When parents ask about parenting help for ADHD Kids, I encounter so many people who have read a lot on the internet, have a lot of the symptoms and medical information about ADHD in their thoughts, and feel at a loss for finding the right help to get their child to listen, calm down and […]
When parents ask about parenting help for ADHD Kids, I encounter so many people who have read a lot on the internet, have a lot of the symptoms and medical information about ADHD in their thoughts, and feel at a loss for finding the right help to get their child to listen, calm down and focus. (Please note my use of the male pronoun in this article is simply for ease of writing and reading. I will switch from time to time in my articles).
There is so much help and tips for parenting ADHD kids, that parents seem overwhelmed with what they learn. Pinterest had scads of boards listing ADHD helps for parents, Tips for getting your child to . . . comply, behave, calm down, focus, increase self-esteem, be happy, find friends, and so on. Yet, the answer for your particular parenting issue may not be any of those ideas. What is missing is a place for parents to learn how their child feels. They need to learn how to tune in to a child’s hyperactivity, distress, unrest, maybe even sleep problems with ADHD.
So, where can a parent find the answer? Well, I believe that the answers are not found online, I believe they are not found in a medical journal or in proper parenting techniques or lists, charts and reward stickers. Parents can learn how to tune in to their own child, with their own parenting style and begin forming their own solution. You see, as long as we are focused on someone else’s ideas, tips or what worked for them, we are losing touch with ourselves and our child.
Our error often lands squarely into the realm of, “How do I get my ADHD child to . . .” and then we drift away from the right question. The correct question should be, how can I get to know my ADHD child better? How can I get to the place where he or she and I get along better? What can I learn from my ADHD child?
As a parent, have you asked your child how they see things? Have you asked them how do they think or feel a thing will turn out? We can also check how we intervene, react to their unusual behavior, how much we actually listen and what parameters we set. All of these are necessary tools for parenting any child well, and learning all the “things that are wrong with my ADHD child” tends to generate more distress. Increased distress is not your goal.
There are several factors that are out of the limelight in ADHD articles online. Maybe even in some of the books I have read. Have you thought of how calm or orderly your household is? Does it have distress unrelated to your ADHD child? How is your marriage? Are you separated or divorced and still battling? Are you a single parent winging things on your own and highly anxious about finances and relationships?
These types of issues in our own lives affect our child immensely. In fact, it can affect any child ADHD or not, and sometimes that “perfect” or compliant child ends up with their own issues later. Compliance is not the goal but when you are faced with a temper tantrum and a deadline for an appointment it can feel like compliance is your goal in parenting. It really isn’t. Peace is the main goal you have from the pieces you are faced with now.
Finding Peace with and for Your ADHD Child
Many parents look for ways to calm their ADHD child, and I think there are some helpful ways to address an immediate situation. One of my favorite statements for parents to contemplate is, “I have a guaranteed method for stopping a temper tantrum one step.” I laugh and say, “Give the child what he wants, immediately.” Now, you might want to move to a different website and find more sane parenting help. But in actuality it is the only way to deal with a temper tantrum immediately (within reason of course). And I think more parents should use it. A temper tantrum in a young child isn’t usually an act of the child’s will. Some may argue that point and take your money for lengthy psychological evaluations, assessments, appointments, and so on, but I won’t. If you need a way to stop a child age 6 in a grocery store with a temper tantrum, give him what he wants. You don’t need the added stress of embarrassment, upset other customers, an aggravated cashier and someone wanting to call child services. At home, you don’t want three hours of crying and screaming for what they want.
What is your goal? That is best question I can ask a parent who comes to me with parenting requests. That your first homework assignment. Once you have that answer, let me dig a little deeper. Then you can begin creating your best parenting style for you and your ADHD child. Since the beginning of this article, I have begun to shift your thinking about how you view your child, how you view your parenting style, and how you view ADHD and its symptoms.
Hopefully you can see that your parenting style matters. Hopefully you can see that knowing your child better and getting inside his tornado will give you more insights than a medical journal which most of us cannot understand anyway. Hopefully you will learn how to mange your child’s distress, become a peacemaking parent, and learn about your child’s fears.
Let’s begin with one major step you can take on this parenting transition: Look your child in the eyes. When you are saying a loving statement when you tell him yes, when he is highly distressed, or when you say goodnight. Eye contact is one of the best ways to re-start connecting with your child. And all of what I have said in this blog is part of a parenting method that works with ADHD children. So, for now, in this section, we will practice what it looks like to look your child in the eye.
With an ADHD child, parents get so emotionally fatigued and tired of the battle they often do two things that hinder our success: 1) we respond to our ADHD child while our eyes are on out task in hand or 2) we fail to look at our child by adjusting his clothing, or her shoelaces, or reaching for the door you are about to open to get to school or work. Looking at your child when they ask, tell or are fearful is a strong connecting activity. Re-establishing a child’s connection encourages strong attachment, and that can help ADHD children. Do not mistake this for the demanded eye contact used in some methods for helping autistic children, we are looking at you, the parent, making eye contact a habit when you connect with your ADHD child. It helps.
Not only that, the level of their psychological distress is greater as adults if they have poor attachment, according to that same study. Interestingly, giving your child the eye contact that is necessary is free, easy, can be done many times daily, and may begin to add to their sense of security and attachment. Coupled with the fact that, “children with ADHD are more likely to be insecurely attached,” can you transition your parenting style to include this beautiful approach? Let me know how this helped you. 
 “. . . secure attachment could serve as a “protective factor” against psychological distress among ADHD individuals.” (Hadil Kordahji, Shiri Ben-David, and Odelia Elkana. “Attachment Anxiety Moderates the Association Between ADHD and Psychological Distress.” The Psychiatric Quarterly, July 10, 2021. doi:10.1007/s11126-021-09919-6.
 Rianne Hornstra, Guy Bosmans, Barbara J. van den Hoofdakker, Hasse De Meyer, and Saskia van der Oord. “Self-Reported Attachment Styles in Children with and without Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).” European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 28, no. 9 (September 2019): 1277–80. doi:10.1007/s00787-019-01288-7.