Parenting an ADHD Child? Five Secrets of Better Discipline

Dr. Peter Jaksa shares his fool-proof strategies for managing your lovable, impulsive child with attention deficit disorder.

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4. "My child overreacts to nearly everything."

Heightened emotionality is a characteristic of ADHD. For kids with attention deficit disorder, failure doesn’t merely discourage, it devastates. While most children protest a bit about being disciplined, kids with ADHD often react with intense indignation and anger. Disciplining an overreactive child is risky, if it may trigger World War III.

Chronic overreaction to discipline — particularly when intense feelings of anger or frustration are involved — may not be due to ADHD alone. Is the child overreacting because she feels criticized? Unloved? Inadequate? Helpless? Overwhelmed? Are your expectations too high?

5. “My child won’t listen to me.”

Is there a parent anywhere who has not tried to have a serious conversation with a child — only to be met with indifference (“Who are you and why are you bothering me with this stuff?”)? If such a conversation involves discipline, your message isn’t getting through.

If your child tunes you out on a regular basis, do a self-check. Have you become too negative or critical? Do you focus too much on problems and not enough on solutions? Have your conversations become lectures, instead of give-and-take? Does the child feel left out of the decision-making process?

No matter what your child’s age, you can involve him in the process of establishing rules and consequences for breaking them. A child who is included in setting the family rules is more likely to respect them.


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