Parenting Tips for ADHD: Do’s and Don’ts

Raising a child with ADHD isn’t like traditional childrearing. Normal rule-making and household routines can become almost impossible, depending on the type and severity of your child’s symptoms, so you’ll need to adopt different approaches. It can become frustrating to cope with some of the behaviors which result from your child’s ADHD, but there are ways to make life easier.

Parenting Tips for ADHD

Decide ahead of time which behaviors are acceptable and which are not

The goal of behavioral modification is to help your child consider the consequences of an action and control the impulse to act on it. This requires empathy, patience, affection, energy, and strength on the part of the parent. Parents must first decide which behaviors they will and won’t tolerate. It’s crucial to stick to these guidelines. Punishing a behavior one day and allowing it the next is harmful to a child’s improvement.

Your child may have a hard time internalizing and enacting your guidelines. Rules should be simple and clear, and children should be rewarded for following them. This can be accomplished using a points system. For example, allow your child to accrue points for good behavior that can be redeemed for spending money, time in front of the TV, or a new video game. If you have a list of house rules, write them down and put them where they’re easy to see. Repetition and positive reinforcement can help your child better understand your rules.

Define the rules, but allow some flexibility

It’s important to consistently reward good behaviors and discourage destructive ones, but you shouldn’t be too strict with your child. Remember that children with ADHD may not adapt to change as well as others. You must learn to allow your child to make mistakes as they learn. Odd behaviors that aren’t detrimental to your child or anyone else should be accepted as part of your child’s individual personality.

Manage aggression

Aggressive outbursts from children with ADHD can be a common problem. “Time-out” is an effective way to calm both you and your overactive child. If your child acts out in public, they should be immediately removed in a calm and decisive manner. “Time-out” should be explained to the child as a period to cool off and think about the negative behavior they have exhibited. Try to ignore mildly disruptive behaviors as a way for your child to release his or her pent-up energy. However, destructive, abusive, or intentionally disruptive behavior which goes against the rules you establish should always be punished.

Other “do’s” for coping with ADHD

  • Create structure
  • Break tasks into manageable pieces
  • Simplify and organize your child’s life
  • Limit distractions
  • Encourage exercise
  • Regulate sleep patterns
  • Encourage out-loud thinking
  • Promote wait time
  • Believe in your child
  • Find individualized counseling
  • Take breaks
  • Calm yourself

“Don’ts” for dealing with an ADHD child

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff
  • Don’t get overwhelmed and lash out
  • Don’t be negative
  • Don’t let your child or the disorder take control

Excerpted from “Parenting Tips for ADHD: Do’s and Don’ts” in Healthline. Read the full article for more details on each of the tips above.

Source: Healthline | Parenting Tips for ADHD: Do’s and Don’ts, | copyright 2022, Healthline Media
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