Being the Mother of a Child with Attention Disorders

January 2, 2020
Without a doubt, you've heard the acronym ADHD. Lately, there has been a lot of talk about Attention Deficit Disorder, with or without Hyperactivity. But, what are the implications of being the mother of a child with attention disorders?

At this point in the 21st century, we’re used to being exposed to a multitude of information that’s irrelevant to our survival. From the first years of life, little ones in our society tend to learn to live amidst a variety of eye-catching stimuli that can cause them to lose their attention or concentration. So, it’s not surprising that being the mother of a child with attention disorders is more and more common.

These mothers have to make an extra effort to understand and support their children… And at the same time, they must constantly search for information that will help them tend to their children’s needs adequately.

What are attention disorders?

When a child has significant and decapacitating difficulties when it comes to paying attention, we call this Attention Deficit Disorder. This is a developmental disability that constitutes a persistent pattern of behavior that includes inattention and disorganization. It may or may not involve the appearance of hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Being the Mother of a Child with Attention Disorders

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) establishes the conditions for diagnosisTo confirm attention deficit, children must frequently display six or more of the following symptoms of inattention for at least 6 months:

  1. Fail to pay sufficient attention to detail and make mistakes in schoolwork due to oversights.
  2. Have difficulties when it comes to focusing on tasks and fun or recreational activities.
  3. Seem not to be listening when others speak to them directly.
  4. Not follow instructions or finish their school work.
  5. Have a hard time organizing tasks and activities.
  6. Avoid, dislike, or show little enthusiasm when taking on activities that require sustained mental effort.
  7. Lose the materials they need in order to carry out tasks or activities.
  8. Become easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli.
  9. Forget or are careless about daily activities.

Being the mother of a child with attention disorders

Today, there is a great number of mothers who have children with attention disorders… But there’s no reason for alarm.

Rather, you must accept it and help your child in his or her daily life, carrying out a series of simple educational and pedagogical habits. In doing so, you’ll help your little one face his or her difficulties and achieve proper development.

Guidelines for helping children with ADD/ADHD

Attention disorders and disorganization can cause children to be unable to complete tasks, to appear not to be listening, to constantly lose things, etc. These sorts of actions can play a role in the appearance of different problems in the following areas:

  • Learning.
  • Behavior.
  • Social abilities.

Parents with children who have attention difficulties should help them mitigate these problems by following a series of guidelines, such as those we describe below.

Being the Mother of a Child with Attention Disorders

On the one hand, one of the basic and principal guidelines involves creating a structured and ordered home environment. This will allow little ones to establish their schedules and routine habits. On the other hand, parents of children with attention disorders should offer games and activities that stimulate attention.

Below are just a few examples:

Guidelines for communicating with children with ADD/ADHD

At the same time, when it comes to addressing children with ADD/ADHD, it’s important to use clear and direct communication. This is especially true when making requests or giving orders. Therefore, it’s always good to do the following:

  • Call children by their name when they’re near and address them by looking them in the eyes and using a gentle tone.
  • Explain instructions in a clear and precise way. If necessary, parents can ask their children to repeat what they’ve said to make sure they’ve understood correctly.
  • Use short and direct sentences and give instructions one at a time, without contradictions.
  • Keep a reasonable amount of distance and avoid physical contact when making requests.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that positive reinforcement is very importantWhen children carry out tasks and display good behavior, parents can offer verbal encouragement, hugs, kisses, or any other sort of affectionate gesture. That way, children will feel satisfied and will be more likely to repeat the desired behaviors.

  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Manual diagnóstico y estadístico de los trastornos mentales-DSM 5. Barcelona: Editorial Médica Panamericana.
  • Corral, P. (2011). La hiperactividad infantil y juvenil. En M. I. Comeche y M. A. Vallejo (Ed.), Manual de terapia de conducta en la infancia (cap. 13, pp. 519-549). Madrid: Dykinson.