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Mentoring Children With ADHD
"I am in the Big Sister mentoring program. My 10-year-old Little Sister has ADHD, and we see each other once a month. Whenever we go anywhere, she runs off and I have a hard time keeping track of her. Any advice will be appreciated."
Bravo to you for being a Big Sister! ADHD kids benefit so much from positive mentoring relationships. They also benefit from a lot of structure, so try the following plan for your next day out.
1. Ask the girl and her family to make a list of her favorite activities.
2. Choose a structured activity that will not let her "take off" easily (avoid malls or large crowds). For example, you may pick a paint-your-own pottery project store.
3. Keep the outing short, and plan your time down to the minute.
4. When you pick her up, tell her the plan and the rules at the outset. "Today we are going to the pottery barn, and then to the ice cream store. We will be home by 4 p.m. In order to be safe, you must stay with me. If you want to look at something along the way, ask me first, so I can go with you. If you don’t stay close, we will go home and try again next time."
Plan, prepare, and set the rules in advance, and your visits should go more smoothly. The positives your "little sister" will gain from the relationship will justify your efforts.
Dr. Carol Brady is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Houston, Texas. She is also a specialist in school psychology and a well-regarded speaker in the area of ADHD, children, and families in trauma and Tourette's Syndrome.
She received her Ph.D. from LSU and she is currently on the scientific advisory board for the Tourette's Syndrome Association and is an adjunct faculty at Baylor University and the University of Texas. Dr. Brady hopes to help children and families who deal with neurological/developmental disorders by serving as a regular columnist for ADDitude magazine.