Attachment Parenting the ADHD child (please read and weigh in your thoughts if you are parenting an ADHD child) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-21-2014, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are heading down the road of ADHD diagnosis with my 6 year old. Both his teacher and his doctor are AMAZING with a capital A. The teacher provides TONS of modifications for my son (he is allowed to play with fidget toys when needed, he can chew gum, he can sit in a chair instead of on the carpet-his most challenging place/time in the day, and more) 

 

His doctor is equally amazing, she sees medication as a last resort (or a down the road resort), but is big on dietary changes, high dose fish oil supplements, and chances to move around his body as he needs to.

 

I am just now looking around at various books about ADHD and Boys with ADHD in particular. One of the themes I notice in a lot of the books is just how important it really is to keep rules VERY firm, and follow through with consequences IMMEDIATELY when there is an infraction.

 

My parenting skills up until now have included a LOT of connection, discussion, and choice giving so in a way this goes against my parenting instinct.  I'm REALLY curious to hear from other AP moms how you deal with your child's ADHD in terms of discipline. If having stricter rules and immediate consequences is the "only way" I guess i'll have to learn to go along with it.  I am worreid a little that it might damage our relationship a little as he always counts on me to listen to his perspective and sometimes things are a little more grey than black and white...know what I mean? But at the same time, if i'm in a way making it harder for him to manage his impulsiveness and hyperactivness then of course I want to change what i'm doing to be mroe supportive.

 

Any book recommendations that include an attachment parent perspective? THANK YOU!  

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#2 of 6 Old 03-21-2014, 10:41 AM
 
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My DD was just diagnosed with ADHD (as well as anxiety and ASD). One of her challenges is black and white thinking - when I am lenient, making exceptions, seeing shades of gray it looks to her like I'm being inconsistent which very stressful for her. When she has a consistent, predictable outcome for a given behavior (good or bad) she functions much better. I don't know that there is an only way to do this parenting thing, even with a special needs kid. Being strictly consistent with a "if {behavior} then {consequence}" system has been very helpful for us, even though it goes against my own parenting inclinations. And it hasn't negatively affected our parent child bond AT ALL. I feel I've had to learn to be the mom she needs me to be, and not necessarily the mom I intended to be.
To be clear, for us consequence does not equal punishment. It is both good and bad. So if she refuses to use her table manners, she is excused from the table. If she finishes her school work she gets screen time. At this point, she's ten, she knows the ropes and enforces them herself (sometimes). It's been interesting trying to get her to understand that her brother doesn't have to follow the same rules. He is nine months old.
Also, regarding choices; I have to be very careful what choices, and how many, I offer. "do you want a sandwich or a bowl of soup" works much better than "what do you want for lunch". Too many choices is a big trigger for my kid.

All this is just works for us, and may not have any value for you. As with other areas of parenting, I recommend getting as much info as possible and then doing what works best for your family. We've also had great success with fish oil and going gluten free.

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#3 of 6 Old 03-21-2014, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your reply!  I guess I have questions about certain things that happen and I just don't know what the right "consequence" is. So one thing he does a lot is like if we are at a fun place (like open gym at the gymnastics place) and it's time to go, he will sneak away from me and RUN full speed back into the building once we have just left.

 

Should I warn him ahead of time...If you "run" then "X" will happen? I usually tell him that that means next time he won't be able to go to open gym and we do follow through, but yet because we didn't go he didn't really realize what he was missing either so i'm not sure that not-going a week later had much of an impact. OR do I wait until he did do it and then make up some sort of immediate consequence?

 

And he almost always has an "excuse" for why he does stuff and sometimes...like maybe 33% of the time, I can see his perspective and understand why he did what he did so then I don't impose any sort of consequence but just talk with him about what he should have done and what he will do differently next time, but according to a lot  of ADHD resources that sort of talk isn't "enough" for kids to then follow through the next time.

 

It's so hard to figure this all out :( AND I'm a teacher and pretty well-versed in child development, behavior, gentle discipline, etc. and yet this feels so hard :(

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#4 of 6 Old 03-21-2014, 02:51 PM
 
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Oh yeah, the excuse thing drives me nuts. My DD is a champion negotiator. We have family meetings fairly regularly, that is when we make/alter rules and schedules. If DD doesn't like something or thinks it isn't working for her she can bring it up & negotiate it with me then. I don't negotiate rules on the fly, I don't accept excuses. (this is the hardest thing for me, but DD needs it) I do let it slide if it's an accident ie: pushing your brother gets a consequence, falling and knocking into your brother doesn't. The family meetings also help DH stay on the same page so we can both enforce the rules the same. Maybe the rule isn't fair, and that is ok. Life isn't fair, and I don't try to create a fairness bubble for my kids. For me the rule needs to be necessary and reasonable, but not fair. There may be an excuse or reason, but that doesn't change the consequence.

As for the running away, my DD did that too, largely because of a genuine lack of understanding. My concern about it (yours may be different) was primarily safety related. So I explained to my DD why she couldn't run off in public, then let her know that I would have to hold her hand or use a leash whenever we were out unless she stayed next to me. I never had to use a leash (hate those things) but did have to hold her hand sometimes until she was 8 or 9. Unfortunately there were a few times that turned into me dragging a screaming child a block or two, but eventually she got it.

The way I think about rules and consequences is this- why is this rule important? Can I let it go? Is it something I need to physically enforce or can I enlist her cooperation? (stopping her from running off vs getting her to pick up after herself) what is the natural consequence of this? (if you scream at your friends, they don't want to be your friend translates to if you scream at mama, the conversation is over) is this something she is capable of doing? (sometimes I need to adjust my expectations) we always go over the rules, privileges and consequences before hand. Unless there is imminent danger, I give her one reminder of the rule and the consequence, plus a time limit if applicable, before enacting the consequence. Often the response is "sorry mama I forgot." the flip side of this is giving lots of positive reinforcement, extra hugs and kisses, thank you's, telling her when I'm proud. It can be hard to balance that, but isn't it always?

I was a teacher too, befor being a SAHM, and it is so different managing a group than parenting. Take it easy on yourself, this is an evolving process. This is what works for us, and I do think most kids thrive with the predictability that strictly enforcing the rules creates, but don't anything you aren't comfortable with.

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#5 of 6 Old 04-10-2014, 05:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GazelleIntense View Post
 

Thank you so much for your reply!  I guess I have questions about certain things that happen and I just don't know what the right "consequence" is. So one thing he does a lot is like if we are at a fun place (like open gym at the gymnastics place) and it's time to go, he will sneak away from me and RUN full speed back into the building once we have just left.

 

Should I warn him ahead of time...If you "run" then "X" will happen? I usually tell him that that means next time he won't be able to go to open gym and we do follow through, but yet because we didn't go he didn't really realize what he was missing either so i'm not sure that not-going a week later had much of an impact. OR do I wait until he did do it and then make up some sort of immediate consequence?

You need an immediate consequence.  They work better for all kids, not just ADHD kids.  A week away consequence is useless or worse since it just breeds resentment while getting you no compliance.

 

Before you leave the gym, you might try prompting him with something like "If you stay with me and don't run back, then we will do and so-so" some kind of reward.  Anyway, plan some strategy that provides a reward for compliance.  And also praise him immediately for his cooperation.  And, in other situations, praise his cooperation, when you do that cooperation tends to generalize to other situations so that might help with him leaving the gym

 

Also, try giving him some advanced warning about when you will leave, and get a promise to leave later without running back in return for staying longer.  

 

Or, you could stay longer till he wants to go, and then praise his compliance.  That is, set him up to comply and then reward his compliance with praise and positive attention.

 

I don't know what books you are using, but Kazdin Method very good, the best as far as I can tell.   You'd already know about the relative effectiveness of immediate consequences if you already have a book as good as Kazdin Method. You will find Kazdin Method to be more gentile and positive than some other methods that are recommended for ADHD kids, it's a positive discipline method.

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#6 of 6 Old 04-14-2014, 07:04 AM
 
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I think Kazdin Method is your best shot at avoiding or minimizing medication. There are other books with a similar goal, but Kazdin Method has the most scientific research behind it.  Seems that every little detail has been tested to optimize effectiveness.  You need good methods even if you have to resort to medications, by the way.

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