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Parenting Children and Teens with ADHD

Dealing with behaviors characteristic of ADHD can be challenging. It is not abnormal for parents to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and left wondering how to effectively manage hyperactive and inattentive behaviors. Russell Barkley’s Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Clinical Workbook provides in-depth information on how to help you succeed as a parent, as well as how to help your child thrive.

  1. Help your child to develop effective time management skills by using timers and clocks when performing tasks and activities. For example, set the microwave timer when playing. Remind your child play time is over when the timer goes off.
  2. Increase the chances of your child remembering critical information by posting reminders and prompts around the house. Leave notes by backpacks, shoes, and by other objects you know your child should not leave the house without. Dry erase boards in visible areas at home also work great.
  3. Use more desirable activities to motivate your child to complete less desirable activities. If your child likes to read but also needs to complete chores, remind her she can read when, and only when, her chores are complete. How much time she spends completing chores is up to her. Spending longer on chores will cut into her reading time.
  4. Help build problem-solving skills by prompting your child to brainstorm various ways to approach situations.
  5. Feedback, or verbal praise, is often effective in communicating to your child he has made a positive choice. Ensure feedback is provided immediately after the behavior is demonstrated.
  6. Develop a sense of responsibility by having your child show you when her homework is complete rather than you asking. Encourage her to check-in with teachers to show completion of work.
  7. If traditional rewards and consequences are no longer effective, try changing them to keep the child interested. Rewards are much more effective than punishment, but the reward has to be meaningful to the child.
  8. When giving instructions, say your child’s name to get his attention. Ask for eye contact and provide instructions that are brief and direct as possible. Have the child repeat back the instructions. Remember, less is more when giving directions. Increased complexity often leads to increased confusion.
  9. If your child struggles with transition or specific circumstances, always have a plan. Explain the new situation or transition to the child and allow her to ask questions.
  10. Have fun! Remember, your child did not choose to have this disorder. They are likely as frustrated as you at times. Model for him how to take breaks, have fun, and enjoy life.

Source: Allison Kranich, MS, LCPC, CAADC, visit Allison’s profile