Coping Strategies

Many parents are ill equipped with ADHD coping strategies to deal with their kid’s hyperactivity and inattention problems.  It’s no wonder than that many parents are at their wits end when they are continuously bombarded by their kids’ teachers and coaches that their young ones are not paying attention or are daydreaming in school.

These parents are, of course, fully aware that concentration is a very important aspect of learning and communicating, and that such problems should be seriously looked into.   Because attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a hidden handicap, it could result in the untreated child developing personality problems in adulthood.

With that being said, below are five basic ADHD coping strategies to help parents manage their ADHD kids properly.

Before outlining these coping strategies, there are a few things to know about children with ADHD.  One of the first things to remember is that the underlying problem of ADHD is conduct disorder.  That is, the person’s inability to learn from his experiences. For instance, the child may hit a classmate or friend now but by the time he is punished, he cannot relate the punishment to his ‘crime’.

Compounding to their misery is that when this child misbehaves and is constantly criticised by teachers, coaches and family members who do not understand his problem, his self-esteem suffers as he is always labelled bad or naughty, without him truly understanding why.  The constant barrage of being punished for behaviour that is out of his control by teachers and coaches is seen more and more – this is due to the lack of knowledge by those instructing the child.  They lack the understanding of ADHD and how to deal with it monthly, daily, hourly, or even just minute by minute.

Another often heard complaint is that children with ADHD don’t listen.  The instructions always appear a little too slow for them, because their mind has already raced on to something else.

ADHD kids can also get interested in 101 different activities at the same time without finishing one.  They cannot sustain their interest in any activity as they are easily distracted.  With such a short attention span, they often cannot cooperate in group activities as they are too impatient to wait their turn.

It is still valuable to learn ADHD coping strategies because proper diet, supplements (even medication for those who choose to medicate their children) can only do so much.  For instance, ADHD medication may be able to enhance the child’s concentration, but they cannot teach the child how to focus, stay organised or behave properly.

The five ADHD coping strategies are as follows:-

CONSISTENCY – It is very important that all parties involved with the child, including teachers and coaches, cooperate as consistency at home, in school and in sports, is vital in treating children with ADHD.

SIMPLE RULES – When setting up rules, make sure the rules are simple to follow, clear, and most importantly, only a few.  Putting these criteria in place is very important because having to follow different sets of rules at home and in school can be very confusing.  If you have too many rules, the child will become more frustrated as he cannot abide by them all.

TIME MANAGEMENT – Because the child cannot concentrate and stay on a task for long, it is essential he learns to focus and do just one task at a time.  He must learn to plan and finish a task before going on to something new.  A good way to start is by giving him appropriate activities that allows him to receive immediate rewards within the allotted time frame.

PRAISE AND REWARDS – “Be slow with criticisms but quick with praise!” as the saying goes.  So when he does something right, praise him. Teach him to give himself a pat on the back and tell himself well done.  Alternately, when something is not done quite right, word it in such a way that praise can still be heard.  For example, “I really liked the way you did that but let’s try it a different way.”  Eventually, he builds up his own self-esteem.

REDIRECTION – This last ADHD coping strategy requires that parents try to always be there for their ADHD child.  For instance, before he loses interest in his task, be there to redirect his attention towards something constructive.  Be one step ahead of him, and catch him before he can get into mischief.