DIVORCE: THE ISSUES AND RECOVERY
DIVORCE AND ADHD CHILDREN
According to a new study by William E. Pelham Jr., PhD, professor of psychology and pediatrics at the University at Buffalo, married couples who have a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit (ADD) are nearly twice as likely to divorce by the time the child is age 8 than are couples who do not have children affected by the disorder. There are two types of attention deficit: primarily inattentive and (ADD) and impulsive-hyperactive (ADHD).
If you were divorced when your children were at least 6 years old and knew he/she had ADHD, you have become accustomed to doing behavioral support with them. But now that you are divorced, there are some new wrinkles that affect the situation.
Children go through a grief process after divorce and experience sadness, anger and depression, all of which can disrupt an ADHD child's normal home environment.
You probably know by now that ADHD kids need structure and clear rules with clearly understood rewards and consequences.
After a divorce parents often have different rules and structures for their households, but parents of these children need to cooperate as much as possible to keep structures and rules consistent for the well being of the child. One of the most important tasks of divorced parents is becoming cooperative co-parents, and this is even more important for parents of ADHD children.
Here are a some suggestions you can follow for doing that:
*Talk to them honestly about the divorce, using basic words that they can understand. Let them know that you both still love them and will see them often.
*.Give clear instructions and explanations for anything your child does. If a task is complex or lengthy, break it down into steps that are more manageable. As they learn to manage their behavior, the steps and tasks can become more complex.
*. Reward your child for good behavior and tasks completed. Set up a clear system of rewards (gold stars for example) so that the child knows what to expect when they successfully complete a task.
*. Provide a consistent routine in your home, with a certain time for meals, play time, bath and bedtime. It is crucial for ADHD chldren that both parents keep that routine.
*. Have a plan for appropriate discipline that is consistent and fair. This will help your child internalize a sense of structure, which is VERY important after parents are divorced.
*. Let them know in advance anytime there is a change in activity that was planned.
*. Involve your child in constructive mind-building,active play that you can also do.
*. give them a time limit on chores by setting a timer that they can see.
* Limit processed sugar and carbohydrates, which can increase your child's level of activity. Provide fruit juices rather than soda pop or candy.
Grandparents need to be informed about these things so that they can carry on the consistency and structure. Cooperate with teachers and counselors, and have frequent communication with them. Above all, learn to keep your child away from divorce-related conflict. ADHD kids can feel nervous and insecure when there is distraction in their environment. The sooner you and your former spouse learn to work out problems and resolve your own issues of anger and sadness regarding the divorce, the more energy you will have to devote to your child.