With the ADHD teen's short attention span and restlessness, this problem becomes crucial to solve. But how? The answer may lie in a framework and structure that allows the ADHD child to accomplish the homework throughout his or her school years (Robin, n.d.).
First, the parent and child must work together to investigate the points at which they are having the problem with homework. Are they writing down the assignment properly? Do they understand the assignment? Do they bring home the appropriate schoolbooks, etc. with which to accomplish the assignment? Do they have a quiet, well-lit workspace at home? Are they adhering to the promised schedule for doing the homework? Do they have a problem focusing once they sit down to do it? Are his or her medications planned so that they can take advantage of it during those hours and have optimum concentration?
Second, work out a written agreement with your ADHD child -- a simple, structured document that they can understand and adhere to. Address specifically those homework areas that you have both identified as needing improvement with solutions that you have both agreed to. Try it out for a few weeks, and adjust it as necessary. And don't forget incentives for sticking with the agreement, and make them part of that document as well. The incentive could be more TV time, more time on the internet, a slightly later curfew on the weekend, or anything else that would truly motivate your teen (Robin, n.d.).
Parents and the Big Picture
Most often a feeling of "What do I do now?" pervades a parent's mind when their child is first diagnosed with some form of ADHD. You need information, and if you have access to the internet, it is a very good source for all the data you might need. Whether the internet, the library, a friend with an ADHD child, or a professional, arm yourself with all the helpful information you can get.
What you will find is that, though frustrating at times, raising an ADHD child can give you a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction if you know how to deal with it. Most ADHD children live successful, nearly normal lives with the medications available today.
But the important word is "you." The parent can create a home environment that is useful, constructive and positive in which the ADHD child can thrive if they start immediately when the child is young (Natural Resource Center on AD/HD, 2004).
"If you have a child with ADHD, you know how frustrating it can be when your kid doesn't listen, do what you asked, or finish what was started. With the constant monitoring your child requires, it may feel as if he or she is the one running the home. This added stress can breed resentment, causing you to focus on your child's deficits while overlooking successes and positive traits. On top of that, you may also feel guilt over your frustration" (Jaffe-Gill, Dumke, Segal, de Benedictis, Smith, & Segal, 2007, para. 2).
But remember that your child doesn't want to be the way he or she is. ADHD can be like depression. Forgotten is the fact that the person has a disorder -- a disease. What is seen is the behavior without any visible signs of a sickness -- just an overactive, aggressive child who can't stop talking, or running, or bumping into things.
Follow the right steps with patience, love, and compassion and your home life can be almost normal.
Tips for Family Life
Don't blame yourself. Many parents of ADHD children waste a great amount of energy and time pointing the finger at their own bad parenting, or at the fact that both husband and wife work and can't spend all the time they want with the child. ADHD is a dysfunction of the brain. It is impossible that poor parenting caused it. However, after diagnosis, poor treatment or a disorganized home life can make the disorder worse.
Hang on to the sense of humor for dear life. Don't blow things out of proportion. Or as the saying goes, "don't sweat the small stuff." If your ADHD child knocks over a lamp, it can be fixed; if she draws on the wall with crayon, it can be washed; if he only gets one chore done that day instead of two, remember that he finished his homework. You can only drive yourself crazy, and if you do, it may worsen the ADHD in your child.
Ensure a comprehensive ADHD assessment. Explore the internet and talk to professionals. There are several facets of the diagnosis of ADHD and you need to make sure all of the steps are completed. Educational, psychological and mental assessments are crucial. And other symptoms must be ruled out as well as possibilities other than ADHD.
Don't Forget Your Other Children. Tell them about ADHD and what to expect from their sibling. Don't get so involved with your special child that you don't spend quality time with the others. They need your love and support just as much. And you can turn them into allies against the ADHD battle to the point that they understand and support your efforts. Heap praise on them if they voluntarily assist with the "treatment" for their ADHD brother or sister.
Watch Out for Your Own Well-Being. Sounds like a no-brainer, but easier said than done. Raising an ADHD child can be exhausting, frustrating, and stressful. If you run yourself into the ground, you're not going to be much help for either your ADHD child or the other children in the household. Get the support you need to cope. Give yourself some time off if at all possible.
Disobedience vs. ADHD Hyper-activity. ADHD children don't have to be allowed to present any aberrant behavior they would like. Some of the problems you will see are due to ADHD, and the child is not misbehaving. But ADHD children do misbehave. It is important to recognize the difference. Discipline for an ADHD child is not prohibited. Guidelines and limits must be set for both behaviors. Allowing normal misbehavior to pass, as with any child, will only lead to more of the same behavior.
Praise and Reward. Because of their behavior, no matter what the cause, ADHD children are usually praised and rewarded for good behavior less than other children. This is mostly because their behavior is not usually of the "rewarding" kind. But it is important that they be both verbally praised and physically rewarded when they accomplish something. It is also essential that the rewards be timely, and consistent.
Managing Your Child's ADHD
"Children with ADD/ADHD generally have deficits in executive function: the ability to think and plan ahead, organize, control impulses, follow through, and complete tasks. That means you need to take over as the executive, providing extra guidance while your child slowly acquires executive skills of his or her own" (Jaffe-Gill, et al., 2007, para. 10).
Become an outstanding record-keeper. Keep records and files of everything having anything to do with your ADHD child. Symptoms, doctor's opinions and assessments, significant problems, treatments, progress, school report cards -- everything. They could be helpful if you move to a new location or change doctors, or something changes drastically with the disorder.
Keep a routine. The more regular an ADHD child's schedule can be, the better. This applies to school, chores, homework, play time, eating, and sleeping.
Form a team of support advisors. Your spouse, the child's teacher, his doctor, his counselor, your church pastor or Sunday school teacher, another parent whom your child may be close to, etc. Have a regular monthly meeting with all of them together if possible. Compare notes and opinions on how your child is doing. Be candid with them. Share your frustrations and praises. Listen to their pertinent "3rd party objective" opinions.
Talk, negotiate, and consult with your ADHD child. Have dialogues with your child. Listen more than you talk. Communicate clearly and precisely what you want him or her to do. Make your instructions positive in the sense that you tell the child what to do, and not what not to do.
Give instructions one simple step at a time. Don't just listen to the child, take into account what they say just as you would your own advice.
Parent Training. Many organizations offer training for parents of ADHD children. Take advantage of them. Techniques, tips, advice, counsel, support and companionship can all help your ADHD experience be more successful. It will also benefit your child in that you will feel more confident in dealing with his disorder.
Prognosis for ADHD
"ADHD is a long-term, chronic condition. About half of the children with ADHD will continue to have troublesome symptoms of inattention or impulsivity as adults. However, adults are often more capable of controlling…