Caring for a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) presents a unique set of challenges as well as opportunities for learning and development.

The hyperactivity, impulsiveness, inattention and other behaviours that are associated with the condition can open you and your child up to a rollercoaster of events and emotions, resulting in a high level of exhaustion and many moments of frustration every day.

If you’re a parent of a child with ADHD and ADD you are often stressed out and feel overwhelmed. Your household and working setup may feel out of control because of your child’s tendency to do exasperating, embarrassing and annoying things. The interesting thing about it, however, is that more often than not, the most effective way to survive and overcome the chaos is to stay calm.

When you can achieve calm and teach your child how to be calm you can be rewarded with the following benefits:

  • A more organised schedule, allowing you more time to build a deeper emotional bonding with your child.
  • More mental space to invest in more thoughtful methods of communication in the family.
  • The opportunity to have clarity and consistency when managing your child’s behaviour.

Admittedly, keeping calm can be extremely difficult, if not seemingly impossible, especially during difficult days. But there are methods you can use to bring back your cool and stay on top of even the toughest situations, such as the following:

Teach yourself how to be calm first. How you react to situations has a strong impact on how your child will feel and behave. Thus, you need to work on your own emotional balance so you can lead by example. From breathing techniques to counting to 10 to meditation, find out the best strategy that will work for you.

Don’t be pressured by the expectations of others. No matter how well-raised your child is, it’s not impossible to still encounter people who may be judgemental about your parenting style. Living under this pressure can lead to more stress and anxiety. It’s best to just ignore the rules and standards that these individuals may be pushing to you. Look at your child for the unique individual that they are, and construct your hopes and aspirations according to their personality and potential.

Equip your child with tools and strategies that will help them achieve calmness. 

  • Sit down with them and help them brainstorm and rehearse the various ways that they think will help them calm down during a stressful or overstimulating situation.
  • Teach and train them to voice out their emotions so you can offer the support they need.
  • Make use of meaningful “props” that trigger feelings of calm and control in them. It may be their favourite blanket or stuffed toy, a piece of music they find soothing, or a “kit” that contains items that keep them busy, focused and calm.

If you need help dealing with a child with ADD or ADHD, search our national directory of counsellors and psychotherapists who specialise in ADD/ADHD.