Parenting can be complicated for any parent, but for those whose children have a Tic Disorder, it can present unique challenges. You’re not just a parent, you must also play counselor, quasi-medical expert, and school advocate. Supporting and encouraging your child will help them thrive as they’re presented with adversity. Here are some tips to help you help your child live with a Tic Disorder.
Educate Friends & Family
One way to help your child cope is to educate friends, family, and – if necessary – teachers and school administrators about Tic Disorders. As you educate other parents and teachers, they’ll know what to expect and may be more accommodating as challenges arise.
It’s important to ignore your child’s tic as it happens. Drawing attention to it or scolding them will likely make it worse. Try not to talk about their tic unless they bring it up, or unless it’s absolutely necessary. You can also try to distract them in a gentle manner with a toy, a game, or something else they enjoy.
You can help your son or daughter cope with their Tic Disorder by reducing stress. Making sure that they get regular exercise and eat healthily will help their bodies naturally regulate stress and anxiety. Make sure not to over-schedule your child’s activities, as they will need down time too. Encourage your child to talk about things that are bothering them, then help them problem solve. You can also help reduce your child’s stress by remaining calm yourself in stressful situations.
Make sure your child gets enough rest at night by establishing a bedtime routine. Just as with adults, avoiding screens (television, tablets and video games) at least an hour before bedtime is important. No one falls asleep immediately upon getting into bed, especially after mental or physical exertion. Make sure they have down time 30 minutes to an hour before bed. You can also help your child by ensuring that you get plenty of rest yourself.
Reassure your child tics are common, and there’s no reason for them to feel embarrassed. It’s also a possibility that your child’s tic will subside or go away in a few years, or even a few months.
As the parent of a child diagnosed a Tic Disorder, your encouragement will help your child cope with their disorder and over time they’ll grow to become a happy, successful adult.
Are you the parent of a child with a Tic Disorder, and looking for support and guidance? A qualified professional can help. Give my office a call today, and let’s schedule a time to meet.