Helping child with ADD understand rules

We have a seven-year-old son who has ADD. He has been on medication and we have seen much improvement. We do not give him this medication at home and find that he exhibits inappropriate behaviors, even when he knows he will get in trouble. When he gets caught he seems genuinely sorry. He also has problems controlling his anger. How can we help him?

Question:

The most important factor in helping a child learn appropriate behavior is consistency. Your rules at home need to be clear, as do the consequences for breaking those rules. Too many expressions of "Well, just this one time," can lead to confusion on the part of a youngster. What meaning do the rules really have if they are allowed to be broken? There are exceptions, of course, but make sure that you are consistent with your child.

Another important factor is to provide good modeling for your child. If you have a rule about not eating in the family room, everyone should abide by the rule. Eat your snacks in the kitchen or outside, as you would expect of your child. When he sees you displaying the desired behavior, he can better make the connection between what is expected of him and his options for meeting those expectations.

Your son's anger may be a problem that needs some extra attention. Talk to his pediatrician about this and see what kinds of recommendations the doctor makes. There may need to be a change in the medication that your child takes or he may be referred to a therapist to learn some anger management techniques.

Above all else, do what you can to show your son how special he is to you. Make sure you set aside time to spend with him each day. Help him develop his interests. Write notes to him and post them in unexpected places. This kind of positive attention may teach him to appreciate that parental response more than the attention he gets from doing the wrong thing.

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