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Disciplining a Child with ADHD

Disciplining a Child with ADHD

ADHD (Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a behavioral disorder affecting a sizable number of school-going children. Find out how to discipline your child if he or she has been diagnosed with ADHD.
Sailee Kale
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
ADHD in children is linked to hyperactivity, problems focusing on daily chores, getting easily distracted, and difficulty in organizing their tasks. The child may seem overly active and do things without giving them much thought, or even forget everyday chores. They may face problems while doing simple things like finishing their homework, getting along with friends and family, and making new friends.
Caring for a child diagnosed with ADHD poses a great challenge, and it is important that the parents and caregivers practice disciplinary techniques that are specific to the disorder. A comprehensive treatment plan which combines the use of drugs and following a set of behavioral practices is an effective treatment in fighting ADHD.
Disciplinary Techniques for Children with ADHD
Getting a child with ADHD to concentrate on a particular chore can be very difficult. All kids, and especially those with ADHD, prefer a set pattern which involves repetition of everyday chores they can get habituated to. Children benefit hugely from such set routines which enables them to perform better. Not following a routine will make the child battle more with his problems. As an example, make a list of chores that you would want your child to complete on a daily basis. These can be grouped into things to be done before leaving for school, things to be finished after returning home, and those that must be completed before bedtime. See to it that your child follows this.
To begin with, make a list which the child can easily accomplish. He is going to need a lot of help and time to start following a fixed routine if he is not used to it. Keep your calm if the child cannot keep up in the initial stages. To help them, stick brightly colored post-its in every room which serve as reminders. Positively instructing your child to obey you goes a long way in disciplining him. Instead of "Do not shout" use "I would like it if you talk softly". Or "Can you please help me in cleaning up your room?" rather than "Clean up your room" will propel him to do the task, rather than ignoring it.
You will need to follow-up with constant reminders to get things done. Even after constant reminders if the child does not finish the set chore, mildly set forth the rule that non-compliance will result in penalty (like time-outs). Do not be harsh on the child, but make sure that you do not let unwanted behavior be ignored. Once the child understands that doing things his way is of little concern to parents, he will do exactly as he pleases. Talk to him and explain what exactly needs to be done. At the same time, if he successfully finishes the tasks assigned, heap praise on him and duly reward him. This is very important and will motivate him to perform better next time.
Asking children to finish a task instills in them a sense of responsibility and helps build their confidence. Make a chart which records his daily progress and keeps a track of his records and consequences. If you want to make any change in their daily schedule, inform the children beforehand. Children prefer consistency, and an abrupt change in their fixed routine can make the transition to a new routine tough for them.
Involvement of Teachers
It is crucial that you involve your child's teachers in this kind of behavior therapy. Children spend a majority of their waking hours at school, so make sure his teachers understand the importance of following this technique. Exchange notes with his teacher so you can track his behavior at school. Parents and teachers must work closely together (and even take help from a behavioral counselor) to learn the skills required to handle ADHD children in school. The behavioral therapy techniques followed at school must be the same as those followed at home. It will thus be easier for the child to respond to the disciplinary actions and for the caregivers to keep track of the child's progress.
Helping an ADHD-affected Child to Interact Socially
Children diagnosed with ADHD can find it extremely difficult to get along with their peers. Teach your child social skills which will help him make new friends. Get to know the kids he is more likely to spend time with, and organize play-dates. Keep a watch on your child, without interfering a lot, so you know how your kid is behaving with others of his age. You may find that he does not share his toys readily or seems to be in a hurry and does not wait for his turn.
Act accordingly and explain to your child what sort of behavior is acceptable in public. Give gentle reminders the next time he is out with other people. Kids with ADHD do better in sports that do not require team play, so enroll them in karate, swimming or gymnastics. Get to know children who share similar interests with your child, and try to foster friendship with them.
Additional Home Remedies
Some other changes you can make are - cutting down on processed foods and providing home-cooked meals which include lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are undoubtedly more nutritious. Keep bedtime regular by not letting the child watch TV late into the night. Instead read stories together, which will also inculcate a love for reading. A good night's sleep is crucial to have a relaxed, more focused brain the next day.
Disciplining children with ADHD involves good communication skills. Getting tuned in to your child's needs, setting clear expectations to get things done and rewarding his accomplishments will go a long way in helping you as a family cope with this disorder. Disciplinary techniques involving behavior therapy for ADHD are gaining wide acceptance nowadays.
It has been observed that using disciplinary methods to curb ADHD can effectively bring down the dependence on medications used, which is good news for both parents and children. Used without drugs, they may take much longer to show positive results, but in the end, without any harmful side effects, you will have a happier and a more confident child.