kids with learning differences. Blackout shades may help to encourage sleep in the evening and prevent too early waking in the morning.

Communication is key when you’re managing time change and behavior in kids with ADHD and processing disorder. Explain to them as simply as possible why you’re putting them to bed a little earlier or later each night, and be patient with cranky, tired behavior for the week or so after DST.”[8]

 

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=17118097&query_hl=3&itool=pubmed_DocSum

[2] https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/adhd-and-sleep

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=16676784&query_hl=5&itool=pubmed_docsum

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=15124720&itool=pubmed_AbstractPlus

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=16846743&query_hl=5&itool=pubmed_docsum

[6] http://www.sleepfoundation.org/content/restless-legs-syndrome-rls-and-sleep

[7] https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/adhd-and-sleep

[8] http://www.brainbalancecenters.com/blog/2015/11/tips-for-coping-with-the-effects-of-daylight-saving-time/

http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

Could Adults’ Expectations Drive Up ADHD Diagnoses in Kids?

 

We have been discussing how parents’ attitude may affect their ADHD child’s severity and longevity. Recent studies show that ADHD has risen globally and that adults’ expectations and greater academic pressure could be reasons why.

“Reporting in the Feb. 22 issue of JAMA Pediatrics, researchers from the University of Miami point to evidence that the rise in ADHD diagnoses coincided with ever-growing demands on young children’s attention and focus.

10 year-old asian elementary schoolboy appears to be frustrated while doing homework.

Since the 1970s, the researchers said, elementary school children have been getting more and more homework, while preschoolers have spent more time in full-day programs—and getting coached in reading and numbers by mom and dad.

During those same years, the prevalence of ADHD doubled in the United States.

Of course, many other things have also changed since the 1970s, and it’s not possible to pin the rise of ADHD on any one trend, said lead researcher Dr. Jeffrey Brosco, associate director of the university’s Mailman Center for Child Development. His research letter only points to an association and not cause-and-effect.”

But, Brosco said, it makes sense that greater academic pressure would set the stage for more ADHD diagnoses.

“You may have a young child who has difficulty paying attention to boring things,” Brosco said. “That’s only a problem if you’re trying to force that child to pay attention to boring things.”

“In the U.S.,” he added, “we’ve decided that increasing children’s academic demands is a good thing. But we haven’t really considered the potential negative effects.”

A child psychologist not involved in the study agreed there’s a “plausible” connection between academic expectations and ADHD diagnoses.

It’s not that homework is causing ADHD, said Stephanie Wagner, an assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center in New York City.

ADHD is a “neurobiological” disorder, Wagner said, which means it’s brain-based, and not caused by environmental factors.

“But we do know that the environment can exacerbate symptoms,” she added.

So the more time that children with ADHD have to sit, do homework and have no freedom for play, Wagner said, the more difficulty they’ll have—and the more apparent that will be to adults.

According to Wagner, children with ADHD typically do best in environments where there are clear rules, plenty of hands-on lessons, and less “down time.”

In the United States, about 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 have ever been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mental health experts believe genetics might play a role in its development, as well as lifestyle behaviors like smoking or drinking during pregnancy.

Critics have long charged that some children diagnosed with ADHD are wrongly labeled as having a “disease” and given drugs they don’t need.

Recent decades have seen a number of trends that could feed the rise in ADHD diagnoses, Brosco said. Those include changes in how the disorder is diagnosed and aggressive marketing of ADHD drugs, Also, kids with ADHD are sometimes eligible for special education services that were not available in the 1970s, Wagner said. “So there likely are families who seek a diagnosis for their child, in order to help him or her receive appropriate services in school,” she said.

But, Brosco said, there has also been a shift in academic demands. Looking at government statistics and previous research, Brosco’s team found that between 1981 and 1997, U.S. children dedicated more and more hours per week to studying.

The biggest change was seen among 6- to 8-year-olds. By 1997, they were spending over two hours a week on homework, versus less than one hour in 1981.

Even preschoolers were feeling the pressure. By 2005, 77 percent of parents said they “frequently” taught their 3- to 5-year-olds letters, words and numbers. That was up from 58 percent in 1993.

It’s not that parents shouldn’t engage their preschoolers’ minds, Brosco stressed. But it should be done through play and connection, rather than lessons, he said.

“Parents should read to their children,” Brosco said. “That’s social interaction and storytelling.” The problem, he added, arises when parents use flashcards and other ways of pushing young children to “get it right.”

Another change, the study found, is that many more preschoolers are in full-day programs now—58 percent in the mid-2000s, compared with just 17 percent in 1970.

Brosco said there’s nothing wrong with full-day preschool, if children are playing and learning things that are developmentally appropriate—like how to get along with other kids. But some programs get into academics, he noted.

“At that age,” Brosco said, “what’s most important is free play, social interactions, using your imagination. We need to be careful that our demands aren’t making children feel like they’re getting it ‘wrong.’ We want them to love learning.” [1]

Does your ADHD child suffer from unfocused, inattentive behavior? We are here to help, attend one of our FREE Live Speed Webinars: http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

[1] http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-02-adults-adhd-kids.html

Memoirs of an ADHD Mom

Join Kate, a real ADHD mom, as she reflects on a childhood memory…

My older brother recently reminded me of this story. He was remarking how I’ve always been able to amuse myself, no matter where I was.

When I was four, my brother was called upon to babysit while my parents worked. One day, sick of his little sister, he built a “seat” out of scrap lumber and rigged up a homemade pulley system over the highest branch in our backyard. He put me in the seat, hoisted me up high, and tied the end of the rope down by the trunk.Kate_SM

Well, he thought I would cry and beg to be let down. But not me.  He said I just sat there swinging happily for two hours until my parents got home from work – amusing myself with the branches around me, singing little songs, happy as a clam way up there.

This seems like a good thing – to be easily amused and captivated by all the little things. But you see, when I am in a meeting trying to listen to people talk, it is a very bad thing indeed. I find myself counting ceiling tiles, doodling on my paper, keeping track of that fly as it buzzes around the room, having a dance party in my head, fiddling with my shoelace, and so on. Time and time again, I find myself catching someone’s last sentence and wondering where the time went and what I missed while I’ve been “swinging happily, singing little songs, happy as a clam way up there.”

I so badly want to learn to focus! Someone just needs to shake me every 2 minutes and remind me to get out of my ADHD stupor!

~Kate

Parenting an ADHD Child Part I

Self-Help Tips to Stop the ‘Nagging’…

Kids who have ADHD tend to become defiant when they are expected to do homework, go to bed, stop playing a game, sit down and eat dinner. These situations are difficult for them to tolerate because of inherit deficits in paying attention, tolerating a boring situation, reining in impulses, transitioning from a fun activity, and controlling their activity level. Since these situations are really hard for them—more aversive than they are for typical kids—over time, they try to avoid them. [1]

Below are four useful self-help steps to get away from lecturing, nagging and punishing that will help you move toward having a healthier relationship with your ADHD child.

Mama with teen daughter sitting on the banks of the Dnieper River on the Sunset

1. “Put the lecture on ‘pause.’ When you’re worried about your child’s irresponsibility and you’re about to lecture and preach, stop for a moment and breathe. The moment between your child’s action and your response is your most important parenting moment. It is in this space that you can choose to respond from a knee-jerk reaction or from a more thoughtful place. The knee-jerk response often calms you down momentarily, but it’s the start to becoming a nag. When you pause and think about the bigger picture, you can make a better choice: the choice to stay out of your child’s box and to remain emotionally separate. Without the pause, it’s easy to let your emotions lead you astray.

2. Shift your gaze off of your child—and onto yourself. Confront yourself with the important questions. Ask yourself, ‘What would a responsible parent do in this situation? What are my options if my child is not acting responsibly—and which option do I want to choose? And am I willing to live with the possible consequences of that choice?’

First, stop and ask yourself, ‘Is there any way I might be contributing to my child’s irresponsibility? Have I set myself up to be the nag, or am I over-functioning for him?’ You’re taking the obligation off of him because you’re serving as a constant reminder about what he should be doing. This gets in the way of your child being able to hear his own voice. Now, instead of learning responsibility, he’s learning to function in reaction to you.

It is more effective to determine what your bottom line is, and then give consequences when your child doesn’t do his job. Always go back to, ‘What’s my responsibility here, and what’s my child’s?’

3. What does my child need? Understand that kids with ADHD, ADD or other learning disabilities may need a different kind of guidance from parents. Perhaps they often forget homework at school or neglect to hand it in, even when they’ve done it. If this is the situation in your family, your job is to help your child create a structure for himself. You will likely have to stay more involved and check in more often. Another thing to ask yourself is, ‘What does this child need?’ Not, ‘What do my kids need,’ but ‘What does this particular kid need?’. And then determine what your responsibilities are and aren’t.

4. Know when you’re in your child’s box. Most of the time we’re not necessarily aware that we have crossed boundaries. There are usually signs that you have stepped into your child’s box. It might be when you’re feeling frazzled, at the end of your rope, and frustrated. On the other hand, when you feel calm and engaged in your own interests, that may indicate that you’re in your own box. Know what the triggers are that cause you to jump from your box to his. Try to increase your awareness of yourself.

Most of us think we’re teaching our kids responsibility. But truth be told, we’re really preaching it. And guess what? This only creates more dependency. Dependency in relationships doesn’t encourage kids to be responsible for themselves—quite the opposite, in fact. The more you act in ways that respect your own values and principles, the more you will promote the necessary emotional separateness between yourself and your child. Why is this important? The more emotionally separate you are, the freer your child is to see you more clearly, with all your strengths and weaknesses—which allows him to see himself more clearly. You’re no longer in his box or in his head, telling him what to do all the time. And the more clearly or objectively your child sees himself and others and acts on that awareness, the more responsible for himself he can become.”[2]

Play Attention can help improve memory, paying attention, finishing tasks, and behavior. Play Attention allows the user to view the attentive state in real-time. Over time, Play Attention individuals can learn to increase focus and concentration. Attend one of our FREE Live Speed Webinars to learn more: http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/. Don’t have time to make the date? We are here to help, watch our Webinar on Demand at your own convenience: http://www.playattention.com/speed-webinar/

 

[1] http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/ask-an-expert/2014-1-3-son-with-adhd-defiant-emotionally-overreactive

[2] https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/irresponsible-children-why-nagging-and-lecturing-dont-work/