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  • Writer's pictureallison zinnick

Crafting Calm: Navigating ADHD with Essential Tools for Parenting Success

Allison Zinnick

3 minutes

My son has ADHD. Suffice to say it takes work when crafting calm in our house.

It’s not surprising, if a parent has ADHD, a child has more than 50% chance of also having the disorder. So I had my eyes peeled.

One day he said to me: feels like my brain is bouncing. – My kid

…I’ve never related to anything more.

So I made it my mission to craft his environment to suit HIM – not the typical child. I want to give him tools and strategies that are suited to how his brain works. I want to give him what I didn’t have, as someone who wasn’t diagnosed until 21.

Strategy #1 – Low demand parenting

Call it controversial… but my son doesn’t have chores yet. He’s six. If he’s struggling with basic tasks, adding to that wouldn’t be productive I thought.

Strategy #2 – Staying positive and heaping on the praise

This is one my husband struggles with. Actually if I’m being 100% honest with you – I struggle too. It’s hard to both be unhappy with a behaviour or a choice while simultaneously having empathy and understanding. I remind myself that my child’s behavior is a result of a disorder and is usually unintentional. Embracing my sense of humor helps; what may be embarrassing today could become a cherished family story in the future.

Strategy #3 – Crafting his environment to fit his needs

I’ve done away with dressers. I came in my son’s room one day to all of the clothes pulled out and on the floor. Given that I also have ADHD – it was kind of an *aha* moment. Of course he needed to pull everything out – it ceases to exist when it’s in the drawer.

If you don’t have ADHD and you’re reading this, this is because of object permanence. When we cannot see it – it does not exist. So now he and I have open shelves.

And there are still clothes all over the floor.

He has both a fan making noise AND a white noise machine. This drowns out the noise that is actually there and the noise that his thoughts are making.

But I need to tell you – this blog isn’t all about how I have everything figured out. There’s things we don’t get right.

Full transparency – sleep is a problem. We’re going to have to do some work on better sleep hygiene and getting him more activity during the day and less screens. I will never claim that I do everything right.

This is one thing we are clearly not getting right.

I’ve had to unlearn some of the parenting expectations that we learned as a child. I’ve had to learn to shape his environment in a way that can help him succeed – that may not fit the typical 4.0 family style. And that’s hard.

I’ve created a list on my storefront of things that we’ve bought for him that have helped.

One thing on that list is a book called “A Dragon with ADHD” – which we read very regularly.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s as much for me as it is him.

It reads “You have ADHD it’s true, but there’s so much more to you.”

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