Understanding Your ADHD Child’s Habits

Tallahassee Parents with ADHD Children,

Kids with ADHD have many coping mechanisms that parents and teachers are not aware of. At first glance or to the untrained eye these children might appear disruptive or that they are not listening, however, this often is not the case.

Once you learn some ADHD tendencies and why they happen, you can put your child in situations to thrive and help them be more successful.

MY CHILD OFTEN MOVES THEIR LEG UP AND DOWN WHEN SITTING

ADDers, we will refer to them for now on, suffer from lower dopamine levels than you average person. Movement stimulates better blood flow and produces small amounts of dopamine just like exercise. It is their brains way of keeping things balanced. ADHD is not a one size fits all disorder. Some ADDers might move around a lot more than others.

Other signs to look for:

  • You child gets up several times during a movie, meal or doing homework
  • Hand fidgeting and chair rocking can all fit the same category

HOW DO YOU FIX IT?

You don’t. Nothing is wrong. Attempting to stop their movement will only make things work. It is like a child forgetting their security blanket and you ignoring their feelings.

MY CHILD WON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH ME OR STAY STILL WHEN WE ARE TRYING TO HAVE A CONVERSATION

There is a lot of evidence that multitasking is less effective than working on one thing at a time. It can be done, but at what efficiency level?

However, ADDers work a little different. The movement they are engaging in is similar to what was discussed in our first example. More often than not, your child is focusing more on what you are saying by moving. Force them to stay still and most likely they will not hear a word you said.

Make sure you do not over interrupt what is being explained above. If you child is engaged in a tv show or a video game and you start talking with them while they are still engaged in that activity of interest…they most likely aren’t listening to you.

I TELL MY CHILD SOMETHING, THEY SEEM TO UNDERSTAND AND WITHIN MINUTES COMPLETELY FORGET WHAT WE DISCUSSED.

Working memory is a challenge with ADDers. Yes, they can remember things that are very interesting to them. That is part of the disorder. Don’t attack them with comments like “I know you can remember things you want to do”. You are right, ADHD is a a deficit of interest among many things.

Do they get a FREE pass to forget things all the time? Certainly not. A disorder is only a disorder when it interferes with everyday functions. Life goes on and you must learn to deal with it.

Here are some ideas to help:

  • Have your child repeat what you just asked them to do
  • Keep the list to 3 items or less. Everyone remembers things better in 3’s. (3 parts to a phone number, ss#)
  • Is there a list of daily tasks posted somewhere they can see everyday? When I come home from school I must first…
  • Have them read things aloud or write it down
  • Some do better writing down a list even if you sent it to them digitally
  • Keep the list short and very simple. The more complicated it seems To Them, the less chance they are to complete or even start it

MY CHILD HAS TROUBLE GETTING STARTED ON SOME OF THE SIMPLEST TASKS

This is very common for most ADDers. The more “stuff” or thoughts they have swirling around in their head, the better chance they will freeze up and get overwhelmed.

If you and your significant other were having an intense conversation with your ADDer because they got in trouble or were causing a problem in some way. You most likely will see them get really angry or overwhelmed and extremely upset. Having a situation where a lot is being thrown at them with out time for the brain to process can cause overload. It is not uncommon for ADDers to be “slow processors” of information. Two parents having a heated conversation can push them over the edge.

Here are some ideas to try:

  • Journals are great “tools”. Get thoughts out of their heads and onto paper. Dry erase boards are great too. For example, your child has a project due in two weeks. Put a large dry erase board in their room and let them start writing ideas down whenever they come to them for the first week. Starting the project will be a breeze when the ideas are already there and waiting
  • ADDers tend to be creative. Writing in different colors can be more exciting than always using blue or the worst, black. Everything is in black print. Spice things up with another color.
  • Music can be a great tool to keep them motivated and moving. Make sure it is their choice. Everyone “beats to a different drum.” Can’t play music in the open? Use ear buds. It can be a great way to block noise distractions at home and in school too.
  • Have conversations with your child when they are calm. No one thinks clearly when they are upset. Emotions usually take over rationality in these situations.

Understanding how the ADHD mind works can be a challenge. Although the internet has a load of great information, seeking out an ADHD coach can be very beneficial. A lot of them are ADDers themselves and know what is like and what others are going through.

If you would like more information about ADHD coaching and how it can help your family, contact Brad Fantle. He is an ADHD coach, has 25 years working with all types of kids through martial arts and has a BA in Sports & fitness from the University of Alabama. Email bradfantle@gmail.com

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