How do you Discipline a child with ADHD?


Being the parent of a child with ADHD is difficult. This raises the bar with how to parent and learning to embrace difficult times. When you have a child with ADHD you may end up with more parent guilt slipping in than the average parent. There are many difficulties when it comes to learning the proper discipline techniques for a child with ADHD, but today I wanted to share a few tips to help guide you forward. Parenting a child with ADHD is hard, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.

As most of you may know or saw in previous posts that Jayden, our almost 9-year-old was recently diagnosed with ADHD and although we are still learning it’s been pretty easy to adjust and help Jayden adjust and deal. This is made even easier by places like Emerge Professionals giving help and treatment to children who are dealing with these difficult disorders and also offer a place for us parents to get some advice and a moment of calm. Recently, there have been major issues at school and I’m hoping at some point there are some changes.

I find a lot of people just don’t get it or understand how to deal with or be around children diagnosed and it’s becoming a really big problem. If you don’t know how to deal with or understand why a child is acting the way the way they are – maybe try to. Otherwise, let’s keep punishing the child, right?

This is what we’ve been doing at home and it seems to work really well.

How do you Discipline a child with ADHD?

Accept Imperfection
As with any child, your child is just as imperfect as every other child in the world. The first step to disciplining a child with ADHD is to embrace this fact. Accept imperfection by focusing on the successes your ADHD child has. This isn’t easy at first, but with some practice, you will be able to accept imperfection and let go of any expectations you had for your child prior to the ADHD diagnosis.

Be Reasonable
When you work to discipline a child with ADHD you really have to be reasonable. There are some discipline techniques that won’t work for a child who has this hyperactivity disorder. It doesn’t mean that your child is trying to be defiant when these techniques don’t’ work, it’s that their brain works differently than the average child who doesn’t have ADHD.

Be Consistent
When you are working to discipline a child with ADHD, you’re going to have to remain consistent at all times. Your child may only hear the first five seconds of what you’re saying. Learn to speak concisely with your ADHD child, so they hear the most important part of the issue at hand. When you set a consequence, be certain that you follow through every, single time.

Focus on Behavioral Modification
When we discuss ways to discipline a child with ADHD, it’s vitally important that the focus is on behavioural modification techniques versus actual punishment. Your child will not respond well to a punishment, but if you use techniques to encourage discipline as a means to modify unwanted behavioural patterns, then you’re on track to teach your child better ways to behave next time.

Don’t Punish Uncontrollable Behavior
In addition to focusing on behavioural modification as a form of discipline for your child with ADHD, you must remember that punishing your child for uncontrollable behaviour will never correct the problem. An ADHD child struggles with attention span and self-control. As your child gets older, they can be taught through behavioural modification techniques to increase their awareness of uncontrollable behaviours.

Hold Child Accountable
Lastly, parents who are raising a child with ADHD will tend to blame others for their child’s uncontrollable behaviours. While your child may not be in control at all times, it is not other people’s fault that your child did something that warrants discipline. Hold your child accountable for his or her actions every time and use behavioural modification techniques to encourage better behavioural patterns.

There are many things you have to take into consideration when raising a child with ADHD and learning the proper discipline techniques. Be patient during this process of figuring out what discipline technique will work for your child. You may find something works for a period of time and then doesn’t’ work anyone. Be open to adapting and pay attention to the ques from your child before uncontrollable behaviour occurs.


  1. Well, you and I have talked at great lengths about this offline, but you are doing the right thing. Each child is different and each family needs to do what’s best for them – and the others need to be a little more understanding of kids with special needs…..


  2. Oh, wow. That’s something I’ve never thought about before. Disciplining kids with ADHD must be incredibly tough. You have to give them consequences, but you also have to take their ADHD into account on both punishment and if it’s even worthy of a punishment.

  3. I can’t imagine disciplining kids with ADHD! Your advice is encouraging for parents who might be frustrated with trying to discipline their child.I can’t imagine disciplining kids with ADHD! Your advice is encouraging for parents who might be frustrated with trying to discipline their child.

  4. Excellent suggestions! Parenting is tough and I am sure having a child with ADHD is even more difficult. I plan to share this with a few friends.

  5. Good question and excellent answers here. Thank you. My son is showing sign of having ADHD and it’s so hard sometimes.

  6. My youngest is not diagnosed ADHD but to be honest, I am pretty sure he is. He is textbook. Super smart but lacks focus, while his behavior has been reasonable in school, he certainly has issues focusing and I know he aces his testing but his classroom grades are B’s and C’s, perhaps too many distractions? I have learned that punishment doesn’t work for him. We tried timeouts. We took things away. We made him sit, at the dining room table, alone with nothing. Not a thing worked, he’d sit there – he would face that consequence just fine, get up and go back to being hyper and uncontrollable.We always say that he’s our one kid who you can put in a room with nothing in it, and he’d not care at all, he’d entertain himself somehow. I do know as he is nearing age 10, I am seeing a bit more self-control now, so here’s hoping he remains spunky but a little more focused ;)

  7. This is such great information. My mom is raising her grandson who as ADHD so I’m going to forward her the link to this article. I know she struggles from time to time with discipline, so I hope this gives her a better understanding of how to manage.

  8. Those are really important ways on how to handle your child with adhd. I think as with any child, consistency is key. This post could really help other parents.

  9. I get all of this post and thank you for sharing. My son has ADHD and it has been been easy trying to discipline him alongside side my other two children at times. I’m still working on so many of these tactics!

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