Jun 142014

Parenting ADHD Behaviors requires a different way of thinking.

When you tell your child NOT to do something, does he turn right around and do it?

Do you feel like your child never listens and does the very things you tell him not to?

If your child has ADHD, he probably DOES exactly what you tell him not to do!!  EXASPERATING, isn’t it?!!

SO, how do you get your child to behave and do what you say?

Parenting ADHD Behaviors can be a lot easier than you think!

There are two aspects of ADHD that play into your child’s tendency to do what you tell him NOT to do and to act as if you never said a word.

The first factor is impulsivity, defined as “behavior characterized by little or no forethought.”  It is a reaction. Thus, when your child has ADHD, and the main characteristic of ADHD is impulsivity, you actually tell your child to do something by telling him not to do it!

It’s like this: “Johnny, stop picking on your brother!”

The main focus of the command is “picking on your brother,” so your impulsive child is going to do exactly what you said.

What to Say When Parenting ADHD Behaviors

To help your child respond better, putting disciplinary requests in terms of your desired behavior instead of a “don’t do” behavior will help your child comply more easily.  In the above example, you could say, “Johnny, please help your brother find the most important fact in that lesson.”

Immediately, and ideally, Johnny refocuses his attention on the requested behavior and begins helping his brother with the lesson.  You and I both know this isn’t going to work perfectly every time, but it will work much more often than telling your child NOT to do something.

The second factor in Parenting ADHD Behaviors is your child’s direct attention.

You must be certain you HAVE your child’s attention when you are speaking. IF you don’t, it will be like whatever you said went in one ear and out the other. Without attention, whatever you say will never have entered your child’s awareness at all.

A good way to insure you have your child’s attention is to say, “repeat after me..” or “tell me what I just said.”  If your child can’t tell you, then tell him again and ask him to repeat again.

For example, “Johnny, help your brother find an important fact in his lesson.  Johnny, what do I need you to do?”

Hopefully, Johnny can say, “I need to help Joey find an important fact in his lesson.”

Again, this may not work perfectly every time, but it will help you know your child has heard you.

Too many times I see parents telling a child with ADHD something. It is quite obvious the child’s mind is otherwise occupied with something he’s observing, doing, or listening to.

When parenting ADHD behaviors, you must be sure your child actually heard you.  You must make sure you are talking with your child, and not talking at your child. If you use the direction-response confirmation method, then if defiance occurs, you can better gauge the consequences.

In summary, Parenting ADHD Behaviors works better when you are sure your child heard what you said and you phrase your requests in terms of desired behaviors. Parenting ADHD Behaviors can be accomplished when you learn effective ways to deal with your child’s specific disability. 😉

Buy “Superparenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child” to learn great parenting techniques for a child with ADHD.  It is my favorite ADHD parenting book!

Aug 012013

Homework Planners can Keep Your Kid BETTER organized

Many children with ADHD, ADD, or executive functioning disorder have a horrible time keeping track of their homework. Assignments get completed, but lost. Parents are dismayed about how to help their child become organized, but sometimes homework planners and organizershomework planners and organizers are the answer.

In order to have good organization skills, your child must have the tools. The “Trapper Keeper” type of homework planners and organizers are among my favorites. They have pockets and sections for homework assignments. There is a checklist with all subjects where “completed” and “turned in” can be checked off for each school day. These lists can be made and printed monthly.

We have a free, downloadable weekly form at: ../downloadablepdfs/homeworkorganizer.pdf

The most helpful way to develop organizational skills is to establish a repeatable routine that is ‘enforced’ initially. After awhile the skills can be applied naturally as your child becomes accustomed to the routine.

For example, every day at the conclusion of homework.. Your child physically checks off a list of subjects, physically looking to see if he had an assignment, then physically putting the assignment in his homework planners. Nothing gets checked off until physically verified AND placed into the Trapper Keeper.

You have to train your child NOT to check off something because he “thinks” he didn’t have homework or thinks the assignment is in there. He must physically lay eyes on his assignment. It must be in his Trapper Keeper before he makes the check-off.

You will have to do this side-by-side with your child for several weeks before he has the process memorized and can handle it independently. Most importantly understand the necessity of this physical verification.

At the school end is often where you run into the most difficulty. Teachers are sometimes not willing to provide oversight. They may think your child “needs to learn”, except your child can’t learn without direct instruction and being taught. He needs oversight until the routine of using homework planners becomes firmly established. If you can, get your child’s teacher(s) to agree to a daily prompting routine, your child will learn how to use homework planners sooner.

You can have the teachers ask .. “Check your homework list.. Did you have homework in this class?”.. “If you did, it should be in your homework planners. You can turn it in now and check it off when you hand it to me”. The teacher would have to be willing to take on TEACHING responsibility to prompt your child directly, if needed, until the routine is established. This needs to be done in every subject, EVERY day, whether there is homework or not. The key is to establish a routine of looking for and turning in homework. This is a critical routine to establish in order for the disorganized child to become organized.

The child has to be taught to do the routine everyday in every class in order to be able to do it independently as he grows older. Unfortunately, getting ALL teachers to cooperate in this matter is often more difficult than moving mountains!!

There is usually at least one who thinks they shouldn’t have to do this. Some will outright refuse this area of teaching. (Somehow they expect the child to learn how to use homework planners and organizers without teaching!) :-/

If this routine can be started in elementary school when your child generally only has one teacher, it may be possible to establish the routine earlier on. Unfortunately, it doesn’t generally become a significant issue until the child starts changing classes & teachers. Having multiple teachers leads to the one or two teachers refusing to help teach the child. 🙁 But, if you can get most of your child’s teachers to cooperate, you should be well on the way to helping your child establish good organizational skills for homework. Using homework planners throughout his schooling career will help your child be better organized.