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
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.
February 2, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
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