This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.
There is a learning curve to parenting a child with ADHD. My learning curve took about two years, but my son also has pretty severe ADHD and well as LDs, and he is very sensitive to medication.
Start with reading all you can about ADHD. There are some great books available on parenting a child with ADHD. My favorites starting out were “Superparenting for ADD” and “The Explosive Child” (great for all special needs parenting, not just explosive, my son is not explosive and this book changed our lives).
Second, get treatment. Medication was a game changer for my son (diagnosed at 6), after trying behavior modification techniques at school and home.
Studies show that medication coupled with behavioral therapy is the most effective ADHD treatment for kids. A therapist can help you with skills and strategies for this special parenthood, and work with your child on developing lagging skills like frustration tolerance, regulating emotions, etc.—so it’s great that you’re getting that on your schedule!
Keep a daily journal! Oh how I wish someone had advised me to do that at the start! Every day write down the following:
- time woke up
- time medication taken, with med and dosage (also vitamins and supplements)
- breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, time and foods eaten
- Any positive behavior moments/improvements and time
- Any negative behavior/outbursts and time
- Time goes to bed + time fell asleep
Many things can affect behavior, self-regulation, and the efficacy of treatment, and writing all of this down daily will help you and your doctor see precisely when and how treatment is working, what triggers unwanted behaviors, etc.
Set a daily schedule with routines (another thing I wish I knew earlier). The more structure the better, as kids with ADHD do best when they know exactly what to expect and when they form habits.
Lastly for stating out (I know it’s a lot), is parenting strategies. Traditional discipline and punishment often doesn’t work for kids with ADHD. Positive parenting is much more successful. These articles provide tons of strategies and tips on this:
You have a long adjustment period, but knowledge is power, so start there first.
ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism