8 Keys to Parenting Children with ADHD

by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC W. Norton & Company; $19.95BUY THIS BOOK

Raising children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) is challenging, frustrating, and, at the same time, rewarding. This is your child, the one you love and cherish. You want to set her on the path to a successful life. But how do you do that when her days are marked by forgotten homework, endless energy, and constant distractions? Some days it seems that your child is misbehaving just to annoy you.

Cindy Goldrich offers a plan of action. She addresses many of the common challenges and gives practical advice on how to solve them. Understanding how ADHD affects your child’s daily life — behavior, academics, and social skills — is the first key to helping your child. The second key is creating a calm household, which strengthens the bond with your child.

The third and fourth keys focus on your relationship with your child. Goldrich explains that a strong parent-child connection is essential to a child’s success. This includes learning to communicate in ways that promote cooperation rather than defiance.

Keys five and six offer strategies to change behaviors. Defiance and power struggles often define ADHD family relationships. Goldrich explains how to avoid those struggles by focusing on collaboration rather than directives. She also discusses the importance of clear and consistent routines. Predictability helps children with ADHD feel safe and secure.

[Free Download: 10 Rules for Parents of Defiant Kids]

The last two keys enable and encourage you to create rules and consequences based on your values. When the consequences of poor behavior have meaning for your child, they are more likely to positively affect her behavior. Finally, Goldrich talks about being responsible for your own choices — that includes you and your child. It can be tough, but you must eventually decide when to back off and when to stay involved. Goldrich helps you navigate these tricky parenting choices and accept responsibility for your behavior while allowing your child to accept responsibility for hers.

“The reality is that love and logic are not sufficient when you are dealing with inconsistencies, challenges, and frustrations in raising your child who has ADHD,” says Goldrich. “Once the diagnosis is made, the most important treatment is parent education and training — you often need a Black Belt in parenting.”

[Self-Test: Could Your Child Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?]

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