Losing Patience With an ADHD Child

By Amber Keefer
Remaining patient with a child who has ADHD isn't always easy.
Remaining patient with a child who has ADHD isn't always easy.

Raising a child with ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, takes a good deal of energy and patience. The daily challenges of dealing with your child’s ADHD behaviors -- which can include an argumentative or aggressive nature, frequent outbursts of temper, a lack of focus and excessive physical energy -- can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. Helpguide.org points out that if your personality differs widely from your child’s, your frustrations with your child’s hyperactive and impulsive behaviors can mount more quickly. (See Reference 1)

Staying Physically Healthy

Practicing healthy lifestyle habits will help keep you from getting sick and give you the energy you need to deal with your child’s special needs. Getting regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and sleeping properly are all part of caring for your own health. A poor diet can raise stress hormone levels and drain the body of essential nutrients, according to a February 2003 article published on the Psychology Today website. (See Reference 2) Not eating right can make you feel tired as well. If you aren’t getting enough sleep besides, you could find yourself losing patience with your child more quickly because you’re run-down and tired.

Staying Emotionally Healthy

Stress is another factor that can contribute to your losing your temper more easily. When you feel as if stress is getting you down, the Mayo Clinic recommends practicing relaxation techniques to calm your mind and body. (See Reference 3) Use your senses and mental images to take you to a relaxing place. Meditation, massage, deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation are other techniques that help decrease stress. Progressive muscle relaxation involves slowly tensing and then consciously relaxing each muscle group starting with your toes. Gradually work your way up the body to your neck and head. Or, you can start at your head if you want and work your way down the body.

Keeping a Positive Attitude

Maintaining a positive attitude can help you stay calm and show more patience. When your child is out of control, you can also help him calm down more quickly by remaining composed and relaxed. Get to know the signs that you are about to lose control. When your body tenses up and you begin to feel nervous, anxious or angry, you're likely on your way to losing patience. As soon as you feel yourself becoming impatient with your child, put on a calm front even if you have to fake it. By acting calm and speaking calmly to your child, you may actually begin to feel calmer.

Avoid Overreacting

It’s important not to react emotionally to your child’s behavior, points out Edgeascd.org, a professional networking community for educators. (See Reference 4) Like your child, you need to think before you act. It won’t help anything for you to lose your patience or argue with your child when she’s frustrated. Instead, show her that you care about her feelings and needs. Remember, she’s not trying to annoy you on purpose; it’s the ADHD affecting her behavior. During trying times, focus on your child’s positive and unique qualities to help you keep the proper perspective.

About the Author

Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.