Tips for Parenting a Child with ADHD (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Use time-out effectively

Particularly for younger children, time-outs can be an effective consequence for negative behaviors that serve the additional purpose of removing the child from an overstimulating or stressful environment. A time-out is also an immediate consequence that is likely to be more effective than a delayed consequence. Of course, a time-out should never occur in a frightening or dangerous place for your child. If in public, try having a time-out for a few minutes in a quiet corner or in your car (with an adult present). Many experts recommend that time-outs not last longer in minutes than the child's age in years (for example, a five minute time-out for a 5-year-old). Longer than that may be too difficult for the child to complete, leading him or her to be more likely to defy doing the time-out at all. That in turn will likely lead to a vicious cycle of parent and child frustration and therefore increasing conflicts. If your child is able, after the time-out, it can be useful to discuss or model the appropriate behavior for the given situation, asking or explaining to the child how the situation could have been handled more positively.

Ignore, within reason

In some situations, ignoring an undesired behavior may be an effective behavior modification technique for children with ADHD. Obviously, behavior that is risky or injurious to the child or to others cannot be ignored, but behaviors such as whining, nagging, and arguing can sometimes be best ignored until the behaviors stop. Many children with ADHD crave attention from others, even if it is negative attention in the form of yelling, criticism, shouting, or scolding. Refusing to provide any attention at all to the child who is behaving inappropriately can be effective if done consistently. For the child who gets increasingly loud or disruptive (escalates) when ignored, another way to respond may involve calmly and quietly telling the child that when their voice is calm and quiet the conversation can resume. For some children, the parent may need to remove themselves from the room as long as the child is safe, to help the child calm down. Whenever the behavior stops, respond to the child as usual in a firm but kind, non-angry way.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/23/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Parenting a Child with ADHD - Symptoms Question: Describe the symptoms associated with your child's ADHD.
Parenting a Child with ADHD - Strategies Question: Please provide some tips and strategies that have been helpful in parenting a child with ADHD.
Parenting a Child with ADHD - Success Question: In what areas does your child with ADHD excel? How did you help your child find his/her passion?
Parenting a Child with ADHD - Distractions Question: How have you dealt with or eliminated distractions for your child with ADHD?
Parenting a Child with ADHD - Healthy Lifestyle Question: Please discuss how you changed your child's diet or lifestyle to manage symptoms of ADHD.
Parenting a Child with ADHD - Caring for Yourself Question: Parenting a child with ADHD can be challenging. In what ways do you find time for yourself?