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Effective Disciplinary Techniques

Margaret V. Austin, Ph.D., edited by C. E. Zupanick, Psy.D.

Family supports: How can I help my child with ADHD?

Supports are resources, techniques, or modifications that help people to improve and grow. Families are the greatest source of this support for ADHD children. Initially, many caregivers find it uncomfortable to realize how much their own actions impact their child's behavior. After getting past this initial discomfort, most caregivers find it hopeful to know they can take action to help their child. Here are some guidelines to enhance a family's effectiveness as a helpful support for their children:

1. Learn and utilize effective disciplinary techniques.

young boy playingWhen we hear the word "discipline" we often get a negative feeling. Discipline simply means to guide behavior. Thus, caregivers of children with ADHD must become good at discipline. This will enable them to guide their child toward behaviors that lead to success.

It's helpful to try and distinguish between person, and their behavior. After all, a child is far more than a collection of certain behaviors. Therefore, children's worth and value cannot be determined by their behavior. Once a caregiver learns to separate the child from their behavior, they can help teach the child to do the same thing. This enables children to examine their own negative behavior, without negatively evaluating themselves in the process.

There are several resources for locating parent training classes in your location. These classes will teach you how to help your child change problematic behaviors; all while improving your relationship with your child:

Helpful disciplinary techniques for kids with ADHD:

  • Set up an effective discipline system with clear rules and expectations.
  • Learn to be proactive, not reactive.
  • Help children make connections between behaviors and consequences of those behaviors.
  • Help them understand that they can chose their behavior, and therefore, chose their own consequences.
  • Provide clear and consistent guidelines.
  • Allow natural consequences to be the best teacher.
  • Use solution-focused discussions that limit criticism.
  • Avoid lengthy discussions about why a behavior occurred. Instead, focus on the solution.



Contact Information

Sarah Dinklage, LICSW
Executive Director

sdinklage@risas.org

Charles Cudworth, MA
Director, SAS

ccudworth@risas.org

Leigh Reposa, MSW, LICSW
Program Manager
lreposa@risas.org

Colleen Judge, LMHC                  Manager, SAS
cjudge@risas.org 

Kathleen Sullivan
Manager, Community Prevention
ksullivan@risas.org


300 Centerville Rd.
Suite 301 South 
Warwick, RI 02886
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