How To Help Children With ADHD Behavior Problems

By Robert Porter|Updated July 8, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Aaron Horn, LMFT

Having a child who experiences ADHD can be difficult for their parents and families, too. 

As a parent, you want to do your best to help them through any challenges that may arise. But, there may be times when ADHD behavioral differences may become stressful for children and their families. 

To get through these tough times, you can develop some techniques to help your child properly.

ADHD is not all about having difficulties concentrating. Children with ADHD can also be very impulsive, and they may lash out at times. 

While it is often difficult to know how to act when your child starts misbehaving, it's best to keep a cool head. For young children, sometimes symptoms of  ADHD can look like misbehaviors; examples may include fidgeting, running or playing when it is not appropriate, and speaking loudly or out of turn. 

Raising A Child With ADHD Can Be Tricky

However, this doesn't mean that you cannot guide your child with ADHD toward more healthy behaviors in a positive way. There are some tips that you can use to help your child with ADHD behave more appropriately at school, home, and other public spaces. 

There may be difficult times and moments, but with a bit of help, it’s possible to keep things under control. Examine the information below to do the best job you can to help the children in your life who experience ADHD.

Understand Why They're Lashing Out

It's important to take the time to try to understand why a child is lashing out. Children may have angry outbursts for what appears to be no reason at all. Sometimes their angry behavior is due to pure impulsiveness, such as with symptoms of Hyperactive-Impulsive or Combined presentation of ADHD. Other times, you might find that they are reacting to some other stimulus, which deserves an equally attentive response.

According to Mayo Clinic, children with ADHD have difficulties controlling their behavior, as they may be inattentive or hyperactive. They might be excessively fidgety, or they may wind up being louder than many other children. Typically, a child with ADHD will have difficulty controlling this behavior without help.

Try not to make your child feel bad for the way that they are. Children with ADHD often get told that they're bad or that something is wrong with them. When they hear things like this, they start to believe it. Your child might start feeling as if they're unusual or that you wish they were normal. You have to be sure that you show your child that you love them while promoting healthy behaviors.

Children with ADHD may lash out when they're told to stop playing and do their homework. You have to react reasonably when they exhibit behaviors like this. Don't let yourself get worked up over things. For instance, calmly explaining that doing homework is important can be much more effective than yelling at the child.

Try to look at things from their perspective and then try to get them to see yours. If you can give your child a good example of calm behavior to follow, then the angry outbursts will not be nearly as bad. Try your best to think about your child's behavior, and don't allow yourself to be impulsive in your reactions to it.

ADHD And Lying

According to the ADHD center for success, children with ADHD may be more prone to inattention, poor impulse control, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. While ADHD and lying are certainly not linked together, these symptoms may lead to a child with ADHD using what the ADHD center for success refers to as an “untruth.” 

Children may end up telling little fibs because they are not paying attention to the question, answer impulsively, or answer quickly and inaccurately. They may not be lying about big things such as stealing, but the lies are often a sign that they're managing their ADHD.

Your child may start lying about things such as doing chores or other undesirable activities. The ADHD mind has a difficult time focusing on tasks that are boring or arduous. It's important to teach your child that lying is wrong without making it seem like a bigger problem than it is. 

The best thing to do is to make it easier for your child to focus on doing the right thing rather than fibbing to avoid it. For example, if you tell your child to clean their room, then it might be a good idea to set aside a specific timeframe for them to accomplish this task; this way, your child’s mind knows exactly when it’s expected to focus on cleaning and when it’s okay to worry about other things.

You may even want to help them out. Try to promote healthy behaviors, and when your child lies, you should gently but firmly correct their behavior. Instead of yelling at your child, try to get them back on track. Gently guiding them towards honesty in their behaviors may help them to avoid fibbing down the line.

Make Sure That Punishments Or Disciplinary Actions Aren't Overly Strict.

You don't want to overreact when you're punishing your child, either. Answering your child's angry outburst with your anger can be a recipe for disaster. This is simply going to breed resentment in your child and might make their behavior even more erratic. Calmly punishing your child is much better than lashing out in anger.

Take the time to come up with an appropriate response to any negative behavior. For instance, if your child minorly misbehaves, then telling them that they can't watch TV for a month might be way too harsh. 

A more appropriate response may be to tell them how they misbehaved gently and then show them the consequence of that misbehavior. 

For example, if your child steals a cookie they shouldn’t have, you can show them that this means they won’t get a cookie for dessert. This way, you'll more likely be able to get your point across about why their behavior was wrong in the first place.

Try to explain to your child what they did wrong. Let them know that you love them, but you're disappointed with something that they did. Try to talk about ways that they can do better in the future so that you can avoid these problems moving forward. A child with ADHD will respond much better to this type of discipline than something that is overly severe.

Learn To Praise Positive Behaviors

If you only take the time to recognize the bad things that your child is doing, then that may also send the wrong message. The truth is that children crave positive attention from their parents. If the only way they can get your attention is by acting out, you may see a lot more bad behavior out of them. This negative attention is not necessarily good for their mental health either.

When you see your child doing well, you should take the time to praise them. Let them know that you're proud of what they're doing and that you will continue to support them, so they keep doing well. If your kid gets a good grade on the test, take the time to praise them for it. Take an interest in all of the good things that are going on in your child's life. It'll help them develop more positive behaviors, and they'll know that their experiences with ADHD are not the things that will define them.

Spend Time With Your Child And Be A Good Example

Spending time with your children is imperative. As mentioned above, children want to receive attention and affection from their parents. Children with ADHD may need even more love due to the difficulties of experiencing ADHD symptoms. If you can spend time with them, then you'll be able to be a good example for them to follow too.

Raising A Child With ADHD Can Be Tricky

If your child sees how you deal with problems or adversity, they will be more likely to follow your example. When you get angry in front of them, make sure to explain to them why. Please don't blow up; punish them and then walk away. They need to understand what you expect of them in the future. No one is perfect, but you want to try to be the person that you want your kids to grow up to be.

Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs in the world. It also has the potential to be very rewarding. Raising a child who experiences ADHD may not be easy, but you can do a good job. Be a good example and show them positive ways to deal with anger or other powerful emotions.

Therapy May Also Help

Therapy is another thing that you can consider to help your child. Children with ADHD might have a tough time coping on their own. Even medicine isn't always going to be enough to alleviate symptoms completely. Therapy is a great way to work on making progress, and you can find a therapist that is great at connecting with your kid.

You don't even have to leave the comfort of your own home to get this therapy. Online therapy, including the services provided by the professionals at BetterHelp, is a fantastic option that makes getting therapy for your child more convenient than ever. An online ADHD therapist will be ready to assist you whenever you're in need. They can help your child cope with what is going on, and they'll help them learn important skills.

ADHD might be a challenging condition, but therapists are great at helping children. They can be a friend and an ally to your child. You'll be able to reach out to a therapist online at any time. This makes it easy to get therapy after school or on the weekends when your family isn't busy.

Consider signing up for online therapy today if you need a little bit of help. Your parenting skills will always be of the utmost importance, but a therapist can help you out. They'll even be there to talk to you about struggles if you need someone to confide in. You can start online therapy today if you want to reach out, so don't hesitate if you need help with your child's ADHD.

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