3. Choose your battles. Sometimes it may be better to ignore the unwanted behavior and pay attention to appropriate behavior, rather than fight over every misbehavior. Behavior is often rewarded by attention whether the attention is positive or negative. With ADHD kids, studies have shown that ignoring a behavior removes reinforcement and leads to a decrease in inappropriate behavior. On the flip side, paying attention to appropriate behavior will cause it to increase. Teaching your child more appropriate alternative behavior such as “Please use words to let me know what you want rather than screaming” lets her know what you are expecting and what will be rewarded.

4.Praise and reward. Praising or rewarding for appropriate behavior works best for these children. You can set up a chart and give your young child a happy face or star in a square for each time they do something the first time they are asked, for example. When 30 squares are filled, they might receive a simple reward. The accomplishment is then celebrated by all and the chart is taken down. From then on, occasional praise will keep the newly learned behavior going. Older children and teens will benefit from praise, and if necessary, earning new privileges based on demonstrating readiness for them. In more complicated situations, a token economy can be set up to get things going in the right direction. A token economy uses a point system where appropriate behavior earns points, inappropriate behavior causes points to be lost, and the point balance is used to buy privileges such as TV or video game time, staying up late on the weekends, etc.

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