A Parent’s Guide to Child ADHD Behavior

Monday, March 19th, 2012

If your child has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), you maybe be wondering, “What can I do about it?”

It’s natural for parents to feel embarrassed or responsible for their child’s poor performance in school, tendency to get into trouble with classmates, or poor social performance.  While you may believe that your child’s ADHD behavior is your fault, it’s not.  And as you understand more and more about ADHD behavior, you’ll also realize that it’s not your child’s fault either.

Managing your child’s ADHD behavior involves a lot of factors, but let’s examine the most concerning facet first:  managing your ADHD child’s latest “misbehavior.” The temperament in children with ADHD is often different from other children. This difference in temperaments is what shapes your ADHD child’s early social development. Your child’s actions elicit reaction, often negative, from the other kids around him.   As a result of these reactions, your child forms an opinion of himself:  “I’m great” if the other kids’ reactions are positive; but “I’m no good,” if the other kids’ reactions are, as is often the case, negative.

The way you react to your child’s ADHD behavior shapes your child’s perception of him or herself, and of the surrounding world.  That’s why it’s important that you act in a way that sends your child positive messages, even when it may be difficult to do.   Remember, children behave according to their assumptions about themselves.  If you want your ADHD child to form a positive self-image, ask yourself these questions before reacting to his or her behavior:

1. Is it really his intention to behave that way?
2. If I start yelling at him, what kind of message would I be sending?
3. How can I make my child take responsibility while allowing him to retain his independence?

The answers to these questions are really plain to see, although in the initial outrage it may not seem so.  Of course, your ADHD child didn’t really mean to be bad, it’s just that he’s impulsive. If you stay calm, you’d realize that it’d be counterproductive matching his impulsiveness with one of yours. Children do what they see their parents do, not what their parents say, so if you react to the misbehavior with your own tantrums, you’d miss the chance to impart to your child some important lesson.

What you can do is to kneel on the floor (so you don’t tower over your child), speak to your child in a calming voice, and provide easy to follow instructions on how you would like him to behave, maybe even offer specific suggestions how to handle a situation.  It may seem difficult to treat bad behavior this way, but in the long run you’ll find that the behaviors themselves will be corrected and you’ll have to deal with less problems.  If you find that the ADHD behavior continues, find an ADHD doctor to help with therapy and additional ADHD treatment.