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!