I am increasingly seeing parents concerned that their child is ADHD because he/she is not listening to them. I am concerned with this trend of “labeling” the child for life. Labeling removes the opportunity to prevent and fix problems with non-medicine alternatives rather than resorting to pharma solutions.
The three key symptoms of ADHD are hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. These symptoms typically interfere with the child’s functioning in social and academic settings. Children with ADHD have poor focusing and organization skills, which means, among other difficulties, that they have trouble organizing their belongings and tasks.
Parenting a child with true ADHD can pose special challenges but first realize that ADHD is not an end/period but a comma in the child’s life. Many famous, accomplished, and indeed brilliant people of the past and present have had ADHD.
Here is what you can do to Prevent and Manage ADHD:
1. To Prevent
· If you are concerned, communicate with the doctor. If a formal evaluation is needed, this evaluation will involve professionals from various disciplines to provide a comprehensive medical, developmental, educational, and psychosocial evaluation.
· Be Specific to your kids. Avoid vague or open-ended instructions such as “clean up your room” or “Be good”. Break down instructions of larger tasks into simple steps.
· Inconsistency. Children with ADHD respond well to a defined and predictable system of rewards and consequences.
· Pharma solution as the first step. Kids exhibit different degrees of ADHD and so the care not usually the same. Also most kids on ADHD medicines seem to lose the zest for life. Try parenting changes first.
· Big goals or addressing all behavioral issues at the same time. Set small attainable goals. Focus on one or two challenging behaviors at a time.
· Foods containing color additives like Yellow 5,6 or 13 and Red 3, 40 etc.
3. Follow this care:
· Set an established, while not inflexible, pattern for getting ready in the mornings, preparing for bedtime, and managing after-school homework. It helps the child to know what to expect. It’s very important to stick to the rules and provide fair and consistent rewards and consequences when the household rules are not followed.
· Hang the checklists in a conspicuous place and allow your child to check off completed items as they are done.
· Some parents find that purchasing a second set of textbooks for the home is useful for the child who frequently forgets to bring the proper materials home. They also keep homework space free of external distractions like television and video games.
· Pick a sport (that involve constant activity or motion) and that suits your child and his or her abilities. It is known to help.
· Take away distractions like TV, video games, and cell phones from their bed room. They interfere with sleep, which is critical for ADHD kids
· Avoid soda and caffeine from their diet. Try slight diet changes (gluten free, sugar free etc) to see if they perform better.
· Add Omega-3s to their diet instead. These are found in salmon, walnuts, spinach, broccoli, edamame, flaxseed seem to do good for ADHD.