In Learning Disabilities

How to Discipline a Child with ADHD

how to discipline a child

Parents who wish to discipline their children with ADHD should first familiarize themselves with the disorder. Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder are difficult to discipline. They rarely listen to what is being said to them, or they barely remember, because they are so easily distracted. Their hands are busy touching, or hitting, and their mouths are busy talking. These behaviors make some parents really upset. Learn How to Discipline a Child the right way!

There are many books and plenty of research materials, and documented case studies, about children with ADHD. Parents can find much information on ADHD, what it is, and how to effectively communicate with children who have ADHD. The materials answer the question of ‘How to discipline a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder’.

Parents should not be afraid to ask questions, or seek the advice of a qualified psychologist. The more information parents have at their disposal, the better chance they have of developing an appropriate discipline policy, which will enforce positive behaviors and redirect negative behaviors their children display.

Remain Calm and Stay Focused

Parenting is a difficult job that requires both time and patience. Children can push buttons that make parents angry, sad, and upset. Most parents might want to physically or emotionally punish their children; however, these are not the appropriate methods parents should consider using, when disciplining their children. There are ways to discipline children without yelling at them, or hitting them.

Many parents are at a loss when it comes to disciplining children with a disorder or disability. Most parents feel that their children are not normal, and that their children do not understand or know what they are doing. For a child with ADHD this is simply not true. ADHD is not a deteriorating mental disease; it is a disorder. The discipline techniques for children with ADHD will differ, from discipline techniques of children without ADHD. One question parents might ask other parents is; “How would you discipline a child, or a how to discipline a child with ADHD for hitting other children, without yelling at them.

To reply to the question of how to discipline your child, here are a few discipline techniques that are appropriate for children with ADHD.

Ways to Discipline a Child with ADHD

Parents who have a child with ADHD may be more frustrated when it is time to deliver consequences for misbehaviors. Children with ADHD have an attention deficit problem, on top of being hyperactive. It might be difficult to get hyperactive children to pay attention to the details of their disciplinary action, if they are super hyped. Therefore, it might be best to wait until they are calm. Intervention may be necessary.

Remove the Child from the Area

Oftentimes, removing the child from a highly intense situation can prevent many misguided behaviors. The brain waves of children with ADHD differ from those of children without ADHD. The reaction time for instructions to sink in, after they are spoken takes longer to process. Parents should remain calm, and not get upset. Parents should allow their child time to process the information, and conform to the chosen method of discipline that is being set up for them.

Place the Child in Time Out for Hitting

Putting the child in short intervals of time in and time out for a few minutes is appropriate. When children of any age is having fun, they dislike being interrupted, or taken away from their source of fun. Children with ADHD often exhibits signs of anger, and often time initiate fights due to their frustration. Placing the child is time out, until he or she calms down is the best discipline method to use, at this point.

The Counting Technique Works Well

Adopt the all too famous counting technique, for disciplining children. This is a technique that children can easily learn. Tell the children in advance that they will only get three warnings, before being disciplined. Whenever the children do anything they should not hold up one finger for the first incident, two fingers for the second incident, and three fingers for the third incident. When the third finger goes up, escort the child from the room, or have someone else to do it.

Avoid Interacting with Child until after the Appropriate Time is Passed

A five minute break in another room or in the corner is appropriate. If the child refuses to leave the room, the next step is to remove oneself from the room. If necessary, go to the bathroom or in the bedroom and unwind. With any child, it is often about control. Children want to control what happens, how it happens, and when it happens. This is one way that works and shows parents how to discipline a child that does not want to be disciplined.

Discard Excessive Criticism and Implement More Praise

Children do not like to hear, on a regular basis, how disappointing they are to others, or how bad they are making their parents, even the worse behaved children, have days when their behavior is better than other days. Praise children for good behaviors. Children like it when adults tell them how proud they are of them, and how they knew all the time, that they could follow the rules.

Building positive attitudes in children, and reminding them that they have good in them, will encourage them to be on their best behavior. Children with, and without ADHD, or with any other disorder need to feel a sense of self worth. Parents and adults are in a position to help children gain and regain their confidence. Giving children positive feedback for tasks well done, will eliminate many ill guided behaviors.

Take it Personally

All parents do not discipline their children the same, and they really should not. All children are not the same, and either or the behaviors they exhibit. Some behaviors need to be handled with care, and precision. This is necessary, to avoid having a situation spiral out of control. Children with ADHD should not be singled out; but, they should not be allowed to get away with misbehaving. Many parents ask other parents for advice on which techniques work, and methods of how they handle certain behaviors.

Finding techniques that work is not easy; but, for the most part, finding the right information is not difficult either. Parents may find it upsetting when their personal sitters, or family members ask the question of how to discipline your child, seeing he or she as ADHD. This is the best time to explain to the everyone that the child has ADHD, here is a list of appropriate discipline techniques to use, and here are the numbers to reach anyone, if things get out of control.

Seek Help from Support Groups or Other Parents

For parents who need a sitter, it would be best to get someone who is familiar with ADHD. However, assuming that the parents do not need a sitter, parents should seek emotional support from other parents with children, who are suffering from ADHD. There are support groups in the community that meet during certain times of the week. Parents come together and share their experiences, their discipline methods, and other valuable information.

Disciplining Teens with ADHD

Disciplining teens with ADHD is not easy. Most parents are at a loss, for choosing the best disciplining actions, for their children as they get older. Here are at least 4 common mistakes parents make, and should try to avoid.

  • Not following through on consequences. Do not be all talk and no show. Teens are watching to see, if you will do what you say you will, if they misbehave.
  • Displaying a ‘Whatever, I don’t care attitude’. Do not let children choose the tone, and outcome of a situation. Putting complete control of how conservations and moods should go is dangerous. As a parent, you can easily lose control of a situation.
  • Not using consistent discipline methods. Children, especially teens, will look for any inconsistencies you show. They will use this weakness to intimidate you or show you up, the next time you try to discipline them.
  • Yelling, and screaming out of control. Yes, teens will drive you crazy, but do not let them see you fall apart. If you must yell or scream, leave home, go to the car, take a walk around the walk, or go for a jog.


The key to disciplining children with ADHD is to remain calm. Parents can get a firm grip on many situations, before they get out of control. This is true, providing they do not get upset, or act surprised, at the types of behavior their children display. Parents have positive behavior expectations they want their children to reach.

Getting them to this point is a long road that is filled with trial and error, as well as frustration and persistence. Getting children’s attention, establishing a discipline system, and following through with the consequences will help parents enforce long term positive behavior patterns for their children.

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