This Article is About
adhd
mental health problems
added stress
family stress
suffering from depression
stress levels
kids and parents
bad behavior
stressors
Parenting Adhd – Some Strategies To Help Make Family Life Less Stressful
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Parenting Adhd – Some Strategies To Help Make Family Life Less Stressful

Look at all these problems of parenting ADHD and you begin to see what an enormous challenge it is!

• there are high stress levels and lots of energy is needed. This impacts on relationships with spouses and siblings in the family unit

• there is a greater risk of separation or divorce because of ADHD

• resources at schools are getting scarcer and scarcer due to cutbacks. This means parents have to rely more on their own families in providing the care needed

Carol Whalen, a UC Irvine psychologist has done some interesting research on how a parent reacts to her child’s bad behavior and how it stresses her. This research was done with mothers and not fathers or with both parents, for obvious reasons!

Whalen’s research pointed up some interesting facts which shed light on parenting ADHD and how stressful it really is. She wanted to find out how a parent’s stress levels changed in real time and how they were directly linked to her child’s behavior. She also got the children in the study who had ADHD to write down and record their perceptions of their behavior and the parents’ reaction to it. She had to use PDAs which had some built in reminder alarms to help the kids do this.

She found that when comparing the kids and parents’ notes that :-

• parent’s stress levels were often matched with the child’s bad behavior and this was even more marked if they were suffering from depression or had other types of family stress.

• kids were aware when their mom was upset or stressed out

• the top behavior stressors were disobedience, anger, not paying attention and hyperactivity.

• the family dynamics of sibling reactions and the spouse’s involvement are often forgotten or ignored.

While the findings are fairly obvious, the lessons learned for parenting ADHD are not so clear cut. First, the mental health of the parents is a very strong determining factor so if she is suffering from depression or other mental health problems, then this is an added stress. Not only that but it will largely determine the parenting style and whether it is effective or not.

Here are some strategies which could make family life less stressful. There is far too much attention on the bad behavior and not enough on the good. There should be a record kept of the child’s progress and praise is liberally doled out. Also parents tend to neglect the opportunities they can have through participation in the child’s hobbies. This is probably when the child is at his best and the parent’s participation is a great bonding element. It cannot be overstressed.

In parenting ADHD, it is often forgotten that unless proper behavior therapy procedures are in place, then it is really hard to make progress. You can check my website for more details on this.


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