7 Methods for Constructive Parenting
Motivating yourself to do something is much easier when you focus on the positive. Being a great parent is no different. And positive upbringing for a child with ADHD? Well, that’s a whole different ball game!
ADHD brains have many properties that make parenting frustrating. In fact, this is an understatement for parents of a child with ADHD. Chaos can arise without warning. It always amazes me how easy it is to feel like you are going to be the worst parent in the world when you just want a day to go smoothly without blood pressure spiking. It can be a tough job!
The normal human brain is naturally oriented towards negativity. This evolutionary programming has kept us alive for thousands of years. Seeing things as “more dangerous” or “more negative” kept us from becoming someone’s snack when we step out of our caves.
Although society has changed quite a bit since then, the protective mechanism of negativity is still firmly entrenched. It shows in many aspects of our culture.
Take the media for example. It rarely happens that we turn on the TV or open a magazine and find a positive, heartwarming news story that inspires us to be better people. Most of the time, the news or chatter from our neighbors has a negative effect.
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Knowing about this natural bias enables us to proactively change our view of anything. When we rise to the challenge, we can change our perception.
Children with ADHD often have many traits that are really negative. However, if you focus on your child’s struggles, your own anger at the situation, and the resulting chaotic family environment, being an empowered parent can be quite difficult.
I am not suggesting that you ignore your child, who wholeheartedly yells “NO!” When you ask them to get dressed in the morning. Also, I am not asking you to stop seeking academic support and assistance in overcoming the disability aspect of the syndrome.
So what do I propose? Here are some ideas to help you become a more positive, confident parent:
- Reach deep down and stop mourning the loss of the child that “should have been”. It is painful to fight a lifetime for our children whom we love so much.
- Stop berating yourself for losing your temper again. Give yourself a break. Raising these children is difficult. Retrain your brain. Everyone involved benefits from this.
- Teach your children that the differences in their brains that sometimes cause them trouble are the same differences that will get them to the top of their obsession! The brain is always looking for a functional balance to compensate for deficits. Just as blind people develop hyperacute hearing, ADHD brain differences are made up with compensatory strengths – they may not be obvious, but they exist and need to be discovered.
- Look for your child’s passions. People with ADHD tend to be exaggerated or hyper-focused when they are very interested in something. You become “addicted” to the topic or activity. This can turn out to be extreme tenacity and unmatched drive in real life. It’s positively abnormal! When cultivated, it can lead to incredible success.
- Don’t try to force them into your dreams about who you think your child should be. Try not to feel sorry for them and wish that life could have given them other cards. Encourage them to be as their brains show them they are. Take their lead and think outside the box. Accept that ADHD makes people different. Teach them to accept their differences and to be proud of them.
- Be a source of endless support for your child. Even if you don’t understand, you’re promoting whatever interest they have as long as it’s not dangerous. Even if you see no future value, support your child simply out of interest. The world is changing, and what will be in demand tomorrow cannot be foreseen. Withhold judgments so you can truly see the potential of their interests.
- Work on improving mindfulness and being in the moment as often as possible, especially if your child is happy and positively engaged. Talk to your child and spend time when they are able. Not only does this promote the positive qualities, but it also makes it a lot easier for both of you to deal with the negative ones.
Success with ADHD means redefining success for your child and their future as well your parenting.
If after reading this review you still feel that your child is “normal”, you may want to seek help from a therapist. If you enjoy these suggestions but aren’t sure how to implement them, you may want to consider getting help from a parenting coach.
These are not all easy tasks and most people do not take them for granted. Dig deep into your soul and ask yourself, “What kind of parent do I want to be?” Imagine what positive parenting would be like if you searched for the good things ADHD has given your child.
A child with ADHD can make any dream come true if only one person believes in it. Be that person!