Adhd child out of control

How to Parent a Defiant Child

Every parent of a defiant child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) knows what it’s like to deal with severe ADHD behavior problems — sometimes even the most well-behaved child lashes out, or refuses to comply with even the most benign request. But almost half of all parents who have kids with ADHD live with severe behavior problems and discipline challenges on an almost daily basis. For them, parenting a defiant child is a daily strain.

Severe ADHD Behavior and Oppositional Defiant Disorder Symptoms

40 percent of children with ADHD also develop oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), a condition marked by chronic aggression, frequent outbursts, and a tendency to argue, ignore requests, and engage in intentionally annoying behavior. 1

How bad can it get? Consider these real-life children diagnosed with both ADHD and ODD:

  • A 4-year-old who gleefully annoys her parents by blasting the TV at top volume as soon as she wakes up.
  • A 7-year-old who shouts “No” to every request and who showers his parents with verbal abuse.
  • An 11-year-old who punches a hole in the wall and then physically assaults his mother.

“These children are most comfortable when they’re in the middle of a conflict,” says Douglas Riley, Ph.D., author of The Defiant Child: A Parent’s Guide to Oppositional Defiant Disorder (#CommissionsEarned) and a child psychologist in Newport News, Virginia. “As soon as you begin arguing with them, you’re on their turf. They keep throwing out the bait, and their parents keep taking it — until finally the parents end up with the kid in family therapy, wondering where they’ve gone wrong.”

[Take This Self-Test: Could Your Child Have ODD?]

The strain of dealing with an oppositional child affects the entire family. The toll on the marital relationship can be especially severe. In part, this is because friends and relatives tend to blame the behavior on ‘bad parenting. ’ Inconsistent discipline may play a role in the development of ODD, but is rarely the sole cause. The unfortunate reality is that discipline strategies that work with neurotypical children simply don’t work with kids with ODD.

Fortunately, psychologists have developed effective behavior therapy for reining in even the most defiant child. It’s not always easy, but it can be done — typically with the help of specialized psychotherapy.

What Is the Link Between ADHD and ODD?

No one knows why so many kids with ADHD exhibit oppositional behavior. In many cases, however, oppositional behavior seems to be a manifestation of ADHD-related impulsivity.

[Download This Free Guide To Coping Mechanisms]

“Many kids with ADHD who are diagnosed with ODD are really showing oppositional characteristics by default,” says Houston-based child psychologist Carol Brady, Ph.D. “They misbehave not because they’re intentionally oppositional, but because they can’t control their impulses.

Another view is that oppositional behavior is simply a way for kids to cope with the frustration and emotional pain associated with having ADHD.

“When under stress — whether it’s because they have ADHD or their parents are getting divorced — a certain percentage of kids externalize their anxiety,” says Larry Silver, M.D., a psychiatrist at Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, D.C. “Everything becomes everyone else’s fault, and the child doesn’t take responsibility for anything that goes wrong.”

Riley agrees. “Children with ADHD know from a young age that they’re different from other kids,” he says. “They see themselves as getting in more trouble, and in some cases may have more difficulty mastering academic work — often despite an above-average intellect. So instead of feeling stupid, their defense is to feel cool. They hone their oppositional attitude.”

About half of all preschoolers diagnosed with ODD outgrow the problem by age 8. Older kids with ODD are less likely to outgrow it. And left untreated, oppositional behavior can evolve into conduct disorder, an even more serious behavioral problem marked by physical violence, stealing, running away from home, fire-setting, and other highly destructive and often illegal behaviors.

What Treatment Is Available to Manage My Defiant Child’s ODD & Severe ADHD Behavior?

Any child with ADHD who exhibits signs of oppositional behavior needs appropriate treatment that usually includes a combination of medication and family therapy. The first step is to make sure that the child’s ADHD is under control. “Since oppositional behavior is often related to stress,” says Silver, “you have to address the source of the stress — the ADHD symptoms — before turning to behavioral issues.”

Says Riley, “If a kid is so impulsive or distracted that he can’t focus on the therapies we use to treat oppositional behavior,” he says, “he isn’t going to get very far. And for many kids with ADHD and oppositional behavior, the stimulant medications are a kind of miracle. A lot of the bad behavior simply drops off.”

But ADHD medication is seldom all that’s needed to control oppositional behavior. If a child exhibits only mild or infrequent oppositional behavior, do-it-yourself behavior-modification techniques may well do the trick. But if the oppositional behavior is severe enough to disrupt life at home or school, it’s best to consult a family therapist trained in childhood behavioral problems.

The therapist should screen your child for anxiety and mood disorders. Each can cause oppositional behavior, and each calls for its own form of treatment. The therapist may also recommend cognitive therapy for the child, to help him cope effectively with difficult situations.

How Parent Training Can Help Kids with ODD Improve Their Behavior

In most cases, however, the treatment of choice for ODD is parent management training, in which the family therapist teaches the parents to change the ways they react to their child’s behavior — both good and bad. Between weekly sessions, the parents practice what they’ve learned, and report to the therapist on their progress.

“Basically, parent training is about carrots and sticks,” says Brady. “On the carrot end, you work on giving your child praise and rewards for cooperating. On the stick end, you lay out clear consequences for misbehavior, usually involving a time-out or the removal of a reward.”

Parent management training is often highly effective, with the child’s behavior improving dramatically in four out of five cases. Parents who undergo the training typically report greater marital satisfaction, as well as improved behavior from their other children.

While some parents balk at the notion that they are the ones in need of training, “they have to learn how to stop getting into the arena with the child and descending to the level of squabbling,” says Silver. Parents often feed the problem by delivering overly harsh or inconsistent discipline. Instead, parents must reassert their authority by setting up well-defined rewards and punishments, and then implementing them consistently and dispassionately.

“My most important rule is that parents should not take ODD behavior personally,” says Riley. “Remain calm and friendly whenever you intervene. Oppositional kids have radar for adult hostility. If they pick up your anger, they’re going to match it.”

Riley recommends a “two free requests” approach: “The first time you ask your child to do something, give him two minutes to respond. If he doesn’t obey, calmly tell him, ‘I’m now asking you a second time to pick up your coat. Do you understand what I’m asking you to do, and what the consequences are if you don’t? Please make a smart decision.’ If you have to ask a third time, the prearranged consequence kicks in — the TV goes off for an hour, or the video game is taken away.”

How Can Parents Focus On Good Behaviors?

Rewarding good behavior or punishing bad behavior isn’t a revolutionary concept, but with oppositional kids, it’s easier said than done. Parents must rein in their impulse to yell or spank. At the same time, they must learn how to substitute “non-aversive punishments” such as time-outs or the loss of privileges.

Many parents of oppositional children are so focused on bad behaviors that they’ve stopped reinforcing positive ones. Yet positive reinforcement is the heart and soul of parent management training.

“Invariably, parents come to treatment with the idea of suppressing, eliminating, or reducing problem behavior,” writes Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., in Parent Management Training (#CommissionsEarned), a manual for therapists. But according to Kazdin, director of Yale University’s Child Study Center in New Haven, Connecticut, parent training emphasizes the concept of “positive opposites” instead. “For example,” says Kazdin, “parents are asked what to do if they want their child to stop screaming, slamming the door, or throwing breakable objects. The answers involve reinforcing talking quietly, closing the door gently, and handling objects with care and not throwing them.”

Kazdin maintains that helping parents learn to praise good behavior is one of the toughest challenges therapists face. He says parents are often “hesitant to praise a behavior or to use reinforcers in general because they feel the behavior ought not require any intervention. ‘My child knows how to clean up his room, he just refuses to do it,’ is a typical parental comment.”

How Parents Can Offer More Effective Praise for a Defiant Child

When parents do offer praise, they should be enthusiastic. “An unenthusiastic statement of ‘Good’ is not likely to change child behavior,” says Kazdin. Praise should specify the praiseworthy behavior and, ideally, include some non-verbal gesture. For example, you might say, “It was wonderful the way you played so quietly while I was on the phone!” and then give your child a kiss.

Appropriate rewards and punishments vary from child to child. The more creatively you tailor your program to your child’s specific abilities and needs, the better. But as Russell Barkley, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, writes in Your Defiant Child (#CommissionsEarned), “Creativity is always an asset to child-rearing, but it can’t hold a candle to consistency. Consistency in the way you treat your child — the way you set rules, convey expectations, pay attention, encourage good behavior, and impose consequences for bad behavior — is the key to cleaning up your child’s act.”

Never lose sight of the fact that oppositional kids usually have a great deal to offer, once their behavior is under control. “Oppositional kids are also often quite engaging and bright,” says Riley. “They tend to be optimistic and very much their own person, with their own way of looking at the world. Once you work through their defiance, there’s a lot there to like.”

Parenting a Defiant Child: Next Steps

  • Read: Facts About Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD
  • Download: Kid-Friendly Mindful Meditation Exercises
  • Understand: How to Discipline a Child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.

View Article Sources

1 Riley M, Ahmed S, Locke A. “Common Questions About Oppositional Defiant Disorder.” American Family Physician (Apr. 2016)

As an Amazon Associate, ADDitude earns a commission from qualifying purchases made by ADDitude readers on the affiliate links we share. However, all products linked in the ADDitude Store have been independently selected by our editors and/or recommended by our readers. Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

Previous Article Next Article

Bad Behavior? Positive Parenting Rules for Kids With ADHD

Positive Parenting Advice for Kids with ADHD

Most parents are good parents. But if your son or daughter has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, “good” may not be enough. To ensure that your child is happy and well-adjusted now and in the future — and to create a tranquil home environment — you’ve got to be a great parent to a child with ADHD.

Fortunately, it’s easier than you might imagine to go from good to great ADHD parenting. All it takes is a few small adjustments to your parenting strategies and the way you interact with your child — and react to their bad behavior. Here’s what works, and why:

1. Accept the fact that your child — like all children — is imperfect.

ADHD in children is common — but not straightforward. It’s not easy to accept that there’s something atypical about your child. But a child who senses their parents’ resentment — and pessimism about their prospects — is unlikely to develop the self-esteem and can-do spirit he’ll need in order to become a happy, well-adjusted adult.

“For a child to feel accepted and supported, he needs to feel that his parents have confidence in his abilities,” says Ken Brown-Gratchev, Ph. D., a special education instructor at Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Oregon. “Once parents learn to look at the gifts of ADHD — things like exceptional energy, creativity, and interpersonal skills — they can see the shine inside their child.”

Carol Barnier, of New Fairfield, Connecticut, certainly sees the “shine” in her child with ADHD. “My child is destined for something wonderful, something that would be impossible for those calmer, regular-energy level children,” she says. “I can think of several occupations where boundless energy would be an incredible asset. I’m even jealous of his tireless enthusiasm for life and wonder what more I could accomplish if I were so blessed.”

[Take This Test: Could Your Child Have ADHD?]

Do your best to love your child unconditionally. Treat him as if he were already the person you would like him to be. That will help him become that person.

2. Don’t believe all the “bad news” about your child’s ADHD.

It’s no fun to hear school employees describe your child as “slow” or unmotivated; it’s not productive to hear only about the bad behavior. But don’t let negative remarks deter you from doing everything in your power to advocate for their educational needs. After all, kids with ADHD can succeed if they get the help they need.

“While it’s true that your child’s mind works differently, he certainly has the ability to learn and succeed just like any other kid,” says George DuPaul, Ph.D., professor of school psychology at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “Look at it this way — if your child was diabetic or had asthma, would you, for one single minute, hesitate to advocate for his benefit?” Just as a diabetic needs insulin and an asthmatic child needs help breathing, a child with ADHD needs their learning environment regulated.

Sue Greco of Warwick, Rhode Island, is adamant about being her 11-year-old’s strongest advocate. “My son has a great brain,” she says. “He’s a leader, with great ideas, but he’s been labeled ‘unable to succeed’ at the local public school. Because I know he’s capable of more, I’ve enrolled him in a Catholic school, hoping the higher academic expectations and greater structure will challenge him in a positive way.

[Take This Test: Could Your Child Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?]

3. Don’t overestimate the importance of ADHD medication.

There’s no doubt that, for many children, the right ADHD medication makes a huge difference in improving bad behavior. But by no means is medication the only thing that makes a difference, and talking about it as if it were will leave the child feeling that good behavior has little to do with her own efforts. When you catch your child doing something you’ve repeatedly asked her not to do, fight the urge to ask, “Did you forget to take your medication this morning?” And don’t ever threaten to increase your child’s dosage because they did something inappropriate.

“Statements like these give your child the impression that her behavior is controlled solely by external factors,” says Dr. Brown-Gratchev. “It’s a parent’s responsibility to send the clear message that, while medication will improve the skills she already possesses, it won’t magically fix all of her troubles.

As Sara Bykowski, a mother of two sons with ADHD living in Angola, Indiana, puts it, “I tell my kids that their medicine is like glasses. Glasses improve eyesight that the person already has. My kids know that their self-control, no matter how limited, is the main factor in their behavior management.”

4. Make sure you know the difference between discipline and punishment.

How often have you complained to friends or family members (or even a therapist), “I’ve yelled, lectured, threatened, given time-outs, taken away toys, canceled outings, bribed, begged, and even spanked — and nothing works!” Do you see the problem with this approach? Any child exposed to such a variety of “sticks” would be confused. And one of the most effective approaches to discipline — the “carrot” of positive feedback — isn’t even mentioned.

“Many parents use the terms ‘discipline’ and ‘punishment’ interchangeably,” says Sal Severe, Ph.D., the author of How to Behave So Your Preschooler Will Too! (#CommissionsEarned) “In fact, they’re vastly different. ” Discipline, he says, is preferable because it teaches the child how to behave. It includes an explanation of the bad behavior and redirection to acceptable behavior — along with positive reinforcement each time the child makes a good behavior choice. Punishment, on the other hand, uses fear and shame to force the child to behave.

Punishment certainly has its place. However, it should never involve physical or verbal abuse, and it should be used only as a last resort. For example, if your child continues to yank the cat’s tail despite being repeatedly told not to — he should be punished.

Often, the best way to discipline a child with ADHD is via a simple program of behavior modification: Define age-appropriate, attainable goals and then systematically reward each small achievement until the behavior becomes routine. By rewarding positive behavior (rather than punishing negative behavior), you help your child feel successful — and further increase their motivation to do the right thing.

5. Never punish a child for bad behavior that he is unable to control.

Imagine telling your 10-year-old to make their bed. Now imagine finding him, minutes later, lying on their unmade bed playing cards. What should you do? Give him a sharp word and put him in time-out?

According to Dr. Severe, that’s probably not the best approach. In many cases, he says, a child with ADHD fails to comply not because he is defiant, but simply because he becomes distracted from the task at hand (in this case, making the bed). Distractibility is a common symptom of ADHD — something that he may be unable to control. And when you repeatedly punish a child for behavior he can’t control, you set him up to fail. Eventually, their desire to please you evaporates. He thinks, “Why bother?” The parent-child relationship suffers as a result.

The best approach in situations like this might be simply to remind your child to do what you want him to do. Punishment makes sense if it’s abundantly clear that your child is being defiant — for example, if he refuses to make the bed. But give him the benefit of the doubt.

6. Stop blaming other people for your child’s difficulties.

Are you the kind of parent who finds fault with everyone except your child? Do you say things like “That driver has no control over the kids on the bus,” or “If only the teacher were better at behavior management, my daughter wouldn’t have so much trouble in school?”

Other people can contribute to your child’s problems. But trying to pin the blame exclusively on others encourages your child to take the easy way out. Why should they take personal responsibility for their actions if they can blame someone else (or if they repeatedly hear you blame someone else)?

7. Be careful to separate the deed from the doer.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” Don’t believe it. Kids who repeatedly hear bad things about themselves eventually come to believe these things.

No matter how frustrating your child’s behavior, never call him “lazy,” “hyper,” “spacey,” or anything else that might be hurtful. And stop yourself if you start to say something like “You’re such a slob — why can’t you keep your room clean?” or “What’s wrong with you? If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times.. .”

Carol Brady, Ph.D., a child psychologist in Houston, explains it this way: “Parents must make ADHD the enemy — not the child. When you personalize a child’s ADHD-associated problems, her self-esteem plummets. But when you team up with your child to problem-solve various negative behaviors, you create a climate where your child feels loved and supported despite her shortcomings.”

Next time your child’s room is a disaster, tell her, “We have a problem, and I need your help to solve it.” Tell her it’s hard for you to tuck her in at night because you’re afraid you might trip over the toys on her bedroom floor — or that leaving food in her room attracts bugs. Ask for her input. The more involved your child is in the solution, the better the outcome.

8. Don’t be too quick to say “no.

All children need to be told “no” at certain times — to keep them from doing something dangerous or inappropriate. But many parents say “no” reflexively, without considering whether it might be OK to say “yes.” And a child who hears “no” too many times is apt to rebel — especially if he is impulsive to begin with.

Why are parents so quick to say “no”? Often, it’s out of fear (“No, you cannot walk to school by yourself.”), worry (“No, you can’t sleep over at Jake’s house until I meet his parents.”), a desire to control (“No, you can’t have a snack before supper.”), or a competing need (“Not tonight, kiddo, I’m too tired.”). Smart parents know when to say “no,” and when it makes more sense to take a deep breath and answer in the affirmative.

In many cases, a small change in the way you use the words “yes” and “no” with your child can mean the difference between a pleasant interaction and a nasty confrontation.

Let’s say your child wants to go outside to play but you want them to sit down and do their homework. “Instead of automatically saying no,” suggests Dr. DuPaul, “ask him to help you brainstorm a workable solution.” That way, he feels that he has at least some measure of control over the situation and that you are trying to accommodate their wishes. He will feel less frustrated and be more cooperative.

9. Pay more attention to your child’s positive behavior.

In their quest to quash behavior problems, many parents overlook all the positive ways in which their child behaves. The resulting negativity can cast a pall over the household that affects every aspect of life.

“Retrain yourself to look at the positives,” says Dr. Severe. “Catch your child being good or doing something well, and praise her. When you point out and praise desirable behaviors, you teach her what you want — not what you don’t want.”

According to social psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., research shows that a ratio of three positive comments for every one critical comment results in the best outcomes in terms of fostering well-being, building resilience, and maintaining healthy relationships. This Losada ratio has been covered extensively in Fredrickson’s 2009 book, Positivity (#CommissionsEarned) and her 2013 follow-up Love 2.0 (#CommissionsEarned).

Bear in mind, too, that some of the problem behaviors you ascribe to ADHD may be common to all children of that age. It’s helpful to read up on the stages of childhood development — especially if your child with ADHD happens to be your first-born.

Make happiness and laughter the cornerstones of family life. Spend fun time with your children. Go with them on bike rides. Play with them at the park. Visit museums together. Take them to the movies. Sure, life with ADHD can be challenging. But the rewards are great for parents who really connect with their children.

10. Learn to anticipate potentially explosive situations.

Imagine that your daughter has been invited to a party. That’s good news, especially for a child who isn’t very popular with her peers. Now imagine that the party is hosted by a girl with whom your daughter recently quarreled. Do you simply cross your fingers and hope for the best?

“Absolutely not,” warns Dr. DuPaul. “Parents spend a lot of time in reactive mode instead of thinking ahead and planning ahead.” A simple plan, he says, is all it takes to keep a positive experience from turning negative for all concerned.

“In our house, we have ‘the plan,'” says Sara Bykowski. “Before we go into a store or to a friend’s home, we talk about the behavior that is expected and possible pitfalls. We also have a routine for any problems that arise. I might say, ‘Can I talk to you for a minute?’ and then take him away from the group. We discuss what’s happening and try to come up with a solution. Sometimes we still have to leave early, but that happens much less often now.”

Whatever you do, be consistent. “All kids benefit from consistency,” says Dr. DuPaul, “but ADHD kids, in particular, need consistency. It’s not a luxury for them.” A last-minute change in schedule or an interruption of a familiar routine can wreak havoc with a child who already feels like they spend most of their time off-balance and “catching up. ” Better to have set routines and plans and do all you can to stick to them.

“Set your home up in a way that encourages organization and responsibility, then run it like an army barracks,” suggests ADHDer Shirley McCurdy, an organizational expert and the author of The Floor Is Not an Option. “Think easy and accessible — clear storage bins for clothes, zippered pouches for homework, and a large, color-coded family calendar.”

Make sure you and your spouse are in agreement on matters of organization and discipline. “Parents who aren’t on the same page in their general approach to motivation and discipline with their child with ADHD can cause problems,” says Stephen Grcevich, M.D., a child psychiatrist in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. “Behavioral interventions for kids with ADHD are unlikely to be successful unless applied consistently.”

When parents present a united front, their children know exactly what to expect. Ultimately, the more predictable and consistent your child’s environment becomes, the happier the whole family will be.

11. Be a good role model.

Parents are a child’s most influential role model, so think carefully about your behavior. If you’re unable to control yourself, how can you expect your child to exercise self-control?

“Yelling sets a poor example of how your child should handle his emotions,” says Dr. Brady. “Parents tend to think that, the louder they get, the bigger the impact on the child — but it doesn’t work. The only thing the child hears is the anger. The situation quickly spirals out of control.”

It’s perfectly normal to feel angry at your child from time to time. It’s not OK to continually shout at her. You wouldn’t dream of screaming and swearing at friends or coworkers, so you know you can control your anger if you must.

Next time your child does something that causes your blood to boil, leave the room, take a few deep breaths, or do something else to calm yourself. When you demonstrate self-calming techniques in this way, you teach your child the importance of managing her emotions.

If you do lose your temper, do not hesitate to apologize to your child.

12. Seek help from others.

Some things in life simply cannot be done well alone, and raising a child with ADHD is one of them. “If you take the Clint Eastwood approach, you’ll wind up exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically,” says Dr. Brown-Gratchev. “Build a NASA-worthy support system. That way, when your own ‘system’ overloads or fails, as it inevitably will from time to time, there’s someone to put you back together again.”

Ask your pediatrician for the name of a psychologist or other mental-health professional who specializes in ADHD. Or contact CHADD — chances are, there’s a chapter in your community.

Sue Kordish, of Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, knows the value of a reliable support system. “For years, my husband and I worried that no sitter would understand our son’s special needs,” she says. “We tried hiring a teenager, but it didn’t work out, and the experience left us even more wary. With no family members living nearby, the situation was hard. We just didn’t go out. Then we found a sitter who works with special-needs kids. We were finally able to relax and enjoy some seriously overdue couple time.”

[8 Discipline Rules for Parents of Defiant Kids]

Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.

As an Amazon Associate, ADDitude earns a commission from qualifying purchases made by ADDitude readers on the affiliate links we share. However, all products linked in the ADDitude Store have been independently selected by our editors and/or recommended by our readers. Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

Previous Article Next Article

Attention deficit disorder in children

Since ADHD is a complex condition and each patient is different, it is difficult to give recommendations that will help each child. But some advice will help create the conditions that will enable him to succeed.

Baby at home

  • Show your love for your child. Children need to hear that they are loved and appreciated. By focusing on bad behavior, you harm your relationship and lower your child's self-esteem and self-esteem. If your child is having a hard time, support him with words, a smile, a pat on the back, or hugs. Find ways to express love and do it regularly. nine0015
  • Have a good time with your child. Make an attempt to accept and appreciate the child - it is not at all difficult. One of the best ways to do this is to spend more time with him. It should be communication without other children or adults. Give more positive than negative attention.
  • Find a way to improve your child's self-esteem and discipline. Children with ADHD are often very good at art, music, dance, or martial arts such as karate or taekwondo. But do not force the child to study if he does not have a disposition for this. All children have special talents and interests that should be encouraged. Frequent small successes help build self-esteem. nine0015
  • Use simple words and show when giving instructions. Speak slowly and quietly, be specific. Give one direction at a time. Make eye contact with your child before and during the instruction.
  • Stick to a daily routine. In the big calendar, mark special things that are planned in the future. Children with ADHD find it difficult to accept change. Do not jump from one activity to another suddenly, or at least warn the child about it. nine0015
  • Make sure the child is resting. Protect your child from extreme fatigue as it often worsens ADHD symptoms.
  • Identify difficult situations. Try to avoid situations that are difficult for the child, such as long lectures, shopping trips with too aggressive advertising.
  • Take breaks to discipline your child. Breaks can be short but long enough for the child to control himself.
  • Remain calm. Try to remain calm when interacting with your child, even if he is out of control. If you are calm, then it is more likely that the child will adopt this behavior and calm down too.
  • Remember that improvement takes time. Your expectations - and your child's - must be realistic.
  • Don't forget to rest. Exhausted and worried parents act less effectively.

Child at school

  • Discuss the educational program. The school may have special programs for children with ADHD or other learning disabilities. For example, you can change the grading system, curriculum, teaching techniques, ways of independent work.
  • Talk to the child's teacher. Communicate more with teachers, support their efforts to help your child during class. Make sure that teachers monitor the child's progress, encourage his efforts, have sufficient flexibility and patience. nine0015
  • Ask if the child is allowed to use the computer. Sometimes children with ADHD find it difficult to write, so it is helpful to allow them to use a computer for this purpose.

Here are some other methods that you can try, but science has not yet proven their effectiveness:

  • Yoga and meditation. Regular yoga and relaxation exercises can help your child relax and learn discipline, which can help control ADHD symptoms
  • Special diet. Most diets avoid foods that increase activity, such as sugar, as well as common allergens such as wheat, milk, and eggs. Some diets do not contain products with artificial colors and additives. However, no study has proven that diet changes can reduce ADHD symptoms, including sugar restriction. Caffeine as a stimulant can cause dangerous side effects and is not recommended.
  • Vitamins and minerals. Although vitamins and minerals are essential for health, there is no evidence that they reduce the symptoms of ADHD. And very large doses of vitamins can even harm
  • Herbs. There is no evidence that herbs can reduce ADHD symptoms. And some of them can harm
  • Ready mix vitamins and dietary supplements. These are supplements that contain vitamins, trace elements and other ingredients. For these supplements, there is no research to support their benefits. In addition, these supplements are not tested by the US Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so they may not be effective or even harmful.0015
  • Essential fatty acids. These fatty acids, including omega-3 fatty acids, are essential for proper brain function. Researchers are currently investigating whether they can improve ADHD
  • Neurofeedback Therapy. This is a treatment in which the child focuses on certain tasks while a special machine registers brain activity. Theoretically, a child can learn to keep the brain active, which improves ADHD. While this method looks promising, more research needs to be done to make sure it works

Caring for a child with ADHD can be challenging for the whole family. Parents may be upset by the behavior of the child and how other people react to it. Such stress can lead to conflict in the family. In addition, financial difficulties may arise, further complicating the situation.
Siblings of a child with ADHD may also have their own characteristics. They may clash with him because of his aggressive behavior or be less attentive because a child with ADHD steals the attention of his parents. nine0005

Sources of support

There are many types of support, such as social services and support groups. At a support group, you can get useful information about living with ADHD. Ask your healthcare provider what they know about these groups in your area.
In addition, there are excellent books and guides for parents and teachers, as well as websites specifically for discussing ADHD. But be careful, such sites may contain unverified information about the treatment. nine0005

Ways to manage ADHD

Many parents notice that their child and they act in the same scenario. You and your child may both need to change their behavior. But changing behavior is not an easy task that requires a lot of work. It's important to have realistic expectations. Set small goals for yourself and your child and don't try to change too much at once.

How to manage ADHD:

  • Organize your child's life. nine0009 This does not mean iron discipline. On the contrary, it is necessary to organize a life as predictable, calm and organized as possible. Children with ADHD struggle with change, and keeping a schedule helps them feel safe and improve their behavior. Give the child a few minutes to move from one activity to another or move from one place to another
  • Gently discipline the child. Resolutely but gently stop wrong behavior and encourage right behavior. Children with ADHD respond well to this type of upbringing. Rewarding the right behavior will help him develop a new habit. nine0015
  • Remain calm and set a good example. Behave the way you would like your child to behave - be an example for him. Try to remain calm and in control, even if the child is out of control. If you speak quietly and calmly, it is more likely that the child will also calm down. Learn to manage stress to deal with your own anger.
  • Maintain healthy family relationships. Family relationships play an important role in managing and correcting the behavior of a child with ADHD. Spouses who get along well with each other are easier to cope with raising a child. So it's important to take the time to strengthen your relationship. nine0015
  • Rest. If your child has ADHD, take regular rest. You don't have to feel guilty about spending some time away from your child. You work best on nurturing him when you feel rested and relaxed. Feel free to ask family and friends for help. Make sure the babysitter or other caretaker is aware of ADHD and experienced enough to handle the task.

Why is the child out of control? nine0002

ADHD — this abbreviation is known and feared by most modern parents. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a diagnosis that is most often made before the age of 12, when the child gets out of control, cannot concentrate on classes, does not take instructions from adults, has problems with attention, mood swings. These are just a partial list of symptoms that indicate that a child may or may not have ADHD.

Not always this diagnosis, even if it is confirmed by different specialists, is a physiological problem, and not an omission in education. The fact is that the exact cause of the disease is still not completely clear. And in medical practice, disputes about how to diagnose and how to treat do not subside. However, researchers agree that the absence of such elements that are mandatory for the normal neuropsychic development of a child, such as a regimen, consistency in upbringing, a clear and understandable hierarchy, a favorable emotional climate in the family, can affect no less than congenital or hereditary factors, and often are the cause out of control child. nine0008 However, not only a child. ADHD or similar symptoms can also appear in adulthood and become a real problem for both the person and the people around him. According to statistics, about 30-50% of people who have ADHD onset in childhood have symptoms of this disease in adulthood. Therefore, it is so important to understand this issue, first of all, for parents of schoolchildren and preschoolers. Our review of books will help with this.


"Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children". Oleg Romanchuk

This book presents both modern scientific knowledge (etiology, pathogenesis, clinical picture) and practical experience in helping children with ADHD. The author also touches upon the issues of diagnostics and therapy (organization of assistance in the family, at school, drug therapy). The book debunks common myths about ADHD and offers a holistic model for helping children and their families. The publication is intended for educators, psychologists, doctors and, in general, anyone interested in the problems of mental health, education and training of children with special needs. nine0005

"Hyperactive children psychological and pedagogical assistance". Galina Monina

The book is written in the format of training for parents and children. The author analyzes in detail the causes of ADHD, the symptoms of the disease and concomitant disorders. He also talks about the importance of a thorough diagnosis and gives examples of multiple methods for correcting ADHD. This book is the first attempt to implement an integrated approach, not only at the theoretical level, but also at the level of its practical use. It covers a lot of important topics that will certainly be of interest to both experts working on solving this problem and parents of hyperactive children. nine0005

“A happy child. Universal Rules. Andrey Kurpatov

The book tells in detail how a child's brain is formed, his emotional sphere and social relationships, as well as the ability to think and make meaningful decisions. Here you will find clear guidance on how to deal with specific challenges and how to balance parenting tasks with the long-awaited happiness of parenthood. How to find a common language with your child? How do you get him to listen to you? How to teach a child interest, communication and happiness? This book has long been a bestseller and is recognized as one of the best in its genre. The publication includes several new sections that are devoted to the influence of gadgets on the formation of a child's brain, digital addiction, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. nine0005

“Cheat sheet for adults. Psychocorrective work with hyperactive, aggressive, anxious and autistic children. Galina Monina, Elena Lyutova

The book will help educators and teachers learn to understand “difficult” children and choose the best ways to interact with them. The authors offer specific recommendations for identifying symptoms of hyperactivity, aggressiveness, anxiety, and autism in children. The book contains a detailed description of practical techniques, games and exercises that contribute to the adaptation of such "problem" children, as well as advice to parents. The publication is recommended for psychologists, educators, primary school teachers, students of psychological and pedagogical faculties, but it will also be useful for parents. nine0005


“Why am I distracted. How to recognize Attention Deficit Disorder in adults and children and what to do about it. Edward Hallowell, John Ratey

The authors of this book are experts in the field of ADHD and the human psyche. The book contains evidence-based information about ADHD. It looks at the symptoms, truths and myths, treatments and ways to deal with ADHD, and gives advice on how to raise a child with this syndrome. In addition, the book provides an opportunity to look at ADHD from a different perspective. Many symptoms may relate to other diseases, it is also worth remembering the presence of certain character traits, temperament, upbringing, and the requirements of society. It may be that the child does not have this syndrome at all. However, if ADHD still manifests itself, the authors urge not to perceive it as an incurable disease. The book is designed for a wide range of readers, and tells not only how to get rid of ADHD, but also gives an understanding of whether it is necessary to do this at all and how to use it for the benefit of yourself and others. nine0005

“A scam called ADHD. How doctors made normal children "patients". Fred Boman

This book should be taken as a warning rather than a guide to action. In it, Dr. Boman, in a rather categorical manner, tells parents about the dangers that may lie in wait for their children in modern schools and other educational institutions. The book contains many real stories about how school workers, pediatricians and psychiatrists "destroy", according to the author, normal, healthy children and turn them into patients in psychiatric hospitals, hiding behind a fictitious diagnosis of ADHD. The author has collected verified facts and statistics showing how psychiatric drugs and treatment lead to consequences that are unfavorable for the neuropsychic development of children, which modern parents would not be out of place to learn about.

Learn more