Parents Answer: Helping an Upset Kid with ADHD

Children with ADHD often feel things more intensely than their peers. We asked parents how they help their child when she's feeling upset.

A father comforting his child with ADHD, who was recently upset but is now happy

> I tell him he is clever and has skills that can’t be taught, so he is ahead of the world already. —Amanda Bolt, Perth, Western Australia

> I tell my nine-year-old stories about when she was younger and how she used to react to things. Sometimes the stories make her laugh, but, most of all, they give her a boost from seeing how far she’s come. —Margarita, Manila, Philippines

> We have a “smiles jar” that we open up when my son is feeling down. In the jar are little notes, each recalling an achievement, a funny memory, or a goal that he reached. We add a note to the jar whenever another happy memory is made. These notes get him thinking about happier times. It’s good for all of us to laugh. —Patricia, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

> We give him hugs and snuggles and tell him a few of our favorite things about him. It works almost every time. —Monica, Montana

> I help him redirect his focus to something positive, something he’s good at. This reminds him how fantastic he is. —An ADDitude Reader

> I tell him that life doesn’t always work out perfectly and to enjoy the good times. —An ADDitude Reader

> I schedule one-on-one time to do something simple, like getting ice cream. I tell my child that ADHD does not define him. —Cheryl P., Pleasanton, California

> When my son is feeling down, we go for a long walk or to the science museum. Movement and nature always raise his spirits, and as a “science nerd,” he feels like he is with his tribe. —Heidi Z., Aurora, Colorado

> I hug her and tell her I love her. Sometimes we do something together that she enjoys, and I compliment her. When all else fails, we make cupcakes. —Wendy, New Mexico

> My child needs space and quiet time when she’s down and frustrated. She doesn’t need me to do much except leave her alone and talk later. —Shelly Dubinski, Amherst, Massachusetts

> A new toy, a Happy Meal, or a huge hug while whispering, “How did Mama get so lucky with a son like you?” —An ADDitude Reader

> I tickle her and tell her a silly story about something that happened to me. That always makes her feel better. —Michaela, Pennsylvania


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TAGS: ADHD and Emotions, Self Esteem, Hypersensitivity

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