How to Talk to Kids About ADHD

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ADHD is a behavioral disorder that is continually growing in prevalence, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stating that, as of 2009, between 3 and 7 percent of all school age children reportedly suffer from some form of this disorder. If you child is an ADHD suffer, consider ways in which you can speak with him about his behavioral challenges. By approaching ADHD-related conversations carefully, you can help your child both gain a better understanding of the challenges he faces and work to overcome these not insurmountable behavioral difficulties.

ADHD is a behavioral disorder that is continually growing in prevalence, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stating that, as of 2009, between 3 and 7 percent of all school age children reportedly suffer from some form of this disorder. If you child is an ADHD suffer, consider ways in which you can speak with him about his behavioral challenges. By approaching ADHD-related conversations carefully, you can help your child both gain a better understanding of the challenges he faces and work to overcome these not insurmountable behavioral difficulties.

Await Diagnosis

While you may be eager to talk to your child about ADHD as soon as you suspect that he may suffer from the disorder, it is generally best to wait until the child has been diagnosed. If you engage your child in ADHD-related conversation only to find later that he does not suffer from this disorder, you could confuse the child and leave him thinking that his hyperactivity is beyond the norm when, in fact, he is merely a normal precocious child.

Avoid the Disability Plan Game

The way in which you approach the topic of ADHD is important. Your attitude toward the behavior disorder will likely have a major impact on how your child views his condition. If you act as if the ADHD diagnosis excuses all misdeeds, your child will likely adopt the same attitude. Instead, make it clear to your child that an ADHD diagnosis means that he must struggle a bit more than others. It does not mean that he is incapable of controlling himself. Allowing him to think that ADHD is equivalent to an incapability to self-control could lead your child not to even try to harness his excessive energy.

Don't Generalize

While there are some commonalities in the ways that ADHD children behave, you should avoid listing common ADHD behaviors to your child as your list may inspire bad habits. If you, for example, tell your child that ADHD children often lose their homework even though your child has never lost his homework, he may feel less inclined to put the work into keeping track of his things as he knows that misplacing objects is common among people with his condition. Instead of presenting your child with generalizations, speak only about the difficulties that your kid currently experiences as a result of his disorder. If other ADHD related difficulties arise, tackle them when they become problematic.

Cooperative Plan Development

Instead of talking at your child about his ADHD, talk with him. Work with your child to build a plan to manage his ADHD. Ask him when he feels like he can concentrate most, what helps him concentrate, and what he thinks might help him control his energy. Mold his suggestions into a behavior modification plan, making changes to the daily routine as necessary. For example, if your child feels more focused after dinner, you may want to move homework time to right after this final meal of the day. By giving your child some input on his plan, you empower him to take control of his disability and work toward modifying his behavior.

Learning Together

When you sit down to talk with your child about ADHD, you will likely not have all the answers. Don't feel pressured to pretend to know more about the disorder than you do. Instead, as you come across questions to which you don't know the answer, jot them down. Take this list of questions with you to your child's next doctor's appointment, and pose the questions to the physician, allowing him to provide you and your child with the answers you seek.

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