Looking for simple, effective parenting advice for kids with ADHD? Try cultivating resilience. Sound hard? Stick with us here -- it may be easier than you think.
In this week's guest expert interview, Dr. Alan Graham explains that "resilience is what helps us get through tough times,” and it is key to leading a happy and successful life. While it can be particularly challenging for kids with ADHD and other complex issues, Graham maintains that parents have the power to help their kids become more resilient.
According to Graham, “our resilience is based on the stories we tell ourselves.” We all have “turning points” in our lives, and parents can help their children process difficult experiences in positive and productive ways. We want to think in terms of “post-traumatic growth" instead of post-traumatic stress.
Kids with ADHD “are constantly getting hits to their self-esteem,” Graham explains. As a parent, you want to counter that, to create a positive environment by being a protective influence. You can help your kid develop the 3 key traits associated with resilience: being collaborative, purposeful, and future-minded.
One tactic Dr. Graham strongly recommends is modeling for your kids, especially complex skills like problem-solving. “What we want to do as parents is to think aloud about how we’re solving problems, so our kids experience it and see it.”
Its also a great way to show our children how we learn from our mistakes. Dr. Graham insists: It’s important to show kids that “you can make mistakes and your world doesn’t fall apart – it doesn’t mean you’re stupid.” In order to assure your kids that it is okay to make mistakes, we have to allow ourselves to do the same.
So here you have it, the simplest, most effective parenting advice for ADHD in a nutshell (and a really uplifiting and inspiring interview): tell your own positive stories, focus on your goals, and collaborate with your kids. Dr. Graham says, to cultivate resilience, “believe in your kids and encourage them to discover who they are.”