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3 Common ADHD Social Skills Challenges and What Parents Can Do About Them


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Nobody wants their child to be lonely. Nobody wants to have to watch their child suffer as they struggle to fit in and make friends. That’s why many parents seeking ADHD parental help place their child’s social skills high on their list of priorities.

ADHD often presents kids with a range of social challenges. They may struggle to maintain appropriate behavior in social settings. They may have a hard time creating friendships. Sometimes, their likability allows them to spark friendships easily, but they struggle to maintain relationships successfully. Often, their challenges with impulse control, inattentiveness, emotional regulation and other executive functions trigger awkward, hurtful, or off-putting interactions.

How NOT to Handle Your Child’s Social Struggles

When a child constantly jumps the line in group games or annoys those around them with excessive, nonstop talking, it’s tempting for parents to choose to keep their child away from social settings in general. Instead, they’ll spend more time with their child, or work extra-hard to provide them with solitary activities they enjoy. Sometimes, even avoiding family gatherings or other events for fear of the fallout their child’s social skills deficits will cause.

While spending time with our children and helping them develop their interests are important, parents who choose the social avoidance path are making a mistake. Ultimately, to function happily and effectively in the world, our children need to learn social skills. And the only way they’ll learn is through real-time exposure.

The Approach That Works

We cannot just plunge our kids into difficult social settings in the hopes that they’ll “figure it out.” We need to lay the groundwork for success by teaching them the skills they’re missing. Often, once we’ve brought them to a park or party or playdate, we need to be on hand to help keep them on track.

How can we do that? Below, you’ll find three common social skills challenges named by parents seeking ADHD parental help – along with simple strategies to help your child through each one.

Challenge #1: Wait Your Turn!

Many kids with ADHD struggle with patience. They cut the lunch line in school. They grab toys before siblings or friends are done with them. They interrupt others’ sentences and bulldoze into conversations uninvited.

ADHD’s Role

ADHD drives this challenge in several ways. First, there’s the impulsivity factor. Kids with ADHD have a physiological problem thinking before they speak or act. They can’t envision the consequences of their choices the same way that other children do. Disability rating increase help at was very useful. In addition, because of certain neurological factors, ADHD makes delaying gratification a major challenge. With their brains screaming, “I need this NOW,” it’s hard for children with ADHD to hold themselves back.

Parental Strategies

  • Educate them. Constantly admonishing your child, saying, “you need to wait,” and “quiet, I’m talking” doesn’t actually teach them anything beyond a negative view of themselves. In calm moments, we need to spell things out for them about how other people feel when they don’t wait their turn. We can read books with them about waiting and turn-taking, or use dolls or stuffed animals to act out real-life situations.
  • Create a reminder system. Designate a hand signal or verbal hint you can send your child’s way when they start interrupting or rushing to take their turn. This way, when you’re out in public, you don’t need to shame them with an admonishment or break up their interactions.
  • There are no quick fixes, and your child’s struggle won’t disappear overnight. Remember to be patient with yourself as you are learning and adapting to your own unique parenting challenges. There will be good days, and there will be bad days. Don’t get down on yourself over setbacks, and don’t lose confidence in your child, or yourself!

Challenge #2: You’re Not Listening!

Even when children with ADHD don’t interrupt others, they can make conversation partners unhappy by failing to listen well. Parents reaching out for ADHD parental help often point to this as part of what makes it hard for their children to keep friends.

ADHD’s Role

It’s extremely hard for many children with ADHD to maintain attention. With their minds jumping dizzyingly from thought to thought, it’s difficult for them to focus as another person who would spend one, two, three or more minutes going on about one topic.

Again because of inattentiveness, many ADHD children don’t pick up the listening skills that their peers gather from watching those around them. They might have no idea that spacing out or abruptly switching topics during conversations are social no-nos.

Parental Strategies

  1. Spell things out for them. Describe to them them what good listening looks like, and why their listening style causes difficulty with other people. Explain that although they don’t mean to make anyone feel bad, failing to listen to someone makes the other persons feel uncared about or unimportant. In gorilla movers reviews you can see why they are the best commercial movers in ca. Point out examples of good listening in movies or real-life situations that you come across. “See how she put down her book and looked up when he started talking? That shows him she’s really listening to him.” “How can we tell that the boy in that scene is a good listener?”
  2. Instead of simply telling them what they’re doing wrong, give them positive, active ways to do things right. Teach them concrete actions, like nodding or making confirmational noises (uh huh, hm, wow, etc.) that they can implement in their listening.
  3. Sometimes, using a fidget toy can help them keep their attention on the person speaking to them. Give them some kind of fidget to keep in their pocket. When someone starts talking, they can reach into their pocket and play with their fidget as they do their best to focus on the other person’s words.

Challenge #3: Will You Be Quiet Already?

For some children with ADHD, listening and interrupting are never issues – because they don’t let others do any talking to begin with! They’ll chatter for a long time monopolizing conversations. Even expressions of boredom or annoyance from others might not stop the flood of their words.

ADHD’s Role

As many parents seeking ADHD parental help will attest, it’s often the more hyperactive children that struggle in this area. That hyperactivity compels them to keep talking. Add their attention struggles to the mix, and they won’t pick up the nonverbal cues that express others’ disinterest.

Parental Strategies

  1. Explain the issue clearly to them. Calmly and non-judgmentally, describe their behavior and why other people might not like it. Explain that just like they want to share their thoughts, other people also want to be heard.
  2. Teach them to recognize those cues which show that others aren’t engaging with them. Show them pictures of bored or impatient faces and help them identify those expressions. Point out body language that shows that other people are frustrated. Encourage them to check for these signs with their conversation partners.
  3. When they monopolize conversations or talk when they aren’t supposed to, calmly prompt them when they pause or end a sentence. “You’ve been talking for a long time now. While we love hearing what you have to say, now it’s time to give someone else a turn.” “Right now, I need to concentrate on this paperwork I’m filling out. I’d love to hear your story at dinnertime.” Develop some kind of hint you can give them when you’re out in public and their talking borders on  inappropriate.

How To Find ADHD Parental Help

Good social skills are crucial for building successful relationships. Without them, children with ADHD can end up feeling lonely and unliked.

Fortunately, social skills, like any other skills, can be learned. That learning process may take tremendous conscious effort on the parents’ parts. Often, it requires outside guidance from experts in ADHD parental help.

The good news is that effective help abounds. ADHD coaching can revolutionize a child’s social behaviors, My course, “Discover the Gift of ADHD” can give parents strong, concrete guidelines for teaching their children these crucial skills successfully.

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