Ways Parents Can Help Their Children Deal With ADHD Challenges

All parents want the best for their children. One way in which parents can have the greatest positive impact on their children’s lives is by teaching them to learn to deal with life’s challenges effectively, both emotionally and physically. Parents of children with ADHD have the added difficulty of helping their children learn to deal with some additional behavioral and academic challenges.

Create Structure For Your Child

One of the things that is most helpful to all ADHD children is added structure. As a parent, you can create structure by establishing certain predictable routines. These routines encourage your child to develop habits that they can continue to use for the rest of their life.

 

Establish specific times for going to sleep and waking up. Also make sure that you create a routine associated with your nighttime and morning routines. For getting up, your child may have to make their bed, get dressed, brush their teeth, and be ready for breakfast at a certain time. The bedtime routine may involve a bath or shower, laying out their clothing for the next day, and organizing their backpack for school. Perhaps story time or quite time. Try to stop all electronic devices including TV 1 hour before bedtime. Don’t allow TV or electronics in the morning until all things that they have to do are complete, if at all.

 

Regular healthy meals and snacks can have a tremendous impact on the ADHD child’s ability to focus and behave. Their attention span and anger issues seem to increase when they are hungry or tired.

Schedule a specific time for homework, and make sure that the area where your child does their homework is neat, organized and free from distractions. Don’t expect your child to be able to sit still and do their homework for two hours straight. Break down their tasks into smaller chunks. If they can only study for a half an hour, plan to give them a five-minute break. An important goal may be to get the child to be able to study and focus for longer periods of time, always allowing for regular short breaks.

 

Take Advantage of Online and Local Resources

Helpguide has a lot of useful information, including advice for teachers, recommendations for things to do in a classroom, and important tips that parents can use to encourage their child to complete their homework assignments. CHADD (Children and Adults With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is an organization that offers all sorts of different resources, including information about ADHD, blogs, links to local chapters, and information about finding support.

Explore All Treatment Options

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry provides a lot of answers to the typical questions that parents may have regarding ADHD. The site is also helpful for explaining the different types of treatment that are available for the disorder. A child psychologist can formally assess ADHD and discuss various treatment options. An ADHD therapist may be useful for helping you as a parent learns strategies that can help your child. An ADHD child psychologist specialist may help your child come to terms with ADHD and learn about self-acceptance.
Recognize that dealing with ADHD is something that will involve the entire family. It will take time for any therapy to begin to work, but it will also take time for you to learn better ways to relate to your child.

 

Dealing with ADHD is a continual learning process for everyone and will change as the child gets older. A commitment to helping a child, encouraging them and learning new coping strategies will ultimately benefit them greatly.

To Spank or Not To Spank

Let’s face it: Effective parenting is tough. While it definitely offers amazing and wonderful rewards, the day-to-day challenges can feel exhausting and exhilarating – sometimes even all at once!

Learning effective parenting skills takes time, and it’s often a process of trial and error. One issue that many parents agonize over, and many child development researchers disagree on, is spanking.

Every child — and every family situation – is different, so there’s no universal “right” answer when it comes to deciding whether or not to spank. Further, attitudes toward corporal punishment vary based on a range of social and cultural factors, such as nationality, ethnicity, and religion. In fact, 31 countries have passed legislation completely banning corporal punishment, even in the home, and 70 other nations ban spanking in schools. In the U.S., 31 states have laws banning in-school corporal punishment. However, in-home corporal punishment, defined as “the use of physical force with the intention to cause a child to experience pain, but not injury, for the purpose of correction or the control of the child’s behavior — isn’t illegal.

If you can’t decide whether you adhere to the theory of “spare the rod, spoil the child” or prefer to take a gentler approach, here are a few ideas for consideration in effective parenting.

Why Spank?

Parents spank for many reasons. Some were spanked by their own parents. Others spank because it offers immediate results or because it’s simply the easiest option.

A 2010 study found that kids who were spanked before age six performed better in school and are more likely to go to college. However, the study also found that kids who were spanked after age six were more likely to exhibit behavioral problems.

Why Not Spank?

Most research shows that spanking has more negative than positive results. Multiple studies show that children who are spanked regularly tend to:

  • Be more aggressive toward their peers, family and future spouse and children
  • Believe that hitting is a solution to problems
  • Have a difficult time regulating themselves
  • Be at higher risk for low self-esteem, depression, anger, isolation, alcoholism, dependence and abusiveness

Effective Parenting Alternatives to Spanking

As an alternative to spanking, consider trying redirection and discipline first and viewing corporal punishment as a last resort. Ideas include:

  • Communicate with your child; ask them why they engaged in the misbehavior and really listen to their answer
  • Talk with your child rather than hitting; explain why the behavior is unacceptable or unsafe
  • Set a positive example; act the way you want your child to act
  • Focus on what your child does right; positive reinforcement, such as praise and rewards, has been proven to affect behavior more than punishment

If you’re struggling with the parenting issues and how effective parent, talking to a child psychologist may help.

Dr. Steven Lazarus is a licensed child psychologist in Littleton, Colorado. He can help your family work through issues together.

Parents Guide to Parenting Stepchildren

Blended families face many struggles. Suspicion, anger and expectations often prevent the family from bonding. There is hope, though. With hard work and time, blended families can find success together.

Tips for Kids

Stepchildren often feel resentment toward the new parent, anger at their birth parent and suspicion toward siblings. They must learn to respect and trust both parents while bonding with their siblings.

For starters, kids must accept that their new family won’t mimic their old family. Everything’s going to change, and they must accept their new reality.

The kids also benefit from being civil. Avoidance, withdrawal or rude behavior won’t build the kind of family kids want. To earn respect, they must show respect to their parents and siblings.

Tips for Parents

Building a family that’s full of love and affection is a process that takes time. Effective parenting requires consistency. Parents must shower love, selflessness and kindness equally on the biological and step children. There’s no room for favoritism.

Meanwhile, the family benefits from building relationships with each other. Each parent should spend personal time with each child doing activities the children enjoy, and the entire family should hang out and play together regularly.

Sometimes, discipline is necessary. Both parents must unite and agree on the consequences when kids break the rules. The biological parent should administer any discipline, though.

Parents must also be aware of splitting. Kids may play their biological parents against each other or try to get their biological and stepparent to fight against each other. When parenting stepchildren, the parental unit must be united and resist confiding in the kids or badmouthing the other parent.

Being a step family isn’t always easy. Relationship building takes time. Patience, communication, success, and negotiation are all effective parenting tools.

Animal Assisted Therapy with Dogs

It’s no secret that humans have long shared a special bond with dogs– perhaps even for as long as Homo-sapiens has been around as a species.

But did you know that our association with dogs actually offers a number of mental, emotional and physical benefits?

Anyone who has a pet dog might not be quite as shocked by this news; after all, as a pet owner, you’re probably already well aware of the unconditional love, non-judgmental acceptance, and unquestioning loyalty that dogs offer. You’ve likely also noticed the feelings of calm, peace and safe relaxation that you get when you’re spending time with your pet.

That’s just one of the reasons why animal assisted therapist services are growing in popularity. As the field expands, researchers are exploring the many benefits of pet therapy – and the results of these studies may surprise you!

Psychological Benefits of Pet Therapy and Therapy Dogs

Spending time with therapy dogs produces a number of mental health benefits, from enhanced relaxation to reduced stress and anxiety. Therapy dogs, or carefully selected dogs that undergo intense, individualized training, are used in a range of mental health settings. The animal assisted therapist can help many different issues.

With pet therapy, veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder — or PTSD — learn how to relax, overcome feelings of agitation, and deal with anxiety.

Children who’ve experienced abuse or neglect or who live with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), autism, or attention-deficit-hyperactivity (ADHD) find a warm, loving friend that they can hold and pet – and that helps them to feel calm.

The research agrees; one study found that spending just 12 minutes with a therapy dog lowered anxiety by 24% and reduced levels of the stress hormone epinephrine by 17%.

Other studies indicate that exposure to therapy dogs can:

  • Alleviate stress
  • Promotes self-reliance and altruistic behavior
  • Reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness
  • Create feelings of trust, bonding and rapport
  • Help develop feelings of empathy for others

Physiological Benefits

But the benefits of pet therapy aren’t just psychological – sessions with an animal assisted therapist can actually make you healthier! Studies show that being around therapy dogs results in physiological benefits such as:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Reduced risk of asthma
  • Eased Alzheimer’s symptoms
  • Lowered cholesterol and triglyceride levels

Pet therapy also makes the therapy process itself more relaxing. Starting therapy can feel awkward or even intimidating, but a warm, furry presence helps you to feel calm and safe. Dr. Steven Lazarus and his therapy dog, Zeke — a hypo-allergenic Labradoodle — provide a unique, friendly, and comfortable approach to dealing with issues.

See also:

15 Reasons Animal Assisted Therapy Works

The Furry Therapist