I Think My Kid Has ADHD. What Should I Do?

Have you been feeling concerned because your child has been showing persistent patterns of inattention and hyperactivity? Are you wondering if it is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)?

Initial signs of ADHD to Look Out For 

These are some of the initial signs of ADHD to look for, typically if your child is below 12 years old:


You’ll notice that your child:

  • is making multiple careless mistakes in schoolwork and at home.
  • struggles to stay attentive to a particular task at hand, whether it is school-related or for play.
  • do not seem to listen when being spoken to.
  • has difficulties being organized, and are always losing things
  • often does not remember simple instructions.

Hyperactivity and impulsivity

  • always fidgeting in their seat or is unable to stay seated for long and hence get up to walk about even when it is inappropriate.
  • would often talk excessively and have difficulty waiting their turn; they may interrupt when people are talking
  • struggle to take part in quiet activities.

Whilst these signs are sometimes quite commonplace in young children occasionally, they are of concern especially when your child’s behaviours start to affect their performance at school and overall behaviour at home. The best way to be certain if your child has ADHD is to get your child diagnosed by a qualified paediatrician or a mental health practitioner such as a clinical psychologist or child psychiatrist.

What Should I Do If My Child Shows Symptoms of ADHD?

Credit: Jose Luis Merino

If you are uncertain, do schedule for your child to get a proper assessment by a mental health practitioner. Do not self-diagnose and panic. Leave it to the professionals.

After Being Diagnosed with ADHD, What Next?

Is it a sentence or a much dreaded diagnosis? If you focus all your energy on how badly your child is doing, you end up magnifying the deficits which could lead to even more frustration. But if you focus instead on how your child may be gifted and their strengths, imagine what potential you could unleash! Parenting on its own is no easy feat.

How Do You Cope with Your Child Who Has ADHD?

Here are a few useful tips, or what we’d like to call the Three Es:

1. Educate

Source: momitforward.com
Source: momitforward.com

Besides knowing the symptoms of ADHD, it is important to find out how they affect your child – whether the displayed behaviour is an intentional boundary-testing one or whether it is a true symptom of ADHD.

The more you understand it, the easier it would be to help educate your child to adjust to changes in the environment. This would essentially prepare them for the real world with often unpredictable and varying situations.

Educate them on how to break big tasks into smaller ones which would make it more manageable. Teach them that there are consequences to breaking agreed-upon rules.

2. Empower

Source: theabf.com.au
Source: theabf.com.au

When things escalate at home due to your child’s emotions getting out of control, avoid reacting to the situation at hand. Pause for a while, remain calm and then seek to empower your child with the mindset that although things are seemingly impossible, it can be done.

Assure your child that you are going through this journey with them but that eventually, they will be able to walk on their own two feet.

Sometimes, children with ADHD feel so frustrated because they are not given feasible options and may be afraid of making mistakes. By seeking to foster independence in your child, you will help your child to make wise decisions on how to manage their time more effectively.

Don’t do everything for your child even if you feel that you can do things better. Show them that they can do it. Responses such as “How would you like to try this?”, “Wow, that’s a great way of doing things!” and “Hey, looks like you’ve got it covered!” are effective in pushing your child towards the direction of drawing from their own potential.

3. Encourage

Source: wikihow.com
Source: wikihow.com

In parenting, there is nothing greater than a lovingly persistent parent who would try various methods to engage their child; be it to help your child with their homework, to learn to be organized or to remember things.

If there are multiple on-going issues, start with the most important and significant issue and move on from there. If one method does not work, try another one and keep at it until you find one that suits the both of you.

Emphasize on what your child can do and is doing better instead of fixating on the failures. The fact that your child is trying should be celebrated! Eventually, your unwavering support will also help them to be resilient in the event of setbacks.

Finally, celebrate your child’s uniqueness and the fact that you are an amazing parent with your child! Parenting is already difficult enough as it is, in addition to the many other million things you have to juggle at the same time. So cut yourself some slack, acknowledge the good work that you are doing and keep going. The fruits of your labour would be well worth it when you raise your child to be a competent, healthy and happy individual.

There are also times when you need additional support, especially when you’ve given it your best and nothing seems to be working out for you. If you ever reach a place of never-ending frustration and helplessness, it may be helpful to seek professional help to give you a boost in the right direction. Parents need help too and that’s perfectly fine. Hang in there, you and your child are worth it all!


Parents who have kids with ADHD, how do you cope? Share your tips in the comments below or on our Facebook page!


1. American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Ed. Arlington, USA: American Psychiatric Association.
2. Honos-Webb, L. (2010). The Gift of ADHD. USA: New Harbinger Publications.
3. Tartakovsky, M. (2011). Parenting Kids with ADHD: 16 Tips to Tackle Common Challenges. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 23, 2014
Contributed by The Mind Psychological Services & Training

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