ADHD Parenting Workshop

Event Recap

On May 15th, from 5:30 pm to 8 pm, Smart D8 teamed up with Tusla – The Child and Family Agency – to host the ‘ADHD Parenting’ workshop in iD8 at The Digital Depot. This event marked the second mental health workshop facilitated by Tusla professionals Heather McLoughlin (CFSN Coordinator) and Lorraine Doherty (Senior CFSN Coordinator) in honour of Mental Health Awareness Month.

Workshop Highlights

The workshop delved into key themes from the ‘Parent Plus ADHD Children’s Programme,’ focusing on:

  • Parenting a child with ADHD
  • Understanding ADHD’s challenges and strengths
  • The role of medication and other treatments
  • Managing homework and educational challenges
  • Emotional impact of ADHD and building self-esteem
  • Communicating with children about their ADHD

Key Takeaways for Parents

1. Recognizing the Strengths of ADHD

ADHD comes with unique strengths. Individuals with ADHD often think outside the box and exhibit high levels of creativity, drive, energy, and determination. Highlighting positive role models, such as Emma Watson, who have ADHD can normalize the condition and inspire children.

2. ‘Tuning In’ to Your Child’s ADHD

Each child’s experience with ADHD is unique. It’s crucial to identify specific challenges your child faces, such as inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, sensory issues, strong emotions, and low self-esteem, and learn how to cope with them together.

3. Separating the Child from ADHD Behaviours

Viewing ADHD-related behaviours as symptoms of the condition, rather than deliberate actions by the child, fosters compassion and understanding. This approach helps children develop a more positive self-view.

4. Focusing on Strengths and Positive Qualities

Identify and nurture your child’s strengths and positive attributes, whether related to ADHD or their personality. This boosts their self-esteem, helps channel their energy positively, and enhances the parent-child relationship.

Practical Techniques for Parents

Grounding Techniques

  • Observe and name 5 things you see, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, and 2 things you smell.
  • Splash cold water on your face or arms.
  • Practice deep breathing and body scans.
  • Engage in stretching or physical activity.

Effective Play Strategies

  • Follow your child’s lead in play, building their confidence and learning.
  • Slow down, wait, and respond to your child, giving them time to think and express themselves.
  • Comment on their activities instead of asking questions, showing interest and encouraging their ideas.
  • Use positive reinforcement to support and guide your child.

Building Playtime Routines

  • Establish daily playtime routines.
  • Engage in diverse play activities and one-on-one time with each child.
  • Incorporate sensory play tailored to your child’s needs.

Strengthening Parent-Child Connections

Regular Check-Ins

Ensure you have regular times to chat with your child each day, building everyday connections and strengthening your relationship.

Shared Activities

Identify and participate in activities and hobbies that both you and your child enjoy, fostering bonding and understanding.

Positive Parenting Responses

Pressing the Pause Button

When faced with recurring challenges, pause and consider a different response. Stay calm, understand your child’s underlying feelings, and plan proactive strategies to address and prevent issues. Recognize that impulsive behaviours are often beyond their control and develop a thoughtful, compassionate approach to discipline.

Workshop Goals

The ‘ADHD Parenting’ workshop provided parents with practical tools and insights to better understand and support their children with ADHD. By focusing on strengths, effective communication, and proactive parenting strategies, parents can foster a positive environment for their children to thrive.