They often say you have to walk a mile in a man’s shoes in order to understand his plight. This is certainly true of any parent of a child with ADHD. It’s not an easy journey- raising a child diagnosed and living with the typical symptoms of ADHD. A common question for these parents is “Do these behaviors and challenges ever come to an end?
Most cases of ADHD are Life long
Unfortunately, ADHD – itself – is a condition once had- will most likely lead into adulthood. ADHD symptoms don’t necessarily improve with age, but will present differently from childhood to adulthood. For instance evidence suggests that children who started out with hyperactivity will often grow out of it as they get older. Over time, we see such children become teens and adults who internalize the hyperactivity and the chaos is more so in their minds rather than outside of themselves. Children with attention symptoms will often continue to have attention symptoms throughout their lifespan. Impulsiveness for instance will take on other aspects and manifest into different types of behaviors. Research also finds that as more demands are placed and life becomes more difficult- symptoms tend to worsen and avail more readily.
Research shows that by age 25, only 15% of those diagnosed with ADHD in childhood still meet full criteria for the disorder. However, 65% continue to have persistence of some symptoms and experience impairment in work or social functioning that can be addressed by treatment. (Faraone, S. V., et al. (2006). “The age-dependent decline of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a meta-analysis of follow-up studies.” Psychological Medicine (on line at CUP.org) 36(2): 159-165.)
What can Families Do?
Take Care of your own emotional health because ADHD can and does take a toll on the emotional health of all family members. Whether that means taking time out for relaxation, yoga or even a massage, the constant disciplining, redirecting, maintaining self-control- will start to affect you unless your combat it with relaxation techniques. Under stressful conditions, our bodies can start to pay the price and render us more vulnerable to diseases. It is extremely important for parents not to allow the ADHD to define the entire family story.
The first time many people hear about the term ADHD is when their child is diagnosed or someone close to them is. By that time, we start recalling horrific stories we may have heard in passing about a child with ADHD. Most of us will turn to the internet- and be inundated with every and anything about ADHD. By the end we are more confused that when we started. It’s okay that you go through this process. Our recommendation is that you read evidence based reports and not an individual’s experience. Make sure that the research you access is credible and consider the odds in the research. Every child is unique and will have their own unique journey with ADHD. How the family reacts and responds to the ADHD challenges can impact how well the child thrives living with ADHD. So, yes, study info about ADHD, but also study your child. What are the situations, foods, and environments, people that trigger or contribute to certain unwanted behaviours. If we pay attention to these things, we can help the child understand the boundaries they should maintain in order to overcome their challenges
REGISTER YOUR CHILD IN SEL CLASSES
ADHD is often characterized by intense emotions and cognitions. Often parents will see heightened levels of aggression, anxiety and social awkwardness. Because of this high intensity children often need help in regulating their emotions. Parents may not be able to relate to why or how their child goes from 1 to 10 in seconds but simply take our word for it. It happens and will happen because of how they are wired.. What parents can do is register their child for social emotional classes or emotional intelligence classes. These two terms are interchangeable and are in fact the same thing- in that they offer education and self-awareness on the psyche and emotions. In addition, they provide tools and resources to help balance and manage the intensity of emotion and thoughts.
FEED YOUR CHILD’S STRENGTHS
What you will find with a child who has ADHD (not always) but often- is the tendency for them to struggle with self-defeating thoughts, and the constant berating of themselves when they’ve missed the mark. Over time- this can do serious damage to their self-esteem- when they struggle in a number of areas academically, socially and interpersonally. Parents in Toronto can combat this – by finding the gifting’s of the child- sports, activities, hobbies that the child does very well and allow them to experience what it feel s like when they strive in a situation. This can lessen the blow when they are hit with other areas they struggle with. Find out about interests and pursuits your child excels at and support them so they can feel good about themselves in other areas.
It is one of the corner stones of Positive Kids to believe in Children- to believe in what they can do-and to believe they are valuable. If you have a child that struggles with challges associated with ADHD, we can help.
GET TO KNOW MORE
Positive Kids offer groups and classes for kids struggling with ADHD. For more information, contact us at 866-503-7454.