Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/ADHD

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You may find the following coping tips helpful in dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD). These coping tips are just generalized advice — not all will work for everyone in every situation. Find ones that "speak" to you, and practice those regularly.

Parent Coping Strategies for ADHD

By Jane Framingham, Ph.D.

and John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

 

Here are some suggested coping strategies for parents of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD):
• Adjust your disciplinary methods. Many parents find spanking doesn’t help their child. Establish predictable consequences and rules. Learn to use time-outs consistently and without emotional upset.
• Readjust family routines and lifestyles to be more predictable, both for yourself and for your child. This can apply to bedtimes or access to television or the computer, for example.
• Distinguish between the things your child does that are annoying but harmless and are just part of the condition. Learn to selectively ignore those behaviors instead of getting upset about things the child can’t really control, such as fidgetiness or your child’s tendency to interrupt. This will increase your peace of mind.
• Make a concerted effort to not get so overly involved in the child with ADHD that you begin relating less to the other children in the household. Otherwise, they may start acting out because they feel neglected.
• Plan ahead: parents are often able to easily anticipate situations in which their child is likely to get into trouble. Plan out a step-by-step strategy for how you will react so you are prepared. Rehearse alternative behaviors with your child. For example, if talking on the telephone is a problem because your child interrupts you, practice with your child what you want him to do when you are on the telephone.
• Seek social support from people who are experiencing similar problems, either through organized groups such as CHADD or by cultivating friendships. Share your feelings and experiences so you can learn from each other.


You may find the following coping tips helpful in dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD). These coping tips are just generalized advice — not all will work for everyone in every situation. Find ones that "speak" to you, and practice those regularly. You may find that the more you practice one of these coping tips, the more helpful it is in dealing with your attention deficit disorder.
 
When necessary, ask the teacher or boss to repeat instructions rather than guess. Don’t be afraid to write things down as you’re listening, or take notes.

Break large assignments or job tasks into small, simple tasks. Set a deadline for each task and reward yourself as you complete each one.

Each day, make a list of what you need to do. Plan the best order for doing each task. Then make a schedule for doing them. Use a calendar or daily planner to keep yourself on track.

Work in a quiet area. Do one thing at a time. Give yourself short breaks. Reward yourself for achieving small milestones along the way. For instance, "If I get done reading 3 pages in Chapter 8, I’ll take a 5 minute break and grab a cookie."

Write things you need to remember in a notebook with dividers. Write different kinds of information like assignments, appointments, and phone numbers in different sections. Keep the book with you all of the time.

Post notes to yourself to help remind yourself of things you need to do. Tape notes on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator, in your school locker, or dashboard of your car — wherever you’re likely to need the reminder.

Store similar things together. For example, keep all your Xbox or PS3 games in one place, and DVDs or CDs in another. Keep canceled checks in one place, and bills in another. Organize!

Create a routine. Get yourself ready for school or work at the same time, in the same way, every day.

Exercise, eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep.

Remember, coping with ADHD is something you need to practice on a daily basis, as it takes time to work new skills and behaviors into your daily routine. Be patient with yourself and your progress as you try out these different coping tips. Attention deficit disorder can be successfully treated as well — so make sure you’re also seeing a therapist and/or taking medication for ADHD.

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