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ADHD in Children Health Center

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Parenting a Child With ADHD

Children with ADHD need consistent rules that they can understand and follow. Kids with ADHD should be rewarded for following these rules. Parents often criticize children with ADHD for their behavior -- but it's more helpful to seek out and praise good behavior. Ways to do this include:

  • Providing clear, consistent expectations, directions, and limits. Children with ADHD need to know exactly what others expect from them.
  • Setting up an effective discipline system. That means learning discipline methods that reward appropriate behavior and respond to misbehavior with alternatives such as time out or loss of privileges.
  • Creating a behavior modification plan to change the most problematic behaviors. Behavior charts that track your child's chores or responsibilities and that offer potential rewards for positive behaviors can be helpful tools. These charts, as well as other behavior modification techniques, will help parents address problems in systematic, effective ways.

Children with ADHD may need help organizing their time and belongings. You can encourage your child with ADHD to:

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Understanding ADHD -- the Symptoms

The symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- or ADHD -- vary from person to person, but consist of some combination of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Inattention. People who are inattentive have a hard time keeping their mind focused on one thing and may get bored with a task after only a few minutes. Focusing conscious, deliberate attention to organizing and completing routine tasks may be difficult. You may notice restlessness, procrastination, problems remembering...

Read the Understanding ADHD -- the Symptoms article > >

  • Stay on a schedule.  Your child will function best if he has the same routine every day, from wake-up to bedtime. Be sure to include homework and playtime in the schedule.
  • Organize needed everyday items. Your child should have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. This includes clothing, backpacks, and school supplies.
  • Use homework and notebook organizers. Stress the importance of having your child write down assignments and bring home the needed books.


Helpful Tips for Doing Homework

You can help your child with ADHD achieve academic success by taking steps to improve the quality of your child's homework. You can do this by making sure your child is:

  • Seated in a quiet area without clutter or distractions.
  • Given clear, concise instructions.
  • Encouraged to write each assignment in a notebook as it is given by the teacher.
  • Responsible for his or her own assignments. You should not do for your child what your child  can do for him or herself.

ADHD and Driving

Driving poses special risks  for teens with ADHD. The following behaviors associated with ADHD impose serious driving hazards:

  • Inattention
  • Impulsivity
  • Risk-taking
  • Immature judgment
  • Need for stimulation

Discuss driving privileges with your teen in relation to the overall ADHD treatment plan. It is your responsibility to establish rules and expectations for safe driving behaviors.

Kids With ADHD and Relationships

Not all children with ADHD have trouble getting along with others. If your child does, however, you can take steps to help improve his or her social skills and relationships. The earlier your child's difficulties with peers are addressed, the more successful such steps can be. It is helpful for you to:

  • Recognize the importance of healthy peer relationships for children
  • Involve your child in activities with his or her peers
  • Set up social behavior goals with your child and implement a reward program
  • Encourage social interactions if your child is withdrawn or excessively shy
  • Schedule play activities with only one other child at a time
  • Supervise play activities as your child practices social skills




WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Patricia Quinn, MD on February 16, 2013

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