Nearly 6.4 million children are dealing with a diagnosis of ADHD. It is impacting numerous families, yet many feel that they are without resources for this incredibly tough journey. Let’s help get the word out this month, as it is ADHD Awareness Month. It is important that we help arm the people in our child’s world with the appropriate insights, strategies, and skills to understand and appreciate them!
In this 3-part blog, I have been introducing what I refer to as the five life-changing concepts in parenting ADHD. That may sound like an inflammatory statement. Life-changing? Indeed! They are. These have been the very concepts that have helped me find the flexibility, understanding, and focused approach to handling the challenges of ADHD in our family. I hope these can be as life-changing in your parenting approach as they have been to mine.
These are not hard concepts to grasp. They are not complicated or deep. In fact, they are rather simple. But what I have found in dealing with ADHD in our family– simple is best! Your mind is so busy in the moment that you have to keep it simple. If you haven’t read Part 1 and Part 2 be sure to do that! (There are more free resources in these articles, as well as the ones mentioned in this one…so keep reading!)
So, let’s get a quick recap of the first 3 concepts:
- ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder…a delay. A child with ADHD can be up to 30% (2-3 years) behind his peers in maturing.
- Kids will do well when they are able to do well. So, if a child is not doing well, there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
- The behavior we see in children is communicating something. It serves as an alarm for some skills that they are lacking or problem that may need to be solved.
And now let’s move on!
- A child with ADHD has some predictable traits, but they also possess some super skills or superpowers. These traits are just as important or more important than the ones we typically talk about!
When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, there is a tremendous amount of emotion that comes with it. It can be easy to think of the challenging and negative traits that will accompany you on this journey. You might feel a sense of doom or overwhelm. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Your Child Has Incredible Skills
Your child possesses some incredible abilities and characteristics. Don’t forget to take time to key in on these as well. Helping your child identify these traits in themselves, grow these skills, and put them to use will be part of using their ADHD to their benefit. And it can!
What are some of these common positive aspects associated with ADHD?
- Fun to be around
- Good in a crisis
- Quick thinker
- Full of ideas
- Highly intelligent
- Great at multitasking
- Good problem solver
- Great impromptu speaker
- Full of ideas
Looking at this list can bring about some hope and positivity! Some of these traits are the characteristics your child may possess. As you progress through this journey, don’t lose sight of these! You can help your child grow and use these traits to their advantage. Don’t let the diagnosis discourage you!
This is the good news I promised in part 3! You see, that little bundle of energy and determination is more than meets the eye! And on days when you struggle to remember what you love about them, let this serve as your reminder. They are more, much, much more than the sum of their diagnoses or struggles. These very traits that frustrate you now might be the traits your child develops, harnesses, and employs to be a glowing success in their adult years!
Get your free resource 25 Things to Love About ADHD list here! Post this in your house and let it encourage both you and your child.
Besides that, I like to remind myself that my child was created with a purpose. God knew what they might need to fulfill that purpose. And no matter how big this diagnosis feels, it may be just what they needed to become the person God needed for the job ahead! Who knows how this child can and will affect lives.
I was nearly drawn to tears the other day when my little guy asked me to trace his hands on a piece of paper. I did it without question but not without wonder! He’s not one to really pursue artistic projects at home, so this was big! A short time later, he returned with his simple little art project. He handed it over and at the top of the page he had written these simple words…”These hands will someday make the world a better place.”
Tears filled my eyes. The innocence of his little heart and mind grabbed mine. That tender, hopeful little heart may be cloaked in a sometimes tough or challenging exterior, but I needed to remember those sweet and sincere little worlds and help him develop those skills to help him do just that! He can dream big and achieve big! And I have been blessed to help him along in this journey!
ADD/ ADHD Wall of Fame
You and your child might find it fun to see some of the other famous people, actors, athletes, and historical figures that are on the ADHD Wall of Fame. Make a copy and share with others! This free download is on your member-only free resources page.
- When dealing with your children, remember that fair is not always equal, and equal is not always fair. Fair is what is best for each individual at that time.
It probably didn’t take you long to figure out that what worked with one child didn’t necessarily work with another. Whether dealing with personalities or specific needs, each child will have unique strengths, struggles, and needs. You can take this an even further step when dealing with children with special needs. You will benefit from developing strategies that are flexible and individualized.
Fair, Even or Equal
This may not sound that hard, but it can feel pretty complicated at times. I will be honest and admit that it took me some time to really live this out. I wanted to handle discipline “fairly” and evenly. But it became apparent that was not going to work. I wanted to handle meal times “fairly” and evenly. But that was not even possible! I had to remember that sometimes the accommodations or individualized flexibility was more important and necessary than keeping things looking uniform.
This has been a tough one for the kids at times. So settling this in my own mind was very key! When I can be more clear, they will be more clear. So I encourage you to settle comfortably on doing what is best for each of your children and their unique needs at that given time. At times it will look the same, and other times, it will look nothing similar. When your kids know that is how you approach it, they will learn to expect that and be more accepting of that.
Fair is not always equal. And equal is not always fair. Being fair means that we do our best to give each child what they need to be successful to learn and grow. What one child needs may be very different than what another child needs. So when we as parents work to be fair, this means that things won’t always feel equal. And that is ok. The sooner we can help our children learn this, the better.
When this struggle feels challenging or tough, remind yourself of this key concept. Just because one child needs glasses, we wouldn’t get them all glasses. If one child needed a wheelchair to get where he was going, we wouldn’t all use wheelchairs! The accommodations we put into place to help them function best don’t have to be assigned to everyone across the board. These accommodations may help even the playing field (or help your child be better able to do the skill or task others are doing) but they don’t give them an advantage.
Last week, I mentioned some specific resources that you might find helpful. You might also find the Parenting ADHD with Penny Williams podcasts helpful. She has a variety of topics to choose from. I shared them with some close family and even they found them very insightful and helpful in understanding our little guy and how to work best with him.
As I mentioned last time, my little guy and I are working through the Thriving With ADHD workbook for kids. He seems to be really liking that. And I have to say from a counselor’s perspective, I am quite impressed with it! It also highlights some of the areas in this blog and helping children embrace their diagnosis, strengths, struggles, and needs.
Walking this journey as a family can be tough. Parenting through these issues may feel like the hardest thing you have ever done. Stay the course. You can do this. Find those supports that make your journey feel more manageable. Don’t forget that important self-care. AND ask for help!! This is not a journey for the faint of heart. You can’t do it alone. I am here to help support however I can.
I am including this free resource to help you keep track of some of the details that can feel most pressing in working with children with special needs. Sometimes just jotting down a + or a – can jog our memory on what went well or what was a struggle. Maybe you try something new, adjust a medicine or note something off in a day…have a place to jot it down and free up your mind for other things. This also serves as a way to remember those things that did go well. Sometimes amidst the struggles, we lose sight of what was right. Be sure to note that too!
You might want to read about how our journey with ADHD has unfolded this far. Check out these past blog posts:
These blog posts mention more free resources, checklists, and tips. Don’t miss out! And don’t forget to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this 3 part series if you haven’t already! Get your copies sent to your email and enjoy free access to numerous parenting tools when you sign up here!
Let’s work together this month to get the news out about ADHD. Feel free to share the graphics in this post on other social media networks. Let’s help people understand our little ones and learn to embrace their ADHD with acceptance and hope for the numerous ways they can use these super-charged skills for their best!
Let’s do this!