ADHD Behavior Management
Strategies that work
One of the biggest problems parents of children with ADHD face is how to manage their child’s behaviors. Many parents feel stressed when their child acts out at home or in public. Parents are often frustrated when they do not know how to control their children’s behaviors.
Children with ADHD also have trouble organizing their thoughts. They also have a hard time following instructions and planning what they need to do. They have a hard time controlling their own behavior. ADHD children often act out when they are bored or frustrated.
Parents can learn to develop a new set of skills to deal with their child’s behavior. It takes time and patience, but it’s worth the effort. Experts have suggested many behavior management strategies that parents can use. Here are some key ones to keep in mind:
Focus on what’s positive
Children with ADHD usually get attention when they’re doing something wrong. Try giving your child attention when they’re doing something right instead! Say “Great job!” when they clean up their clothes. Give them a high-five when they’ve stayed focused on their homework for a period of time. This will help your child feel good about behaving well and completing tasks.
Provide rewards and consequences
Your child should always be clear about the rewards and consequences of their actions. Reward them with something they enjoy when they’re behaving well. A token system is good to use. Some parents also create a behavior contract with their child when working to start new behavior or stop poor behaviors. This helps the child know exactly what to expect when they’re behaving or misbehaving. It is also important to hold children accountable for negative behaviors when necessary.
Choose your words wisely
Make sure you mean it when you ask your child to do something. This means following through on the rewards and consequences you discussed with them. Also, don’t ask your child to do too many things at once. Keep it simple. Reduce distractions in your child’s environment when you’re talking to them. Ask your child to repeat back directions. This will make it easier for them to pay attention.
Keep things structured
Children with ADHD have trouble keeping track of time. They also have a hard time motivating themselves to finish a task. Try structuring your child’s time using a timer. This will help them budget time to begin and complete an activity. You can also help your child create a list of things to do. This way they can check things off the list when they’re finished.
These are just a few things you can try. Make sure you give them a chance. It will take time to find out what works best for you and your child.
1. Barkley, R. (2000). Taking charge of ADHD: The complete, authoritative guide for parents (Rev. ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
2. Jensen, P., Quinn, P., & Lessin, H. (2006). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Tips for parents and teachers. New York, NY: Healthology, Inc. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
3. Phelan, T.W. (2003). 1-2-3 magic: Effective discipline for children ages 2-12 (3rd ed.). Glen Ellyn, IL: Child Management Inc.
4. Brooks, R., & Goldstein, S. (2001). Raising resilient children. Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books.
5. Reimers, C., & Brunger, B.A. (1999). ADHD in the young child. Plantation, FL: Specialty Press, Inc.