Disciplining adhd kids

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

ADHD Behavior Techniques for Positive Parents

As a psychotherapist who specializes in ADHD and related conditions, I work with parents who feel frazzled and confused about how to best help their neurodivergent children with behavioral challenges. It is a thing I easily relate to, as the just-as-frazzled mother to three grown children who came into this world with a not-quite-neurotypical cocktail of fun.

How to best parent and discipline my children was rarely obvious or straightforward. At times, they were defiant. They ignored me. They threw major tantrums. They lied. They were often verbally and sometimes physically aggressive. No punishment seemed to work. Sound familiar?

Then years later, as I was completing a master’s in counseling psychology, I came to understand something that completely changed the way I approached parenting: ADHD is actually not a behavior disorder! It is a neurological difference. My kids’ difficult behaviors were not happening by choice. This realization allowed me to find and exhibit true compassion for my children — a game changer.

If you’re exhausted and running out of ideas to correct your child’s difficult behaviors, you’re not alone. Improving behaviors in children with ADHD often means trying a few key strategies and one great twist – there’s actually no punishment involved at all!

5 Steps to Dealing with Difficult ADHD Behaviors

Step 1: Accept That ADHD is Physiological

You can’t begin to correct your child’s difficult behaviors until you acknowledge this truth.

Children with ADHD largely struggle with executive functioning – the brain skills we all need to function in our daily lives. They include the ability to sustain attention, to organize and plan, to recall information, and to control emotions, among other skills. The prefrontal cortex – where attention, emotions, and behaviors intersect – is also implicated in ADHD.

[Read: Positive Parenting Strategies That Inspire Good Behavior]

Children with ADHD are also about three years behind their neurotypical peers in terms of brain development, meaning that they are often asked to function at higher levels than their brains can manage.

It’s these circumstances that bring about difficult behaviors that are often out of a child’s control. What’s more, these behaviors will still appear no matter how well-versed a child is in the consequences. Harsher punishments will not make a dent.

Punishing a child with ADHD for difficult behaviors is ineffective and counterproductive because they don’t have the luxuries of regulating their emotions and behaviors like a neurotypical child would. Punishment only results in them feeling guilty and ashamed for what they couldn’t control. The guilt and shame can turn into frustration, defiance, and emotional outbursts — and they often do.

The true meaning of the word “discipline” is to teach, not to punish. Teaching helps to shape behavior positively so that difficult, impairing behaviors are less of an issue.

So how do we change problem behaviors and teach better ones without punishment?

[Related Reading: Never Punish a Child for Behavior Outside Their Control]

Step 2: Be a Detective, Not a Judge

All behaviors serve a purpose. Problem behaviors are representative of an unmet need and, in ADHD’s case, can be due to impulsivity.

Rather than act like a judge and issue punishment to your child after a problem behavior occurs, it is better to put on your detective cap and try to decode the root or cause of the behavior. Determining the unmet need behind your child’s difficult behaviors will give you the chance to meet the need and decrease the chances that the problem behavior occurs again.

Problem behaviors can broadly be divided into two categories:

  • Chronic behaviors, which tend to happen at the same time and in the same situations. (e.g. refusing to go to bed or to wake up; temper tantrums after getting off video games.)
  • Impulsive behaviors (e.g. your child hitting their sibling or having a meltdown out of the blue.)

The next time a problem behavior occurs, take note of all its surrounding factors and context. You’ll come to find that your child’s most difficult behaviors can be traced back to these common causes:

  • They don’t know how to start the task and may not know how to ask for help.
  • They don’t understand the task and the finish point. If you tell your child to clean their room, they may not know what ‘clean’ looks like.
  • The task is too difficult. If your child is unwilling to do homework, for example, it might be that the work is too challenging, or that there’s too much to work through organizationally.
  • They need a transition time. ADHD is associated with time blindness. Telling your child they have five minutes left before stopping their video game is futile. You’ll have to “show” them what five minutes looks like so they can really understand.
  • They are overwhelmed with too many instructions and can easily forget multi-step tasks. They will need large projects ‘chunked’ up.
  • They could not control their impulsivity.
  • They are ashamed of their behavior (especially if they lied).

Avoid assuming that the problem behavior is because your child is lazy, defiant, or because they simply want to “cause trouble.” No one, not even your child, wakes up with the intention of having a bad day.

Step 3: PREP Your Child

Once you’ve truly thought through the causes behind the problem behaviors, you’ll have to PREP your child to replace the bad behavior with a better one, or at least decrease its severity. PREP stands for:

  • Peaceful moment: It’s much easier to deconstruct problem behaviors when your child is calm and tensions aren’t running high.
  • Request good behavior: Ask your child open-ended questions to guide them to better behavior. If they are being disruptive during dinner time, for example, calmly ask them to remind you of the family rules. (Do we throw food? Do we interrupt one another?)
  • Explanation from your child: As your child answers your guiding questions, it will reinforce the information in their brain, allowing them to be more mindful of the situation.
  • Praise: Notice your child’s efforts toward better behavior and do your best to ignore problem behaviors (so long as they are not dangerous). Your approval and enthusiasm can be a great motivator to your child.

Step 4: PREP Yourself

It’s not easy to keep your cool as your child engages in difficult behaviors. At the same time, if we show them that we are annoyed, frustrated, and dysregulated, we are modeling these behaviors to them.

As parents, we tend to skip checking in with ourselves and making sure we are at our best to handle tough, stressful situations. To be a good behavior detective and undo unhelpful notions of parenting, we need to be level-headed and fully present. We must PREP ourselves, too:

  • Pause before you react, and practice mindfulness frequently.
  • Recharge often and engage in self-care.
  • Evaluate situations where your child’s problem behaviors occur before you…
  • Proceed with next steps

Step 5: RE-MAP Your Parenting

Once you’ve prepped your child and yourself, you’re ready to RE-MAP what parenting and disciplining your child is really about:

  • Regard your child with an unconditional, positive assumption that they want to do well.
  • Externalize misbehaviors. Remember that the behavior is not their fault – it is caused by a brain difference.
  • Mistake Acceptance. Learn to view misbehaviors as mistakes. Provide your home as a safe place to make those mistakes so that they can be used as learning opportunities to PREP your child about what to expect next time.
  • Praise your child often. Children with ADHD field lots of negativity and criticism every day. We may hardly ever stop to notice their efforts to fit into a neurotypical world – because it’s behavior we expect and typically do not reward. Praising your child often, even for the little things, will go a long way.
Re-mapping in Action

How can we use these parenting principles to address common situations at home?

Behavior Problem #1: My child doesn’t want to do their homework

  • Prep your child
    • Check that they have everything they need for the assignment and that they understand what is expected of them.
    • Break up the homework to smaller chunks and provide breaks.
    • Talk to teachers about reducing the homework amount.
  • Prep yourself
  • RE-MAP
    • Regard: Assume your child wants to do their homework.
    • Externalize: Know that ADHD and other factors make it so that the task is the problem, not your child.
    • Mistake Acceptance: If your child doesn’t finish homework even if you’ve prepped them fully, accept this turn of events and move on. Learn from it and collaborate with your child on what might work better next time. Know that this is not the end of the world. (Things rarely are.)
    • Praise: Even if your child didn’t finish the assignment, recognize how long they spent working on the task.

Behavior Problem #2: My child refuses to stop playing video games

  • Prep your child
    • Make sure they have clear guidelines around when they should stop playing.
    • Build in transition times.
    • Use a Time Timer or another visual aid to help your child see the passage of time.
  • Prep yourself
    • Understand how video games work. Consider having your child stop after a segment or level attempt is completed as opposed to a specific time.
  • RE-MAP
    • Regard: Your child doesn’t want to disobey you – they just really enjoy the video game.
    • Externalize: Your child may have trouble stopping due to the dopamine rush he’s getting with the game.
    • Mistake Acceptance: If they stopped playing well after you asked them to, ask them what happened and what can be done next time to make the transition off of gaming easier.
    • Praise: Even if they didn’t stop at the agreed-upon time, recognize if they were closer to the stop point than last time; if their tantrum didn’t last as long, etc.

Parenting a child with ADHD often involves a full reassessment and overhaul of everything you thought you knew about discipline. In following these steps, remember that it will take time to address problem behaviors, and that there will be mistakes along the way. Prep yourself as best as you can, but don’t be afraid to own up to your errors and apologize to your child and to yourself. At the same time, keep problem behaviors and situations in perspective – a messy room or missing homework is not the end of the world. In the end, it’s most important to create a happy, safe, and supportive environment for your child.

The content for this article was derived from the ADDitude Expert Webinar Discipline with a Twist: How to Manage Challenging Behavior Problems in Children & Teens with ADHD [podcast episode #353]  with Merriam Sarcia Saunders, LMFT, which was broadcast live on May 6, 2021.

Child Discipline: Next Steps

  • Free Download: 50 Ways to Effectively Discipline a Child with ADHD
  • Read: Be Present, Be Tough, Inspire Better Behavior
  • Self-Test: Could Your Child Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

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.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

Previous Article Next Article

How to discipline a child with ADHD while maintaining a positive attitude

A positive or negative character

According to Dr. Kenny Handelman (Ph.D.), taking a positive approach is more effective than issuing threatening ultimatums. It's important to reward your child for good behavior more often, but more importantly, do something together that both of you enjoy. This will strengthen the bond between you, so when you need to discipline the child, he will become more receptive to your words and will not be afraid. nine0005

First symptoms, then discipline

Getting your child's assessment and treatment for ADHD is essential to managing your child's behavior. You cannot effectively discipline your child until you know specifically how the neurological condition of ADHD affects his words and actions.

The decision to put your child on treatment can be difficult, but it can help them control their behavior better without having to punish them. nine0005

Try specialized programs such as Fast ForWord to help children with ADHD learn to focus and reduce impulsivity.

No physical punishment

You already know that physically punishing children should not be done, especially for a child with ADHD. Many children with ADHD are highly hypersensitive, so physical punishment can lead to emotional pain. "Spanking gives the child the wrong attitude," says William Dodson, M.D., MD. You should be afraid of your parents." nine0005

Plan for an upcoming crisis

Choose a time when you both feel happy and calm and prepare a strategic move to avoid crises, such as a birthday or family reunion. Become accomplices and make it a game. For example, say: "Let's pretend to be magicians who can disappear." Next, if the child's behavior starts to change direction, take him aside and say: "It's time to be magicians and become invisible" - and calmly leave the party or room. nine0005

Think Like a Cop

Dr. Handelman (Ph.D.) recommends dealing with a recent incident or misbehavior calmly, not angry, just like a cop who pulled you over for speeding. The cop doesn't yell at you or tell you how badly you've done. He will say: “Do you know that you were speeding? Your driver's license and car registration, please." You have committed a violation, you will be punished. Children with ADHD are so sensitive to anger that they may not hear you talking about their bad behavior. Or the child may start arguing and the situation will get out of control. nine0005

Explain violation and punishment

Many children with ADHD do not know what is expected of them and what will happen if the expected result is not achieved. Parents should explain crystal clear the rules of conduct and what will happen if the child goes against them. Be consistent in following the rules. For children with ADHD, you must be clear about the expected outcome and consequences, or they will forget everything.

Games first, then punishments

Lisa Aro has six children with ADHD and a number of discipline problems with each of them. She talks about how interestingly she spends time with children and does joint creative projects - making films and the like. If the child begins to behave badly, she puts him in a corner, while she herself stands behind him. The child hates this punishment because he is so bored. After that, she talks to him about how to behave differently next time.

Find out what annoys your child

Learn what your ADHD child is predisposed to and adapt your discipline strategies to his nervous system. Be understanding and respectful of your child's hypersensitivity and quirks. This will help you distinguish the difference between willful insubordination and discomfort on the part of your child. Is your child cocky or feeling overwhelmed? Is he aroused because he is bored, or is he misbehaving on purpose?

Exclude oppositional defiant disorder

ADHD is often accompanied by other disorders. Up to 40% of boys and 25% of girls have oppositional defiant disorder. It's the second most common condition in children with ADHD, says Dr. Dodson. In order to effectively discipline your child, it is important to rule out oppositional defiant disorder. Children with this disorder are unable to switch. They are fixated on such a reaction: “No! I won't! Never! You can't force me!" See a therapist if you suspect your child has oppositional defiant disorder. nine0005

Perhaps you yourself are part of the problem?

Attention deficit disorder in most cases is hereditary. If your child has it, chances are one or both parents also have ADHD.

Evaluate yourself and seek medical attention. Carrying out consistent disciplinary activities is difficult for parents with untreated ADHD. What's more, many adults with ADHD have violent tempers and bouts of impulsivity that undermine discipline efforts. Make sure your ADHD is being treated properly. nine0005

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is good for our children too. Research shows that mindfulness can help children improve their ability to focus, calm down when they are upset, and make better decisions.

In short, it helps regulate emotions and focus on developing cognitive skills.

Consolidation of the intended strategy

The biggest mistake parents make is to give up too quickly on the new disciplinary approach, says Dr. Handelman. “Children put in a lot of effort when parents start something new. And when the new strategy becomes habitual, the child realizes that it is useless to argue and resist, he stops fighting you. ” Two or three weeks is not enough to establish new rules. It takes four to six weeks for a habit to stick. nine0005

Train your brain!

Children with ADHD tend to have poor executive function, which makes it difficult for them to organize and learn, and they lose self-confidence and control over their behavior.
Modern neurological techniques that use the principle of brain plasticity, such as FAST FORWORD, help children with ADHD develop executive functions, as well as develop speech, memory, concentration and other cognitive skills! nine0091
Classes are made in the form of computer games and are available online, which is very convenient for both the child and the parents.

The best way to discipline children with ADHD

The best way to discipline children with ADHD

3 tips for parents to increase discipline in children with ADHD -
more authority, less pressure and better results.

Based on article
A Better Way to Discipline Children with ADD
Written by Dr. John Taylor, Ph.D.

Translation - ADHD Mom

Like all children, children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) sometimes make poor choices when strategizing their behaviour. Nothing surprising. But often the situation is exacerbated by the parents themselves, making mistakes in correcting the bad behavior of children with ADHD. Rather than adopt methods of discipline based on determination and empathy, they lean towards what I call the ignore-nag-shout-punish chain. nine0005

At first, parents prefer not to notice the child's bad behavior in the hope that it will go away on its own. Of course, this rarely works, then the parents try to impress the child: this is not the way to do it. Then they start screaming and cursing. When this does not lead to the desired result, the parents lose their temper and severely punish the child. I think of this fourth stage as a parental outburst.

This four-step strategy (if you can call it that) is not only ineffective. It makes the life of all family members unnecessarily unpleasant. How can this be avoided? Just like any other danger: if you are aware of it, you can avoid it. As soon as you feel you are on the wrong path, stop and make a conscious decision to try something else. Take an honest look at your reaction to your children's misbehavior. What are the specific situations that force you to slide down this path? How far do you usually go? How often? nine0005

Let's take a closer look at the "ignore-nag-shout-punish" strategy to understand why it doesn't work and to find effective methods.

Why Ignorance Doesn't Work

By ignoring your child's bad behavior, you want to let him know that you do not condone or approve of such behavior. At the very least, you hope the child understands that way.

In fact, the child may perceive your silence as "I will not pay attention to you" or even "I reject you. " It might hurt him. On the other hand, the child may assume that your silence means that you approve of his behavior or at least tolerate it. He thinks, "Mom didn't say I shouldn't do this. So it's okay." nine0005

But even if your child correctly interprets what you are trying to convey, ignoring his behavior, he has no idea what you would like him to do in return. In other words, ignoring a child does not determine the best behavior and does not give him information about what he should do next.

Instead of ignoring the child when he does something that you do not approve of, I recommend another thing - to interrupt. That is, move people or objects quickly so that your child cannot misbehave. nine0005

For example, if Alex and Maria start fighting over a toy, you might say, "Alex, sit over there. Maria, stay over there. I'm taking this and putting it upstairs here." Likewise, if your teenager sits down to dinner with dirty hands, immediately remove his plate from the table and silently point to his hands. If you feel the need to tell your child what you expect from them, tell them once and very clearly. Say no more.

Don't Saw Your Child

Why is it so important to talk less when you are teaching your child good behavior? Because - I often remind parents of this - words are like tires. The more they spin on the pavement, the more they wear out and the less useful they are when the car starts, slows down or drives. If you grumble endlessly, your words will no longer affect the child. Eventually, your words will lose their "grip" altogether, just as tires go "bald" in the end. nine0005

If the talkative parent is ineffective, what about the parent who barks like a drill sergeant? To overcome the habit of screaming, tell yourself that you will not open your mouth until you are calm enough to speak in a normal tone. Usually, in order to calm down, it is enough to be alone for a few minutes - for example, go get a glass of water.

Taking a timeout to cool off will also help you avoid the last and most useless link in the ignore-nag-shout-punish chain. nine0005

Punishment, or redress and repetition

Parents often believe that punishing a child for bad behavior contributes to the formation of his conscience. Wrong. In most cases, harsh punishments, such as kicking the butt, simply encourage the child to get squishy and not get caught next time. (They may even lead the child to doubt that you love him).

The best way is to provide consequences that are appropriate for the offense and do not humiliate your child. Ideally, the consequences of certain behaviors include repairing the damage or repeating the situation. For example, the consequence of accidentally spilling milk may be that the child cleans up the dirt (removal of damage) and then fills another glass with milk and places it in a safe place (repeat). There is no need to blame or shout. There is no need to severely punish (for example, deprive of food). nine0005

If you carefully take the first steps away from the ignore-nag-shout-punish course and start using the methods I have described, you will be on a different path that leads to a more harmonious relationship with your child.

Learn more