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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 February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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