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How to discipline a boy with ADHD

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Make sure you have a set of clear, consistent rules and expectations. Children with AD/HD won't pick up on the subtleties they need to know. Communicate exactly what you expect. Write a list of rules and post them clearly in the house.

Children with AD/HD lack stimulation inside their brains so they will seek it no matter what the cost. This can appear to be attention seeking behavior. They will go for bad attention if it is easier to earn. So make sure it is easier to earn good attention. Use lots of praise and positive reinforcement. Have a token or point system where they can get points for good behavior which can be traded later for rewards and privileges.

As an alternative to various means of punishment you can use a point system. Allow the child to earn points, and when a given number of points is earned they can be exchanged for an allowance bonus, a special occasion such as a concert or a restaurant dinner of choice, etc. Poor behavior results in the loss of points, but points can be earned back with extra chores or other such activities. Be reasonable and consistent with the granting and removing of points.

Stay calm. Use a low firm tone of voice when you need to discipline. If you start to yell and get out of control it will hype an child with AD/HD up more not calm them down. Use as few words as possible when giving instructions. The more you say, the less they will remember.

Don't ever ignore bad behavior or dismiss it because the child has AD/HD. Children with AD/HD need more discipline than average kids, not less. If you ignore behavior it will escalate and get worse; deal with it while it's still small.

Remember that children with AD/HD are often unaware they have done something wrong; they need adults to help them see this. It is hard for them to see past the immediate consequences of their action, they may hit another child, but not have thought forward to the child being hurt. They need adults to remind them of the consequences.

Children with AD/HD feel safer when they know the adults around them are clearly in control and not them. They lack inner boundaries, so rely on adults to provide more consistent external boundaries. They will test the boundaries to make sure they are firm.

Use few warnings. If you give them multiple chances, make each come with a level of consequence with the final, second or third, accompanied by the punishment or discipline promised. Otherwise, they will test you every time to see how many chances it will be this time.

Rather than telling them to stop a bad behavior, tell them what they should be doing. For example, instead of saying, "Stop jumping on the sofa", say, "Sit quietly on the sofa." Children with AD/HD won't instantly be able to think of a good behavior to replace the bad one with, so it will be hard for them to stop.

Time out is the more effective punishment for a child with AD/HD. It can be applied immediately to help them see the connection to their actions.

Never send them to their room. Most will be distracted by their toys and belongings and forget that they are being punished in the first place.

Forgive quickly. Make sure the child knows they are still loved and accepted no matter what.

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