A child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experiences problems in maintaining attention and concentration in tasks. He may receive complaints from teachers about his inability to maintain focus in the classroom. He is hyperactive and not able to sit at one place which is troubling to teachers and parents. Teachers sometimes manage to deal with the child, but they may not be able to manage him due to his symptoms. They generally lack proper skills and knowledge to manage a child's hyperactive behaviors. They expect parents to get proper treatment for the child so that he can behave well in classes.
Parents are equally bothered by his behaviors. They express their inabilities to the teachers in managing the child, however, they do sometimes take therapy from mental health professionals. Parents sometimes try to learn the skills that will help them in managing the child at home. However, it is many times not possible for teachers to manage the same behaviors, which are otherwise manageable at home. Parents face a dilemma when the child listens to them in some cases but becomes disobedient to the teachers. This raises parental worries as they feel confused and disappointed. This concern grows day by day because the constant complaints by teachers make them distressed.
Child lags behind his peers in academic and other goals. He is not able to cope up with everyday challenges and feels isolated. This increases worries of parents and they feel demotivated in helping the child to meet his age-related challenges. They feel anxious and apprehensive about his performance in various spheres of life. These concerns about the child's psychological and social development put parents in a state of uncertainties. They fear about the future of the child and feel helpless in parenting the child.
Due to parenting stresses, parents gradually develop anger and irritability toward the child. They lose patience often and express their disappointment towards the child. They begin to lose hopes for the child and develop negative attitudes towards the child. They become critical of the child's behaviors and express their disappointments verbally. They often give up their efforts in working for child's betterment because they feel directionless. They feel demotivated because all their efforts go in vain. They get dissatisfied with themselves. Unfortunately, their loss of enthusiasm is internalized by the child and he gets disappointed with himself. He reads the faces of parents and finds himself the cause of their distress. This mutual exchange of negative emotions gradually becomes sustained and creates distance between the parents and the child. Many times, parents become neglectful, do not differentiate between necessary and irrelevant demands or needs of the child. They become strict and restrict the child from his playful pleasures. The child begins to feel a sense of loss and despair and becomes aggressive. His anger is targeted at parents and others (peers or objects). Parents lose some of their empathy for the child and an environment of aloofness gets established. This change in attitudes of family members is very harmful because it may lead to destructive tendencies. Several family conflicts may arise.
Often this results in expectations of miracle cures. Parents look for some magical effects from therapy and expect fast changes. They feel pressurized from teachers, neighbors, relatives and themselves to bring rapid changes in the child. But these expectations lead to more distress because these don't get fulfilled too easily. Parents have to make lots of efforts to enable them to deal with the child. They need to have patience in therapy. Every therapist has his/her own ways of working. A therapist can not do miracles, he is a human being, a practitioner who would take his/her time in bringing changes with collaborative efforts.
It's quite obvious to think that the therapist should give some easy-to-apply strategies that parents find effective. But the task of learning to bring changes in the child is cumbersome. It is often not convenient to learn new ways of managing the child when parents believe they have tried everything. The therapist tries to make the intervention work easier for the parents. But parents are eagerly waiting for some big changes in a short period of time. This leads to a loss of patience and poor compliance with therapy. It is not wrong on their part to assume that the therapist must play a major role because he/she is an expert. However, the child stays for a large duration of the week with the parents. It is not possible for the therapist to make considerable changes unless parental help is available. Parents believe that the therapist would make all changes but if the environment of the child is not conducive to bring and sustain changes, then therapy is ineffective. Therapy is the sum total of many small changes brought together. Parents must learn the skills and techniques for the management of the child at home. It requires some effort. And is always beneficial in the long run.
Parents take a lot of pressures from teachers. They fear that a strict action can be taken against the child if he does not improve. They feel that the burden of change lies on their shoulders. It's true to some extent but not possible for parents to take up all the responsibilities. Managing children with ADHD is a social responsibility. And especially teachers should be willing to offer their help and support. Teachers may face problems and challenges in maintaining the discipline due to the inattentiveness of the child, but finding the child as a nuisance is not the solution. ADHD children are challenges for teachers to change their strategies of teaching. But teachers, due to their work stresses and lack of skills in managing the child, generally transfer their pressures onto the parents. This again seems obvious but a shift, rather than sharing, of responsibility is not helpful. Gradually the responsibility is attributed to some moral or biological composition of the child. Later the responsibility is shifted to medicines.
Parents must not lose their motivation. If there is a diagnosis, there is a treatment too. They must look out for solutions. They may have to move out from their comfort zones for some time but learning to know their child is crucial because their empathy matters a lot for the child. Parents need to develop a new understanding of their child. They really do not understand their child. Because they only focused on his problematic behaviors. They missed knowing the reasons for his typical behaviors. His needs, emotions, thoughts, and expectations often go unnoticed. Parents may be knowing the patterns of the child’s behaviors, but managing the child requires a new understanding and unique insights. They need to know the psychology behind the child’s misbehaviors and how he can be taught to behave well, under desirable limits. But all of his problems may not be alleviated. Some core issues would persist like inattention. The help is available in many ways. Parents may take guidance and training from a therapist, learn through books and internet blogs or websites. There is a science of behavior and a child is governed by some laws of learning. If parents can understand their child, much of their stress would be regulated and the child would show improvements.