My son has ADHD: what should I do?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a chronic neurobiological disorder that some children have before the age of 12.

These manifest a series of behaviors which traditionally out of ignorance; they are labeled as “difficult”, “bad” or “bad”. These behaviors are mainly characterized by a lack of impulse control and difficulty maintaining voluntary attention among others.

    ADHD in boys and girls

    The guilt that parents of “difficult minors” may feel is a very common feeling. Minors absorb all the information from their surroundings and it is normal for parents to think that they may have been a bad example. But while it is true that a very high percentage of children’s behaviors are learned through modeling, in the case of ADHD, guardians usually have nothing to do with it.

    What usually happens is that patterns have been created that subconsciously harm the child; which leads to more intense, frequent and annoying behaviors associated with the disorder. Inadequate reinforcement systems or reinforcements (rewards) that are not needed may be used. It should be noted that traditional forms of education generally do not work well with children with ADHD.

    The helplessness felt by the parents may have “thrown in the towel” again. It should be noted that this is a very difficult task for parents because the child’s impulsive or hyperactive behavior is perceived by parents as aversive and intrusive, Usually causing negative reactions in adults. No professional will hold parents accountable, however, and seeking help is one of the most responsible things one can do for their child.

    It is just as important to educate parents about responses to children’s behaviors as it is about their own.. A professional psychologist can recognize these patterns and begin to break them down and develop new ones.

    Once one has taken the blame and understood the disorder, it is necessary to act with specific behaviors to improve the quality of life of the child and that all of his cognitive and physiological needs are met.

    What can I do for my child with ADHD?

    The following actions aim to improve interactions with the child and make the parent and child feel more secure and take control by learning new effective behaviors. these are some tools that are worked on in psychological consultation during the training program for parents of children with ADHD.

    1. Reinforce strengths

    González de Mira (1997) observed that children with ADHD tend to have good visual and auditory memory, high levels of creativity and sense of humor, are sensitive and are very committed to loved ones, in addition to be very energetic. Therefore, it is important for parents to emphasize these positive traits, for example encourage children to develop good self-esteem.

    2. Improve communication

    In a family with a child with ADHD, the number and frequency of negative interactions are usually quite high. Effective communication can lessen the negative effect of the disorder on the family and the child..

    Parents should be aware that if it is difficult for them to communicate assertively with the child and they feel frustrated; the child also has difficulty with the same disorder. Outraged, being a minor, he has not yet acquired the resources to solve problems or for effective communication.

    Awareness of this breaks the competitiveness that parents of children with ADHD usually have with them and is geared towards changing attitudes that interfere with the solution of the problem.

    3. The attitude towards communication

    From the evaluation that we make of people, expectations arise which will influence the attitude towards them. It has been shown in several surveys that minors perceive themselves according to the opinion that their parents or guardians have of them.

    The expectations are linked to the implicit theories of personality and to the Pygmalion effect (the expectations of a tutor towards his pupil directly influence his performance).

    The child with ADHD is usually labeled as restless, bad, upset … so the child builds a self-image from these traits. The direct consequence is that the child directs his behavior to be consistent with these expectations of him / her, because they serve as a guide for action.

    Children with ADHD work with clear and concise messages and directly specify what is expected of him / her. Verbal and non-verbal communications should consistently coincide.

      4. The right time to communicate

      It is very important to choose the right situation to give orders to your child or to make him understand.

      This moment of negotiation can never arise in the discussion, In which specific instructions must be given. If the situation is negative or unfavorable, it is highly unlikely that a favorable resolution will be reached.

      In addition, parents should ignore reprimands or inappropriate behavior so as not to reinforce them carefully and repeat themselves.

      5. Ability to listen

      A good strategy is to have a conversation with your children so that they can communicate their concerns, in which they should apply these guidelines: listen calmly, do not disagree or give advice, come up with a solution that allows the child to freely express all your desires, fears or frustrations. In this way, the child has confidence in his parents and encourages him to ask for help with what is happening to him..

      6. How to give information

      Gordon called the different alternatives to expose a request from parents to their children: messages from me and messages from you.

      My posts are statements from parents in which they report what they think, feel and want about the child’s behavior, but without falling into blame or critical comments.

      Your posts focus on censorship and recrimination using criticism and labeling the child negatively.

      Parents of children with ADHD tend to use your messages more with their children. We can start to identify when these messages are being said to minors and turn them into messages from me.

      7. Conflict resolution and communication skills

      It is very helpful to understand that in any conflict you have to give in and, at the same time, see the solution benefit in one way or another. Although he is in a position of authority over your child, you should always keep in mind that the minor may also be right.

      Author: Susana Merino García. Psychologist specializing in psychopathology and health.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Soler, CL; Núñez, MM (2001) Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Madrid. Ed: Clinic.
      • Arc, JL; Fernández, FD & Fonoll, FJ (2004) Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: psychoeducational intervention. Psicothema, Vol 16 (3), pp. 408-414.
      • Korzeniowsk, C. & Ison, MS (2008) Psychoeducational strategies for parents and teachers of children with ADHD. Argentine Journal of the Psychological Clinic, XVII, pp. 65-71.

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