Itty-Bitty Tweaks to Grab Your ADHD Child’s Attention

by Yafa Luria/Margit Crane

 

teen says thinkItty Bitty Tweaks to Grab Your ADHD Child’s Attention

I have great news!

Surprisingly, most of your frustration with your ADHD kid’s behavior isn’t a gigantic problem; it really just takes some tweaks and a whole lot of consistency and follow through to grab your ADHD child’s attention and turn that hyperfocused (or unfocused) brain into a parent-focused brain (however briefly).

Let me share some techniques I use with families:

  1. Remember that your child has ADHD and can’t be parented the same way as other children. You need to come at the situation from an opposite or, at least, a “diagonal” perspective. We are taught in school to face problems head on. This doesn’t work for ADHD kids. Instead of the logical response, try an atypical response, even (GASP!) an illogical response! Instead of a head-on approach, try looking at it creatively (diagonally). If a child talks back, for example, instead of being offended, ask him/her what’s going on. Instead of heading directly to a punishment, simply say, “You know that’s rude.” And leave it there.
  2. Listen instead of talking. NOBODY wants to hear a lecture and there’s no perfect lecture that will finally turn your child around. The lectures need to stop and it’s time to listen to your kids. They will tell you exactly what they need from you. In case you’re afraid to hear what they have to say, here are the most common things kids would change about their families: 1) no more yelling, 2) able to spend more time with their parents, 3) more trust from their parents, 4) parents should stop being so frustrated and figure out what to do instead, 5) parents should assume that their child has good intentions.
  3. Use a kind tone of voice. If you can’t muster a kind tone of voice, wait to talk to your children until you’re calm. Take a time out yourself (they work better for parents than for kids!). If you’re not in the middle of an emergency (your child is about to be harmed or your child is about to harm someone), what you have to say can wait. You can tell your child, “I need to think about this. I want to make the best decision and not just react in anger. You don’t deserve that and that’s not who I am.”
  4. Back up a few steps and start over if your child seems unable to complete a particular task. If you have diabetes and your blood sugar is high, you wouldn’t keep repeating, “Why can’t you make more insulin? Come on! It’s easy. Other people’s bodies can make plenty of insulin. Why can’t you?” Instead, you would stop and assess the situation. You might give yourself a shot, you might adjust your eating, you might make an appointment with a Medical Doctor or a Naturopathic Doctor. You might do all three. In short, if you have diabetes, you need to learn how to handle a variety of situations. Instead of punishing the diabetic for not making enough insulin, we teach the patient how to manage their condition. It’s the same with ADHD. Getting frustrated or angry won’t accomplish a single thing. We need to teach our kids to manage their condition. If you don’t know how, calling a professional in is the next course of action.
  5. Change your view of ADHD. Instead of thinking of ADHD as a problem, think of it as a treasure that you’re searching to uncover. Many of your child’s talents, like a treasure chest, will be hidden, locked away. But what if you knew that there was a reward for your efforts to learn what you can and follow your intuition and your heart rather than your fear and your anger? Because that’s exactly what’s hidden: a big treasure trove of riches. Find that, cherish that, support that, and your child is set for life.

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Most of the time, ADHD kids either aren’t aware of what they’re doing or they’re looking for more parenting or more parental attention. Yes, more parenting! Many kids that act out are just using that to get your attention.

Power is also appealing to ADHD kids, who often feel powerless. Imagine not having control of your actions. Your heart wants to be good and kind and attentive, but your body chemicals won’t support that intention. Can you imagine how defeating that is? It’s true for ADHD adults and it’s true for ADHD children. In most cases, these adults that are frustrated are those that didn’t have support for their ADHD when they were children.

Which one of these tweaks will you try first? Just scroll down and share your thoughts in the comments section. I love, love, love hearing from you.

xo, Yafa

Copyright 2017 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved

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© Aleutie | Dreamstime.com - Teenager With ADHD Photo

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Becky April 18, 2016 at

I just joined your website. I subscribe to another ADHD website that post questions from mainly younger ADHD kids parents. Both my kids have ADHD. My son is 17 now and my daughter just turned 16. When they were younger it was a nightmare. They were both on meds and seeing a behavior therapist. My son was worse than my daughter because he had other diagnosis along with ADHD. They would not do ant school work and my son would miss weeks at a time because every other month he was in the mental hospital to get his meds tweeked. He eventually was put in a boys home that had an on site school, therapist, and Psychologist to help him. He started catching up in school. My daughter came off her meds at age 12. Her grades started going up. She learned what worked for her….FLASHCARDS and creative note taking. She was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society in Junior High. She is now a straight A Sophmore in High School and ranked #4 in her class. She takes Honor math classes and makes 100 for the 9weeks grading period. Next year she will take duel credit college courses. She is in the High School Choir and in the HOSA club (Health Occupation Club). She is learning nursing stuff in her Health classes and has decided she wants to be a Nurse Practitioner. My son came home from the boys home a little over a year ago. He is making almost straight A’s. He is getting B’s in his Honor Physics class. He told me he didn’t want to take his ADHD meds anymore. So I told him we could try it. He still takes his meds to help him sleep (clonidine). His thing is schedules. He sets alarms for his shower (8:30pm), night meds (9pm), and bedtime (10pm). I never thought this would be my life with my kids when they were little. They are both signed up for driver’s ed at school starting next month. They are both taking ACT and SAT’s this summer. They make me so proud. They still have their signs of ADHD. Even when they were giving me hell when they were little I still encouraged them both I knew they were both very smart they just hadn’t learned to focus their brains. The meds helped a lot and so did the therapy. I would communicate with the teachers to see what my kids needed help with and let the therapists know what my kids needed help with because it would change as they got older. It still scares me to death that they will be own their on soon. I am encouraging summer jobs this year. My son is easy to irratate because he is very sensitive to light and loud noises. So I am hoping he can find a job and keep it. My daughter’s brain is a true multitasker. Oh my kids bedrooms and closets are more organized than mine! OCD! Chores…well let’s just say I have to write them on the dry erase board or they don’t get done. My work schedule changes every week because I work at a fastfood restraunt and it irritates my son to know end but I have monthly dry erase calendar and as soon as I know my schedule I put it there. My kids also attend youth group at church every Wednesday. My son is a tech genius and helps with the sound equipment at church and some computer stuff. When my son was 15 and in a foster home in Houston after the boys home he hacked the entire Houston ISD computer system. He was suspended for 5 days. But he came home soon after. Child protective services wanted to make sure he wasn’t a danger to his sister before he came home because he had violent mood swings and anger issues. No issues like they use to be. He is using his coping skills. YAY! My goal was always to get him graduated from High School and he will next year and go to college! He will be the first male on his dad’s side even cousins to graduate in two generations. My kids have an older brother and a younger sister from their dad and we keep in contact with both. My kids father was murdered in 2010 by his girlfriend and bestfriend. They attended his funeral and I am glad they were seeing therapists every week at that time too. My son just stopped seeing his in December. He wants to get independent but he always has the option to go back if he needs too even after he turns 18. I wish these sites would have been around when my kids were younger. It would have been a life saver to have support. I am looking forward to reading all the articles. My teens are truely gifted with ADHD.

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Margit Crane Luria April 19, 2016 at

That is a fantastic story, Becky! Kudos to you for doing what was necessary, even though some of it was very painful. Hugs, Margit

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