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  • Daniel Kupper

The Do’s and Don’t of ADHD Parenting

As you likely know, raising a child with ADHD is no easy task; traditional rule-making and normal routines generally don’t work. As a result, you’re going to have to pursue different approaches that will make life easier for both you and your child.


Although it’s hard to accept at times, children with ADHD, quite simply, have much different brains than children who do not suffer from the disorder. Ultimately, their disorder makes them more susceptible to highly impulsive behavior.


Raising a child with ADHD forces you to both change your behavior and learn how to manage your kid’s deportment. While medication, always an option, there are behavioral techniques that you can use to control the symptoms of the disorder. In doing so, you’ll be able to limit destructive behavior.


UNDERSTANDING BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT THERAPY

There are two underlying components to behavior management therapy: positive reinforcement and then punishment. With the former, you reward good behavior and with the latter, you remove rewards. As a result, you’re showing your kid that certain actions have consequences through the establishment of rules and clear outcomes. It’s important to show your child that these rules must be followed in all areas of life.


SET GUIDELINES FOR UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIORS


The entire essence of behavior modification is assisting your child is understanding the consequences of an action. Through that knowledge, the hope is that the child can control the impulse to act on it. Although effective, it requires patience, empathy and strength. First, parents should determine which behaviors are not tolerated and should also remain consistent in the repercussions. Ultimately, the rules that you set need to be clear and concise but also rewards-driven. Using a point or chip system, such as the PowerChip System, can be very effective. With a system like this, you provide your child with an opportunity to earn points for good behavior that can be used on either TV/video games and/or spending opportunities. At all times, remember to employ positive reinforcement.


DEFINE RULES BUT ALLOW SOME LENIENCY


While it’s critical to reward strong behaviors and punish bad ones, you shouldn’t be overly strict with your child. It’s important to keep in mind that kids with ADHD don’t always react to change the same way that others do. Thus, you have to let your kid learn lessons from the different mistakes that he/she makes. Sure, there will be some odd behaviors. However, if they aren’t destructive to your child or anyone else around him/her, they need to be accepted. Just because these behaviors are unusual, doesn’t mean it’s okay to discourage them as that can cause long-term harm.


MONITOR AND MANAGE AGGRESSION


Impulsive outbursts from children with ADHD can be a significant issue. While trying to manage these lash outs, implementing a “time out” strategy might be a good idea; it is a solid way to calm both parties down. If your kid decides to act out in a public setting, he/she should be removed in a tactical manner. While you want to explain to the child why this is happening, disruptive behavior should be punished appropriately.


Consider the other “do’s” for dealing with ADHD:


  • Create structure

  • Offer rewards

  • Break tasks into dissectable pieces

  • Simplify your kid’s like

  • Limit distractions

  • Foster exercise

  • Regulate sleep

  • Discuss the benefits of “out-loud thinking”

  • Integrate wait time

  • Let your child know that you believe in them

  • Pursue counseling

  • Always take breaks

  • Calm your nerves (breathe)


Consider the following “don’ts” for dealing with ADHD:


  • Don’t sweat the small stuff

  • Don’t get overwhelmed

  • Don’t be negative

  • Don’t let your child’s disorder take control


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