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Dealing with Hyperactive/Impulsive Behavior

Living with a hyperactive/impulsive child is extremely difficult. These guidelines will help.

Impose the necessary structure (rules, expectations, limits/boundaries, positive and negative consequences, organization, etc.) that is absolutely crucial to the management, well-being, and success of your child.

Know your child's behavioral tendencies and temperament. Understand the source of these behaviors which are difficult to manage and deal with. Learn everything you can about ADHD and the manifestations of the disorder. This knowledge and awareness is so important for those living with ADHD. It helps us be more tolerant and empathetic, and to maintain our sense of humor when we really understand that the challenging behaviors are not deliberate, and that the lack of impulse control and difficulty regulating behavior and activity level is physiological -- not willful.

Seek professional help and a proper diagnosis.

Implement all interventions and strategies possible to prevent behavioral issues that are likely to occur due to your child's impulsivity and/or hyperactivity.

Look for warning signs of your child's agitation, becoming over-stimulated, becoming frustrated, having difficulty sitting, controlling self, etc., and intervene early (i.e., redirect, remove from situation, change the focus, try calming techniques, remind about rewards/consequences).

Teach your child strategies for relaxation and anger control.

Once your child has been taught a few strategies, practice them often, model their use, prompt, and cue to use those strategies.

Catch your child when she is exhibiting behaviors that are appropriate and reward immediately. For example, use positive reinforcement when your child: shows good self-control, sits appropriately, takes turns in games, exhibits good sportsmanship, performs a task without rushing through it carelessly, doesn't interrupt, etc. Specifically point out what you noticed your child doing right, thank her, and reward her.

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