Parents Offer ADHD Advice
Tina Buscaglia, a registered nurse from Ridley Park, PA, learned that her son Mark has ADHD when he was age 4. She found help and support through CHADD, a non-profit organization that works to improve the lives of people with ADHD.
“I most enjoyed the interaction with the other parents,” says Buscaglia. “I always left feeling better about my situation because I knew I was not the only one dealing with ADHD.”
On the MetroKids Facebook page and at the support website DailyStrength, we asked parents of kids with ADHD for suggestions to other parents. Here’s what they said.
Have patience. “It’s hard but if the ADHD stresses you out, imagine what it’s like for your child. Also, have patience with other family members (like grandparents) as they try to adjust and learn how to handle the child. I’m still working on that last part,” says an unsigned response on DailyStrength.
Set rules and limits. It is important to consistently set limits, make rules and enforce them. “For discipline I have to choose my battles and win so he knows who is boss, and I let the unimportant things go,” says Buscaglia.
Treat your child normally. “I think that treating your child as normal is good, not treating him like he has a disability. I don’t think parents should mention every day to the child that he has ADD and that he is disabled,” says an anonymous DailyStrength post.
Be positive. “Compliment the good behavior instead of focusing on the bad,” says Buscaglia.
Suggestions for Support
Don’t fear counseling. “If you feel like you are over your head with dealing with your child’s behavior at home, do not be afraid to seek behavioral counseling,” says mom Denee Koonce.
Join a support group. “Becoming involved in a support group will keep you informed about your child’s condition, and make you realize that you’re not the only one in your position,” says Buscaglia.
Get/be a child advocate. “In our area, child advocates are called Bucks County LIFE. They’re actually parents helping other parents with different needs. I was fortunate to have an advocate with me for one of my son’s IEP meetings,” says Levittown, PA mom Cheryl Craig-Gross. “Most important, you are your child’s biggest advocate; fight for their rights whenever needed.”
Set expectations for providers. “Set expectations for your child’s doctors, therapists, teachers, and even principals,” advises mom Stephanie B. “Let them know how you can help.”
Find an experienced doctor. “Get an ADHD-experienced physician,” says Buscaglia. “Finding a specialist in your specific disorder can make a big difference in getting your child the help he needs.”
Sarah Scarpa is a MetroKids intern and Temple University journalism student.