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Guiding parents and teachers to navigate the challenges of ADHD

ADHD is a medical condition marked by developmental delays in children and teens, and often leads to challenges in parenting. It tends to be greatly misunderstood by medical and therapeutic providers, who may develop treatment plans that rely on medication as a sole source of treatment to the exclusion of behavior management training in parenting. Parenting interventions are effective, recommended, and have been proven to improve symptoms for children and teens. Most experts agree that ADHD is much (cont'd below)

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Leading Articles about Managing ADHD

Parent Expectations: 2 Steps To Success

By Beth Seidel

How do we as parents set expectations for our children or ourselves when at least one of us has an…

family members have ADHD

Help! My Family Members Have ADHD and I Feel Powerless

By Ari Tuckman

The parents and romantic partners of people with ADHD often feel powerless to influence what happens in their family. They…

Dive Bomber Parent

Become A Dive Bomber Parent

By Diane Dempster

Are you a Helicopter parent? It’s easy to become one when your kid has ADHD. It seems that they need…

motivate your whole family

9 Tips for Non-ADHD Parents to Motivate Your Whole Family

By Melissa Orlov

Families with children with ADHD often discover that one (or both!) parent has ADHD, too. And when this happens, non-ADHD…

teacher training and ADHD

Does My Child with ADHD Have to Work Harder Than Other Kids?

By Elaine Taylor-Klaus and Diane Dempster

Do kids with ADHD have to work harder than their peers? Elaine & Diane respond to a mom’s question below.…

Managing Summer Stressors: A Message to Moms with ADHD

Managing Summer Stressors: A Message to Moms with ADHD

By Sari Solden, MS, LMFT & Michelle Frank, PsyD

Do you remember the joy you felt as a child on the last day of school before summer vacation? The…

Life Easier for Yourself as an ADHD Parent

5 Tips to Make Life Easier for Yourself as an ADHD Parent

By Diane Dempster

Parenting Can’t Be Automatized Some tasks, like driving, become automatic when we master them. When you’re 16, every turn of…

Rhythm and Routine with Kids

Planning Summer Days: Rhythm and Routine with Kids

By Lesli Preuss

Summer! Kids are excited. Teachers are relieved. Parents around the country start feeling a familiar knot in the pit of…

Practicing Mindfulness with ADHD

Calm the Chaos: The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness with ADHD

By Diane Dempster

Feel like you’re always running on an empty tank because you have to live in the past, present, and future…


(continued) more than a ‘deficit of attention.’ Instead, ADHD can appear as a rather complicated collection of symptoms, manifesting somewhat differently for each individual. It may more easily be understood as a brain-based developmental delay in executive function. It can also be confused with or compounded by the many co-existing conditions that are common for people with ADHD, including anxiety, learning disabilities, depression, asthma, allergies, autism, Tourette syndrome, as well as newer (and less-well-known or researched) conditions, such as rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD).

Executive functions are responsible for how we think, feel, and act. They’re how we get ourselves to do (or not do) absolutely anything. Therefore, the symptoms that lead to an ADHD diagnosis are not just whether or not someone can pay attention, but whether they can self-regulate – whether they can decide what to pay attention to, stick with it, finish what they’re focusing on, minimize their impulses, and avoid getting distracted in the process. That’s what makes parenting so difficult.

The five areas most commonly reflected in ADHD symptoms rely heavily on executive function: attention (focus), impulsivity, organization, emotional intensity, and (sometimes) hyperactivity. Again, when kids, teens or young adults struggle with these issues, it can cause significant challenges in parenting.

Whether parents are trying to get life moving in the mornings or just help their kids and teens manage any or all of their responsibilities, ADHD is best treated by a combination of medication and ‘behavior therapy,’ otherwise known as parent management training, or behavior management training. With training, parenting can work with medication (when relevant) to teach children and teens skills in self-management, and ultimately improve outcomes for the whole family.