Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are a challenge for any family. These children often don’t respond to common suggestions for parenting and need a more structured and in-depth program of discipline and training. At Effective Parenting we have had success with these children by implementing several programs and skills for both parents and children.
Because ADD and ADHD have a biological component, medication may prove to be helpful as part of the solution. Some families adjust diet, exercise, sleep and/or give caffeine to address the biological component. In addition to this, parents must use a long-term character development plan. Medication is only a temporary solution and children need to learn character qualities to cope with or offset their weaknesses. Here are a few suggestions which will be helpful.
1) Use Taking a Break as a primary discipline technique. This approach isn’t simply a punishment for misbehavior (as time out can be), but it forces a child to make internal adjustments. Used in conjunction with other techniques, Taking a Break is foundational for helping a child make significant, heart-level changes.
2) Understand and use the Positive Conclusion after every discipline experience. The Positive Conclusion allows parents to do therapy with their children several times a day. It usually takes only a minute but can take longer when helpful. Its value is unequaled in helping children admit their mistakes, understand how to change, and reshape their thinking process. Although children with ADD/ADHD are often quite intelligent, they sometimes have difficulty applying their intelligence to social skills and behavior management. The Positive Conclusion uses a positive approach and continual repetition to reinforce right choices.
3) Work on self discipline as a primary character quality. Impulsiveness is a common trait seen in children with ADD and ADHD. Inappropriate speech, action or social skills, destructiveness, and dishonesty are often the result of undeveloped impulse control. These children must enter into a rigid and structured program to develop self discipline. Parents enter into a coach relationship with their children, providing the external discipline needed to build the internal self control.
4) Actively promote a healthy sense of pride for children in themselves and their family. Talk about the things your family enjoys, the fun activities you’ve experienced and the sense of teamwork you have. Help the child understand his/her uniqueness. Emphasize the fact that he/she is special. Use a scrapbook, photo album, bulletin board, charts, story telling, and art to reinforce this positive sense of self. This is so important because much of the time these children experience limit setting, correction, rebuke and instruction which points out weaknesses. In reality, these children have many strengths which must also be acknowledged and enjoyed.
These are just a few ideas used by Effective Parenting to help children with ADD and ADHD. Each child needs a program tailored just for his/her needs. Effective Parenting offers a four-CD series called Parenting the Child Who is a Challenge to Parent, which contains several more ways to structure family life and create an environment of growth for your child.