Do relatives offer you unsolicited parenting “tips” at every family gathering? Or, you find yourself overreacting to your child’s every minor slipup?

Navigating the challenges of ADHD  can add extra stress to holiday parties. Learn how to set your child and your family up for success with this video.

When Family Gatherings Meet ADHD: A Gameplan

You love your family. But the idea of gathering everyone together fills you with dread.

You fear a meltdown or argument during a holiday party that will draw unwanted attention — and comments — from relatives who don’t fully understand ADHD.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Use these tips to cut down insensitive or cutting remarks that help no one.

1. “Re-introduce” relatives before you travel.

A big group of unfamiliar cousins may overwhelm the ADHD brain.

Before each visit, look at family photos with your child and share news about the people you’ll see.

2. Share what works.

Explain to family members how ADHD influences behavior. Then share the secrets to avoiding trouble spots.

Say, “Ella has a hard time sitting for long dinners. Letting her stand or move around helps.”

Or, “If Max gets over-excited, reading a book in a quiet room in the best cure.”

3. Highlight talents and accomplishments.

Don’t let your child’s shortcomings or challenges dominate the conversation.

Bring an art project or merit badge he can share with grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

4. Prepare a response for any zinger.

“You let your child get away with murder.” “If I had her for a week, she’d learn to obey.”

When you hear these remarks, simply respond, “Thanks for caring about us.” Then, change the subject.

5. Have an “escape plan.”

Brainstorm potentially difficult situations, and “safe” ways your child can react.

Pick “cues” your child can give you when she’s too tired, hungry, or excited to stay in control.

Let relatives know that you might slip out without lengthy goodbyes.

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