Help For Kids Starts With Parents
If a child has a problem or medical condition, why would it make sense to focus on the parents? Isn't it more important to treat the child?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association (and others), parent training in behavior management (a.k.a. "behavior therapy") is recommended for parents of children with ADHD, anxiety, depression, autism, and related conditions, so that parents can learn to manage typical (and difficult) situations more effectively. Read more about Recommended Treatment.
Research has shown that kids improve when parents:
- are better informed and learn to communicate more effectively with kids of all ages
- learn strategies for management specific to their child's needs
- implement those strategies at the 'point of performance' where the problems occur
- have a chance to practice and get feedback on what they're doing
- are connected to a community of other parents who share their struggles.
Children need adults in their lives to understand them, guide them, and teach them how to manage their daily challenges of life and learning.
The bottom line is this: If you are struggling (in any way) to help a child (of any age) who has challenges that interfere with any aspect of life or learning, then it is recommended that you get help for your child by getting help for yourself.
Early on, when we first started supporting parents of kids with ADHD (before we expanded to support parents of all kinds of complex kids), we tried to playfully capture the essence of this recommendation in a "Power to the Parent Proclamation"...
So no matter how many therapies, or social skills classes, or IEP meetings, or brain training sessions, or any other efforts you are putting into helping your kids learn to cope, there's no substitute for starting with you.