ADHD impact on the family significantly influences the quality of life for all family members, as well as social relationships. Phelan (2017) reports that ADHD is the cause of frequent disruption in the family. Sibling rivalry is intense as well as parental conflict and stress. Starck et al. (2016) reveal there is less family structure shown daily in families where parents also have ADHD. “Parental ADHD might not only affect family functioning but also treatment utilization and outcome of child therapy or parent training” (p. 582).
Reiff (2011) states, it is essential that when a child is diagnosed with ADHD that the family is also tested to determine if there are others with ADHD. A more useful treatment plan is then possible once all ADHD family members are identified. Reiff (2011) further explains that once ADHD is diagnosed the treatment plan may include medication management, behavior therapy, and other forms of treatment. The treatment plan and additional support are specific to the individual. The treatment plan first focuses on the inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness of the disorder. Then it concentrates on the functional disabilities, which were the parents and teachers first concerns. ADHD is a chronic condition and parents, children, and adolescents require ongoing education and treatments over time (Reiff, 2011). The standard model of care for ADHD and any chronic condition is the medical home model. This type of care coordinates all aspects of effective treatment, where parents, children, teachers, doctors, and therapists work together to make the best decisions concerning treatment (Reiff, 2011).
ADHD Children and School
ADHD can be challenging for school-age children because of poor grades, behavior problems and the inability to interact socially with other students. Parents also find school issues a significant concern, because they may change from year to year (Reiff, 2011). Problems with attention, control impulses, and behavior can affect a child with ADHD in school and should be addressed early. Reiff (2011) says it is essential for parents to observe how their child functions in the areas of behavior management, academic progress, and social interaction. Parents must identify areas of concern, learn the classroom structure, school policies, teaching style, and what accommodations the school can provide for your child (Reiff, 2011). Teachers are important, and parents ought to require they are updated on how to manage behavioral symptoms effectively. Parents are also to learn how to promote school success at home and away (Reiff, 2011).
Parenting and ADHD Children
According to Moghaddam, Assareh, Heidaripoor, Rad, and Pishjoo (2013) “Education and Parenting is one of the most important factors affecting the development and stability of children’s behavioral problems . . .” (p. 48). Moghaddam et al. (2013) further note that parents specifically a mother’s role is essential to the cause of ADHD because she is more rigorous than the father. Parenting styles are one factor that contributes to parent-child conflict. Studies show the parenting style of parents with ADHD children is less permissive and more authoritarian (Moghaddam et al., 2013). Lowe, Danforth, and Brooks (2008) reveal that U.S. studies concede that parents of ADHD children react inappropriately to child-rearing stressors and become controlling and harsh with their children. The authoritarian style of parenting does not improve behavior but worsens the symptoms of ADHD (Moghaddam et al., 2013).
Moghaddam et al. (2013) point out that parenting children with ADHD can be difficult due to the variety of disruptive and impulsive behaviors parents are presented with daily. Parents tend to be more critical of children, choosing the wrong ways of parenting. Lowe et al. (2008) report “There is evidence to suggest that poor parenting skills may exacerbate children’s self-control deficits and contribute to the development of additional disruptive disorders . . .” (p.870).
The most effective areas to improve the parenting styles of parents with ADHD children can be accomplished by parent training, family therapy, and educational programs provided by schools and other educational programs. Behavioral parent training, as well as coping skills, can also help develop the parent-child relationship and result in successful family life. Lowe et al. (2008) reveal that “Parent training reduced children’s hyperactive, defiant, and aggressive behavior, improved parenting behavior, and reduced parent stress” (p.869).
The Bible does not explicitly mention attention deficit disorders, but there is some awareness from scripture on the subject. It is essential as Christians to recognize the limits and challenges faced daily with ADHD. Understanding that ADHD is a lifelong condition with various methods of treatments can help those diagnosed in striving to follow the commands of God. The word of God helps us to be more aware of our weaknesses and more familiar with the ways God can show Himself active in our lives. Jesus Christ offers assurance with these words, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, KJV).
Parenting a child is difficult, but when your child has ADHD, parenting becomes a more significant challenge. There are higher demands placed on parents and the family of a child with ADHD. Their needs are more involved than other children and necessitate more patience and understanding. According to King et al. (2016), a child with ADHD increases the chances of family disturbances, marital problems, disruptive parent-child relationships and increased parental stress. There are also troubling issues for non-ADHD siblings requiring attention in hopes of improving positive outcomes in the relations of all family members. It is essential for parents to learn how to promote school success at school, home and away (Reiff, 2011). Authoritarian style parenting is not the parenting style for parents with children who have ADHD; it only produces adverse outcomes for both parent and child. ADHD is a lifelong chronic condition that requires knowledge about the disorder to raise a child with ADHD. “Parent training is the first-line treatment for preschool children, school-age children, and adolescents with ADHD” (Starck et al., 2016, p. 582).