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Unleashing the Potential: Embracing Your Child’s ADHD Superpowers

The constant phone calls.  Notes home.  Supporting your child at school becomes a greater headache than you ever realized it should.  You realize your child is disorganized, impulsive, loves to talk, and often struggles.  It can be hard to not take the concerns raised by teachers and administrators as criticism.    Your child hears what they are doing wrong: “If only you’d try”, “You’re being lazy”, “If you’d just pay attention more”.  You see the light your child had about school quickly extinguish.  All they hear, all you hear, is the bad.  This can lead to negative self-talk, feeling as though something is wrong, but not sure why.  Imagine going into work every day and being told everything you are doing is wrong, going home and being told everything you are doing is wrong, how would that impact you?  Individuals with ADHD are 70% more likely to develop depression in life.  The prevailing theory is that children with ADHD develop negative self-talk early on in life.  Something needs to change.  The way to make this change at home as a parent is to help identify your child’s strengths, give them opportunities to build them, and encourage them through any challenges that will inevitably arise.  Doing this will not only help your child, but it will help build a more positive relationship at home.


A way to help your child overcome negative self-talk is to help identify and celebrate the strengths that they possess as a result of having ADHD.  Individuals with ADHD can often be more energetic and enthusiastic than their neurotypical counterparts.  Channeling this in group activities where there is an opportunity to be social and creative is a great opportunity to shine.  This can be especially effective when giving them an opportunity to utilize their energy and enthusiasm to lead the group through the activity.  As a parent, this superpower can be developed by allowing the child to organize and lead a DIY creative project at home.  This could be building a garden, birdhouse, or even cooking a meal.  Allow them to research, plan, budget, and facilitate the development of the project.  Remember it is ok to make mistakes and it is a learning process.    My son loves to cook and is interested in trying new things.  If he wants to cook a meal, I have him make a list of the ingredients he needs and include what we have at home already.  We discuss how he plans to make the meal, and what other items may be needed.  When he is cooking, and an issue eventually arises, I ask how he is planning on fixing the issue.  The hardest part as a parent is to sit back, not take over, and do not fix the problem.

            People with ADHD are also incredible outside-the-box thinkers.  Finding a unique solution to a challenge is a great skill to have in life.  Consider how many times you may have come up with an outside-the-box idea that was tried and found to be successful.  Creating opportunities at home that allow the child to develop creative hobbies or play problem-solving games can foster this type of outside-the box thinking that will instill the confidence to approach real world problems with a different perspective.  When a child has a conversation with you about a strange outside-the-box idea, consider asking open-ended questions about it.  Instead of shutting the child down, consider asking questions such as: “what are challenges to this”, “what would it take to accomplish this”, or just use the magic words “tell me more”. 

            Adaptability is another common strength for people with ADHD.  The ability to be flexible and adapt to new situations is a huge asset in life.  Building your child’s confidence in this area can only develop and strengthen this for this superpower in adult life.  Developing a change-friendly routine that randomly introduces surprise activities and changes and talking through the changes and help work through the expectations, changes, and potential end results.  Approach this with empathy and support for any frustration that may be present.    Consider how many times your plan had a change, and it felt like the plan was falling apart.  Ultimately it probably ended up just fine, if not better than planned.  Building this in your child will help them become more resilient.  Additionally, helping your child develop goal-setting challenges can help build this skill.  By helping the child set achievable goals, and guiding how to manage the flexibility required when setbacks occur can not only build skills in adaptability but also in setting goals.

            Celebrating and focusing on the strengths that your child can help them better identify and build self-confidence at home and at school.  This can help develop greater resilience and help develop a mindset shift into a growth mindset.  Individuals with ADHD can develop into the resilient, creative, and adaptable individuals that will help them be more successful in life.

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