Parenting a Child with ADHD

ADHD parenting can be an extremely stressful experience, and the general public doesn’t seem to truly understand the strain that ADHD puts on families. According to a study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, parents with an ADHD child have nearly twice the divorce rate as marriages that do not have an ADHD child.

Raising a child in our increasingly complex world is already stressful enough, but when parents also have to deal with the day-to-day challenges of managing their child’s ADHD symptoms, they run the risk of becoming frustrated and overwhelmed with their ADHD child. Furthermore, the stress and frustration that a parent experiences from working with their child can easily affect other family relationships.

When this occurs, family relations start to break down. For instance, in situations where an ADHD child is struggling to keep up with their schoolwork, the parents may not be able to agree upon the best course of action, which can lead to significant increases in marital stress levels.

In this situation, one parent may want their child to start taking stimulant ADD medications, while the other might prefer taking a non-drug approach. Either way, when these types of problems occur, parents of ADHD children will sometimes take out their frustrations on each other (often unknowingly), which places even more strain on the family.

Fortunately for parents, the Drake Institute can help alleviate some of the tension and stress-related symptoms families struggling with ADHD may be experiencing. In this article, we will explain the source of ADHD symptoms, further discuss the additional challenges associated with raising an ADHD child and then talk about how parents can get help in reducing the stress of parenting a child with ADHD.

Understanding the ADHD Child’s Brain

The dysregulated brain in ADD children makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible for them to concentrate for an extended period of time on non-preferred tasks like homework and other academic assignments.  

In addition, this dysregulated brain may make it more difficult for some ADD children to filter and stop impulses, which is another significant reason they have trouble focusing on tasks.

As a result, the ADD child may not be able to complete homework on their own, get ready in the morning without frequent prompting by the parents, control behavioral or emotional impulses (see our article on the impulsive ADD child for additional details), etc. 

In other words, the ADD child may not be neurobiologically capable of being receptive and responsive to normal parental demands. 

To a large extent, they really cannot help themselves, no matter how much they may want to behave properly. But to the parent struggling with an ADHD child, this may lead them to think that their child is simply being uncooperative, lazy, or disrespectful, leading to exceptional levels of stress and frustration. The parent-child relationship may become damaged as a consequence.

Parenting Kids with ADHD: The Effect on Parents

Many parents of ADHD children unfairly judge or blame themselves as being ineffective or failing to have enough of an impact in helping to develop a successful child.

Unfortunately, what these ADHD parents may fail to realize is that their child's brain is simply "stuck” in a dysregulated and often under-activated state which results in ADHD symptoms and prevents the child from exhibiting “normal” behavior patterns. In reality, the ADD child is neurophysiologically limited or compromised in their ability to self-regulate their behavior and is largely unable to function at the level required.

In addition to the stress and frustration of parenting an ADHD child within the home, parents may also have to endure the perceived judgment they receive when they take their children out in public. Outside observers in public places may think that the parent doesn't know how to control their child or is simply a poor parent, and as a result, parents may begin to doubt their competency, get worn out, and develop additional stress-related symptoms such as Depression, Anxiety, or Insomnia.

And it is not that Dads don't care, but in my clinical experience, these issues seem to take more of a toll on Mothers. Mothers are more hands-on, dealing with trying to get the child ready in the morning, monitoring school assignments, homework, fielding complaints or negative reports from the school, etc., which can easily lead to Mothers becoming entirely overwhelmed by the parental demands of raising an ADHD child.

The frustrations and stresses involved in parenting an ADD child can affect the whole family and when one or both parents are already fatigued from dealing with their ADD child's difficulties, it makes it much more difficult for them to cope with other normal life challenges.

This is why it’s so incredibly important for parents to get the support they need as soon as the feelings of being overwhelmed by parenting an ADHD child begin to emerge.

Getting Help at the Drake Institute

At the Drake Institute, our experiences in treating over 8,000 families have taught us just how important it is to provide clinical support for parents with an ADHD child.

Specifically, we often provide our stress biofeedback treatment protocol to parents who are having their children treated at the Drake Institute, which can help them reverse the tension and stress-related symptoms they developed in dealing with their child’s ADHD. This not only helps the parent, but it also benefits the child's treatment by improving the relationships between family members who are no longer struggling with such high levels of stress and frustration.

A typical example of this therapeutic impact is a mother who recently reported that after receiving her stress treatment at Drake, she not only felt better but was also able to see more improvements in her son which she had trouble noticing previously because she was dominated by her own stress reactions! After undergoing treatment herself, she became better at supporting her son’s improvements, which accelerated his progress in developing a new level of self-confidence and self-regulation skills required to improve his ADHD symptoms.

At the Drake Institute, all of our ADHD treatment protocols are drug-free and non-invasive. We believe that individuals who come to the Drake Institute for help are capable of learning how to self-regulate their stress reactivity—they just need to be shown how to do it!

Through treatment protocols guided by QEEG Brain Mapping, then utilizing Neurofeedback and Neuromodulation Therapy, the Drake Institute is able to help both the ADHD child and provide support for their parents.

What’s more, because the Drake Institute’s treatment protocols don’t rely on medications that simply mask symptoms temporarily, both parents and ADHD children can experience long-term symptom improvement.

In addition, while many stress and anxiety medications may be capable of providing symptom relief, they also carry a significant number of potential side-effects, which could even lead to other unwanted symptoms.

ADHD Resources for Parents

If you’re a parent struggling with your ADHD child, please call us today to schedule a no-cost, screening consultation. At the Drake Institute, we will provide you with the ADHD parental support that both you and your child need, and deserve.

Contact Us Today

To get the help you or a loved one needs, call now to schedule your no-cost screening consultation.

dr david velkoff headshot

“David F. Velkoff, M.D., our Medical Director and co-founder, supervises all evaluation procedures and treatment programs. He is recognized as a physician pioneer in using biofeedback, qEEG brain mapping, neurofeedback, and neuromodulation in the treatment of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and stress related illnesses including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Dr. David Velkoff earned his Master’s degree in Psychology from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1975, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1976. This was followed by Dr. Velkoff completing his internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology with an elective in Neurology at the University of California Medical Center in Irvine. He then shifted his specialty to Neurophysical Medicine and received his initial training in biofeedback/neurofeedback in Neurophysical Medicine from the leading doctors in the world in biofeedback at the renown Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. In 1980, he co-founded the Drake Institute of Neurophysical Medicine. Seeking to better understand the link between illness and the mind, Dr. Velkoff served as the clinical director of an international research study on psychoneuroimmunology with the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. This was a follow-up study to an earlier clinical collaborative effort with UCLA School of Medicine demonstrating how the Drake Institute's stress treatment resulted in improved immune functioning of natural killer cell activity. Dr. Velkoff served as one of the founding associate editors of the scientific publication, Journal of Neurotherapy. He has been an invited guest lecturer at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, UCLA, Cedars Sinai Medical Center-Thalians Mental Health Center, St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, and CHADD. He has been a medical consultant in Neurophysical Medicine to CNN, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Univision, and PBS.”

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