How children's ADHD symptoms affect parents' feelings and parenting behaviour

Posted on June 7, 2016

Results from this study showed that parents’ report of child ADHD symptoms at time 1 predicted increased feelings that their child was unresponsive to correction 2 years later. In turn, parents’ reports of child unresponsiveness to correction at time 2 predicted increased feelings of powerless 2 years later.

The adverse impact of children’s ADHD symptoms on parents’ stress levels, satisfaction in the parenting role, and even depressive symptoms have been known for some time. Results from this study suggest that it is not ADHD symptoms themselves that affect parents in these ways, but rather, it is parents’ perception that their child is largely unresponsive to correction that is most challenging.

Behaviors associated with ADHD appear to influence parents negatively because they are perceived to be largely outside parents’ control, which contributes to growing feelings of powerlessness. Feelings of powerlessness, in turn, can lead parents to behave towards their child in ways that children increasingly view as colder, more rejecting, and less warm. This cycle was largely similar for boys and girls and would be expected to have growing negative affects on children and parents over time.

This argues for the importance of helping parents recognize that although children may be ‘unresponsive to correction’ when it comes to the core symptoms of ADHD that have important biological underpinnings, this does not need to generalize to other aspects of a child’s life where parents are eager to have an important positive influence.

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Category(s):Caregiver Issues / Stress

Source material from Sharpbrains

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