25 September 2023

The ADHD Rollercoaster: Understanding Types in Children and Practical Tips for Parents

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woman riding swing near trees
woman riding swing near trees

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects individuals of all ages, but it can be particularly challenging for children. As a mother, navigating the ADHD spectrum can be a complex journey, but understanding the types of ADHD and learning how to support your child is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of ADHD and provide practical insights from a mother's perspective on how to effectively help your child thrive.

Understanding the Types of ADHD

1. ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Presentation (ADHD-I)

ADHD-I is characterized by difficulties sustaining attention, being easily distracted, and struggling with organization. Mothers of children with ADHD-I often notice their child daydreaming frequently, forgetting tasks, and having trouble completing assignments. Inattentiveness can lead to academic challenges and impact daily functioning.

Parental Insight: Establishing Structured Routines Creating a structured environment helps children with ADHD-I manage their time and tasks effectively. Develop daily routines, use visual schedules, and provide clear instructions to support your child's focus and organization.

2. ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation (ADHD-HI)

Children with ADHD-HI are often restless, impulsive, and have difficulty sitting still. They may interrupt conversations, struggle with waiting their turn, and act without considering the consequences. Mothers of children with ADHD-HI may find managing impulsive behaviors challenging.

Parental Insight: Channeling Energy through Physical Activities Encourage activities that allow your child to release excess energy in a positive way. Sports, dance, or outdoor play can be effective outlets for hyperactivity. Additionally, teach and reinforce impulse control strategies to help your child navigate social situations.

3. ADHD, Combined Presentation (ADHD-C)

ADHD-C is a combination of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. Mothers dealing with ADHD-C may observe a range of challenges, including difficulty focusing, impulsive actions, and restlessness. The combination of symptoms can make daily life more demanding.

Parental Insight: Individualized Strategies for Balanced Support Recognize and address both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive behaviors. Tailor strategies to your child's specific needs, such as providing a quiet study space for concentration and incorporating physical activities to manage hyperactivity.

Diagnosing ADHD: A Mother's Journey

1. Recognizing Early Signs

Mothers often play a crucial role in recognizing the early signs of ADHD in their children. These signs may include persistent difficulties with attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Observing behaviors in various settings, such as home, school, and social environments, can provide valuable insights.

Parental Insight: Open Communication with Teachers Maintain open communication with your child's teachers. They can offer valuable observations and assessments of your child's behavior in a structured setting, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of your child's needs.

2. Seeking Professional Evaluation

When concerns arise, seeking a professional evaluation is a pivotal step. Consult with pediatricians, psychologists, or neurologists experienced in ADHD diagnosis. The diagnostic process may involve interviews, observations, and standardized assessments.

Parental Insight: Advocating for Your Child Be an advocate for your child's needs. If you suspect ADHD, express your concerns during medical appointments and provide specific examples of behaviors. This information is vital for accurate diagnosis and appropriate interventions.

Parenting Strategies for Each ADHD Type

1. ADHD-I: Cultivating Focus and Organization

a. Creating a Homework Haven

Establish a designated homework area free from distractions. Provide necessary tools, such as planners and organizers, to help your child structure their tasks.

b. Encouraging Breaks

Recognize the importance of breaks to prevent burnout. Allow short breaks during homework sessions, incorporating activities like stretching or deep breathing exercises.

c. Utilizing Visual Aids

Use visual aids, charts, and checklists to enhance your child's organization skills. Visual reminders can serve as effective tools to keep them on track.

2. ADHD-HI: Harnessing Energy Positively

a. Sports and Physical Activities

Engage your child in sports or physical activities to channel their energy constructively. Team sports can also promote social skills and teamwork.

b. Teaching Mindfulness Techniques

Introduce mindfulness and relaxation techniques to help your child manage impulsivity. Breathing exercises and mindfulness apps can be valuable resources.

c. Consistent Routines

Establish consistent daily routines that provide structure and predictability. Knowing what to expect helps children with ADHD-HI navigate their day more successfully.

3. ADHD-C: Balancing Support Strategies

a. Tailoring Approaches

Recognize the unique challenges of ADHD-C and tailor your parenting strategies accordingly. Flexibility is key, as your child may require a combination of organizational support and outlets for energy.

b. Communication and Collaboration

Maintain open communication with teachers, therapists, and other support professionals involved in your child's care. Collaborate on strategies to ensure consistency across different environments.

c. Celebrating Small Wins

Celebrate your child's achievements, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement can boost their confidence and motivation to overcome challenges.

Collaborating with Schools and Professionals

1. Creating an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

For children with ADHD, collaborating with school professionals to create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is crucial. An IEP outlines specific accommodations and support services tailored to your child's needs, ensuring they receive the necessary assistance in the academic setting.

Parental Insight: Active Participation in IEP Meetings Participate actively in IEP meetings, sharing your insights about your child's strengths and challenges. Ensure that the plan addresses both academic and behavioral aspects of ADHD to create a comprehensive support framework.

2. Building a Support Network

Connecting with other parents of children with ADHD can provide a valuable support network. Share experiences, strategies, and resources to navigate the challenges of parenting a child with ADHD. Online forums, local support groups, and school events are excellent platforms for building connections.

Parental Insight: Embracing Community Resources Explore community resources that specialize in ADHD support. Local organizations, workshops, and parenting classes can offer insights and strategies to enhance your parenting journey.

Emotional Support and Understanding

1. Nurturing Emotional Resilience

Children with ADHD may face emotional challenges due to their unique struggles. Nurturing emotional resilience involves acknowledging and validating their feelings while providing coping strategies.

Parental Insight: Open Communication Create an open and non-judgmental space for your child to express their emotions. Encourage them to talk about their experiences, frustrations, and successes, fostering a strong parent-child bond.

2. Educating Siblings and Peers

ADHD not only impacts the diagnosed child but also influences family dynamics and relationships with peers. Educating siblings and classmates about ADHD can promote understanding, empathy, and a supportive environment.

Parental Insight: Facilitating Sibling Involvement Involve siblings in the ADHD journey, helping them understand the condition and encouraging empathy. Siblings can play a crucial role in providing support and creating a positive family atmosphere.

The Importance of Self-Care for Moms

1. Recognizing Your Own Needs

Parenting a child with ADHD can be demanding, both physically and emotionally. Recognize your own needs for self-care and prioritize activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Parental Insight: Setting Realistic Expectations Set realistic expectations for yourself and accept that perfection is not attainable. Understand that it's okay to ask for help and take breaks when needed.

2. Seeking Support for Moms

Joining support groups specifically for mothers of children with ADHD can be incredibly beneficial. These groups provide a safe space to share experiences, receive advice, and gain emotional support from others who understand the unique challenges you face.

Parental Insight: Professional Counseling Consider seeking professional counseling or therapy to address your own emotional well-being. Talking to a therapist can provide valuable coping strategies and insights into managing the stressors associated with parenting a child with ADHD.


As a mother navigating the ADHD spectrum, understanding the types of ADHD and implementing effective strategies is an ongoing process. Embrace the uniqueness of your child, celebrate their strengths, and support them through the challenges. By fostering a collaborative approach with professionals, educators, and your support network, you can create a nurturing environment that empowers your child to thrive despite the challenges of ADHD.

woman blowing bubbles
woman blowing bubbles

Through education, open communication, and a commitment to positive reinforcement, parents play a crucial role in empowering their children to navigate the world with confidence and resilience.

The ADHD Rollercoaster: Understanding Types in Children and Practical Tips for Parents

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