Empowering ADHD children simply means helping them learn how to cope with everyday life in a calm but confident manner. By instilling confidence, we can teach our ADHD children how to take control of their own lives and make good decisions on their own. Teaching ADHD children how to reason, solve problems and control their emotions can help them become strong, confident adults.
By empowering ADHD children, we are giving them the tools needed to succeed in life and reach their goals. With all the changes kids go through and all the challenges they face, it can sometimes be difficult for parents to empower their kids at all, and it is even more difficult if the child has ADHD. You can make a difference though, and as dedicated parents, we have the opportunity to help our ADHD children find their paths to success.
How Parents Can Empower their ADHD Children
Learn all you can about ADHD.
It would be difficult at the very least to raise a child with this disorder if you don’t understand what it is and how it affects his life. You need to know what your child is going through and the challenges he faces daily before you can take steps to empower him. There are some great books, online resources, and of course, other parents of ADHD children out there to help you educate yourself and give you the support you will need.
Now that you understand what ADHD is, explain it to your child.
It will be important for you to help your ADHD child understand his condition and why things seem harder for him than they do for other kids his age. Help him understand that he is as smart as his peers. He just sees things differently and needs to work a little harder. Some ADHD children are very self-aware because they have been criticized so much, maybe even bullied. While the negative attention is not what we’re looking for, take advantage of these moments to teach your child what of his behaviors may be related to ADHD and then talk to your child about what you will do together to help him improve in that area.
Don’t judge or criticize your child.
Judging him and constantly pointing out his faults will lower his self-esteem and encourage him to act badly. Instead, use positive reinforcement to help build up his strong areas and praise him for a job well done, while you work on the things he needs to change.
Look for ways to help your child improve focus and concentration.
Help your child maintain a regular routine where he knows what to expect and when to expect it.
Schedules and routines help kids with ADHD stay on track so they can maintain order in their life. So, make and follow them. Having a specific time to eat meals, watch TV, homeschool, go to bed and so forth is helpful.
Make rules simple and easy to follow.
If the rules are simple, there will be less room for misunderstandings. As often as possible, use one-step instructions, gradually increasing to two-step and then three-step instructions as your child matures and proves himself more capable. Keeping things simple will help your child will know exactly what you expect of him and what is considered acceptable behavior, and that makes it easier for him to comply. It will also help motivate him to follow the rules when you have a reward system in place for good behavior.
Be consistent with the rules.
Changing the rules often will only confuse your child and make it more difficult for him to keep up. Be consistent and have one set of rules for everyone in the home. This shows your ADHD child that you expect him to live up to the same expectations as everyone else and it will give his confidence a boost knowing that you believe he can do it.
Teach your child that his actions do have consequences.
This is a lesson he will need to learn in order to make it in the world when he is older. So, set the rules and follow through with consequences if your child repeatedly breaks them. Allow natural consequences whenever possible. You will be tempted to make excuses for your ADHD child. You will also be tempted to hover over him and protect him from natural (and other) consequences. This is a huge mistake. Please protect your child from potential harm and bullying, but do not protect him from learning lessons related to his poor behavior.
Don’t set your expectations too high.
ADHD children do not normally mature as quickly as children who do not have this disorder. This means that in some areas he will be emotionally and mentally behind for his age. Keep this in mind when making house rules. If you expect too much from him, you’re setting him up for failure. On the other hand, don’t lower the bar too much. If you set your expectations too low, it will be easy for him to make excuses or not try as hard as he should to succeed. You may not always know what is to much and what is too little, so flexibility is key. Be willing to make concessions and either loosen or tighten the rules as needed to help your child be as successful as possible, while working hard toward goals.
The skills your ADHD child learns now will be with him for the rest of his life. Teach him the skills he needs to empower his life instead of holding him back through negativity, lack of knowledge, or fear. What you do throughout his childhood and the teen years will make a difference in what type of adult your ADHD child becomes. It’s an incredible responsibility, but the rewards are great.