Pro-Active Parenting: Parents as Coach

Manila Bulletin, December 13, 2009 | Go to article overview

Pro-Active Parenting: Parents as Coach


QUESTION: “My 10-year-old child was diagnosed with ADHD and is now enrolled in a regular school. With the coming season, there are so many activities in and outside the school that we need to attend. When she’s stressed out, she gets more makulit and malikot which gives me really a hard time. Her teachers also complain about her negative behaviors in school. Is there something I can do to minimize these or is there a need for me to transfer her to a special or progressive school already where the environment is much more understanding? Thanks.”Teacher Genevieve says:As Christmas nears, everyone gets caught up in the frantic pace of the season. Our schedules get disrupted and as parents’ stress levels soar to new heights, they tend to have less energy left to deal with their children’s difficult behaviors.The same is true for teachers who are also busy with Christmas preparations.Inevitably, adults tend to ease up on consequences for broken rules and allow lapses in consistently carrying out behavior management strategies.As a result, children can take advantage of this busy time to test the limits as boundaries for proper behavior become hazy and rules are conveniently bent to accommodate the Christmas rush.Children with AD/HD rely on structure and consistency to be able to regulate their behaviors. At 10 years old, your child should be able to demonstrate some degree of control over her hyperactivity and impulsivity, given the proper guidance and support. She would also be taking cues from you being the significant adult in her life and would need constant monitoring with regards to how well she is able to regulate her emotions and behaviors.However, your role would be more of a “coach” or a “mentor” rather than a “policeman” who is constantly on the watch for misbehavior. Being her coach or mentor would entail pro-active parenting which is based on understanding your child and creating the necessary conditions to be able to bring out the best in her.HOW TO BE A PROACTIVE PARENTSome of the practical ways by which you could be a pro-active parent to a child with AD/HD are the following:Identify the top three behaviors which most concern you and with your child, come up with three simple rules to follow. She will OWN the RULES if she participated in making the rules instead of shoving them down her throat. Since children with ADHD are very visual, make her write down these rules on a sheet of paper and hang it in a visible part of her room as a reminder for her to follow. You can also make her sign a Behavioral Contract between the two of you.Regardless of the changes in schedules and routines with the Christmas break just around the corner, the rules are EXPECTED to be followed, with incentives and consequences meted out accordingly. Being in a public place should not be an excuse for bending the rules. She should be made to understand that her behaviors affect others. In concrete terms, teach her ACCOUNTABILITY. …

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