||Coping with ADD
When someone is diagnosed with ADD, whether it's a child or an adult, it can alter the dynamics of family life. As with any disorder or disease there is going to be a transition period and there will also be changes in how everyone accepts the condition. Families that have a child with ADD often experience a period of uneasiness and tentativeness while everyone learns how to cope with the fact that someone in the family is dealing with a disorder. However, there are some coping skills you can practice to make home life easier and smoother for everyone.
The initial reaction from most family members is to act different. When someone is diagnosed with ADD there is the feeling that the patient has a "problem" and has to be treated with caution. While there will be adjustments to relating to the child with ADD there's no reason to treat them as an outcast. Setting a standard of normalcy and recognizing that the disorder doesn't make the child strange or weird is a good way to help brothers and sisters better understand the situation. It's also recommended that parents sit down together with all the family members and discuss openly what ADD is and what it means to be diagnosed with it.
Another common reaction to having someone in the family diagnosed with a disorder is that it was someone's fault. This happens often with many conditions including depression, anxiety and attention hyperactivity disorder. Family members will immediately think they had something to do with the condition and that they should feel to blame. Again, this thinking casts the diagnosis as a "problem" when it isn't and it isn't anyone's fault. Getting everyone to realize that the ADD a brother or sister has is not the result of something anyone did is very important for eliminating the stigma of ADD.
If you are going to treat your child with ADD medications also let it be known. Hiding treatments and keeping family members in the dark about the situation will only cause friction. Again, the stigma of being put on medication leads to ostracizing and acting abnormally. This type of behavior can be very detrimental to the child with ADD and the family in general. Letting family members know that someone will be taking medication will help to better understand the condition and also help explain the side effects that may be experienced. The more your family knows the better.
Lastly, if the situation is tense and appears to be out of your control as a parent don't hesitate to call on a family therapist. Coping with ADD can be very draining on a family and if the side effects and symptoms are wearing on the nerves of the family it's probably a good idea to sit everyone down with a trained therapist who can help overcome specific obstacles and get brothers and sisters to understand what is going on. Parents don't have all the answers and if the ADD situation is causing tension and anxiety seeking professional therapy for the whole family is a good way to involve everyone in the discussion and relieve any stress.
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