The ADHD/Anxiety Connection

Many children with ADHD also suffer from extreme anxiety symptoms. When an individual experiences severe anxiety, they will have one of three reactions: they will freeze and be unable to take action; they will attempt to avoid the situation by withdrawing or leaving the scene, or they will act out of rage to protect themselves. Children with ADHD also have a low tolerance for frustration. When confronted with a difficult task or a conflict they may quickly become emotionally and even physically upset. When a parent is simply providing appropriate guidance and/or limits for their child, they are not expecting a reaction based on fear or rage. They might naturally view this as an act of defiance and respond to the incident with an additional negative consequence, but that will most likely escalate the situation.

Most well-meaning parents approach this behavior with the philosophy of “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.” They continue with the same approach, only “kicking it up a notch or two.” Or, they go from one approach to another, all the while saying, “No matter what I do, nothing works.” I would like to give you some simple parenting tips that would make it a breeze to get things going in the right direction, but this is not a simple problem—which means there is no “simple” solution. There are things you can do that will be much more effective, though for your child with ADHD.

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