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Preventing Behavior Problems in the Home for Kids with ADHD

Plan ahead how you will deal with inappropriate, challenging behaviors -- what you (both parents if possible) agree to be the consequences/punishments for those specific behaviors. Make sure all of these expectations and the consequences are spelled out to your child and clearly understood.

Be observant. Notice when your child is becoming agitated, overly stimulated, angry, etc., and intervene. Try redirecting your child's attention and focus on something else.

Only give your child chores and responsibilities that he is developmentally able to handle. For your child, that means what he is capable of, not what other kids of his age or other siblings may be able to do.

Provide the supports to enable your child to follow through with chores and responsibilities. Remember that forgetfulness, procrastination, and disorganization are part of the ADD picture. Your ADHD child will need reminders, help getting started, etc.

Provide physical outlets. Your child needs to be able to release energy and participate in (running, swimming, gymnastics, dancing, riding bike, playing ball).

Maintain flexibility and a sense of humor!

Avoid sarcasm, ridicule, criticism, nagging, yelling, and screaming or physical punishment.

Monitor and supervise.

Prepare your child for changes in the home, such as redecorating, a change in parent work schedules, and visitors/house guests. Talk about the change and avoid surprises.

Purchase toys, books, and games that are developmentally appropriate for your child -- not too frustrating.

Avoid competitive activities and/or prepare for games and activities that involve competition. Walk your child through the strategies of what to do if she loses a game. Reinforce good sportsmanship — and that when playing games, she can't always win. Praise and reward behavior when playing games that require your child to display self-control.

Provide a limited number of choices. Don't allow your child to dump out all of his toys, or choose from all the music/video tapes, or examine all the books before choosing one for you to read with him. Allow your child to choose from only a few at one time.

Be aware of siblings who are teasing and provoking your ADHD child, and intervene.

Follow the tips on how to give directions for more strategies that will prevent behavioral problems and conflict at home.

Excerpted from The ADD/ADHD Checklist by Sandra Rief, M.A.

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