By Co-Founders of ImpactADHD, Elaine Taylor-Klaus & Diane Dempster
On this, our 20th week to Feature Expertise, we want to offer a quick re-cap, 20 tips from our experts to help you Enjoy the Ride while raising kids with ADHD:
- 1. Solution needs to work for the parents, not just for the kids.
As you seek out solutions to help you “re-direct public behavior,” remember to choose methods that are manageable, parent-focused & can be implemented quickly, easily, and outside the home. (Alexis Davis, MS, LPC)
- 2. As a parent, you must be willing to change how you’re doing things in order to help your child with ADHD reach an adulthood of independence and fulfillment.
“The greatest gift you can give yourself, and your child with ADHD, is to acknowledge that ADHD is one of those bumps on your parenting journey that requires course-correction. It’s not a barrier, but it calls for careful navigation.” (Elaine Taylor-Klaus, CPCC, ACC)
- 3. To be effective, utilize the tools of health to find the power and stamina to take care of yourself and your adult relationships.
“If we are not operating at our optimal level, how can we be at our best for our kids?” The 5 steps to Be at your Best: Get Enough Sleep; Exercise Regularly; Meditation; Take Care of your Relationships; Nutrition. (Vicki Steine, LCSW)
- 4. “Action creates motivation, so identify those places where you want a fresh start, and just do it! “
Seize the opportunity offered by normal life transitions (like back to school) in order to be inspired and energized.” Establish new routines, try-on new perspectives, choose new supplies or structures, and focus on a fresh start. (Diane Dempster, MHSA, CPC, ACC)
- 5. When you create a vision of the future, while focusing on strengths and abilities, you can help your child embrace the confidence needed to turn challenges into assets.
Look forward to “what the future holds” for your child with ADHD. Allow a positive vision of the future to shift your attitude so that you can see your whole child with all his/her unique gifts and strengths. (Billi Battan, PhD)
- 6. When you share your story, it will support you and your child.
It will open you up to unexpected resources and learning from others. “It is through sharing stories that I learned the most as a parent. We all have different stories to tell. By sharing you find out that you are not alone.” (Beth McGaw, M.Ed)
- 7. When you upgrade your diet and your health with intention and planning, the results are longer-lasting.
“I want to motivate and empower you to upgrade your health now! … People are generally eager and willing to upgrade their possessions, but seldom invest the time, effort, and energy necessary to upgrade their health.” (Carol Ann Brannon, MS, RD/LD)
- 8. “Channel the creativity and uniqueness of” your family by “looking for the positive moments and finding humor in difficult situations.”
In the “ADHD Family Circus,” all performers deserve applause, acceptance and validation including parents, who play the role of ring-master. (Karen Paz)
- 9. Take the time to prepare yourself emotionally before a school meeting.
Focus on what it takes for you to feel calm and confident. “Walking into school meetings prepared helps reduce anxiety.” Being prepared means having a clear purpose, expert knowledge, good support, and a sense of calm and confidence. (Debbie Dobbs)
- 10. As Eleanor Roosevelt recommended, “do one thing every day that scares you.”
In other words, keep trying new things! People with ADHD love novelty and are “eager for all things new and shiny.” While there is an art to chasing novelty amidst the mundane chores of every-day parenting, it can be done, and it’s important for parents who also have ADHD. (Katherine Ellison)
- 11. Parents can help their kids find success by looking for each child’s unique qualities, and identifying the best study methods for that child, even if it differs from siblings.
To handle modern challenges, “today’s students need strong time management and organization skills. When students “turn it around,” they get increased confidence levels, improved grades, more efficient use of time and improved family dynamics. (Michelle Cooper and Michelle Grey)
- 12. When kids moods are down, or they are feeling discouraged, remind them that they have the skills to persevere just like they do on Halloween!
Life experiences can naturally teach kids to stay optimistic, get past obstacles and persevere toward coveted goals. As parents, we have to see these opportunities, and reinforce the messages. (Keyuri Joshi, RN, MSN, CPC)
- 13. “If you put your child on medicine, do not stop other non-medication interventions, such as therapy, parent training and coaching, school accommodations, occupational therapy, tutoring, student ADHD coaching, exercise and nutrition.”
“Choosing to put your child on medication for ADHD is often a difficult and emotionally challenging decision.” There are 7 clear steps to consider before putting a child on medication. (Michael Banov, MD)
- 14. “Encourage your children to use their passion as a guide.”
To help your kids find success, take some time to get clear on your own expectations, keeping in mind their developmental stage, their neurological abilities, and what you think is important for them in the long term.” (Beth Seidel, PsyD)
- 15. “When you teach your kids games that you enjoy, your play time with them will increase, and you will have more fun with your parenting. It’s something you can do with them forever.”
“Playing anything with your kids and actually having a good time with them increases their self-esteem, gives you fun family memories, and provides your children with countless learning opportunities to grow.” (Alison Ratner, LCSW)
- 16. In order to begin to let go, there are often fears of your own that you need to address.
When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, the rules change about our level of involvement in our child’s life, as we must take on many of the executive functioning skills that are lacking. “At what point, do you let go of being the CEO of your child’s life?” (Jodie Dawson, PsyD, CPCC)
- 17. “Calm is not an absence of noise, problems or chaos around you. It means that no matter what is happening around you, you experience calm inside AND begin to spread that calm to those around you.”
You can enjoy a calm home, even with challenging children, by changing your own reactions and your environment, following “The Calm Creed.” (Kirk Martin)
- 18. “When children have good social skills, they get along better with their peers, develop positive self-esteem, and are more likely to experience both social and professional success as adults.”
You can help your child learn new social skills and raise his/her social IQ by being your child’s “social coach.” (Cathi Cohen, LCSW)
- 19. Constantly assessing and making adjustments in managing complex children are not one-time events, they are a series of tweaks and changes requiring sustained effort.
The best way to keep the energy up for this is to take good care of your brain! “A great way to care for yourself is to create a proactive, brain-healthy lifestyle. There are five key steps to a brain-healthy lifestyle: nutrition, physical activity, mental stimulation, spirituality, and socialization.” (Lauren Zimet, MS, CCC/SLP)
- 20. Awareness and choice are critical tools to a parent’s success!
To be an effective parent requires focus on yourself as well as your kids, with special attention to healthy lifestyles, identification of strengths, flexibility and an optimistic perspective. (ImpactADHD)