Today’s article is brought to us by Jim Forgan, PhD, a licensed school psychologist in Jupiter, FL, and author of the book Raising Boys with ADHD. As I read this book over the summer, I found myself wishing it had been available when my son had been diagnosed with ADHD back in 2008. This would have been a most helpful first-read at that time. In fact, I found this book to be a handbook to raising a child with ADHD (not just boys) — a real go-to guide for parenting, education, and social issues surrounding ADHD. Whether you are new to ADHD or not, you are sure to get some valuable tips from this book! It is part of my list of Top 5 FIRST reads when your child is diagnosed with ADHD. ~Penny
If you have a child that was recently diagnosed I recommend that right away you do three things. You’ve probably heard the saying that in school kids need to learn the 3 basics of “reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic.” I believe parents of children recently diagnosed benefit by learning the 3 Rs of ADHD which are Recognize, React, and Read. If you are the parent of a child with ADD/ADHD then one thing you need to do (and also help family members do) is to Recognize that ADHD is a real disorder, however; ADHD is a hidden disorder. Your child looks so normal from the outside but has some things going on inside. It’s not a made-up fad that is ‘here today and gone tomorrow.’ ADHD has been around, morphed, and has been called different names. It seems like it is a newer disorder because of the emphasis placed on ADD/ADHD in the 1990s with media and medical awareness as well as better diagnostic tools. In my work and practice I continually educate people about the myths and facts of ADHD. In my book, Raising Boys with ADHD: Secrets for Parenting Healthy, Happy Children, I have an entire table on myths and facts of ADHD. Try to make it part of your job description to teach family, friends, and teachers about what ADHD is and is not as well as how it affects your child and your family.
The second R of ADHD is React to your child’s ADHD. Yes he or she has ADHD, a hidden disability, but with your support it’s not going to hold them back. React to the ADHD diagnosis with fortitude and strength rather than discouragement and despair. Start to take a proactive approach to helping your child. Start researching your team members that will help you through this journey. In my book on Raising Boys with ADHD, you’ll a worksheet called the Dynamic Action Plan that can be used as a guide. Complete it with your spouse, close family, and your son if he is in 6th grade or above.
As you react to your son’s ADHD you may become discouraged so remember to do something positive and fun with your son or daughter. Kids with ADHD/ ADD often hear so many negative comments, reprimands, and redirections from their parents. One dad that I worked with had a boy with ADHD in the 3rd grade and he told me that he could not remember the last time that he and his son had a really good experience. He explained that so many outings were stressful, negative, and problematic that he stopped doing things with his boy. They still did the daily routine but did not go anywhere special. After working with me this dad regained that hope and positive outlook that he was missing. It was a beautiful outcome. Free resources are available on my website so you can get started today.
The third R of ADHD is to read. Read is the third R because your child goes through different ADHD developmental stages so you have to read about each stage and know what to expect and how to deal with it. If you are a woman, think about when you were pregnant with your son or daughter. Did you read about every stage of the pregnancy with the book What to Expect When You’re Expecting? Keep reading to help your child and yourself.
As a parent of a boy or girl with ADHD you need parenting support that your friends won’t understand. They may look upon you as a parent that does not know what she is doing, however; you and I know this is not true. It takes a different set of parenting tools and strategies to raise your boy or girl with ADHD. One mom I worked with told me the only tool her husband had for disciplining their boy with ADHD was yelling. She was at her wits end because her home was full of chaos and negative energy. She felt like her family was slipping away. She found support and now things are looking better for her and her family. She told me her husband even watched some videos and liked the one about boys and fathers being alike. Reading helped her regain hope.
Jim Forgan, Ph.D. is a licensed school psychologist in Jupiter, Florida and author of Raising Boys with ADHD and the video series, The Forgan Parent Support System. He is available at www.JimForgan.com.