Parents Guide For Disciplining Kids With ADHD

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a condition that affects children’s ability to focus, control impulses, and regulate behavior. As parents, dealing with ADHD can be challenging, especially when it comes to disciplining a child with ADHD. But with the right approach, parents can effectively discipline their child and help them develop the skills they need to succeed.

Understanding ADHD

Before you begin disciplining your child with ADHD, it’s essential to understand what ADHD is and how it affects your child. Children with ADHD have trouble focusing, controlling impulses, and regulating their behavior, which can make it difficult for them to follow rules and directions. They may also have difficulty managing their emotions and may be prone to outbursts or tantrums.

It’s important to remember that ADHD is not a result of poor parenting or bad behavior, but rather a neurological condition that affects your child’s brain chemistry. While discipline is essential for all children, children with ADHD need special consideration and support to help them develop appropriate behavior and learn how to manage their symptoms.

Positive Reinforcement

One of the most effective ways to discipline a child with ADHD is through positive reinforcement. Children with ADHD are often praised less than their peers, which can lead to self-esteem issues and negative behavior. By giving your child regular positive feedback and rewards, you can help build their confidence and encourage them to continue behaving appropriately.

Positive reinforcement can take many forms, from verbal praise to small rewards like stickers or tokens. The key is to be consistent and offer positive feedback whenever your child exhibits good behavior, no matter how small. Over time, your child will begin to associate good behavior with positive outcomes, which can motivate them to continue making good choices.

Clear Expectations and Consequences

Children with ADHD often struggle with following rules and directions, so it’s imperative to be clear and consistent with your expectations and consequences. Create a routine and set clear rules for your child to follow, and be explicit about the consequences of breaking those rules. This way, your child knows precisely what to expect and can better understand the impact of their actions.

When devising consequences, it’s essential to use those that are appropriate for your child’s age and behavior. Speak with your child about their behavior, and work together to create a plan that they understand and can follow. Consistency is key, and it’s important to reinforce the rules and consequences on a regular basis. Be sure always to follow through with any consequences, so your child understands the gravity of their actions.

Time-Outs and Breaks

Children with ADHD can become overwhelmed or overstimulated by their environment, which can lead to disruptive behavior. To avoid this, consider implementing time-outs or breaks. When your child begins to display behavior that is inappropriate or disruptive, take them to a quiet area and give them time to calm down. This can help them regroup and refocus, reducing the likelihood of further negative behavior.

Time-outs and breaks should be brief and structured, allowing your child time to cool off without becoming overly agitated. Encourage your child to use self-soothing techniques like deep breathing or counting to ten while they take a break, which can help them manage their emotions more effectively.

Parenting Strategies

In addition to discipline guidelines, there are also some general parenting strategies that can help children with ADHD. Parenting strategies that focus on organization, structure, and consistency can be particularly useful for children with ADHD. Some parenting techniques that may be beneficial include:

  • Keeping a consistent routine
  • Using visual aids and schedules to help with organization
  • Encouraging regular exercise and outdoor activities
  • Limiting screen time and other distractions

Consistency is the key to success when working with children with ADHD. Stick to a routine, provide clear guidelines and consequences, and offer plenty of positive feedback and rewards for good behavior. With your support, your child can learn how to manage their symptoms and develop the skills they need to thrive.


Disciplining a child with ADHD can be challenging, but with these guidelines and strategies, parents can create a plan that works for their child. Remember to be patient and consistent, and always offer plenty of positive reinforcement for good behavior. By using a combination of positive reinforcement and clear expectations and consequences, parents can help their children learn how to manage their symptoms and develop the skills they need to succeed.


What should parents know about disciplining kids with ADHD?

Parents should know that discipline is not punishment. It is about teaching children and supporting their positive behavior. For children with ADHD, it’s important to focus on their strengths and create a stable, predictable environment. Parents should also consider using positive reinforcement and providing frequent breaks during homework or other tasks to help their child remain focused.

What are some effective discipline strategies for children with ADHD?

Some effective discipline strategies for children with ADHD include providing clear expectations and consequences, breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks, using visual aids, creating a routine to establish structure and predictability, and utilizing positive reinforcement for good behavior. It’s also important to communicate openly and collaborate with teachers and healthcare providers.

How can parents help their children with ADHD succeed in school?

Parents can help their children with ADHD succeed in school by advocating for their educational needs, establishing a routine, providing encouragement and support, and collaborating with teachers and healthcare providers. Additional strategies could involve using assistive technologies, developing organizational and time-management skills, and providing a low-distraction environment for homework and studying. Parents can also work with their child’s strengths and interests to help them focus and excel in their academic pursuits.


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3. Chronis-Tuscano, A., Clarke, T. L., O’Brien, K. A., Raggi, V. L., Diaz, Y., Mintz, A. D., & Rooney, M. E. (2013). Development and preliminary evaluation of an integrated treatment targeting parenting and depressive symptoms in mothers of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 81(5), 918-925.