Parenting AD/HD Tips

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What is ADHD an impairment?

Symptoms And Impairment

Understand the difference between 'symptoms' and 'impairment.' Symptoms are signs of the presence of an illness. For instance, a fever indicates the presence of an infection. Impairment, on the other hand, implies a reduced ability to function optimally. Again, diagnosis is not necessarily destiny. There are many ways of addressing Attention Deficit Disorder and options may include: medication, therapy, educational support or alternative remedies including specialized computer software designed to improve focus and short-term memory recall. Sometimes a combination of these modalities is appropriate.

There are many successful adults that have learned how to work with the symptoms of ADD and ADHD. Creativity, intuition, resilience, and a delightful sense of humor are a few of the advantages of ADD.

Some children have issues with impulsivity and distractibility yet they are capable of meeting success at home and in school, but the uneven performance can be stressful for everyone involved. Teachers want children to meet academic success as do parents and the child. When a child has Attention Deficit Disorder it often takes numerous adjustments, some minor, some major. Sometimes, ADHD is not a stand alone diagnosis. There may be other factors involved including learning disabilities. It takes team work to put together a plan that will be effective. s.

Life with ADD or ADHD children can be rich and joyful. Search for the hidden treasure inside, create a space for their strongest gifts, and enjoy a deep sense of connection with them. These are amazing and talented children. What the need is a chance and a safe place to land.

What can I do to stop my negative thoughts?

Rhymes With Bop

Negative thoughts erode confidence and competency. Individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder are especially prone to negative self-talk. These thoughts are subjective, and they can be changed.

Have you ever had a jingle stick in your mind and replay over and over? Likewise, poisonous self-criticism can haunt your thoughts, playing over and over again like a broken record. How can you shift your thoughts? One technique is to use the "Stop" method. Whenever a negative or critical idea goes round and round in your mind practice using the word "STOP." When negative thoughts enter your mind, think "stop." When you are tempted to fly off the handle, think stop. When you are feeling overwhelmed or ready to give up, stop.

There is more for you than what you are feeling now.

Are there effective ways to calm down?

Spiritual Practices

Develop a spiritual practice. Prayer, Meditation, Yoga,
or simply taking a walk are all wonderful ways to clear the mind and lower the
stress level. Whatever your preference, practice it intentionally and consistently.

Managing stress is key to optimum health. When you feel undone by the friction of conflict or a long list of undone chores, it is easily to feel powerless. Meditation, prayer or other spiritual practices are an act of faith. Faith in a power higher than yourself and that in itself is comforting.

A sense of connection, especially in the spiritual sense, is important in the overall scheme of wellness. This will be a source of strength for you when some days feel more challenging than other days.

What helps when I second guess myself?

Stop Signs

Know and appreciate your limitations. If you are not the "patient" type when it comes to helping your child do homework, let someone else be the tutor.

If you are the kind of person who needs to decompress after a full day's work, establish a protocol for how much downtime you need after you arrive home. Ask for help when you need it. When you are feeling overwhelmed ask someone else to take over for you when you need to take a break. Spouses, neighbors, babysitters or friends can take over for a while and the change of pace can help.

Feeling frustrated by rarely accomplishing goals is not uncommon. Sometimes consulting with an organizational expert is an effective strategy. Seek out those people who bring out the best in you. Resolve to do your best, make a plan, seek out positive people, and remind yourself that uncomfortable thoughts and feelings are subjective. Life is dynamic. Things can and do change. Give yourself time. When you need to talk things over with a professional and do not know of one ask around.


A Unique Perspective

ADD and ADHD are what they are - brains wired a particular way. It is a different way of seeing the world and a different way of being in the world. There are many successful, talented and creative individuals that share this diagnosis: celebrities, top executives, inventors, physicians, lawyers, engineers, and other gifted individuals.

While traits such as stubbornness and willfulness are not usually our favorite traits in children, these traits are useful skills for navigating life successfully, especially when a child will not give up his or her dream easily Because children with "race car brains" are so creative, they often come up with ingenious solutions for tricky problems. When we experience sadness, these children bring a zany zest for life, along with a delicious sense of humor into our lives.

I once read that ADHD is a diagnosis, not a destiny. And the list of successful adults that have overcome his or her obstacles ought to inspire the rest of us to continue working steadily toward our hopes, dreams, and visions. Take heart. Focus on your child's creativity, humor, and other gifts. Provide encouragement to your child to stay the course every day. Take care of yourself, surround yourself with positive people, and move forward step-by-step. There is always hope.

How can I manage feeling overwhelmed?

A Fresh Start

Setbacks, disappointment, and frustration are part and parcel of overcoming obstacles. Everyone has obstacles to overcome. It will help if you develop a plan for overcoming them.

Making a conscious effort to think through issues and challenges using creativity and thought is challenging, especially when we tend to think with our feelings. Write your plan down! Outline specific goals and the steps needed to achieve them. Be as specific as possible. Writing down your ideas is important. It helps you see on paper what your thoughts are. Instead of writing, "I need to be better organized" you could write, "I need to get better organized this way: hire an organization expert, purchase more storage containers, label containers, purchase hangers to color code my outfits, and jot down the order I wish to do these on a list I can refer to often."

Repetition can become tedious when you are explaining over and over the same rule, direction, or request. It is easy to lose your patience in this kind of situation.

There will be times when frustration and disappointment
get the better of you. Managing a household, fulfilling work obligations, and functioning as the "thinking partner" of your child is bound to get the best of you from time to time. Emotions
experienced as uncomfortable or upsetting come with the territory, so strive to
make each new day your fresh start and let go of yesterday's upsets. It is not
easy, but it can be done. Sometimes the negativity associated with ADHD can be worse than the disorder itself.

It helps to develop a parenting plan. Write it down. Journaling is an excellent way to get your thoughts down on paper. If that seem to be too much of an effort, simply jot down your plan on a piece of paper and post it in a place where you can add to it or make adjustments as needed. By writing out the goals of your overall parenting plan such as "My child is responsible for doing school work everyday," it helps clarify your intentions, goals, and outcomes.

Some days you may need to pick up from the day before in terms of resolving an issue. Generally, it helps if you can think of each new day as an opportunity to have 24 brand new hours to start fresh, let go of what's gone, and resolve to work toward your goals one by one, while maintaining an attitude of gratitude.

Where can I find support services?

Alliances for Support

Develop awareness and build your support. Join a
community support group or start your own. Develop alliances with teachers, coaches, therapists, or others who are
familiar with ADD or ADHD. Many communities offer faith-based or
non-denominational services. These will be listed in your local paper in the
‘Community News' page.

How I can I be sure my child has ADD?

Seeking Professional Services

Parenting a child with ADD or ADHD successfully requires that you first ascertain that the child does indeed have ADD or ADHD. See a qualified professional to rule out other disorders that mimic ADHD. You may want to try calling your family physician for a referral to a specialist. School Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Clinical Psychologists, Nurse Practitioners, or Parent Coaches specializing in ADHD can assist you with a referral. Friends and neighbors can provide tremendous resource information and support, ask for help.

How can I find a qualified parent coach?

Support Is Not Just For Hosiery

Don't try to go it alone. Support is valuable. There are parenting groups, seminars, classes, books and articles available to you. Check the "Community Section" of your local paper for announcements.

CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) is a national organization that has state by state listings of group meetings in your area. (Website: Likewise, Attention Deficit Disorder Resources in a national non-profit organization that helps people with ADD or ADHD achieve their full potential through education, support and networking opportunities. (Website: There are other organizations you may wish to try and they are easily located by using the search engine on your computer.

Ask for recommendations or referrals from friends, your physician's office, or the school guidance counselors. There are many wonderfully wise people in a similar situation and you will be the beneficiary of years of experience from the people who have "been there, done that!"

What books, websites or resources do you recommend?

A Nurturing Drive To The Library

Read all about it! Driven to Distraction by Drs. Hallowell and Ratey. Visit websites such as, and, to name but a few. Howard Glasser and Jennifer Easley's The Nurtured Heart Approach is chock full of practical advice. There are many other excellent books and resources out there; find them at your local library.

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Guru Spotlight
Sheri Ann Richerson