ADHD: Probably NOT Parenting or Seasoned Potato Chips
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Parents raising kids struggling with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, travel an emotionally and physically draining road. In addition to the path that leads to diagnosis, which often includes a myriad of school meetings and referrals, doctor visits and tests, there is also the avalanche of questions. Why does my child have ADHD? Did I cause it? Could I have prevented it? Can I cure or alleviate it with diet, behavior management and exercise? Will extracurricular sports help or hurt a child diagnosed with ADHD?
There are lots of resources about ADHD available for parents, today. So much so, that it can be overwhelming. Today, however, I read about a study that may put the disorder into perspective. Yes, it's one more article about ADHD. But, it's worth the read, because it may remove some of the guilt — and accompanying stress — parents tend to take on when they buy into the schools of thought that suggest ADHD was somehow their fault.
Last month, a study was presented in New York suggesting that ADHD may be linked to DNA, not parenting or environmental factors. And while this does not discount the positive impact a healthy diet, exercise and behavior modification can have on children struggling with ADHD, it can put parents' minds at ease as it fills in another puzzle piece regarding the cause of ADHD.
Another positive outcome from the study is that it gives new direction for more effective treatments. By understanding the DNA anomalies among children with ADHD, researchers can more closely target what's wrong and figure out how to fix it.
While there is much research still to be done, parents can stop blaming themselves for "causing" ADHD by depending on processed foods to get them through a particularly hectic week or because of their method of parenting.
Instead, parents can focus on the positive. What treatments work for my child? What are my child's strengths? How can I help my child blossom, despite ADHD?