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10 Positive Things to Say to Your Child with ADD
Sometimes when parenting a child with ADD it can take a Herculean effort to stay positive. Due to their impulse control issues your interaction with a child with ADD can be down right exhausting. As most parents with children with ADD can attest to, you find yourself starting almost every sentence with "NO," "STOP," or "Why did you do that?" After a while two things start to inevitably happen: 1) your child with ADD tunes you out, 2) you feel terrible all the time for not being a positive person.
Now, I'm not saying turning into Mary Poppin's is the answer, but a little humour and some positivity can go a long way.
Great Tips For Families Struggling With ADD
Practical advice for parents on managing your child's behavior and dealing with common challenges.
Change Your Words, Change Your Feelings
Words have power, what we choose to say effects who we are and how we feel. What if you made the conscious decision to stop saying "no," so much and tried to find a positive way to interact and redirect your child with ADD?
One of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten to help us deal with our daughter's difficult ADD related behavior was to replace negative behaviour with positive behaviour and instructions if necessary. For example if she was hitting her sister I would typically say "Stop hitting your sister." Using the new model I say "Hands off. Use words." If a child can do better they will, sometimes they just don't know how. I have to admit, I was skeptical initially, it all seemed a little too "touchy feely," but after trying it for a few weeks I saw a change. She was able to make better choices and I didn't feel so draconian.
The other thing we try to do often in finding a way to positively speak to our daughter with ADD is to highlight what she does well. It's the "Catch them doing something right," philosophy. It makes sense, no one wants to feel like everything they do is wrong. So celebrate what they do well and the unique gifts that come with ADD.
The Upside of ADD
- Exploring the Upside of ADHD - (ADHD) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Cause, Diagnosis, His
What if people with ADHD were seen as quick-witted, having the ability to be enthusiastic for many things at once, or maybe quickly able to see the "big picture?"
Prepared to be Positive
Being positive doesn't happen overnight. It takes effort and thought to change the way we interact with one another. Rather then trying to come up with a positive response on the fly, post these on the mirror in your bedroom or on a kitchen cupboard and ease them into your daily interactions. You'll be amazed at how much better you and your child will feel about yourselves when you do.
1. Wow! You are full of energy today, how about going outside?
Instead of “Stop moving, it's exhausting just looking at you.”
2. You have alot to say, let's just catch our breath together for a moment.
Instead of “Stop talking,” or "Shut up!"
3. I would have never thought of doing it that way, can you explain it to me?
Instead of "This looks completely crazy, what have you done?"
4. Accidents happen. How can we fix this together?
Instead of "What have you broken now?"
5. That’s so creative.
Instead of "What on earth is this mess?"
6. You are so colorful today, how about you pick two colors to wear at a time and save the others for another day?
Instead of "Nothing you are wearing matches, you look like you got dressed in the dark."
7. You have a lot going on here. Let's pick one thing to do first and then move on to the next.
Instead of "It's total chaos in here, you're so disorganized."
8. Gee that was fast. Let's see what it would look like if we did it a little slower.
Instead of "You raced through this and it's all wrong, now do it again."
9. You look like you're having some pretty big feelings right now, do you want to talk about it or have some time to yourself?
Instead of "What is wrong with you?"
10. I can see you're frustrated, so am I .Take a breath, take a break and we'll try again.
Instead of a tribal scream from both of you.
A Journey of a Thousand Steps
Parenting a child with ADD is challenging, but so is parenting in general. It's a journey, we put one foot in front of the other and do our best everyday. Choosing to be positive can make all the difference in the world.
Remember: At any given moment we are all doing our best. Love each other, forgive each other and move forward in the best way you know how.