Parenting an ADHD child with Positivity!
Mainstream media would often have us think about ADHD characteristics as bothersome: not fitting in, a child who cannot sit down or sit still whose attention is all over the place.
But I have found that parenting a child with ADHD has some positive and often overlooked wonderful aspects that are just screaming at you to pay attention to their beautiful silver lining.
If you take inventory of the aspects of ADHD in your child and truly see the wonderful, positive side of each aspect, we can then ask ourselves how we can best serve our children?s life and future by nurturing their gift, rather than continually trying to change them into something they are not.
Remember that your child will often conform to your subliminal message of what and who he is. If your view is constantly negative then your child is going to feel that view as your expectation and subconsciously live up to it. It will not be easy or pretty. And this can end up being a cycle of frustration, unspoken and subtle rejection and many tears. But you have the power to choose right now to begin to heal any broken bonds and connect with your child in a brand new way. You do this by seeing the good in every aspect, and doing certain things to advance those wonderful characteristics of ADHD.
Instead of worrying about or cringing at the behavior of an ADHD child, think about these things:
- ADHD kids are natural born leaders and they love attention. Encourage this by reminding the child that people are paying attention and they probably want to set an excellent example. Simply by reminding them of this, they are getting your attention.
- They are quite talkative and can usually strike up a conversation with anyone. They tend to be charismatic and can fill in quiet space very easily. This helps others who may not be as adventurous and find it harder to break the ice. Encourage their friendliness but remind them that it?s important to listen to others as well. Gentle reminders are usually all that are needed (even if it is years of gentle reminders). Understand that you will be repeating yourself often with an ADHD child. It?s only when we put our own desires before the needs of our child that we get frustrated with repeating. Just repeat and love them anyway!
- They usually make excellent sales people and as a parent, undoubtedly you have experienced the unceasing pleads and persuasive arguments. Take the time to help your child hone that skill with some Youth Toastmasters and persuasive speech classes and you will begin to see this unique talent as a true gift.
- They blurt things out, often at the wrong time. This tends to get them into trouble but there is an unwavering honesty that must be honored here. You get the raw truth, which should at least make us learn to laugh more at life and how silly and uptight systems and regulations can be. While we always want to be respectful of others, understand that there is nothing inherently wrong with not fitting in with every crowd. Coach your child in appropriate moments for saying what they think. While your advice may take years to sink in (and probably cost you and your child some embarrassment here and there) realize that there is a lot to learn from a kid who can tell the truth without restraint! Honesty is awesome, especially when nobody wants to hear it.
- ADHD kids tend to live in the moment ?aka they can be forgetful. As a parent, your best tool is to give simple 1 step instructions (or two step instructions if they are a bit older). Get down to your child?s level and make physical contact with a gentle touch that gets your child?s attention. Tell your child what needs to happen and ask him to repeat it back to you before he does it. ?I would like you to do this and then do that. Can you tell Mommy what needs to happen?? If you?ve asked your child to go do something not within your sight, be prepared to remind him what he should be doing in the middle of the activity. Hearing ?Oh! I forgot!? is not uncommon, but be happy that he?s now refocusing on the task at hand. No need to get frustrated. Learn to laugh at life and appreciate that wonderful child with all your heart. Your objective is simply to make your child feel loved and accepted no matter what.
- They are extremely creative and think fast on their feet. While ADHD children do get sidetracked easily, they are also amazingly creative thinkers. This is actually why they tend to get side-tracked, their minds are all over the place with creative thoughts. When you find yourself in a tricky situation, ask your child for input. You?ll be amazed at the wisdom that can come from your child. Additionally, remember that entrepreneurs are all creative thinkers. While your child may need to work on organizational skills (not a strong point for many ADHD children) with the right business partner, your little guy or gal could end up with an amazing business or businesses.
- ADHD kids have an entrepreneurial mindset. They have a can-do mindset and obstacles are no issue for these strong-willed, strong minded kids. They actually have exactly what they need to succeed in business especially if they find the right partner to balance them. They are truly the creative leaders of tomorrow. Let them explore their strength and always seek to find the flip side of something that is perceived as negative.
- Because they love people so much and feel they can do anything, they make great motivators. They seem to have a knack for inspiring others who are afraid or less sure of themselves. Allow your child to inspire other with pep talks (which will inevitably happen) and make sure you tell your child afterward just how impressed you were by his being an inspiration and encouragement to others. This will boost your child?s self esteem and let him know he?s truly great.
- They are the movers and shakers of today. They put the fire under any family and get us in gear. They inspire us to get moving and actually doing things together. Use this to your advantage and set great goals for yourself personally and for your family. Also, use physical activity to release the need to move and connect on a deeper level with your child. Let them learn to read while jumping on a trampoline (yes it?s possible!) or roll around on the bed as they practice the multiplication table with you. They need to move, and allowing that freedom at least at home with be very beneficial, especially if your child is in school.
- ADHD kids do not think much about consequences. They move quietly through space and often end up bumping or knocking over things. They don?t mean too, but their body has not quite caught up with their quick thinking. Remind them that sometimes they have to slow their minds down for their body to catch up, and carrying one thing rather than an arm?s full will actually save them time in the end because nothing will fall or spill.
- Don?t fall into the trap of thinking that your ADHD child is not smart, bad or wrong because he doesn?t perform well in school. The cone of learning developed by Edgar Dale of the University of Ohio explains the different types of learning. ADHD learners are actually perfectly equipped for retention if only the school system were set up to teach the way people actually learn best. People learn best by being active in the learning environment, exactly what ADHD kids want to do. Schooling requires passive learning and ADHD kids get in trouble and many times medicated when they do not fit the mold of an ideal student. Your child is not bad or wrong because he resists learning the way most schools teach. Don?t let his self esteem be eroded due to this. Point out his strengths, help him and encourage him. Consider home education as a viable and wonderful option for ADHD kids ? true freedom exists with home education. If that?s not an option, then strengthen your child?s inner spirit everyday and make sure no one tears him down for being the exceptional child he is.
- They keep us on our feet with their chatter and new ideas. As AHDH children grow, they come up with incredibly fun and rewarding ideas for the family and even your own personal ventures and goals. Ask for their opinions and listen with interest. ADHD kids can be extremely productive and get a whirlwind of stuff accomplished, especially if they are guided by a wise parent who can make things fun and rewarding. Step up your energy and have a ball with your child.
- They are always paying attention to us even when we think they are not. This is especially important because sometimes we have no idea how our words deeply affect our children. When you get tired, take a Mommy break. Arrange for 5 minutes alone, breathe deeply and relax. Hurtful words are hard to take back, and you could better spend that energy centering yourself and putting yourself in control of your thoughts, words and actions.
- They inspire us to be better people because we can never be a mediocre parent to an ADHD kid. We are constantly challenged to re-think what we thought was truth, and they call us on everything that is not transparent and understandable. This helps us be better parents and better people. Make the choice to become a better person because of everything your child has to teach you rather than you trying to teach your child to change to fit society. We are inspired to be better more loving people as we understand that our child is not sick, does not have a disorder but is creatively and wonderfully different.
- ADHD kids tend to interrupt conversations because they are so excited about what they have to say. They just want to share it so much with you. It?s an exercise in love and patience to help them with this but it?s also an exercise for you to get your own point across in your own conversations. It will take some time, but most grow out of this or at least it lessens to a great extent. Don?t worry about how others will feel if they are interrupted by your child. Simply tell your child right then to wait until the other is finished speaking.
- ADHD kids can overwhelm some people with talking and questions! ADHD kids always have a ton of great and wonderful questions and are generally very interested in life and the workings of all things. Simply, be mindful of when their questions seem to be overwhelming others and agree with your child beforehand that if they notice or you notice that someone seems tired or needs to continue with a presentation, that your child will allow that person to do so and not ask so many questions. This seems harsh but when your ADHD child is in a group setting listening to a presentation, sometimes they are so focused on the presenter and interested they forget they are not the only one listening. It?s not unusual for them to start a lively interaction with the presenter. While a few questions may be well received, have a secret cue established with your child that signals that all other questions will wait until later. Explain to them that their questions are fabulous but that the presenter only has so much time to spend and needs to convey the information. Discuss the topic and questions afterward with your child.
- As they grow older and we grow older, they inspire us when we get tired and frustrated. Because of their boundless energy they can lift us up when we feel down, and they will do it (remember those awesome pep talks?) But remember that they must feel loved and appreciated to continually do this as they get older.
Parenting an ADHD child can be one of the most rewarding experiences available to us as a parent. We have so much to learn from our children and they are here to teach us to love unconditionally and break all the preconceived ideas we hold of what is acceptable and good. Listen to the love that they bring, feel the boundless happy, energy and never let anyone tell you that ADHD is a problem. ADHD is a gift to humanity and to us personally. By focusing on a healthy happy relationship of love, guidance and acceptance; everything falls into place.