Many parents would describe trying to raise an ADHD child to be well behaved as a significant challenge. Kids in general present constant challenges to parents. They don’t always know the right way to act or the right things to say. Kids get excited about things and respond disproportionately to the situation. They have trouble not running indoors and using “quite” voices.
No matter how you look at it, raising kids is hard. After all, kids will be kids. A child with ADHD, though, might present unique challenges in and outside of the home.
Children with ADHD sometimes push the boundaries further than other children might. They usually have more trouble staying on task and following directions, which often leads them to more often do things they shouldn’t. Furthermore, they tend to have trouble remembering things, and can quickly forget something even what you told them a minute before.
With all these factors, some people might believe that raising an ADHD child to be well behaved is impossible. The truth, though, is that it all depends on how you approach your relationship with your child. To get the best from your child, you need to expect the best from both them and yourself.
In this article, we want to detail the best strategies to help you with raising an ADHD child to be well behaved. We believe that you have what it takes to help your child behave well. Use these strategies to help you succeed.
Model the Traits that You Want Your Child to Have
Raising an ADHD child to be well behaved starts with modeling the right behavior yourself. Whether you notice it or not, your children watch and learn from everything you say and do. If you tell them to do something, and then turn around and do the opposite yourself, they’ll notice. If you want them to respect authority, but then hear you curse out a police officer who pulls you over, they’ll learn from it.
This isn’t to say that a child who doesn’t behave well has parents who aren’t structured or well-organized. After all, you can model a perfect example, and your child can still, unfortunately, take a different path in life. Still, you cannot ignore or deny the influence your own behavior has on your children’s lives.
Having children and filling the role as a parent comes with a grave responsibility. Part of this responsibility involves taking a close look at your own life and being sure that you model how your children should act and behave. In many ways, your children look to you as their hero, and you should do everything you can to be a hero for them and model life well.
Many parts of acting and behaving well have to do with character. You want your kids to be honest, humble, hard-working, respectful, and generous and courteous to others. Now, ask yourself how you have modeled each of these traits well in front of your kids. If you can’t think of any times in particular, start changing that and actively work to show these traits on a regular basis.
Learn to Accept Weaknesses
Can we all for just one minute accept this one simple truth: none of us are perfect? You as a parent have weaknesses. Your children have weaknesses. We all have things that we struggle with and time and time again fail at.
ADHD brings with it its own specific weaknesses and challenges. That doesn’t mean that we don’t try, though, and that we don’t mean well. It just means that some things are hard for us and will take us longer than other people to get down.
With raising an ADHD child to be well behaved, you need to learn to accept their weaknesses and not always bring them up. Trying to manage ADHD symptoms as a parent can present challenges. Try to put yourself in your child’s position, though, with trying to learn to live with ADHD on regular basis. Imagine for just a minute the challenges they have to face.
Parents often want the best for their kids and so they sometimes push them harder than they need to and put expectations on them that they can’t meet. Instead of setting high expectations in spite of your child’s weaknesses, you need to set expectations based on their unique personality. You need to take the challenges of ADHD into consideration and learn to be patient in helping your child progress along with their weaknesses.
Ultimately, your child will never behavior perfectly. They will always screw up or mess up somewhere. If you learn to accept the things they struggle with, though, you will have more reasonable expectations of their behavior. You will also be able to help them overcome their specific challenges quicker and easier.
Make Your Expectations Clear
To raise an ADHD child to be well behaved, you absolutely must make your expectations clear. You also can’t waver on your expectations or how you respond towards certain behaviors. When you make your expectations clear as to how your children need to behave then they have no question as to the right or wrong thing to do.
Part of making your expectations clear involves teaching your children self-discipline. Self-discipline involves both problem solving and making calculated decisions. Also, it involves self-correction when an error in behavior or judgement is made to move away from that course of action. Self-discipline in many ways is living within boundaries, within clear expectations, of how things should go and making actions accordingly.
With clear expectations that you give your kids, your kids can then know how to build out their own self-discipline. Following your lead, they can then problem solve and calculate how to make decisions in order to stay within your expectations and their own self-discipline. This skill will help your kids with following how you want them to behave without you having to micromanage. Additionally, this will help them later in life as they plan for career and education goals.
Ultimately, what you cannot do is change or waver your expectations. You can’t tell your kids that one day it is wrong to hit someone and then the next day laugh about it when your son hits your daughter. Changing expectations and what behavior is right or wrong can confuse children.
Instead, you need to set clear expectations and remind your kids of those expectations regularly. You can take time before going to an event or attending a special occasion to remind your kids how you expect them to behave in that environment.
Acknowledge and Reward Positive Behavior
We all appreciate and respond well when we know that we have done something right. What is more is that we value the respect and positive respondse from those we love most. As parents, we should take note of these things and apply them to how we respond to and act towards our children.
Ultimately, we need to remember that our kids want praise and adoration from us as parents. As a result, in order to raise your ADHD child to be well behaved you need to remember to acknowledge and reward positive behavior every chance you get. In doing so, you very clearly communicate to your child what they have done is the right thing to do. Also, they know right away through your actions that you love them and want to praise positive behavior.
Rewards act as a positive reinforcement of correct behavior. Discipline acts in the opposite way with incorrect behavior. Used together, reward and discipline can help provide your child motivation to gravitate towards positive actions. Rewarding positive behavior when you see it will go a long way towards teaching your kids to always behave correctly.
Understand the Difference between Discipline and Punishment
While sometimes we may get them crossed, we all need to understand that discipline and punishment are two different things. Discipline aims to provide correction for actions. For instance, when your child does a negative behavior, you use discipline to instruct them that the behavior was wrong and they shouldn’t do it anymore.
Punishment, on the other hand, involves retribution for wrongs committed. When a criminal commits a crime, they receive a punishment for the crime. The punishment acts as a payment for the wrong committed, not always and not necessarily as a means to instruct better behavior in the future.
For raising an ADHD child to be well behaved, you need to understand the difference between discipline and punishment. In addition, you need to actively try to use discipline as much as possible. Sometimes, your child might do something wrong, and you, possibly responding in frustration, will turn towards punishment. Ultimately, though, punishment provides a short term fix to a wrong, while discipline provides a long term fix to overall behavior.
When using discipline, you need to act out of love and not anger. If you respond in anger, you can’t think clearly or appropriately. Rather, you should always discipline out of concern for the child’s correction and wellbeing. Using correct discipline will help you raise an ADHD child to be well behaved. For more information on discipline, check out our article on tips for disciplining ADHD children.
Give Your Child Responsibilities
As we have discussed before, responsibilities make a difference in all of our lives. Responsibilities help to teach all of us important life lessons and help to encourage independence and self-reliance. Often, by giving someone responsibilities you also can help improve their own self-worth. When a child feels good about themselves, they will want that feeling to continue and as a result behave in a manner to continue supporting their self-worth.
While responsibilities matter to all of us, they can play a particularly significant role in raising an ADHD child to be well behaved. Regular and consistent responsibilities teach children positive and correct behavior. With responsibilities, you can give your child chores, show them how the chores are to be performed, and then offer correction as they go about them.
Remember that all responsibilities should be used as means of growth and instruction. You shouldn’t use them in anyway to shame or make your kids feel bad. As with most things that you want your kids to do, they won’t do chores or responsibilities perfect on the first attempt. Be patient with them, though, and work with them until they get better at doing what they need to do. For ideas to get started, try some of the ideas off this list of the best chores for ADHD.
Use Routines to Give Your Child Structure
Finally, to raise an ADHD child to be well behaved, you need to provide them routines to structure their day. We all learn how to behave through guidance, repetition, and trial and error. Regular routines provide the repetition that helps your child learn right behavior and when and when not to do things.
An ADHD daily routine can play an essential role in any symptom management plan, but it can be essential for keeping your child behaving well. To help your child more, you can even create different routines for different periods. For instance, you can have a morning routine, an afterschool routine, a sleep routine, and even a routine for summer break.
We recommend that you depend on routines as much as possible. Not only will they help teach your child right behavior at the correct times, but routines will also give them consistent structure in their lives.
The Secret to Raising an ADHD Child to be Well Behaved Depends Most on Your Relationship with Them
Let’s face it, no matter what we do, there never will exist a perfect solution for raising an ADHD child to be well behaved. We can provide any number of tips, but yet there still does not exist a fail proof strategy. Still, we would recommend trying to follow the tips outlined above in this article. In addition, we just want to encourage you to remember that what matters more than anything is your relationship with your child.
All of us tend to do our best when we feel secure and loved. The same is true for your child. They more than anything else want and long for your praise, love, and adoration. When you think about how to teach your children to behave, you need to keep this in mind. Ultimately, then, in everything you do you need to remind your children that you love and care for just them no matter what.
Take the tips here for raising your ADHD child to be well behaved and put them into practice. As you do, remember that your kids are unique and special and that you love and cherish them. Show them that love everyday and don’t get too lost in making behavior and actions all that you interact with them about.