Parents Guide for Disciplining Kids with ADHD

Author imageReceiving our son’s diagnosis of ADHD shed light as to why standard parenting advice wasn’t really working in our home. Understanding our son’s non-neurotypical condition enabled us to be more effective parents as we researched beneficial parenting techniques for children with ADHD.

For those parents who have been struggling to discipline their children with ADHD, I will go through the research we found which revolutionized our parenting practices and helped our son improve his behavior.

Discipline Starts with the Parents’ Personal Discipline

The behavioral foundation for any child starts in the home, and this concept goes double for a child dealing with ADHD. In a study found in the scholarly journal published by the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, researchers identified that dysfunctional parenting practices were often the key to changing common problem behaviors in children with ADHD, such as:

  • Struggles with homework which extended to forgetfulness, constant reminders needed, inattention, carelessness, and disorganized.
  • Lacking the independence to follow a daily routine on their own, noncompliance with chore duties, resisting bedtimes and morning routines.
  • Aggressive behavior and outburst aimed at siblings and parents.  

What the study particularly noted was that the parenting practices which did not work for children with ADHD were centered on the parents who handed out punitive, power assertive, and/or inconsistent discipline. To help parents move away from this form of discipline, the researcher recommends behavioral parenting training to help parents learn better ways to work with their children who have ADHD.

Lastly, an observation I found interesting was made by researchers who published their research in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. They discussed the link between a father’s lack of parenting consistency and its strong association with a child’s inattentive ADHD symptoms.

It was posited that as fathers generally have less of a caregiving role, they need to be even more conscious of their parenting practices. As inconsistency will not only trigger negative behaviors in the child but also add to the stress of the mothers, who are often the main caregivers, consistent discipline from both parents is vital to help a child with ADHD become more disciplined. As a father, this study made me re-evaluate how well I was supporting my wife as a co-parent and partner.

Reinforce Positive Behaviors and Ignore Negative Outburst

To begin altering less effective parenting behaviors today to improve the effectiveness of your discipline efforts, you will need to focus on reinforcing positive behaviors rather than reacting to negative behaviors. A study from the Behavioral and Brain Functions scholarly journal found results which indicated that children with ADHD respond even better to positive reinforcement due to their brain’s higher sensitivity to seeking rewarding stimuli.

This result can be confusing for parents, who ask why the child with ADHD is misbehaving if they really want rewarding stimuli. However, what us parents perceive as a reward is different to a child with ADHD.

For their highly active minds, any form of engagement is a rewarding stimulus. Say the child throw a fit over doing homework, and the parents engage in punishment with time-outs or privilege removal. The child with an ADHD has already had their reward as their brain has received the engagement it craved.

Instead, it is recommended that parents ignore these outbursts as long as no one is endangered. Once the child has calmed down, re-engage with the child. If they continually find no rewarding attention for their outburst but the parents focus on actively praising positive behaviors, children with ADHD will naturally begin to focus on expressing the desired behaviors. Many behavior modification programs focus on this form of discipline, as it has been highly effective in creating change.

One Effective Solution for When the Negative Behavior Cannot Be Ignored

While children with ADHD may be wired to seek high levels of stimulation and activity, it can become too much for them, and they will experience a meltdown in their ability to regulate themselves. To assist your child during this time, parents should provide a safe place for their children to regain their mental and emotional composure.

This time-out/quiet place should not be used to punish, or it will become ineffective. Instead, present it to your child as a time and place where your child can process their feelings. The area should be distraction-free to allow your child to focus on processing their overwhelmed feelings. Working with your child’s school district to develop an individual education plan (IEP) can also ensure that your child has a place like this when at school.  

Lastly, while researching how to discipline a child with ADHD, I saw that many studies noted that children with ADHD often had co-morbid conditions, such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As you work on implementing strategies, I would definitely recommend you investigate if your child had any additional issues which may help you understand how to provide appropriate discipline for their needs.  

Resources:

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The Hardest Part About Living with Depression

Depression is different for different people. Writer and author Therese Borchard once told me it feels like “being encased in a glass table in the middle of your living room, able to see what is going on, but claustrophobic and suffocating, wanting so desperately to get out, but being locked inside.”

Author Graeme Cowan described depression as “terminal numbness.”

For some people, depression is draining and exhausting. They feel their sadness on a cellular level. For others, like Cowan, they feel nothing, not a neutral nothing, but a lack of feeling that terrifies them. For still others, it’s none of these things.

But whatever the specific symptoms, and like any chronic illness, depression is difficult to live with. We asked individuals to share how they navigate the hardest parts about living with depression—and how you might, too.

Not Feeling Like Yourself

For Theodora Blanchfield, a health and fitness writer and blogger, the hardest part is not feeling like herself. Which manifests in many different ways: She feels foggy and acts detached. She doesn’t have the same amount of energy for her workouts, and she can’t work as much as she usually does.

When this happens, what helps is being gentle with herself. “I always remember something my therapist told me: Treat yourself like you’d treat a four-year-old. You won’t berate a four-year-old for having a hard time getting through work. You’d be patient with them. (I also usually interpret this as I need a cookie, too.)”

The Loss of Hope

Deborah Serani, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist who specializes in mood disorders, finds that the hardest part of her depression is the hopelessness and despair. Depression has a way of making you feel like things will never get better, that you’ll stay inside the darkness forever.

“Time has shown me that I always, always, feel better, but when those really tough moments hit, it can be a real struggle.”

Sometimes, Serani knows what’s exacerbating her depression—a loss, stress, seasonal changes—and other times there’s no recognizable reason. “It just is what it is, and I have to deal with it.”

She relies on several skills she learned years ago in her own therapy, skills she also teaches to her patients today. For instance, she uses supportive self-talk, such as: “Don’t let a bad day make you feel like it’s a bad life.” “Baby steps get the job done.” “I will feel better soon.” “This is part of my illness, it’s not the whole of who I am.” “Shower. Dress. Go.”

She supports her body by taking a bath or a nap, sitting outside, and if she’s not sidelined by fatigue, taking a walk.

“I also tell my loved ones that I’m having a bad day or two, and ask for their help, sometimes to check in on me or give me some added TLC,” said Serani, also author of three books on depression.

The last component focuses on soul-care. Serani feeds her senses with music, comedies, uplifting stories, aromatherapy and comfort food. “[O]ne of my go-to’s is watching videos of babies or animals on the internet. I know it sounds a bit goofy, but it gets me laughing, and it really helps shift my mood. A good cuteness-overload does wonders for me.”

The Allure of Isolation

“I think the hardest part for me is the constant desire to isolate myself, not talk to anyone, stay in bed, sort of shut everyone and everything out of my life,” said Caroline Kaufman, author of the poetry collection Light Filters In.

Initially, she thinks closing the blinds and being alone will help her to feel better. But it usually does the opposite, sparking a toxic cycle: “The more I stay in bed or isolate from my friends, the worse I feel, and then the stronger the desire gets to continue doing it. And then the next thing I know, it’s been three days and I’ve barely eaten or left my room.”

This is why she tries to make plans to do something or go somewhere with a friend, like a lunch date. Knowing that someone is waiting for her motivates her to get up. “And then after, even if we only talked for half an hour, I’m already out of bed and in the world, already out of that cycle and I will feel so, so much better for the rest of the day.”

The Unpredictability

Fiona Thomas, a writer who shares her honest account of living with depression and anxiety, said that the unpredictable nature of the illness is especially difficult for her. “Even though I’ve become quite good at recognizing my triggers and symptoms, it doesn’t make it any easier when it pops up out of nowhere.”

It’s even worse when she feels depressed during a “happy” occasion such as Christmas or a beach vacation. “It can make you feel like you’re a party pooper and ruining it for everyone else, or that you have no right to be feeling sad when you’re doing something so lovely,” said Thomas, author of the forthcoming book Depression in a Digital Age: The Highs and Lows of Perfectionism.

A real comfort for Thomas is being around people who truly understand her and understand her depression. She schedules some alone time, too, to recharge. She also reduces her stress, and tries to get more sleep. She takes walks and practices yoga.

Handling the Everyday

Candace Ganger, a writer and author of the YA novel The Inevitable Collison of Birdie & Bash, has lived with depression her entire life. For her, the hardest part is getting through everything she needs to do each day. “As a working mother of two, I don’t have the luxury of sinking into a dark hole.”

When Ganger feels overwhelmed, she asks for help. “The biggest realization I’ve had is knowing I can’t get through these periods alone. No matter how difficult, I have to find a way to reach out or it’ll only worsen the symptoms.” Talking to anyone about how she’s feeling is hugely beneficial.

Sometimes, she’ll tell her husband she isn’t feeling like herself—and he knows this is a cry for help. When she’s in a full-blown depression and can’t tell anyone else, she tries to find a person online who truly understands. “Even if it’s a simple Tweet or email, a blog post or article from someone who’s been through it, I find a way to stay connected.” She also finds it helpful to take a day or two off to decompress.

You Are Not Alone

“Depression likes to make us feel like we are isolated and that no one else could possibly feel the same way we do, but it’s exactly the opposite,” Kaufman said.

Ganger agrees. “It sounds cliché, but you’re not alone. A lot of people live with depression in a high-functioning way—like myself—so you may never know what’s going on beneath the mask.”

Stigma keeps many silent. As Kaufman said, it’s easy to believe that no one else struggles with depression, because no one talks about it.

“On the outside, you can still be high-performing and smiling but in so much pain on the inside,” added Blanchfield, who said she shares her mental health struggles openly in hopes of beginning to chip away at that stigma.

Ganger encouraged readers to share how you’re feeling, even if it’s in an email. “Depression is lie-based. It wants you to believe you’re all alone and no one cares. It’s wrong.”

Serani also encouraged readers to reach out, so others can “help you move from the dark to the light again.” And she stressed the importance of learning the when and why of your depression: “Is it situational? Is it related to family? Work? School? Is there an anniversary event on the calendar that is particularly painful? Are you taking your medication regularly? Are you skipping or missing doses? Are you eating well? How’s your sleep?”

This helps you to tailor treatment and techniques to your specific symptoms and triggers. Sometimes, you can answer these questions on your own, and sometimes you need therapy, she said.

If you’re feeling frustrated and having a tough time, Blanchfield wants you to know there’s always hope. There’s always “another medication, a different kind of therapy, a differently lifestyle change you hadn’t thought of. You won’t always feel the same dire way you do now.”

“Every time you relapse and recover, you need to remember that this is proof you’ll continue to do so as time goes on,” Thomas said.

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When Steve Jobs Taught Andy Warhol to Make Art on the Very First Macintosh (1984)

When Andy Warhol first became famous, few knew what to make of his art. When Apple first released the Macintosh — dramatically promoted with that Ridley Scott Super Bowl commercial — few knew what to make of it either. The year was 1984, when almost nobody had seen a graphical user interface or even a […]

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Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” Slowed Down to 33RPM Sounds Great and Takes on New, Unexpected Meanings

The Walrus isDolly Parton?

Not every record yields gold when played backwards or spun more slowly than recommended, but a 45 of Parton’s 1973 hit “Jolene” played at 33RPM not only sounds wonderful, it also manages to reframe the narrative.

As Andrea DenHoed notes in The New Yorker, “Slow Ass Jolene,” above, transforms Parton’s “baby-high soprano” into something deep, soulful and seemingly, male.

In its original version, the much-covered “Jolene” is a straight up woman-to-woman chest-baring. Our narrator knows her man is obsessed with the sexy, auburn-haired Jolene, to the point where he talks about her in his sleep.

Apparently she also knows better than to raise the subject with him. Instead, she appeals to Jolene’s sense of mercy:

You could have your choice of men

But I could never love again

He’s the only one for me, Jolene

The song is somewhat autobiographical, though the situation was nowhere near as dire as listeners might assume. In an interview with NPR, Parton recalled a red-haired bank teller who developed a big crush on her husband when she was a young bride:

And he just loved going to the bank because she paid him so much attention. It was kinda like a running joke between us — when I was saying, ‘Hell, you’re spending a lot of time at the bank. I don’t believe we’ve got that kind of money.’ So it’s really an innocent song all around, but sounds like a dreadful one. 

For the record, the teller’s name wasn’t Jolene.

Jolene was a pretty little girl who attended an early Parton concert. Parton was so taken with the child, and her unusual name, that she resolved to write a song about her.

Yes, the kid had red hair and green eyes.

Wouldn’t it be wild if she grew up to be a bank teller?

I digress…

In the original version, the irresistible chorus wherein the soon-to-be-spurned party invokes Jolene’s name again and again is plaintive and fierce.

In the slow ass version, it’s plaintive and sad.

The pain is the same, but the situation in much less straightforward, thanks to blurrier gender lines.

Parton told NPR that women are “always threatened by other women, period.”

Jolene’s prodigious feminine assets could also prove worrisome to a gay man whose bisexual lover’s eye is prone to wander.

Or maybe the singer and his man live in a place where same sex unions are frowned on. Perhaps the singer’s man craves the comfort of a more socially acceptable domestic situation.

Or perhaps Jolene is one hot female-identified tomato, and as far as the singer’s man’s concerned, his pastor and his granny can go to hell! Jolene’s the only one for him.

Or, as one waggish Youtube commenter succinctly put it, “Jolene better stay the hell away from Roy Orbison‘s man!”

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene

I’m begging of you please don’t take my man

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene

Please don’t take him just because you can

Your beauty is beyond compare

With flaming locks of auburn hair

With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green

Your smile is like a breath of spring

Your voice is soft like summer rain

And I cannot compete with you, Jolene

He talks about you in his sleep

There’s nothing I can do to keep

From crying when he calls your name, Jolene

And I can easily understand

How you could easily take my man

But you don’t know what he means to me, Jolene

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene

I’m begging of you please don’t take my man

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene

Please don’t take him just because you can

You could have your choice of men

But I could never love again

He’s the only one for me, Jolene

I had to have this talk with you

My happiness depends on you

And whatever you decide to do, Jolene

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene

I’m begging of you please don’t take my man

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene

Please don’t take him even though you can

Jolene, Jolene

Related Content:

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Hear Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Shifted from Minor to Major Key, and Radiohead’s “Creep” Moved from Major to Minor

R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” Reworked from Minor to Major Scale

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Monday, September 24 for another monthly installment of her book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her @AyunHalliday

Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” Slowed Down to 33RPM Sounds Great and Takes on New, Unexpected Meanings is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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Best of Our Blogs: September 7, 2018

It hasn’t been long since the passing of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. People are still analyzing their situations trying to find hints of suicide, and signs that something was wrong.

It’s important to know there are things you can look out for and places to go for help.

It’s September and National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Please share your story, help to diminish the stigma and remind others where they can go for hope and support.

12 Of The Most Common Lies Sociopaths And Narcissists Tell, Translated Into Truth
(Recovering from a Narcissist) – It’s how they spin the truth and why you fall for it.

4 Ways An Unloved Daughter is Vulnerable to Gaslighting
(Knotted) – You’re victim to gaslighting because of your past and these present behaviors.

The Enmeshed/Appropriating Mother: 6 Ways She Takes Over Her Daughter’s Childhood
(The Good Daughter Syndrome) – This is what it looks like when your mom tries to usurp your life.

Parents, Tell Your Kids the Family Secrets! (Yes, even the embarrassing ones.)
(Full Heart, Empty Arms) – If you think hiding information will protect your kids, you need to read this.

The Essential Guide To The Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
(Practical Parenting) – This infographic is a perfect reminder why gratitude is important for the whole family.

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Enter an Archive of William Blake’s Fantastical “Illuminated Books”: The Images Are Sublime, and in High Resolution

William Blake earned his place as the patron saint of all freethinking outsider artists. One might say he perfected the role as he perfected his craft—or crafts rather, since his poetry inspires as much awe and acclaim as his visionary engravings and illustrations. Standing astride the Neoclassical eighteenth century and the Romantic era, Blake rejected […]

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