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