Discovering your child has a condition like ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) can be overwhelming. It’s only natural that it would be. You may even feel guilty, but that’s pointless. Nobody is to blame. What’s important is that you work with your child to understand and overcome the problems it causes. It doesn’t have to be a negative experience; indeed, it can be a journey of discovery between you and your child, and an emphatic approach can lead to your relationship being stronger than ever.
Here are some approaches you could take when dealing with this difficult situation:
- Nobody likes feeling different and certainly not ashamed. Normalise the diagnosis for your child. There are plenty of famous people with ADHD; talk to your child about them and let them know it does not make them ‘defective’ or any such thing. Focus on the positives. Talk about the great things these people have accomplished — it will make both you and your child feel better about the diagnosis.
- Time is a precious commodity. You might not have much of it, but you should read up about your child’s ADHD when possible. Your therapist will be able to provide you with information and leaflets on the condition. There are plenty of articles on the internet about ADHD, but make sure they only come from trusted sources. I’ve gathered some valuable links that will be helpful for you below! It may all seem overwhelming at first – that’s good! That means you care and want to know more.
- When (and as) you discover more about ADHD, share it with your child. Talk about ways you’ve found that will help them cope with it, and lessen its impact. You will need to explain to them the negative aspects, but be kind about them. Don’t shame them; explain how it affects others, their friends, siblings and other family members. Let them know that you’re there to help them manage it. The worst thing to do would be to make them feel guilty about it. Allow your child to know that you value them and wish to support them; make it a shared journey.
- Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this maxim applies to treating your child’s ADHD. Patience is critical here. However, don’t be hard on yourself either. Try your best to be patient with your child, but don’t beat yourself up if you lose your cool. Apologise and explain to your child why you got frustrated, don’t be afraid to admit your flaws, and you’ll be all the closer to your child for it. After all, you’re only human and trying to deal with a child’s new diagnosis isn’t easy for anyone. You’re trying to cope with this and all your existing commitments; it’s no wonder you’ll get flustered now and then. Be kind to yourself.
Accepting your child’s ADHD diagnosis may be difficult. Acceptance is a critical first step in assisting you and your child in effectively dealing with ADHD symptoms. Accepting the diagnosis makes it easier to learn about the best course of action for you and your child. You’ll then be able to develop the skills necessary to deal with the effects of ADHD in your particular situation. This will not only be of benefit for you and your child, but also for your extended family, social groups, school, and beyond.
Stay Connected and Supported
Other parents of ADHD children are frequently the greatest source of comfort for ADHD parents. It can be useful to talk to someone who has already walked your path. Inquire with your GP about local support groups or online services that can connect you with other ADHD families.
Speaking with a professional may assist you in dealing with the stress and other difficult emotions that an ADHD diagnosis may bring. So, if you need emotional support, speak with a counsellor or a psychotherapist. You can contact me to enquire about further support.