Dealing with ADHD on a Daily Basis
When dealing with your children, it is important to use a problem solving approach rather than getting into frequent power struggles. A win-win attitude can have better results than a “do it, because I said so” attitude. As parents we would all like to have our kids be respectful and do what we ask of them. When parenting ADHD kids however, we may have to let go of some of our illusions of what the perfect parent/child relationship may be. Although it may appear to be an oxymoron, consistency and flexibility seem to be key words to live by when parenting ADHD children. These kids certainly need structure, routine, and consistency in rules so they know what to expect. However, they seem to do better when a certain amount of flexibility is also introduced. We know, from various studies and from reports of interviews with children themselves, that they greatly appreciate a teacher who understands their limitations and can bend the rules a little in order to help them be successful. Parenting is no different. Contrary to popular belief, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) becomes more of a problem in children who are raised by inflexible strict parents than it does in children who are raised by parents who apply discipline but are more flexible. Of course these are not the type of kids who do well with total free reign either, for obvious reasons.
These kids are great at arguing their point. Therefore it is important to get into as few debates over rules as possible. If your child is old enough to negotiate rules, or at least have some input when rules are decided on, their rate of compliance increases. But once rules are set, negotiations should stop until rules are formally reassessed. Rewards, rather than punishment, are the most affective discipline tool, but feedback needs to be immediate and frequent. For young children, ignoring annoying behaviour and frequently rewarding good behaviour is the way to go. As parents involved in our own busy, hectic schedules what we do is usually the opposite. Unfortunately, this is human nature. When our child is playing quietly we rarely go up to them and say, “good work”. Usually we are so relieved that we don't want to disturb them. However, when they are doing something wrong they become the focus of our attention. There are all sorts of reward strategies, such as points and stickers with rewards attached, but remember that kids with ADHD become bored easily so the system you use needs to be changed frequently.