Dear Dr. Bill,
I have a 6-year-old son who has been diagnosed with ADHD and is taking medication for it. The medication seems to help him focus, but he’s still struggling with everyday activities. He has no friends so to speak of, and struggles with controlling his anger and his emotions.
Our pediatrician recommends that we take our son to a counselor to help him learn coping skills. But I feel like there is something more I should be doing. What do you think?
I agree with your pediatrician’s advice. Given what you’ve described, your son could definitely benefit from seeing a counselor. I’d recommend you find a child psychologist who specializes in the treatment of ADHD.
In addition to helping your son learn to cope with anger and emotions more effectively, the psychologist can work with your son to develop more appropriate social skills. He needs to learn how to make friends, how to read non-verbal cues from other kids, and how to recognize when he is acting in ways that may bother other children or make them want to avoid him.
Without this kind of help, your son’s self-esteem will continue to be negatively impacted and his anger and frustration will only increase. Because of their lack of appropriate social skills, many kids with ADHD end up becoming depressed and even turning to drugs or alcohol as teenagers.
You and your husband can play a significant part in helping your son develop better social skills. The psychologist can work with you, teaching you methods you can use at home to guide and direct your son’s behavior.
You may also want to join a local chapter of CHADD, a national organization dedicated to helping those with ADHD and their parents. You can learn more about their services at C-H-A-D-D.org.
Thanks for writing Christina.
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