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ADHD in Kids

ADHD in kids does provide its own unique set of difficulties and obstacles. Learn more about ADHD and how it shows up in children.

As our collective emergence from a global pandemic continues, there’s an increasing referendum on our professional and personal considerations of something we’ve feared for quite a while. While many stones have remained unturned concerning the all-encompassing term of mental health, some stones are turning quicker than others. One of the primary discoveries concerns our children. Specifically, diagnoses of ADHD in kids continues its steady rise throughout the globe.

Mental health serves as an umbrella term for everything from emotional well-being to crippling anxiety disorders. We’re learning that this umbrella casts a far wider shadow than we might have originally thought. With a wider umbrella comes more people looking for shelter under that covering.

Doctors, counselors, and psychologists alike continue to receive an influx of parents concerned about their child’s mental health. Words like “crisis” and “epidemic” characterize the current state of mental health in kids.

Yet, there’s one disorder still in the spotlight among the variety of mental health concerns recently gaining much warranted attention. ADHD might not directly contribute to more debilitating mental health concerns, however, ADHD in kids does provide its own unique set of difficulties and obstacles. Further, these difficulties manifest differently among boys and girls leading to necessary conversations about what parents can and should do.

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Understanding ADHD in Kids

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. According to the NAMI, this is a condition “characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.” While ADHD does not only affect kids, ADHD is commonly diagnosed in younger kids.

Deciphering between normal childhood behavior and signs of ADHD can be tricky because kids can often display characteristics that parents could describe as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Understanding ADHD in kids requires close observation of a child’s behaviors in a variety of environments. In most cases, a teacher or coach is the first to notice a pattern of behavior that points to signs of ADHD in kids.

However, it’s important to note a few things about ADHD in kids.

  • ADHD is not curable, but medication does provide significant help with ADHD symptoms.
  • Sometimes, ADHD symptoms lessen with age as boys and girls discover successful strategies that fit their personality.
  • Symptoms of ADHD appear differently in boys versus girls.
  • Generally, signs of ADHD are present in multiple areas of life. In other words, children who have problems at school but get along with friends and at home might struggle with something different than ADHD. The same applies to a child who is hyperactive at home but successful and unaffected at school.

Signs of ADHD in Kids

If you’re having trouble deciding whether your child is displaying normal developmental behaviors or something more, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Understanding ADHD in kids requires patience and careful observation.

Remember, you know your child better than anyone. Even if they’re still a toddler, you have the knowledge and experience to determine which behaviors are consistent and which are more unusual.

Keep in mind that most children are inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive at one time or another. However, keeping track of your child’s behavior is a good discipline to develop as you seek answers to their personality makeup. Here are a few common signs of ADHD in kids according to the Mayo Clinic and Kids Health.

Inattention

  • Struggles to follow through with instructions.
  • Seems to not be listening, even in one-on-one conversations.
  • Forgets to complete daily activities such as chores or homework.
  • Frequently loses items such as toys, homework, or clothes.

Hyperactivity

  • Constantly fidgets with hands or taps feet.
  • Struggles to stay seated in class, meals, or in church.
  • Has trouble playing quietly.
  • Always “on the go” or moving.

Impulsivity

  • Consistently confused by the idea of sharing or waiting their turn.
  • Struggles with interrupting or intruding.
  • Asks questions before someone has finished speaking.
  • Talks out of turn or over others.

ADHD Symptoms in Boys

On a general level, an ADHD diagnosis is more common in boys than in girls. According to the CDC, boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls. While the previously described signs of ADHD are universal to both boys and girls, there are a handful of symptoms more common in boys.

For example, boys tend to display the hyperactivity and impulsivity signs more than girls. Particularly, boys struggle with fidgeting, sitting still, and interruptions during conversations. Going further, ADHD in boys usually reveals itself in noticeable ways, especially within a classroom setting where there is public attention.

Unfortunately, ADHD diagnoses in boys lead to a natural bias within conversations about ADHD. Some studies reveal a 3 to 1 difference in ADHD diagnosis between boys and girls. However, this doesn’t make ADHD symptoms in boys any less important or influential.

Some positive sides of ADHD symptoms in boys include creativity, spontaneity, high energy, and even greater amounts of courage. Along with treatment and medication, boys can learn how to manage, control, and strategize how to harness their ADHD for their benefit.

ADHD Symptoms in Girls

Even though girls make up a smaller portion of ADHD diagnoses, there are still unique challenges that girls with ADHD face. In fact, ADHD symptoms in girls are usually more subtle and easily missed.

For example, girls tend to show the inattention signs more than boys. Girls with ADHD get distracted easily, daydream, and have trouble concentrating for long periods of time.

Also, it’s worth noting that young girls mature at a quicker rate than boys. Specifically with mental health, this can lead to rapid displays of anxiety or even depression. So, in some situations, ADHD can go undiagnosed in girls because there is more attention on anxiety disorders.

Even though most ADHD research focuses on boys and men, that trend is changing. ADHD in girls is equally as impactful as it is in boys. The most important thing to keep in mind is early observation and treatment.

Keep in mind that ADHD symptoms don’t always fit the gender mold. Some girls are hyperactive and impulsive more than inattentive. And some boys display the opposite symptoms of ADHD as well.

Final Thoughts on ADHD in Kids

A large part of understanding ADHD in kids involves conversations about medication and treatment. At Focus on the Family, we believe in empowering you as parents to make the best decision for your child, family, and each other.

There are a variety of healthy and proven medications or treatments for ADHD in kids. If you need more information about these options, we encourage you to reach out to your normal pediatrician or other doctor. If you’d like to receive more practical advice, feel free to call 1-800-A-Family for a free consultation with one of our professional counselors.

Finally, don’t neglect the power of prayer in these situations. When coupled with wisdom from research and doctors, prayer strengthens your ability to parent and guide your child. Whether you’re initially exploring ADHD in kids or your child has already received a diagnosis, there’s hope. Continue to learn, listen, and rely on God. Then, be encouraged that God created your child to be exactly who He wants them to be. ADHD aside, there will always be a powerful beauty in that truth.

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