How To Deal With Bad Behavior In 4 Year Olds How Can Parents Help Their ADHD Child?

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How Can Parents Help Their ADHD Child?

Parents can help their ADHD child more effectively by understanding what is happening and why he exhibits the behaviors he does. That way, they can put their behavior into context and respond accordingly. Parents help most by providing external structure, while helping him learn to develop his own internal mechanisms for responsibility and organization.

The following 25 guidelines will serve to provide this structure and promote internal control:

• Love unconditionally.

• Be consistent. Make sure your child knows what to expect.

• Develop routines. Provide predictable, consistent routines and rituals.

• Follow up.

• Firm–set limits and boundaries and stick to them.

• Have clear, defined and realistic expectations.

• Develop an effective behavior management system with well-defined goals and meaningful rewards and consequences.

• Teach compensatory strategies.

• Make a great model. Set a good example for dealing with frustration, anger, etc.

• Provide outlets to channel negative affect.

• Seek help and support, if needed (eg–CHADD, parent support group)

• Help your child develop his OWN strategies–what works for him. (Make charts, lists, sticky notes, etc. to help him follow along.)

• Teach your child to evaluate himself. “What’s wrong with this picture?” Or, “Did you check your list?” Don’t point out mistakes, problems or omissions – help him find them himself. (This goes for school work – but also cleaning his room, doing his chores and other responsibilities, too.)

• Give tasks and responsibilities and hold your child accountable. Help him internalize responsibility. Again, recall cues rather than saying. For example, “What are you supposed to do after dinner?” is much less confrontational or humiliating.

• Limit behavior to avoid disruption (eg–play with one toy at a time and put it away before choosing another activity.)

• Provide limited choice. Help teach simple decision making. Don’t ask, “What do you want for breakfast?” Instead, give a choice of, “Would you like – cereal or waffles?”

• Accept your child’s limitations. Play to their strengths and work around their weaknesses.

• Help your child learn to organize. Develop a simple organization system not only for school, but also for toys, clothes, and so on.

• Separate unacceptable behavior from the child. You love it, just as you need to punish the behavior.

• Get it right–every day! There are always things you can find to praise and strengthen.

• Foster positive self-esteem by helping him pursue successful futures.

• Find reasons to be positive–emphasizing behavioral improvement, and even attempts to improve. “I really like how you tried to ___.”

• Acknowledge his feelings–even when they are in the form of agitated behavior, oppositional behavior, and bad moods. These behaviors can all be a result of frustration, negative self-esteem, etc.

• If he is on medication, there are different expectations for behavior when the medication is in his system versus when it wears off.

• And, again, most importantly–Love unconditionally and make sure she knows it!

Parents help their ADHD child more by understanding, providing clear expectations and structure while encouraging him to act independently. Of course, unconditional love is the foundation for all these other guidelines. Your child needs to know you love him – no matter what!

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