Children and teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) do not misbehave to spite their parents or other adults. Problems develop because ADHD often causes children and teens to react impulsively and makes it difficult for them to learn and to comply with rules.
Many children with ADHD need behavior therapy to help them interact appropriately with others. Parent training in these techniques usually takes 8 to 10 counseling sessions for 1 to 2 hours a week.
Behavior therapy is not meant to treat inattention, overactivity, or impulsivity. But it can help with some of the behavior problems that go along with ADHD, such as not getting along well with others or not obeying rules.
For children with ADHD who are younger than age 18, behavior therapy typically involves two basic principles:
When parents start a new system of limits and consequences, children tend to test those limits. It takes patience, imagination, creativity, and energy to carry out behavior management. It is important for parents to apply the techniques consistently. The program is often successful in helping a child behave appropriately and function well. But if parents stop using the techniques, problem behavior usually returns.
Parenting programs and books may be helpful for some parents. Ask your health professional for specific recommendations.
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Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Current as ofAugust 8, 2014
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