Coping with an ADHD/ADD Tween at Home
Updated: Oct 29
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a behavioural disorder marked by a pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity that may interfere with a person’s functioning or development. Children with this condition may struggle with concentration issues, or become restless. Others may be rebellious and reckless - they are impatient, unable to keep quiet at appropriate times, and have trouble maintaining friendships. For children in the tween stage, ADHD, if left untreated, may well manifest into unpredictable behaviour such as angry outbursts and even self-harm.
As a parent, raising a tween, or primary schooler, with ADHD can be a challenge in itself. It is normal for children to engage in rough play, but when push comes to shove and someone gets hurt, or when your relationship with your child and partner becomes strained at home, you may be tempted to throw in the towel.
Don’t give up hope, however. Here, we provide you with some tips on how to better manage issues that parents of ADHD children aged between 8 and 12 years old may face:
1. Understand the Symptoms
First and foremost, it is important to familiarise yourself with the symptoms of ADHD so that you are prepared for what is to come. The common symptoms of ADHD are:
● Lack of focus
● Self-absorbed behaviour
● Increased emotionality
● Fear of rejection
● Lack of impulse control
ADHD is also sometimes referred to as attention deficit disorder - or ADD. Once you have learned what to expect from your child, you can then better prepare yourself for potential problems and make them easier to deal with. This knowledge can also help you recognise signs of trouble earlier, allowing you to think of solutions that help rather than hurt.
2. Talk to your Tween
Tweens with ADHD often feel misunderstood or unloved by their parents because it is easier to focus on what they are doing wrong. A study in 2020 published in the Journal of Development and Behavioural Pediatrics found that children with ADHD, especially teenagers, are more likely to engage in risky behaviour such as smoking or drug abuse, compared to those who do not suffer from this condition. Studies have also shown that they are more prone to depression and suicide.
Help your child understand that certain actions may be a result of the condition, and that it is not his or her fault. For children with ADHD, it is important to validate their emotions and acknowledge their struggles. This way, you can teach them to be aware of their consequences while reaffirming their love.
3. Create an Action Plan
Having a daily schedule and to-do list provides your ADHD tween with a sense of structure and stability at home. Work with your child to devise an action plan that can help him or her understand which actions are acceptable, and which are not. Develop a routine that is age-appropriate, and help your child stick to it.
Once you set your boundaries, encourage your child by championing wins and discussing failures. This can be achieved by praising him or her for meeting goals, and having a chat to find out what went wrong, if not.
4. Encourage Good Habits
One of the pitfalls of children suffering from ADHD is the lack of self-control. This can lead to bad habits being formed. As a parent, you can cultivate good habits at home by providing healthy and nutritious meals at mealtimes, and training them to develop positive social skills. For example, teach them to listen when others are talking and not interrupt at inappropriate times.
In the long run, these habits can be beneficial and create a positive impact in his or her actions.
Manage your ADHD/ADD Tween with Help
Try to remember that ADHD can be a debilitating condition, especially for young children who do not truly understand why they are always getting into trouble. It is a common psychiatric condition amongst children and adolescents, with a prevalence rate between 1.7% and 16%. Therefore, it is a condition that affects many children in Singapore, and you are not alone.
Struggling with your ADHD tween at home? At MindChamps Allied Care, we offer occupational therapy that aims to help our patients in Singapore overcome learning challenges to unlock their potential. Through a customised occupational therapy plan, our professional therapists will help to equip your child with the ability to perform day-to-day activities and functions. This includes crucial developmental areas such as self-care, social skills, learning and participation in school.
Book a parents’ discussion with our Occupational Therapists today!