Friday, April 20, 2018

10 Rules for Working with My ADHD Child

June 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Our Kids

Everyone wants to know how to best help their child dealing with ADD or ADHD. Very often readers and social networking friends ask what we do, in working with our kids. Recently, a discussion like this resulted in an impromptu list of some of the rules we have tried to stick to. We’re not perfect and sometimes the train goes flying off the rails, but these rules make sense to us:

  1. Always show love, acceptance and support – our love is not dependent on our children’s behavior.
  2. Provide our children plenty of opportunities to make the right decision and celebrate the good ones immediately.
  3. Never bait them into a trap – if you know they did something, don’t ask – state that you know it and discuss the situation.
  4. Explain why they should do something, remind them of the rewards for doing it, the priviledges lost for not, then let them decide.
  5. Be persistent – It’s not easy saying “turn off the TV/Computer” over & over – let them know it’s important enough for us to follow through.
  6. Don’t punish for every infraction – redirect and move on.
  7. Set clear rules for what’s totally unacceptable (hitting, etc.).
  8. When possible, allow for choices, rather than a single directive. Allowing our children the chance to choose between options often will reduce the battle that can result with forcing them into a task, completely on our terms.
  9. Medication, if used, is not a crutch – it is an opportunity for our children to relieve some pressure while they develop new skills and tools for coping with the effects of ADHD. They need skills, not just pills.
  10. Know when our children function well – if attention spans are depleted and frustration triggers more easily by dinner time, don’t put our children in the unrealistic position of challenging them at these times – resolve difficult issues earlier or wait until the morning.

Each of these rules could easily be its own post and maybe we will do that someday. As I said earlier, we are not perfect. We often can break some of these rules, but always return to them, as we see their importance.

What rules have you implemented for helping your kids?

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5 Responses to “10 Rules for Working with My ADHD Child”
  1. MJ says:

    This is a good list. #9 is standing out for me right now. My son is adhd, bipolar, and aspergers. We have a new psych who wants him off his adhd stimulants because, he says, the end results won’t be pretty if he continues to take meds for both. In fact, the adhd meds actually aggravate the bipolar disorder. Finding information like this will be extremely helpful as we move forward. Thank you.

  2. Chris G. says:

    Thanks for the kind words and support, MJ. There is a podcast – a series of MP3 audio files – that take this list and develop each point further. It can be found here:

    Let me know what you think!

    Thanks again,

  3. Melissa says:

    My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was six and he will be nine in a few weeks. It has been a struggle for me to find a way to deal with the day to day with him. I try to make him understand that his meds are not a crutch and that he has to begin to do things differently and want to try and change his behavior. Sometimes I feel like I am talking to a brick wall.

    It can be very frustrating at times for me to keep saying the same things over and over. Turn the light off in the bathroom, pick up your toys in your room, etc.

    Nevertheless, I see that other parents have the same challenges but I guess this is just something that we have to go through. I look forward to reading more from this site and it is good to know that the same challenges I face other parents are facing them too. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Chris G. says:

    Thanks for sharing and for your kind comments. My greatest advice is to remian vigilant as to a possible incomplete or wrong diagnosis. Parenting frustrations can be linked to not having a full understanding about what is driving your child. If treatment does not help, probe for better answers.


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  1. […] the benefits as well as the risks.  In the process I’ve come across this quote from the adhdhunter:  “Medication, if used, is not a crutch – it is an opportunity for our children to relieve […]

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