From Struggle to Success: Helping Your Child with ADHD Flourish
When our children struggle with focus, that means that they can have trouble with listening, getting stuff done, and even getting along with others. Most children and teens with ADHD are smart. Really smart. And that is how they get by in school. That structure that school provides helps children and teens with ADHD do well until they have to produce a lot of work. It is often written work that buries them.
These smart kiddos often over rely on their intelligence and written work is their kryptonite. Getting their ever so fast brains to slow down enough to get their thoughts on the page is painful. Most kids can only get by with the bare minimum for only so long.
And that is when the calls from the teacher start.
Sometimes the calls start long before. You might have an impulsive kid like David whose kindergarten teacher told his mom, Martina, “David can’t keep his hands to himself and that is a problem.”
Wherever you are in the journey of helping your child, teen, or young adult with ADHD, there is ALWAYS a way to help your child be successful in school, home and life. In my CALM Brain Insiders Group, I and my amazing team lead parents to solutions for ADHD and other clinical conditions.
Here are some of the answers to the most common questions I get from parents of kids with ADHD:
What is ADHD, Really?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurological condition that affects many children and can have a significant impact on their mental health and behavior. Kids with ADHD often struggle with inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which can affect their ability to learn and interact with others.
ADHD can look very different from person to person. One can be more inattentive and another can be impulsive and angry but they are both ADHD. The commonality that I can see from a QEEG brain map is a brain that has too many unfocused brain waves and not enough focused brain waves. This leads to brain dysregulation that impacts how a child “”puts the brakes on.”
Why is Parenting a Child With ADHD so Hard?
Parents of kids with ADHD face unique challenges when it comes to raising their child. You have a smart kid who just can't get stuff done and that is so frustrating for BOTH of you. It is important to remember that ADHD is not caused by bad parenting or poor discipline, and it is not a result of a lack of willpower or effort on the part of the child. ADHD is a neurological condition that affects a child's ability to regulate their behavior and control their impulses.
As a parent of a child with ADHD, it is important to understand that good behavior cannot be simply taught, but rather requires a combination of behavioral modification techniques, environmental changes to help manage symptoms of ADHD. Behavioral interventions and teaching social skills can help a child with ADHD learn how to manage their behavior and interact appropriately with others.
Raising a child with ADHD can be overwhelming, and it is important for parents to seek support and guidance. Behavioral management strategies can be helpful in managing a child's behavior, and it is important to work with your child's healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment, which may include ADHD medication.
Remember that ADHD affects your child, but it also affects the entire family. It is important to work together to create a supportive and understanding environment for your child. With patience, persistence, and the right tools, you can help your child with ADHD thrive and reach their full potential.
What Should You Not Say to a Child with ADHD?
Parents worry a lot. Parents of kids with ADHD or other clinical issues worry a REAL LOT! I get it. I am a special needs mom times two, so I really understand what it is like to be driving the worry train. I show parents every day how to get off it.
What should I say to help my kid with ADHD (or not say) is a conversation I have every day with a guilt ridden parent who thinks they did something wrong to create their kid's ADHD. Listen, no one ever thinks they will have anything but a “typical” kid but 54.2 percent of kids in the US have a physical or mental health problem. Yep. Scary, right?
Can how you parent a kid with ADHD make a difference. Yes. Oh, I mean heck yeah! That is probably the single greatest reason parents join my CALM BRAIN Insiders Group because they want the tools and methods to help their child do better in school and at home.
How Can I Get My Child with ADHD to Listen?
Most kids with ADHD struggle with listening and following directions at home and school. This gets in the way of doing their school work correctly, doing tasks in a timely manner, and just being able to remember when you ask them to do something. When you have ADHD, you simply don't alert in the same way. When your kid is engrossed in something they are hypervigilant. That means they are super focused on something. Part of ADHD is being able to have unbelievable focus on stuff you love and little to no ability to focus on low interest tasty ks. AKA… cleaning their room, algebra, and putting their book bag away. I hope you just had an aha moment!
Okay, so what do you say to your kid with ADHD so they will listen? Well it is actually how you say stuff to them that matters. Here is the basic framework to set up your communication.
First, get their attention. That doesn't mean yell. It means calmly getting them to disengage from what they are doing so they are ready to hear you.
Second, tell them, “ I will be telling you something. Are you ready?”
Third, wait for them to reply with, “Yes.”
Fourth, then give them directions or information.
Fifth, reinforce attempts and successful execution of the task
I know you are thinking, “What?! My kid should just be able to do this because he has a 119 IQ. But clearly you now realize that ain't happening.
So, you can go on yelling and being annoyed or you can shift your efforts and cut down on those battles. If your kid can't “hear” you then you will yell more and more and you will both be annoyed.
How Can I Help My Moody Teen or Child with ADHD?
Some kids with ADHD also struggle with their mood and can be snarky and cranky, as well as super moody teens and young adults. If you have a young or school aged child, then grab my free download, Parenting Tips for Dealing With Snarky and Cranky Kids. If you have a moody teen, then download this free resource, 10 Things Not to Say to a Moody Teenager.
How Can I Help a Child with ADHD Without Medication?
Despite what you may have heard or been offered by your pediatrician or even the school hinted you should do, there are many science-backed ways to reduce and even reverse ADHD symptoms in kids. In my book, “It's Gonna Be OK!™” I lay out the step-by-step way on just how parents can do that.
My favorite brain-based solutions for ADHD that help children and teens get focused, follow directions better, and complete tasks are:
- Nutrition for ADHD
- Supplements for ADHD
- Executive functioning coaching for ADHD
- Neurofeedback for ADHD
- PEMF for attention and executive functioning
I want parents to know there are safe and effective alternatives to medicating your child with ADHD. Through research we know that ADHD medication is toxic and 100 percent of the time has side effects and some can be serious. Here are 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Medicate Your Child With ADHD.
I have been using neurofeedback with children, teens, and young adults for a long time. For some reason parents trust a toxic and potentially dangerous psychiatric medication over this highly researched (tens of thousands of studies), safe and effective therapy. Just because you may not have heard of neurofeedback, it has been around over 50 years and is an effective therapy that every parent of a child or teen with ADHD (and mom or dad too) should consider! We work with clients all over the world and can even do neurofeedback remotely with them too.
Does Exercise Improve Attention?
Yes, physical activity can also be helpful in managing ADHD symptoms, as it can help to release pent-up energy and improve focus. Exercise can also improve executive functioning, which means improved task completion. In addition, limiting screen time (including video games) can also be helpful, as excessive screen time can worsen ADHD symptoms.
How Can I Help My ADHD Child Focus?
If we learned anything while helping our kids with virtual learning during the pandemic, we learned just how important structure and routine was to help our kids learn. Kids need the predictability of a routine but they also need their training wheels taken off. The hard part of raising a child with ADHD is balancing the extra learning time they need without overparenting. Oh, and it is so easy to do because our kiddos with ADHD have no sense of time and are often so forgetful and unorganized so we just swoop in and rescue them.
And what does that do? It causes them to learn slower and even unlearn what they were just getting the hang of it.
How Can I Help My ADHD Child Focus at Home?
At home, parents should put their energies on reinforcing desired behaviors and attempts to try. You should work on teaching your child and not constantly correcting. If you are always correcting your child, then how will they know what to do?
Unlock it moment! Parenting is always about teaching but with a child with ADHD (or any clinical issue for that matter), they need extra reinforcement and practice to get it right. Don't be dazzled by that 119 IQ because if they can't remember to flush the toilet, turn in their homework or stop touching the other kids on the bus, what does it matter?
How Can I Help My ADHD Child Focus at School?
We can learn a lot from a good teacher. They know how to tame an unruly mob and get them learning. They do that with a lot of patience and structure and routine of course.
Kids with executive functioning problems really can struggle in school despite high intelligence and that can show up in a variety of ways.
- Trouble switching between and within a task
- Difficulty shifting attention
- Slow response times
- Trouble with reading and writing
- Careless mistakes
- Task completion
Know that what an ADHD parent does at home can help with school. Consistency and routine with lots of positive reinforcement can really change behavior.
Raising a child with ADHD can be challenging, but there are steps that can be taken to help manage the condition.
Remember, ADHD affects not only the child but also the entire family. By working together and providing support and understanding, family members can help kids with ADHD thrive and reach their full potential.
Always remember… “Calm Brain, Happy Family™”
Are you looking for SOLUTIONS for your struggling child or teen?
Dr. Roseann and her team are all about solutions, so you are in the right place!
There are 3 ways to work with Dr. Roseann:
You can get her books for parents and professionals, including: It’s Gonna Be OK™: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health, Teletherapy Toolkit™ and Brain Under Attack: A Resource For Parents and Caregivers of Children With PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalopathy.
If you are a business or organization that needs proactive guidance to support employee mental health or an organization looking for a brand representative, check out Dr. Roseann’s media page and professional speaking page to see how we can work together.
Dr. Roseann is a Children’s Mental Health Expert and Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of media outlets including, CBS, NBC, FOX News, PIX11 NYC, The New York Times, The Washington Post,, Business Insider, USA Today, CNET, Marth Stewart, and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health.”
She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Medicine Mental Health Provider (CMHIMP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach. She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) and The Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB).
© Roseann-Capanna-Hodge, LLC 2023
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime. *The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment vary by patient and condition. Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC does not guarantee certain results.