By no stretch am I an expert on ADHD. This blog is simply my way of sharing my experiences with it personally and with my son having been diagnosed with ADHD. Hopefully other dads may benefit from my experiences.

Listen and engage with your children.

My son was diagnosed with ADHD a few months ago and he’s been on medication for it. The medication isn’t turning him into a zombie, it’s helping him block out certain distractions.

Think of your ADHD child’s brain as a boat with a few holes in it. New information, thoughts, or ideas can sometimes leak from these holes. Trying to keep it all together can be overwhelming for some kids. Sometimes medication can help “plug” these holes and help kids to focus on immediate tasks that need to be done.

Here’s a tip for all dads, not just those with kids diagnosed with ADHD. When your child has something to say, stop what you’re doing and truly give them your full attention. This means the world to them! Engage in the conversation (even if it doesn’t make much sense), ask questions, follow the story, and validate their thinking. Let your kids talk, don’t stop the flow because it might set them off and you might miss what they are trying to say to you.

I fell into the trap of not always praising my son for his good behaviour yet I always manage to point out when he’s doing something wrong. I’m learning to correct this since it really damages our relationship and his self-esteem. We’re both working hard to make things better. This past weekend was a good one and my son was full of positivity. When I recognized the signs and sensed he was about to blow up, I stopped everything and we started taking  instead of our usual fighting and yelling that never led anywhere good.

Gavin Cyopeck, DCL Member

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