Making it a Rewarding Parenting Journey
The more you put into something, the more you get out of it. This applies to parenting also. And if you are parenting a child with ADHD or any learning difficulties for that matter, you know there are a lot of opportunities to invest! This article outlines ways to go that extra mile, in a way that will be rewarding for your child – and for you.
First, let’s acknowledge. Parenting a child with ADHD can be grueling, to say the least.
You know it’s not a willful act by your child to struggle with focus in school, to resist reading or to constantly forget homework assignments. You know it’s involuntary, just part of who your child is and his learning skill package at this point in time. He would rather please you, and please his teachers, you know that. It’s what all children want.
However, you might still struggle to stop yourself from losing your temper at times, blaming yourself for your child’s difficulties.or wonder, why me?
There is another way to think about this parenting role however. It gives you a chance to go that extra mile, for a child that needs your extra attention. And you know, to give is to get. Your child is giving you a chance to do something special, something extra, something that can be personally rewarding.
Above all else, your child needs you to stay positive..
First, Acknowledge Your Feelings
It is normal to feel frustrated, even resentful because you know, deep down, that your child’s struggles are deep seated and not easy to resolve.
But also, take pride in a learning journey that has probably already started. You might already be somewhat of an ADHD expert, certainly in your circle.
You know that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects 6.1 million children throughout the United States. And that ADHD is defined based on three types of symptoms: Inattentive ADHD, hyperactive/impulsive, and combined. You know that girls and boys tend to experience symptoms of ADHD differently and that boys are diagnosed with this condition 2-3 times as often as girls.
This expanded knowledge makes you a better caregiver and a more empathetic and supportive person. You now see underlying difficulties, not “weird” behavior in other children or adults.
Honor Your Child’s Uniqueness
It’s easy to feel frustrated by all the ways that your child is different from their peers. However, these differences are not all negative.
Does your child – accustomed to needing creative workarounds to avoid homework or reading out loud, for instance – come up with solutions to problems that no other child has thought of? Does she have creative ideas for games and activities that you’ve never seen another child come up with? Are these difficulties building creativity and resilience that will serve her well in later life.
Positive Parenting – Ideas
There are a number of parenting approaches to consider.
The Guidance Approach is particularly helpful. If you understand that your child’s avoidance and other behaviors are not really voluntary, they are a response to deep-seated difficulties, then you will also understand that normal reward and punishment systems have limits. Your child needs guidance, not threats. Guidance takes more time and thought, but it is also more rewarding – for you and your child. More here.
Be sure to always validate your child’s feelings – listen, be curious. Avoid teaching, judging. There are many great books on how to do this. We recommend Parenting From the Inside Out. There is so much to be gained from acting like a mirror, reflecting your child’s behavior make to him – without teaching and without judging. This reflecting approach is the foundation of ABA therapy used for autistic individuals, but applies equally to all children with learning difficulties.
Another way to create positivity in your child’s life is to focus on a strength. If your child has a particular interest or skill, help develop it. Whether it be artistic, a sport, a hobby, anything that gives your child joy and a sense of achievement. This is a way to give your child a chance to taste success, respect – as a way to build confidence. Learn more on developing strengths here.
Almost always, when you give, you receive. Each of these is a way of giving to your child, investing in success. And so each includes the opportunity to make your life richer.
And that special journey with your child is part of what can make your parenting role particularly special.
If you find yourself struggling to identify positives and are only focusing on what could be better, it may be time to seek outside help.
Gemm Learning provides learning interventions for deep-seated cognitive delays that can help improve focus and learning efficiency. We use Fast ForWord software, at home with remote coaching. Get started by finding out if we can help.