A child with ADHD is the biggest challenge a parent could face as far as parenting skills are concerned. A parent should be emotionally and spiritually stable, considering that raising a child with such concerns require extra effort. As a skill, parenting does not only demand promoting the physical and social development of a child, but most importantly, the emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth must be addressed in a holistic approach. In this way, a child can grow up to be a dynamic and secured individual of the society.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is characterized by inattentiveness, over activity, and impulsiveness. ADHD is a common disorder, especially in boys, and probably accounts for more child mental health referrals than any other single disorder (McCracken, 2000a). The essential feature of ADHD is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity in children of the same age.
Though I am not yet a parent, I am able to foresee myself building a family and rearing kids. I am scared of the idea, but, as they always say, you will never know it unless you become one. No matter what situation may arise in the near future, I know I can keep up with the challenges. I am not new to kids having ADHD. I have been exposed to several children manifesting such syndrome as I have been a preschool teacher. At one point, I have been ignorant of such cases, where children are hyperactive, uncontrollable, having trouble focusing and aggressive and intense. I once attributed these behaviors to a disorganized home set up, thinking that parents might have imposed improper parenting styles which resulted to this kind of behavior.
ADHD affects an estimated 3% to 5% of all school-age children. The ratio of boys to girls ranges from 3:1 in nonclinical settings to 9:1 in clinical settings (McCracken, 2000a). On the other hand, children who are very active or hard to handle in the classroom can be diagnosed and treated mistakenly for ADHD. Some of these overly active children may suffer from psychosocial stressors at home, inadequate parenting, or other psychiatric disorders (Blackman, 1999). Parents should be vigilant enough to take into consideration the behaviors that their children are exhibiting at home if it corresponds to those in school. In this case, a teacher plays an important role also in monitoring a child’s behavioral progress. This can be coordinated as part of the evaluation team for a child with ADHD.
According to Pary, Lewis, Matuschka and Lippmann, 2002, by the time the child starts school, symptoms of ADHD begin to interfere significantly with behavior and performance. The child fidgets constantly, is in and out of assigned seats, and makes excessive noise by taping or playing with pencils or other objects. Normal environmental noises such as someone coughing distract a child. He or she cannot listen to direction or complete tasks. The child interrupts and blurts out answers before questions are completed. Academic performance suffers because the child makes hurried careless mistakes in schoolwork, often loses or forgets homework assignments, and fails to follow instructions.
Medications for ADHD do not automatically improve the child’s academic performance or ensure that he or she makes friends. Behavioral strategies are necessary to help the child to master appropriate behaviors. Environmental strategies at school and home can help the child to succeed in those settings. Parents may incorporate these skills to their parenting styles such as providing consistent rewards and consequences for behavior, offering consistent praise, using time-out, and giving verbal reprimands. Additional strategies are issuing daily report cards for behavior and using point systems for positive and negative behavior (McCracken, 2000a).
With effective treatment, both medical and non-medical interventions, parents and teachers are likely to notice positive outcomes of treatment before a child does. Improved sociability, peer relationships, and academic achievement happen more slowly and gradually but are possible with effective treatment.