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Parenting Tips For ADHD Families

April 27, 2012

In preparation for last week’s radio show “Living an ADD Life Talks About Parenting the ADHD Child“, I found this great article from Psychcentral outlining tips for tackling common ADHD challenges.  I really love some of their suggestions and think that as a whole it is a great list for any parent looking for new things to try or for confirmation that they are doing the right thing.  After reading the article, I was inspired to share a couple of my favorites from their list and offer a few of the things that I have found really make a difference in managing our all encompassing ADHD life.

The first tip from the Psychcentral article that I love was number 4.  Give your kids the chance to make wise choices.

For me, this is so critical.  I see so many helicopter parents who feel their job is not to quip their child to move into the world with solid decision making skills and the confidence to trust their instincts but rather to swoop in and save the day before anything can really go wrong.  While this might seem to be the kinder approach, especially with ADHD children, it can really be so damaging over the long term.  If you never let your child make a decision, good or bad, how will they learn to tell the difference?  How will they have the confidence to make the right decision when it is really matters?  In parenting my ADHD children, I have found natural consequences to be the most effective and without the ability to make choices, children can never experience natural consequences.

The second tip from the Psychcentral article that I love is number 12. Educate yourself about ADHD and attention.

If there is one thing that every parent with an ADHD child can do to make a difference in the life of their child, this is it.  Understanding what is ADHD, what isn’t ADHD, and all the subtle and nuanced was that ADHD can affect your child’s life equips you to be the best advocate for them, be supportive of them as they navigate a world that isn’t designed to help them succeed, and accept them for who they are.

The article also inspired me to come up with a list of some of the things that work best for us.

1. We have a good sense of humor about ADHD and about life in general.  If you can’t laugh at yourselves and poke fun at each other, what’s the point!  You can see my youngest make fun out of having ADHD here.  (FYI – This also provides an excellent example of why the other child with ADHD should never be allowed to hold the camera)

2. We understand each other’s ADHD gifts and challenges, which generally makes it easier to let things slide.  Unless of course you are trying to watch a movie and the verbal processor in the room won’t stop talking 🙂

3. We focus on natural consequences whenever possible.  For us, and that us includes the 2 ADHD adults, we learn best and retain more when there is a direct link between choice and consequence.  It may be more nerve-wracking to rely on natural consequences, especially as they get old enough to be making choice that affect the rest of their lives, but it is definitely worth it in the end.

4. We don’t do power struggles…..anymore.  There was a time that the fight for power in my house reached epic proportions (listen to the radio show for the full story) but that all changed with our ADHD diagnosis.  I learned the hard way that when parents and children play the power game, not one wins.  Now I just refuse to play.

5. We take acceptance to a new level.  In my house, ADHD is a super power, an example of evolutionary neurodiversity, just one of the things that makes us so much better than normal.

You can hear me expound upon these points if you listen to the radio show.


Turning Leaf Life Coaching offers coaching for ADHD and Life Transitions over the phone and in person throughout NH, ME, MA, and VT.  For more information, go to

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