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15 Things Parents Of ADHD Children Understand So Well

15 Things Parents Of ADHD Children Understand So Well

If you have ADHD or are a parent of a child with ADHD, you have to put up with a lot of ignorance and misconceptions about this disorder. This does not help at all in your daily struggle with a condition which is often downplayed and sometimes, even ignored. Here are 15 things you wish people knew about ADHD.

1. They have a minor mental disorder.

Because it has been all hyped up, ADHD is thought of as a major mental disorder. Many others are convinced that it has been been invented by Big Pharm to sell more medication, such as Ritalin or Adderall. You know that ADHD exists and as many as 9% of American children are battling this disorder. There are now so many studies from prestigious scientific institutions that show ADHD is a minor mental disorder that you wish more people would get their facts right. ADHD needs to be recognized, treated and dealt with. As a parent, you know it is just a difference but it needs careful handling.

“ADHD is real and valid. The sooner we recognize the patterns and learn to work with these kids, the better assured we will be that they as adults with be healthy members of society.” – Rhonda Van Diest.

2. They have a chemical imbalance in the brain.

It is true that children and adults with ADHD have problems with paying attention, keeping things organized and staying on task. Kids can be impulsive, defiant and overreact when faced with frustration. This is the result of brain chemistry which is out of sync and has nothing to do with bad parenting!

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Effective parenting comes into its own when kids are helped to cope and the parents are able to successfully draw the line between helping them too much and allowing them to get on with it. A good example is during homework. As a wise parent, you keep an eye by being present and get on with your own tasks. You can offer to get them things they need but you do not actually do the homework for them.

3. They need structure and routine.

Many people assume that disciplinary measures are needed to deal with bad behaviour and it has nothing to do with structure and routine. They just assume that threats of consequences and punishment will bring an ADHD child into line very quickly. But wise and experienced parents like you know very well that the best way is to set up structure and routine for playtime, meals, homework and bedtime. Using charts and stars for good behaviour, having visual planners and being consistent can be really effective.

4. They may need medication.

There are two extreme views here. One is that ADHD meds are harmful and addictive and will ruin a child for life. There are some side effects of these stimulants such as weight loss, disturbed sleep and other problems. The other view is that meds will solve all ADHD problems and all the kids have to do is take their pills and they will be fine. The answer, as usual, is to aim for a sensible middle path. Careful diagnosis together with collaboration between parents, teachers and doctors can produce measurable results in calming a child down and increasing their attention span. But this has to be done by using behavior techniques as well. Many experts says that behavior management must always be tried first before resorting to psychostimulant meds.

5. They fidget all the time, but they need to.

The latest news and research shows that fidgeting is really useful to help ADHD kids stay on task. Up to now, many teachers told kids to stop fidgeting. But balancing on a Swiss ball, finger tapping and knee bouncing are all helpful for ADHD kids. This secondary movement helps to keep them alert. Up to now, people were convinced that these movements were nothing more than distractions. Many schools now have Swiss balls instead of chairs and parents can try similar things at home when their kids do homework.

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6. They can make choices.

There is another misconception about people with ADHD. They are thought to be incapable of making a simple choice. But experts now know that offering the ADHD child a structured choice is really effective. Asking the child to choose clothes for school the evening before or asking them which subject they want to start the homework with are all great ways to assist them in making wise choices. It will also help them with self-control.

7. They have unexpected talents.

People with ADHD have a uphill task it is true, because the symptoms of restlessness, hyperactivity and impulsivity can make normal learning difficult. But many ADHD kids are extremely intelligent and funny. They may take longer to do certain tasks but they have a hyper focus when passionate about an activity which is second to none. There are many inspiring examples of people in the past and present who have excelled because of their ADHD. They can often solve problems by thinking along unconventional lines and they see it as a gift, rather than an obstacle.

“I can distill complicated facts and come up with simple solutions. I can look out on an industry with all kinds of problems and say, ‘How can I do this better?’ My ADD brain naturally searches for better ways of doing things.” – David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue.

8. They have social skills.

It is true that many people with ADHD have problems with social skills and as children, have trouble in turn taking when playing and other aspects of developing socially. When autism is present as a comorbid disorder, the problems of social interaction become a problem. The good news is that ADHD sufferers have a sense of humor and their empathic qualities are not affected in any significant way. They are also hypersensitive in the emotional sense and this means they can be more caring and sensitive generally. There is even better news in that most of people’s success depends on their emotional intelligence and not on their paper qualifications.

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9. They are actually good at sports.

People wrongly assume that because a lack of focus is part of ADHD, people with this disorder will never be any good at sport. But there are many sports where people with ADHD have excelled. Michael Phelps had ADHD as a child and has won more gold Olympic medals in swimming than anyone else in history. Generally, kids with ADHD do better at individual sports than team ones. As they have problems in following directions, paying attention and staying focused, this can result in problems in obeying rules and anticipating moves. Individual sports are much more suited to them and they can excel at martial arts, swimming, dance, and gymnastics.

10. They can do well at work.

Many people with ADHD have to face challenges at work, just like they had to do at school. In spite of all that, many people go on to have remarkably successful careers. The secret is to use as many aids as possible to reduce distractibility, boredom and procrastination. Making lists of points to cover complex projects before writing a report helps. Seeking a quiet space, when available, is an excellent idea. Also, using headphones with white noise to block out distracting noise is helpful. Planners, time-line charts and alerts can all help with time management. The best thing of all is that having a high energy level combined with the ability to multi-task can help many people with ADHD thrive at work.

11. They will not grow out of it.

A lot depends on how much treatment and loving care the child has while growing up. Assuming that this is a mere passing childhood phase is foolish. At the most, only about 20% to 33% of adults will outgrow it. How an adult copes successfully with ADHD in later life will mainly depend on whether they had a safe, supportive and loving home environment which provided them with the coping skills they needed. This will stand them in good stead when they reach adulthood. As a wise parent, you are preparing for the long haul.

12. They are not just hyperactive.

Most people associate ADHD with hyperactivity. But as most parents know, there are also other sub types such as the predominantly inattentive subtype. This is frequently undiagnosed because daydreaming at the back of the class rarely gets noticed. Losing things, forgetting tasks and being distracted by sounds or movements are the most common symptoms of this type of ADHD. Many girls discovered that they had this type of ADHD when they reached adulthood because nobody was sharp enough to notice while they were at school.

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13. They are not getting an unfair advantage.

Special accommodations (504s and IEPs) exist for kids with ADHD and this is right. There are a wide range available such as extra breaks, special seating arrangements near the front of the class, buddy tutoring and quieter classrooms. Some schools allow them to have squeeze balls and to chew gum. Remaining focused, staying positive and learning are the key objectives in allowing these special arrangements and they should never be regarded as an unfair advantage. They are merely levelling the playing field a bit. Most parents ensure their ADHD children will be able to avail of these facilities.

14. They do not all have the same symptoms.

Many people just assume that ADHD is an overall term for the usual symptoms, whether they are boys or girls. The fact is that boys tend to get noticed more because they display more physical symptoms such as aggression, hitting and being more impulsive. Girls tend to have less noticeable symptoms such as inattention, day dreaming, low self-esteem and can be more verbal when they talk and tease all the time.

15. They should not be treated the same as other kids.

As most parents know, bringing up an ADHD child is an enormous challenge, especially as they themselves may have the same condition. Ignoring the problem or downgrading it are not going to help. Treating them like other kids is not helpful at all. ADHD kids are special but they can achieve great things if they are given the right opportunities. Parents need to talk openly to their kids about this mental difference so that they know what is ahead.

Above all, they need a loving, supportive, and enriched childhood and yes, it is going to be tough.

“Living with ADHD is like walking up a down escalator. You can get there eventually but the journey is exhausting.” – Kathleen Ely.

Featured photo credit: Tanisha’s first shoot/ Harsha K R via flickr.com

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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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