In recent years, there have been heated discussions around a mental disorder called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, ADHD). This disorder is usually diagnosed in childhood.
It is very difficult for such children to maintain concentration for a long time, they absolutely cannot sit still; they are constantly on the move, impulsive and overactive.
Unfortunately, more and more children are being diagnosed with ADHD, and many of them are on drugs that increase the activity of the dopamine neurotransmitter. This helps the child to be ready for work, more attentive and focused, and therefore more able to consistently complete tasks.
For most children (70 to 80 percent) diagnosed with ADHD, treatment to correct dopamine metabolism helps. However, some experts worry that sometimes parents are too quick to see doctors and doctors diagnose ADHD too often.
As a result, what is simply bad behavior is considered as a mental pathology, and children who do not need medicines begin to receive them.
Scientists believe that part of the children receiving drug treatment should receive therapy from psychologists, because such help would be much more useful for them.
Help for parents of children with ADHD
The main therapeutic intervention is to help parents of children with ADHD learn effective strategies for raising and promoting the full development of the child (of course, this does not underestimate the importance, and sometimes the need for psychopharmacotherapy ). Although “bad” parenting is not the cause of ADHD, effective, competent parenting remains an extremely important factor in reducing problem behavior, preventing the development of secondary problems, and improving a child’s functioning and, consequently, his developmental prognosis. Teaching parents specific methods of controlling a child’s behavior will not change the features of the functioning of his brain (although, given the current knowledge of neuroplasticity , it is no longer possible to speak so categorically about the impossibility of this), but it can significantly affect how the child functions in the environment and how he develops – and accordingly, what will be its future. Of great value are research data (see review in Goldstein , Goldstein, 1998. S. 443-458 ), which confirmed that the characteristics of the family (in particular, the relationship of the child with parents and the methods of controlling his behavior used by parents) largely determine the prognosis of development child. And this is very important to realize: although medications affect the causes of the disorder and reduce the severity of its symptoms, the development of the child is determined primarily by the characteristics of the social environment. That is why, first of all, it is necessary to help parents in creating an optimal environment for the development of a child with ADHD. Parents need additional knowledge, they also need to master specific methods of influencing the child’s behavior.
The main goals of helping parents
The basic model of helping parents of children with ADHD aims to achieve the following goals:
Help parents understand their child and their ADHD-related behaviors.
Help parents build relationships with their children.
Help parents develop additional, “compensatory” strategies for managing their child’s behavior to reduce behavioral problems and improve functioning.
Help parents to choose and implement effective strategies for raising a child and teaching him vital social, educational and other skills, in developing a positive self-esteem of the child, revealing his abilities, etc.
To help reduce parental stress, increase a sense of competence, increase self-esteem, strengthen the internal and external resources of the family, marital and family relationships in general.
Depending on the characteristics of each family, additional goals may be:
Helping parents to overcome their own psychological difficulties.
Improving the functioning of the family (overcoming communication dysfunctions, violations of marital relations, problems in relations between brothers / sisters, etc.).
Assistance to parents in overcoming social exclusion and other problems in the social sphere; strengthening the social resources of the family, etc.
Helping parents develop strategies for coping with secondary problems or disorders in the child.