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10 Things You Need To Remember If You Love Someone With ADHD

10 Things You Need To Remember If You Love Someone With ADHD

You probably have heard quite a few people denying that ADHD even exists and that it is just another fad.

“To publish stories that ADHD is a fictitious disorder or merely a conflict between today’s Huckleberry Finns and their caregivers is tantamount to declaring the earth flat, the laws of gravity debatable, and the periodic table in chemistry a fraud.”- Russell Barkley and colleagues, International Consensus Statement on ADHD, 2002.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are people who know that ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a real condition and needs treatment, care, understanding, and above all support. These people are just like you and me and want to know about practical ways to help people we love with ADHD to manage their lives at work, school, and at home. Here are 10 ways we can help them to cope, whether we are parents, colleagues, or friends.

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1. We must let our ADHD kids move more

Research now shows that sitting still is not at all conducive to helping a child with ADHD to focus and concentrate. Their hyperactivity is not useless. The more they move, the better, because this is linked to how they will remember something or work out some cognitive process. Stability balls at home and at school are a great learning aid for them.

2. We must be more compassionate

Adults with ADHD are often popular because they can be funny, creative and good company. The problems arise when they just cannot cope with getting bills paid, organizing stuff, being punctual, keeping to deadlines, and remembering what their loved ones have just told them. Their brains just work differently. If you are close to a person with ADHD, you can first of all be more compassionate and push them to get treatment or therapy which will help them to cope. An ADHD sufferer once described it as:

“Like driving in the rain with faulty windshield wipers.  Moments of clarity along with lots of blur.”

3. We must be the ADHD child’s best advocate at school

Lots of kids with ADHD get into trouble at school by misbehaving, getting low grades, and failing to keep up with homework assignments. Parents need to be really well informed about ADHD so that they can act as their child’s advocate. This will help to get them the best possible arrangements at school such as IEP, and so on. A great way to start is to read Michelle Davis’s book Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book.

4. We must set up a well structured routine at home

ADHD kids really thrive when they get into a routine. We can help them a lot by getting them to follow a well structured routine every day. Having lists and post its in strategic spots, organizing clothes and schoolbags, and having regular bedtime are just a few things that need to be followed. There are some more excellent ideas in Dr. Russell Barkley’s book, Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents

5. We must help them to get rid of excess energy

Kids with ADHD are always on the go and their hyperactivity combined with impulsivity can lead to pretty scary situations. One great way is to channel all that energy into exercise and sports. Sometimes, this can calm them down and tire them without having to resort to medication. Michael Phelps is a great example although all our kids cannot become Olympic champions!

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6. We must limit media time

All the social networking, cell phones, video games, and TV can distract a kid and adult from engaging in much more active and healthier types of fun. As ADHD children and adults tend to hyperfocus, there is an extra risk here. They can spend hours on one game or activity, so using a timer can be useful. There is cool software called LeechBlock which can set time limits for time on Facebook or Twitter or any other site where they are spending too much time.

7. We must look after their sleep

Many people on ADHD meds have problems sleeping. It is just one of the side effects. If this is the case, it is essential to have the best possible conditions to avoid insomnia. Your kid may need up to ten hours sleep and if they don’t get that, it’s mayhem the day after. Switch off all devices, have a warm bath and read them a good story which should all be part of a well-structured routine. TV and social media in the bedroom are a no-no.

8. We must remember to break down instructions

Instead of telling a child or adult with ADHD that they never listen to you, try something else instead. The ADHD brain is trying to process a frightening range of stimuli coming at them. It is calculated that a child of 8 may only be able to handle 7 words at a time. This is why it is so important to break down instructions for chores, homework and behavior problems. Use frequent pauses and gestures so that the message is easier to understand.

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9. We must remember the problems when an ex has ADHD

If your ex has ADHD, it can be problematic when your kids come back from visitation. A great way to avoid issues is to persuade your ex that a separate set of kids’ items should be kept at their house. Living out of a suitcase is no fun but having all their stuff there when they arrive and return is a great way to reduce the tension. Having a laminated list of things they must remember to bring back is also helpful.

10. We must help them to eat properly

As Dr. Mark Bertin has pointed out, people with ADHD are more at risk of suffering from eating disorders and obesity. The main reason is that they cannot plan ahead and when they are hungry, impulsivity takes over and poor dietary choices are made. The steep downhill path to emotional eating is all too often taken.

Many parents have ADHD themselves so the problem becomes even more acute if one of their kids has ADHD as well. Developing mindful eating habits can help. When you learn to pause while eating and savor the taste of food, this can be a lifesaver in developing healthier eating habits. Avoiding being famished can be useful too, so frequent healthy snacks during the day can also help. .

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Looking after your loved ones who have ADHD is often challenging but when you change your approach as suggested above, you may be surprised at the results.

Featured photo credit: Mighty Jump/ David Goehring via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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