When it comes to having a child with ADHD many of us, myself included fall into the ‘fix it’ mode. There is so much stigma around ADHD that we feel we must be the protectors for our children and start to do everything for them and sometimes take over control of their lives.
No matter how young or old they are, they all have their own opinion, have you asked them what they would like? I mean really asked them? Not just an off the cuff question, but a really deep conversation about what they want from you and what they would like to do.
Often my trips to school involve conversations with my son about what he would like to do, what things I do well as a mother and things I could do better. Usually the things I can do better are not getting mad with him and of course that leads us into another conversation about things he could do better, so I don’t get mad with him. Trust me the things that come up in those conversations and the things that are said are sometimes very amusing. Try it and see what your child comes up with about how you could be a better parent and you may be quite surprised.
In a recent session, run by Dr Sharon Saline, a clinical psychologist, about what our children wish we knew and how we can help, she has been studying children for a number of years and asking these questions.
After this research was conducted, she found the following requests from these children. To me, they look obvious but also actions that many of us forget to do, I can certainly identify with many that I don’t do often enough.
- They want the adults to manage their own temper. This makes perfect sense to me, after all we are expecting them to control their tempers when they are less likely to have this ability compared to us given that they are still maturing, and they take some time to learn this control. How can we expect them to do this perfectly when many time we cannot either?
- They want to feel understood and forgiven even if they don’t understand themselves why they do things. Well this is something we would like for ourselves from people, too right?
- They want opinions about what might help them and what makes them feel considered. Again, this is what we would like as adults too.
- They want us to do what we say we will do. How many of us tell our kids that we will do something with them but then it never happens as other things come up? I think we are all guilty of that at some stage, it is no surprise to me that this one came up in the study.
- They want us to pay more attention to their efforts and be noticed for those efforts, whether it be big or small. This is so important for ADHD children as they hear so much negativity so noticing more of the positive things will make a huge difference.
The perfect scale of being positive with our children and making an effort to identify the good things is for every one negative comment there needs to be three positive comments to replace it.
Listening to our children and understanding what they really want will not only build up their self-esteem but it will give them confidence that you are making an effort to understand their needs. They want to feel heard and supported.
Why not set a challenge for yourself and ask your child what they would like you to do this week and see if you can stick to it (within reason of course).
Let us know how you go on the Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/groups/ADHD.ASD/