How a Child's ADHD Affects Siblings
10 Tips for Parents
Balance is the key. Here are tips from the experts on how to help your kids with an ADHD sibling learn, adjust, and grow:
1. Manage expectations. Parents expect immediate obedience from their kids who don't have ADHD, Dickson says. It's common for them to think that their child should know better because they don't have the condition. But remember, they're still kids, and helping them understand boundaries and rules is just as important for them as it is for the child with ADHD.
2. Be fair. Just like you shouldn't be extra hard on your kids who don't have ADHD, you shouldn't be too lenient with the one that does, Dickson says. Be clear about the house rules and enforce them equally with all the kids.
3. Make it personal. Treat your children like individuals, Wolraich recommends. Approach each child based on his or her needs -- just like you do for your child who has ADHD.
4. Carve out time. Make time for each of your children. Make them feel special and important, Wolraich says. Quality alone-time with each child really helps maintain balance with your kids and minimizes the resentment they might feel toward a sibling attention-getter.
5. Keep them active. Get your kids involved in extracurricular activities. For siblings of kids with ADHD -- and kids with it as well --these can provide an important outlet and give them a sense of self-efficacy and mastery, Berman says.
6. Open communication. Keep the lines of communication open all the time, Wolraich recommends. Don't hide your child's ADHD --help your kids get comfortable with it, understand it, learn about it, and adjust to having a sibling with the condition.
7. Focus on school. Watch your kids' grades and their reports from school, Berman says. School can be a good, unbiased indicator of how your kids are doing and whether they need some extra support at home.
8. Build sibling trust. Help your kids spend time together. Having a sibling with ADHD is their "normal," says Berman, so they need to learn how to make it work.