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Discipline and ADHD

Parents with children with ADHD may struggle with reigning in the behaviors of their children.  What is the best way to discipline ADHD children?

  • 1. Ensure that you have created an environment that is suitable for the change you seek. (For example, if you want your child to sit still and do his homework, you should ensure that you have turned off all background noise, minimized activity near your child, etc.)
  • 2. Clearly state your expectations. (For example, “You need to stop yelling.” or “You need to sit down and do your homework.”)
  • 3. When the undesired behavior persists, calmly and lovingly maintain your expectation. Let your child know what is to come if he persists further. (For example, “I have asked you to stop yelling, yet you are still yelling. If you raise your voice to me again, you will need to go into your time-out room for ____ minutes.”) Do not waiver, negotiate, or give in to your ADHD child. If you capitulate due to the extremes of ADHD behaviors, your child will learn that extreme behavior will get him what he wants, even despite your objections.
  • 4. When the undesired behavior still persists, calmly and lovingly carry out the promise you made in #3 above. (For example, by escorting your child to the time-out room.)
  • 5. Repeat the above sequence consistently . . . your child will likely come to understand your expectations and the consequences if he does not comply, and he will likely develop sufficient desire not to experience the outcomes that he will choose to comply.
  • 6. When your child chooses to behave according to your expectations, calmly, lovingly, and generously praise him.
  • 7. If the above course of action does not generate a successful outcome for you and your child, you are well advised to consult with your pediatrician.

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