**This post has been sponsored by The Brain Performance Center to bring you this experience. All opinions are 100% our own!**
There are so many difficult things to navigate as a parent, and some feel more overwhelming than others. One of the hardest things a parent may face is parenting a child with ADHD and impulsive behavior issues. It may feel isolating and like peace is so far out of reach. Perhaps this resonates with you. I recently had a conversation with Leigh Richardson, MS, LPC, NCC, BCN, BCB, with The Brain Performance Center, and she provided some invaluable insight on maneuvering through parenting children with impulsive behaviors.
What are the main obstacles for kids with ADHD and impulsivity?
It can be hard to find a routine with kids with ADHD. They don’t think before they act out in different ways.
“For some kids it may manifest as aggressive behavior, pushing or hitting another child. This can create fear in other kids, and they can push back on social interactions. The impulsive kid doesn’t understand the consequences of their behavior but they understand that they are not being included on the playground.” – Leigh Richardson of The Brain Performance Center
Leigh admits that this can sometimes be the hardest thing for parents and teachers – understanding that the child does not have the ability to put the breaks on. Understanding that this goes deeper than just the child making a bad choice can help you try to find some common ground.
What are some meaningful solutions for children at home?
Educate yourself, educate yourself, educate yourself! Learn as much as you can about your child’s impulsive behavior first and foremost. You can move toward meaningful solutions once you learn about the impulse and what is there deep down. According to Leigh, you can explore setting boundaries.
“Set firm rules and make sure your child understands the rules. It can help to have checklists to reinforce the rules. Point out impulsive behaviors. Your child may not realize when they are reacting impulsively.”
As important as it is to educate yourself, it is equally as important to remain calm. Calmly pointing it out in private will help them see the behavior even if it’s after the fact. Conversely, when you see your child behave in a calm manner, compliment them on it and praise them for it. Don’t wait for perfection. Be ready and willing to dole out compliments when warranted. Set the standard of calm appropriately for your own child. A good rule of thumb is to praise your child 5 times as often as you criticize their behavior.
What are some meaningful solutions for children in the classroom?
First off, take charge and talk to your child’s teacher. It is important to have an open line of communication with them about what they observe in the classroom, lunchroom, or on the playground. Leigh further explains,
“Try to identify the most difficult time for your child and strategize what can be done within the environment to lessen the impulsiveness. For instance, if it is not enough time to transition from one activity to another the teacher may be able to allow extra time. Ask the teacher and school counselors for different strategies that can be used in the classroom.”
It is important to engage and work with the other adults in your child’s life. Do not be afraid to ask for solutions that you all deem appropriate and helpful in the life of your child.
How can you navigate life with impulsive kids when there are siblings also in the home?
It is important to be aware of the impact ADHD is having on the family as a whole. As Leigh explains it,
“The hardest thing for siblings is never knowing what to expect. Disruptive behavior can sometimes be ignored by parents because they are so exhausted and that is confusing to the other children. Sometimes siblings feel that they are victims and sometimes they feel that they must be caretakers of the ADHD sibling.”
Boundaries are vital in these cases. Help each of your children set boundaries so they feel respected and protected. Stability can often feel out of reach, but make sure you are mentally prepared to adapt your parenting styles from kid to kid.
Need more resources? The Brain Performance Center is here to help!
Neurofeedback is an evidence-based program that research supports as being an effective way to train the brain into a regulated state for people with ADHD. At The Brain Performance Center behavior therapy is combined with the neurofeedback to teach coping skills that can be utilized in every day life. If you are interesting in exploring this more, please setup your free consultation today!