This is one of the more common questions we often get from parents and even other professionals who frequently work with children. Often parents are concerned about side effects of medication and simply don’t want their child to be dependent on a pill to manage their behaviors. So hopefully this post will help clarify something we’ve known here at Tender Hearts Child Therapy Center for several years…
Counseling can DEFINITELY help your child learn to manage Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms!
Child and Family Counselors here at Tender Hearts are experienced in working with children and families dealing with ADHD behaviors. Children struggling with ADHD can benefit from counseling in several ways. Some of the more common areas of focus for child ADHD counseling include:
Parenting Skills/Behavioral Management
Children with ADHD seem to always be in trouble. All day long they hear “Stop doing that this minute!” and “If you do that one more time, I’m sending you to the office!” Parents and teachers almost always mean well, they are just doing the best they can with their situation. But this constant negative attention leads to poor self-esteem, peer problems, and even depression symptoms in children where it has gone on for long periods of time.
How Family Counseling for ADHD can help with managing negative behaviors:
One of the primary areas of focus of ADHD counseling for children is family counseling to teach parents effective behavior management skills and how to implement reward systems that focus on the positive behaviors. Instead of constantly yelling at their children about bad behavior, parents learn to use effective praise so they can instead promote positive behaviors. And our family counselors also frequently work with your child’s teacher or other school staff to develop these same types of programs in the school setting. It works best when these positive-focused programs are at work at home and at school.
Social Skills Training
Children with ADHD also frequently have social skills deficits. Often it’s hard for them to develop and maintain lasting peer relationships. Reading social cues and responding appropriately are challenges commonly faced by children with ADHD.
How Child Counseling for ADHD can help children develop better Social Skills:
Child counselors can help your child learn to read social cues and develop more appropriate social skills needed to develop and maintain healthy peer relationships. Through use of role-play with the child counselor and group counseling, children can learn and practice appropriate social skills that will serve them in all types of social settings.
Problem-Solving Skills Training & Impulse Control Skills
Children with ADHD also struggle with poor impulse control. We often hear parents say things like “he never thinks before he acts” or similar statements. This is one of the primary characteristics of the impulsive type of ADHD. If your ADHD child blurts out in class, knocks a peer down at recess for no apparent reason, or seems to always be getting hurt after making poor choices, he or she is simply acting on impulse and not utilizing the problem-solving skills that most of us successfully learn and use in our daily lives.
How Child Counseling for ADHD can help children learn better Problem-Solving and Impulse Control Skills:
Child counseling can help children develop more effective problem-solving skills through role play and rehearsal. Problem Solving Skills Training (PSST) is an Evidence-Based Treatment for helping children develop effective problem-solving skills. With practice, even children with ADHD can learn to incorporate these skills in their day to day interactions and improve decision-making skills.
Impulse control skills can also be improved with child ADHD counseling. Child counselors can work with your child to teach several impulse control strategies that are very effective in teaching your child to slow down and think before acting. The STOP Method is one of the more popular ones but several others are utilized by child counselors at Tender Hearts Child Therapy Center.
Strengthening of Self-Esteem
As mentioned above, children with ADHD frequently deal with criticism and a lot of negative attention. Day in and day out, a child with ADHD is gets yelled at and disciplined for behaviors that are somewhat out of his or her control. Who wouldn’t start feeling a little depressed or begin beating themselves up?
How Child Counseling for ADHD can help children build Self-Esteem:
Child counseling can help children with ADHD learn to focus on what they’re good at and on what they do right. Child counselors are trained to build self-esteem by helping children focus on their strengths as opposed to their weaknesses. By coupling self-esteem work with social skills training, your child will be well on the way to a more healthy and happy social life!
So there you have it. Four tangible, straightforward ways that child & family counseling can help a child with ADHD. If your child is struggling with ADHD and you want to try child & family counseling to give him the help he deserves, Contact Us Today to learn more!