ADHD & Stress: 3 Tools To Use When Your Child Is Freaking Out

Copy of AnxietyWorkbook

Stress levels and preceptors are greatly changed when someone lives with ADHD. Therefore, they will require different types of advice and tools to help them through stressful times than non-ADHDers. Because their minds process things differently, they need more stimulating and engaging tools to help them (and ones that are simple and precise!).

Fortunately, there is help! Be sure to check out our ADHD services.

Your Child’s Brain Is Wired Differently

And that’s ok. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or try and hide because it’s what makes your child special and unique. ADHD is misnamed – it’s not a disorder – it’s a difference. And ADHD isn’t something that can be “cured;” there are no quick fixes or alterations to how your child’s brain functions.

When your child is going through stressful situations, the best thing they can do is learn how to live with the reactions that their brain feeds back to them. It’s important to remember that, because their brain has these differences in functionality when they are feeling stressed, their response to these situations varies greatly from the neurotypical people around them.

Understanding ADHD & Stress

It is important to keep in mind that every child’s relationship with ADHD is extremely personal. Two children diagnosed with ADHD can manage it differently, making it more difficult to classify one set of behaviours or actions that can result from stress. Whether they are feeling worn out from school, aren’t being properly stimulated in their environment, having a hard time forming relationships, or showing difficulty with time management/organization skills, it is crucial to think back to how your child reacts in these situations so you can make their transition to handling stress easier.

There are bound to be areas in your child’s life that they are not completely satisfied with. However, by recognizing where these frustrations stem from and how they can be avoided in the future, you can build a foundation of independence and structure in your child’s life. 

Neurodivergent Stress Management

Because ADHD can affect your child’s brain and reactions, typical tools and resources may not be sufficient enough to restore their sense of balance. Usually, when “tips and tricks” are centered around stress, it is only taking into account how neurotypical people may perform and react in stressful situations.

When your child is diagnosed with ADHD, you understand that there is a bigger picture with way more factors to consider. If your child is a tactile learner, then they may need a hands-on approach to ensure they are stimulated enough to focus on tasks at hand while still managing their stress levels.

On the other hand, if your child prefers auditory processing they may require more words of affirmation or precise, spoken instructions for stress-reducing activities. Below are three tools that neurodivergent children can utilize when they may be feeling stressed, how to ground themselves in stressful situations, and when to move forward from the stress that’s holding them back:

  1. Stepping Back & Assessing The Situation: Sometimes all children need to do is step back and see the full picture. If your child is struggling with one step or stage in a situation, try reminding them that the small detail is only a part of a larger plan and that not all things have to be done all at once.
  2. Remaining Present In The Moment: Breathing exercises are a great way to get children to stay present at the moment. Big, deep breaths work but a child with ADHD may not be able to focus on that for a long period, so instead try swapping out different breathing exercises like intermittent breathing or a breathing game to make it more engaging for your child.
  3. Finding The Root Of Their Stress: When you’re a child with ADHD, a small but unforeseen obstacle can feel like the world is crashing down around you. One way a parent can help is by asking attention-catching questions to help them ground down, maintain objectivity, and think about what to do next. That way in future situations, you know where and when to intervene to ensure their stress levels are balanced. 

Their Brain, Their Rules

Whether your child has shown recent symptoms or has always lived with ADHD, it is crucial to understand that it is their brain and therefore, their rules. When a child with ADHD feels forced to be attentive in conversations or activities while they’re stressed out, that does nothing but adding more pressure to their plate. If you find that your child’s stress levels are reaching points you have never seen before, please don’t hesitate to contact Koru Family Psychology, where we are dedicated to providing the right guidance and tools your child needs to thrive with their ADHD.