Parenting Tips: The Do’s and Don’ts of Disciplining ADHD Children

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Disciplining children isn’t the part of parenting that we look forward to, but it needs to be done. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the balance between being stern and teaching them a lesson while remaining effective without being unreasonable. Every parent wants their child to live a happy, enjoyable life, but at the same time, kids need to learn important lessons.

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are even harder to discipline because of the effects of the disorder. ADHD/ADD children have a hard time listening and engaging because they are easily distracted. Even though this may seem like a frustrating and challenging task, don’t give up. There is a light at the end of this tunnel and with our discipline tips, you can avoid having your own temper tantrum.

What to Avoid When Disciplining

Losing Your Temper

As parents, you are the role model that sets the example for your children. If they see you losing your temper or screaming, they will see it as an acceptable way to behave and react to a situation. As much as possible, try to stay positive and calm, yet firm.

Not Communicating

Instead of responding to bad behavior with, “Don’t do that,” parents need to have a clear response about what not to do. For example, “Please don’t interrupt your siblings when they are having a conversation. Wait until they are finished to say something.” This teaches your child desirable behaviors instead of simply informing them that their behavior is inappropriate.

Not Following Through

Children pick up on our behavior and are smarter than we think. When parents don’t establish boundaries and follow through with consequences for inappropriate or undesirable behavior, children remember the lack of follow through and take advantage of the situation. When they learn consequences are not strictly enforced, they begin tuning their parents out, because they know whatever their parents may say, they won’t actually follow through.

What To Do When Disciplining


Consistent Level of Discipline

Working together with your spouse or other family members is paramount to providing a consistent level of discipline. Children take notice when their parents are united. When they see any cracks in agreement on drawing boundaries or delivering consequences, they see it as an opportunity to test limits, play both sides, and misbehave.

Use “When/Then” Statements

These statements help to encourage good behavior with a reward system. For example, if they ask permission to do something, you can respond with “Yes, when you finish doing your homework, then you can go play video games.” It’s important to use this statement before doing what you asked and that the reward is given immediately after the chore is completed – especially for younger children.

Accept the Imperfections

Children are going to misbehave. Tantrums are going to happen and children are sometimes going to make bad behavior choices. The important thing is how you react. Once you accept that chaos comes with the territory, especially in an ADHD household, you will be better able to remain calm and proactive when disciplining your children.

These tips will not only improve your relationship with your ADHD child but allow both of you and your child to learn from one another. Learn from your own mistakes, adjust, and be patient. Discipline doesn’t have to result in your own temper tantrum.Done properly, it will encourage your child to make good decisions and behave respectfully.