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Student with ADHD at Peace After Learning How to Be Resilient

Teaching Resiliency Skills

Learning to Deal with Difficult Situations

The ability to deal with difficult events is called resilience. In psychological terms, factors that contribute to an individual's resiliency include:

  • Making realistic plans and taking the steps needed to carry out those plans
  • Managing strong impulses or feelings
  • Taking a favorable view of oneself and having confidence in your abilities and strengths
  • Having skills in the areas of communication and problem-solving
  • Coping with stress
  • Bouncing back from trauma, challenges, failures, and adversity in any form

Does ADHD Have an Impact on Perseverance?

ADHD does not in and of itself create a lack of perseverance. Though it can sometimes indirectly affect the power to be resilient, in other cases, it might somewhat improve the ability to persevere in the face of disappointment. For example, young people with ADHD are likely to experience setbacks on a regular basis. This ADHD effect could make students even more resilient.

Student Remembering Details

Some students with ADHD have problems with executive functioning. This characteristic includes working memory, the ability to work with information. It is the skill that allows individuals to hold on to new information for use in some way at a later time. It may also assist in transferring the information into long-term memory. Executive functioning also helps a student:

  • Switch focus
  • Remember details
  • Manage time
  • Plan and organize
  • Pay attention
  • Multitask, and more

How to Foster Resilience

What with organization and time management issues; difficulty in setting future goals; maintaining mental effort, and the impact of time-management deficits, resilience can become problematic for anyone with ADHD. Some advice that parents, teachers, and ADHD organizations sorely need to initiate include:

Structure and Predictability

Children and teens with ADHD push against structure and predictability, but they also rely heavily on both these conditions. Examples of these two states include:

  • Predictable bedtimes
  • Scheduled meal times
  • Morning and evening routines
  • Household behavioral guidelines

Acceptance, Unconditional Love, and Forgiveness

In a perfect world, all children and adolescents would be surrounded with love and caring. For those with ADHD, unconditional love is like oxygen. After a day at a school where they have dealt with their lateness, lost homework, their reactions to others' negative input, careless errors, forgetfulness, and impulsivity, children with ADHD are understandably exhausted. They need energizing in the form of loving care. Parents can repair some of the day's damage by accepting their children just as they are. They can actively forgive their kids for any failures during the day and all behavioral infractions. This reaction does not mean you are dismissive of the transgression, but any consequence of reckless behavior is excusable, and the child can remain loved and accepted.

Taking it Personally

Stop taking the embarrassing, impulsive, not always truthful actions of your child to heart. Your child is not purposely behaving irregularly. When parents stop taking the behavior executed by their child with ADHD personally and then becoming angry, the young person is likely to change, too.

Islands of Competence

Dr. Robert Brooks authored several books about building children's resiliency. In one, he noted that psychologists often want to get to the problem and fix it. Brooks suggests that instead physicians, psychologists, educators, and parents should spend time looking for young people's islands of competence. By that metaphor, he meant the unique strengths and courage all individuals have. Finding and reinforcing these competencies, he says, creates a powerful "ripple effect." Strengthening these islands and focusing on a child's abilities, rather than on his or her disabilities, can lead to positive changes.

Allow Your Child to Fail

Since we all fail at some things, let failures help teach your child valuable lessons. Yes, parents with children who are experiencing ADHD will need to support their young ones more than those who have children who do not have ADHD, but they should not attempt to keep their children from failing. Forget about preventing failure and continue to:

  • Set goals that are realistic
  • Set attainable goals
  • Adopt a coaching mentality
  • Help your child anticipate options
  • Assist your young one in becoming ready for any outcomes
  • Resist resorting to micro-managing

More Ways to Improve Resilience in Young People with ADHD

Angela Duckworth, Ph.D. is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who wrote the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Although her book is not focused on children with ADHD, some of her findings seem useful for parents of students with ADHD.

Find Students' Interests

Students Engaged with Learning

When a parent or teacher finds something that is interesting for a child with ADHD, that "thing" can be a way to get the child up and ready for the learning.

Help Students Find a Subject they Love

Because ADHD can affect young people's ability to take on repetitive tasks, even if the tasks are enjoyable, work on the discipline of staying with projects. Students can work on several interests at a time; the idea is to learn how to practice, practice, practice.

Help Students Find a Calling

Adults can help students with ADHD find an activity that helps other people.  Even for teens, doing something that helps others will help the students, as well.

Add Hope to Your Behavioral Plan

Hope, like self-esteem, can be extremely challenging for those with ADHD. Success and a student's ability to have a vision is all tied up in hope. In every way you can, guide your child toward aspiration.

Get Gritty with It

If you can help a child find a group, a school club, a political movement, an online organization, or any other gathering of like-minded individuals who want to get something done, you will give your child a powerful gift. Kids with ADHD sometimes are not very talented when it comes to orchestrating friendships. Step in and offer them a hand in doing so.

Kentwood Preparatory School

Our school specializes in teaching and inspiring students with ADHD and other learning issues. The small school model means our students get one-on-one interaction with our faculty. And, our goal to give parents actionable strategies to assist their children in their learning paths is one by which we stand. Contact us to discover additional information about Kentwood Preparatory School.


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