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do you discipline/reward a child with adhd the same as any other child?

(17 Posts)
gigglinggoblin Thu 23-Jun-05 09:12:57

ds1 has not been diagnosed with adhd yet but i have been doing some research and he fits every symptom. problem is how to cope with him while the doctor is still fiddling around with the tests.

he is going through quite a hard time emotionally atm and his behaviour is getting worse and worse. we have a penny jar where he starts the day with 20p and loses a penny for being naughty. he seems to see it as a challenge - how fast can he lose all the pennies. we also have star charts and small treats for good behaviour but he doesnt care about those.

the stuff im doing works great for ds2 who has no problems, but im starting to wonder if im doing everything wrong with regards to ds1. are you supposed to punish them if they cant help the behaviour?

i have trawled through lots of threads but there is nothing i can find that specifically answers this question, so sorry if i am repeating anything but i could really do with some advice

Nightynight Thu 23-Jun-05 09:32:40

hi ggggg
my bro was HA, and so was I, so I remember it well.

I dont think star charts etc are going to work for an HA child, and you do have to make special allowances. They cant concentrate as well as ordinary children. Star charts just set them up to fail, in a formal kind of way.

Having said that, this problem may not go away. He may have to cope with it for a long time. So he should learn now what is acceptable behaviour around other people, and not get the idea that being HA allows any weird behaviour.

This isnt meant to sound harsh, I am actually speaking from my own experience now. I didnt learn to handle my own HA behaviour until I was nearly 30, and it was a deep disadvantage. I couldnt mix with other people.

Personally, and this is a very personal choice, Id come down hard on bad behaviour, use smacking if necessary, and also spend a lot of time explaining things to him. and at the same time give him all the medical backup he needs, diet, drugs or whatever. He'll know at the end of the day how much you love him.

Nightynight Thu 23-Jun-05 09:38:10

just read my posting and hope it doesnt ignite a row! I am looking at the whole ha thing from the other end, ie as a grown up who got no support at all as a HA child.
I would have preferred very well defined boundaries to my weird behaviour as a child, instead of which my parents just let it go, which resulted in an unhappy confused adult.

Jimjams Thu 23-Jun-05 09:44:26

What's HA?

gigg - I think you need to turn it around and reward for good behaviour. Make sure the challenges you set for a reward are easy to obtain though- and are instant- eg - put that toy away rather than tidy your rooom (that comes later!)

Something that pyramid (the PECS people) introduced for work with very challenging children iis a tape which plays a beep every so many minutes. At the beep the teacher has to look around the room and say something positive about a child. They found it improved behaviour enormously (and these were very challenging children)- far more than negatives.

I'd also use lots of visual strategies with a child with ADHD- a visual timetable- "do x, y, z, -reward" works well with my non-verbal autistic son- (and also my NT son!)

Jimjams Thu 23-Jun-05 09:45:26

I agree about firm boundaries- but from personal experience I find it works better if the boundaries prevent the bad behaviour in the first place, rather than punish it.

Nightynight Thu 23-Jun-05 09:49:39

jimjams - yes. but its really hard to prevent "bad" behaviour by hyperactive (HA) children.
eg when I used to burst into tears 3 or 4 times an hour, my parents just ignored it. When my dd started doing the same, dx treated it as naughtiness, and she soon stopped. Sounds harsh, but guess what I was still doing at university??

Jimjams Thu 23-Jun-05 09:49:45

HA= hyperactive?????

Jimjams Thu 23-Jun-05 09:51:58

cross posted. nightynight- I have a severely autistic son- I know how difficult it is to prevent the bad behaviour- what I'm saying is that often I find any punsihment to be rewarding for him. And often the only thing I can do with bad behaviour is ignore it (and yes I have goot cross and I have smacked him- and he laughs- so I do my utmost to walk away). Anything else reinforces the behaviour.

BTW I think we may have gone to the same college- trying to work out if I know you

Nightynight Thu 23-Jun-05 09:59:57

sigh - it was called HA in my day. Is that terribly insulting now?

I didnt know anyone from my college cos I spent most of my time in my room crying!

Nightynight Thu 23-Jun-05 10:01:16

my children laugh on the increasingly rare occasions when I smack them too. ds once told me that I didnt know how to smack!!

Jimjams Thu 23-Jun-05 10:02:28


No HA isn't insulting. I think it has a tendecy to be used for boisterous undiagnosed, high manitenance children, rather than "diagnosable with all the problems that go with ADHD, got a real problem" type children iyswim.

Nightynight Thu 23-Jun-05 10:05:37

ok I get you

gigglinggoblin Thu 23-Jun-05 10:27:59

thanks for the replies, i really appreciate the help. punishments do often make him laugh, but i dont know what else to do as he wont work for rewards. he wants them of course, but not enough to do anything to get them!

i often feel horrible for not giving him the same as his brother but the fact is he wont even try. i dont expect perfect behaviour from any small child, i just dont expect them to refuse to do what they are told every time, or to speak to me the way he does.

life is v hard atm

Jimjams Thu 23-Jun-05 10:38:57

you have the same problem as me- we don't really have a punishment we can use for ds1. That's why we try to prevent the baqd behaviour (for example yesterday he kept climbing on his play house roof- got him down, back up- so I said "no climbing, if you climb, inside"- he climbed so we brought him inside. He went back out about 40 mins later and was fine for about an hour then climbed again- so back inside.

I di find ignoring the bad completely and over the top praise of the good works eventually, but slowly. At least it doesn't actually reinforce the bad though which punishments do.

I always tell him in advance what the consequences will be. So for example when he's trying pinch his brother "if you pinch, then outside room" etc.

It is tough. Are you getting any support in dealing with his behaviour?

Gobbledigook Thu 23-Jun-05 10:44:38

Hi gigglinggoblin,

I'm not an expert on ADHD by any means but I work in pharma business consultancy and have done a lot of work on ADHD. From what I can remember, many of the strategies suggested to manage ADHD are very similar to those used in children without ADHD. So really, probably like you are doing. I remember doing some work on the ADHD pages for Netdoctor and I've linked it here for you as I think it has some strategies on here somewhere. HTH.

netdoctor advise on ADHD

Gobbledigook Thu 23-Jun-05 10:46:41

That should read 'advice' of course! If you go to 'coping with ADHD' there are strategies there - some are for teachers but you'll probably still find some of them helpful for home.

Jimjams Thu 23-Jun-05 10:52:37

of the list in the link by GG- I'd say the thing I've found that has the biggest effect is telling ds1 what to do rather than what not to do ('come away' rather than 'don't touch' for example).

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