ADHD Impulsiveness: Help Children Think Before They Say or Do Something They Will Regret

Parents of ADD/ADHD children offer these suggestions for helping your child control impulsive speech and outbursts.

parent speaks to defiant adhd child

ADDitude asked: How do you stop your attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) child from impulsiveness -- from saying or doing something she or he will regret? It's a big challenge, but many of you try to meet it with your own innovative strategies.

"I face him, look into his eyes, put my hands on his shoulders, and reason with him about the consequences of his actions." -Adrienne, Florida

"I tell my child to stop for two minutes and take deep breaths with me. This break allows him to restart the situation. This usually calms him down and gets him to take a different approach." -Helen, Arizona

"I have a heart-to-heart with my children and I explain that every action has consequences, and that they can choose actions that lead to positive consequences." -Christine, Massachusetts

"We urge our son to try to hear, in his mind, what he wants to say aloud. If he's at all unsure about whether he should say it, he shouldn't. We also tell him if it isn't something he would say or do in front of God or his grandmother, it's a definite no." -Karen, Wisconsin

"I put up my hand, as if it were a stop sign. It is a cue to stop and think -- for both of us." -Brenda, California

"I say, 'Stop, just stop, look at me, and listen.' I speak deliberately, using their middle names as well as their first names. Then they know it's important." -Cassie, Connecticut

"My kids know that, when I get a certain look, they had better stop and rethink what they're saying or doing. I have to remind myself to do this every day." -Brandi, California

"You don't. Those with ADD/ADHD learn from the pain their words or actions cause. It just takes longer for them to learn it." -Frank, California

"I usually say, 'Let's not go there!' But if we go there, then they lose a privilege or two." -Jodi, Texas

"I try to predict what situations she may face, and warn her. Otherwise, I don't usually catch her in time!" -Cecilia, Minnesota

"I use empathy. I say, 'Remember how you felt when...'" -Dee, Maine

"Each time he yells or gets angry at me, I remind him, in the heat of things, that, in about an hour, he will feel bad about what he did or said. We have done this for a while, and I think I am starting to get through." -Tammy, British Columbia, Canada

"Sometimes, I ask him, 'Is it worth it?' and that does the trick." -C., Kansas

"If I had the answer, I would bottle and sell it -- and make a fortune!" -Debbie, New York

More on ADD/ADHD Impulsiveness

Sexting, Impulsive Texting, and More: Are Your ADD/ADHD Kids Doing It?
Interrupting and Impulsivity: Help Your ADD/ADHD Child Pay Attention
School Behavior Tips: Impulse Control for ADD/ADHD Children
Impulsive Behavior: What Random Acts of ADD/ADHD Impulsivity Can You Share?

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This article appeared in the Summer issue of ADDitude.
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