Parenting Tips: 7 Ways to Play Up Strengths in ADHD Children

Seven tools to help parents bring out the absolute best in your their children with ADHD.

Gifted & Talented ADD Kids, Part 2

5. You’re the Champ

ADHD children often feel defeated by the competitiveness of school life. They see other kids sit still, follow directions easily, and complete school tasks without struggle, and they wonder why they are different. As a coach, you can turn your child’s discouragement around by exposing him to the power of praise. Teach him to say—to himself or to another child—“You’re the champ. Great job!” Show him that he can increase his own powers by asking those who are successful for tips on how they pulled off their achievements. Teach your child to admire and learn from those who are a few steps ahead. This may turn around your child’s school performance, and will also help his social relationships.

6. The Secret Reservoir

Everyone has untapped resources they may not know about. When your child is struggling with a problem, turn the struggle into a search for a resource, relationship, skill, or gift—the secret tool—that can help him solve his problem. Ask your child, “How do you find your secret reservoir?” Let him generate as many answers as possible.

If he gets stuck, ask him the following questions to jump-start the process: Is there a person who can help you solve the problem? Is there a skill that you need? Is there a gift or talent you have that could solve it? Is there a technology that can help? Turn it into a mystery that can be solved. This will help your child gain hopefulness in the face of his struggles, and will reinforce the message that, if he keeps looking, he can find a solution.

7. Brainstorming

Many people agree that the path to a happy and successful life is a career that uses our greatest passions and allows us to help others. Next time you are driving in the car, ask your child to think of an activity that is a lot of fun and that also helps other people.

You may need to coach him—if he says, “Playing video games,” lead him on to think of a way to play video games that would be helpful to others. If he says, “To feed the poor,” help him to figure out how he could accomplish this while maximizing his fun. When you come up with a way, take it to the next level. “How could we make this more fun?” And, “How could we help even more people?” This process will introduce him to brainstorming. Your child will also learn that he can always improve on his ideas. When you come up with an activity that meets the criteria of “fun” and “helpful,” make a commitment to do it together.

Adapted from The Gift of ADHD Activity Book, by Lara Honos-Webb, Ph.D. Reprinted with permission of New Harbinger Publications (

This article comes from the Spring 2008 issue of ADDitude.

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TAGS: Self Esteem, ADHD and Discipline

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