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ADD & ADHD Center

Discipline Techniques for Children With ADHD

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
Discipline Techniques for Children With ADHD
Create effective ADHD discipline tactics.

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, affects from 3 to 7 percent of all school-aged children, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children who suffer from ADHD often have trouble paying attention, being calm and socializing, so disciplining a child with ADHD can be a challenge. The tactics and techniques that work with other children can upset a child with ADHD, or they may be altogether ineffective. A more patient and gentler approach to discipline is the best way to deal with your ADHD child's behavior.

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Institute a Schedule

Children with ADHD are often obsessed with routines, so a warning system can help them understand why discipline is necessary, notes Writing down an entire day's schedule, down to snacks and homework, and placing it somewhere where your ADHD child can easily view it gives him a constant reminder of what he should be doing each day. If he strays from the routine, you can use the visual to gently steer him back to what he should be doing.

Consistency Chart

Your ADHD child is likely motivated by instant gratification and instant discipline, which is why a consistency chart is a good way to both positively and negatively discipline your child, notes Make a strip of paper with dots running horizontally. Move a clothespin along the line of dots. If your ADHD child is behaving, she can move it to the right. If she is misbehaving, it is moved to the left. When the clothespin is all the way to the right end of the strip, a reward is given. This lets your ADHD child see the immediate consequences of her actions.

Positive Discipline

It can be easy to lose your temper with a high-spirited, ADHD child in your home. But yelling and fast punishment can make your child feel isolated and confused. Instead, focus on positive discipline for your ADHD child, being specific to compliment him on something he did well. You might tell him, "I liked the way you walked quietly down the hallway," or "You did a great job in playing with your sister." This positive reinforcement is a gentler way to promote better behavior.

Use Attention

Your ADHD child loves to get the full attention of the person she is speaking to. This is why ignoring your child when she has misbehaved is an ineffective tactic for discipline, notes "ADDitude" magazine. Withdrawing your attention can make your ADHD child feel upset and rejected. Instead, take the time to sit down and give your full attention to your child. Talk about why she was misbehaving and things she can do in the future. This also stops you from becoming upset and issuing unthoughtful punishments.

Plan for Misbehavior

If you are prepared, you should be able to sense times of day, places and situations that will cause your child to misbehave or become overly excited. Plan for misbehavior in these instances, so you can stop it before it starts. Promote preliminary discipline before you attend these occasions by talking to your child beforehand and issuing consequences and incentives before the misbehavior even occurs to ensure your ADHD child stays on track, even in difficult situations.

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