Parenting is hard! ADHD is a whole family issue: it impacts the parent/child relationship, as well as relationships with siblings and friends, and it affects school satisfaction and performance.
To be clear, parent style does not cause ADHD. However, the parenting approach that is chosen could have an effect on the family dynamic, the child’s self-esteem and ultimately, his or her success.
Using an authoritarian parenting style results in the inevitable power struggle, with only one party (the parent) “winning” and the other (child) being told what to do, and often resisting or only complying in exchange for a reward. The parent feels frustration and resentment over having such a “difficult” child and the child feels sad and angry and out of control. The cycle continues unless you are willing to try something different. That is where ADHD parent coaching can help.
Current research is helping to guide how we approach parenting children with challenging behaviors by viewing that behavior as a communication that *something* is not right. That something may be an unmet need, a lagging skill, or difficulty using verbal language. It could also be related to the environment, such as sensory sensitivity or cues from within the body. Understanding that a child is not willfully acting out is a good place to start. It allows us to build empathy and approach the behavior in a helpful rather than punitive way.
To do this in ADHD parent coaching, we begin with a model of parent/child collaboration. If you are not familiar with Ross W. Greene, now is a good time to check him out on www.livesinthebalance.org. Dr. Greene is notorious for his assertion that kids do well if they can. Not if they feel like it, not if they are incentivized with treats, and not if they are threatened with removal of recess, their iPad, computer, etc. It benefits kids – and the adults around them – for them to do well, so they do well if they can. By understanding more about the neuroscience of behavior and using Dr. Greene’s model, you will be teaching your child valuable executive functioning, communication and social skills through problem solving.
Parent/child collaboration involves both parties being able to see each other’s side and find an acceptable outcome. It is not “letting your child get away with” (bad grades/ risky behavior/ slacking their responsibilities at home/ fill in the blank). It is figuring out how to solve your biggest struggles together. Your child is learning problem-solving skills while improving their self-esteem. And you get to break out of the reward/punishment cycle!
Most kids with ADHD have lagging skills in their Executive Functions. You may have heard the term “Executive Functions” – or it may be new to you. Simplified, Executive Functioning (EF) skills are skills that support goal directed behavior. These skills are not fully developed until the brain reaches maturity, around age 23! When the skills continue to lag or are never fully practiced in childhood and young adulthood, individuals with ADHD may continue to have issues throughout their lives.
Weaknesses to these executive functioning skills may show up as problems following directions, remembering a sequence of activities, getting stuck on a problem, staying focused for duration of a task, organizing, maintaining emotional control, transitioning from one task or location to another, follow through with boring or difficult tasks, and being flexible with unexpected changes.
Kids often also have difficulty with their language processing/communication skills, emotional regulation skills, cognitive flexibility, and social skills. I help you look at all of this with a new lens!
Parents can help their kids, and improve their own parenting, immediately by understanding the struggles the child is facing, and learning how to use a collaborative model to help. Then, the issues are approached with compassion and empathy, rather than with gritted teeth and threats. ADHD parent coaching helps parents identify their biggest struggles as a family. We reframe them through the lens of the lagging skills and unsolved problems. Then, we work to solve the problems collaboratively and lovingly. I have yet to meet a parent who regrets working on their own parenting to improve the dynamic at home! Join me to learn more about ADHD parent coaching and begin positively impacting behavior immediately.
If you are ready to join me for ADHD parent coaching now, complete our ADHD Parents Questionnaire to get started. I am extending my special price through January of 2022 only. I look forward to working with you!