What is ADHD?
ADHD stands for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a condition which is quite common in children. A child affected by it, generally exhibits impulsive behaviour, lack of attention, hyperactivity, restlessness, disorganized work and intense emotions. Such symptoms occur before the age of 12 in children and it is more common among boys than girls.
How to detect early?
- They get easily distracted and are forgetful, compared to the other children of their age.
- They cannot focus on tasks given and get bored soon.
- Very talkative and impatient with activities.
- Unable to complete any task.
- They show restless behaviour if they are made to sit idle.
- Frequent complaints from school about lack of attention and incomplete homework.
- Face problem in maintaining peer relationships.
- Intense emotions and absent mindedness.
How are they different from other children?
Children with ADHD tend to have something that we call the flood of emotion. They feel one emotion at a time so intensely that it fails them to judge the situation from other aspects.
They have inadequate working memory which does not allow them to concentrate during study or at any work completely, they end up lacking many skills and knowledge mandatory for their age and hence, develop feelings of inferiority. Due to this, they feel a strong need to prove themselves which directs them to activities with instant gratification like posting pictures on social media for likes, watching T.V., gaming, etc. These addictions will make their condition worse in the long run.
What can parents do?
- Watch your Behaviour first:
Children have a tendency to mimic and adapt from their parents’ behaviour. So refrain yourself from doing anything you would not want your child to do. Raising kids with ADHD demands patience. Develop it. Reward them for good behaviour and although discipline is necessary, it’s okay to let it go once in a while.
- Rules at Home and Time – Out:
Parents should understand and accept the fact that their child’s brain is not hardwired in the same way as that of the others. They will need to make clear rules at home and repeat it as many times as it is required. Children with ADHD are often impulsive and aggressive, a behaviour which should strictly be monitored. Ask them to stand in a corner for 10 minutes and do nothing, instead of yelling at them or punishing them harshly. Remember, you are trying to discipline the child and rewards work better than punishment.
- Create a Routine:
Clarity of daily tasks will help immensely. Create a habit of making a to do list for next day before going to sleep. Later prioritize the list according to its urgency and importance. Remind them or put a reminder if they carry a cell phone. Children with ADHD need a well structured day, something they can predict and plan accordingly.
- Breakdown Activities:
Kids with ADHD easily gets confused and overwhelmed with a lengthy or time-consuming plan. Do not take out your frustration by shouting at them, understand that it is difficult for them but they are trying… they want to. Break the activities in small clusters and introduce it to them one at a time. If it works well, in future, you can push their boundaries by giving two clusters at a time.
- Limit Distractions:
Needless to say, these kids are highly distractible and removing or limiting distractions should be of high priority. Turn off the T.V., tell family members to maintain a quiet environment, keep cell phones out of reach, switch off any decorative lights and cut down on sugary snacks and drinks as they are proven to excite hyperactive behaviour.
ADHD children are very energetic. Allow them to release their energy by doing physical exercises in the morning. If needed, enroll them in physical activities such as dance, sports, karate etc. Just like physical exercise, mental exercise is also necessary. Introduce them with games which demand concentration and attention and also provides instant gratification which increases with levels. These games have to be interesting and mentally stimulating. There are some games available online especially for kids with ADHD.
- Measure efforts not just Marks:
Your life will become much easier if you accept your child with his/her limitations. Do not measure their success with marks they score in the exam, but how much effort they are putting to keep you happy. The way you love your kids, they love you too and want to please you so don’t just go on scolding them about things they have not done, but also appreciate what they have done successfully and communicate how proud you feel to have them. Remember, love and compassion can move the mountains and we are just talking about kids here.
As much as you care for your child and will go out of your way to protect them from the evilest thing in the world, remember, one day they will grow up and they won’t have you around to protect them. Make them as independent as you can. Give them responsibilities, trust them and if they fail, keep trying till they succeed. As mentioned before, you will have to develop patience.
- Social Support:
ADHD children often tend to have poor peer relations and low self-esteem which make them defensive. Don’t keep reminding them that they have a condition, by now they probably know it very well. Choose words wisely. Do not criticize them in front of others and don’t ever compare them with other kids. They will develop negative feelings like jealousy, resentment, aggression, etc. and may even seek out activities which will feed such needs which are often harmful and illegal. Keep a keen eye on who they are friends with. This will shape their personality after all.
Children with ADHD may be difficult but always remember that they are manageable. You need to train them rather than preaching and expecting the outcome. Maintain a positive environment around them, always. Listen to what happens at school. Lend a sympathetic ear. Tell them clearly, what you want, again and again. If they show interest in any activity, go for it. They might quit soon but it’s because of the lack of a sense of commitment not because they wish to. Your child is a reflection of your parenting and I know you will do whatever it takes to make a good one.
Feel free to ask any queries below.