10 (More) Do’s and Don’ts: Tips for Parents of Kids with ADHD

February 27, 2013


This is part 2 of my blog on recommended do’s and don’ts for parents of children/teens with ADHD.  Part 1 was “Ten Tips for Parents of Kids with ADHD” that I posted on 2-13-13.  The content of this blog is excerpted from my books, The ADD/ADHD Checklist, 2nd edition  and How to Reach & Teach Children with ADD/ADHD, 2nd edition.



1. Do not give up on using behavior modification techniques. Do know that these behavioral interventions  (although not easy to implement and follow-through with consistently) can be very helpful for your child and family.   An understanding of effective behavioral strategies is an important part of managing ADHD at home and school.  It is worth the time and effort to learn the behavioral strategies and parenting techniques that are known to be most effective for children with ADHD.  It’s fine if you’ve tried various techniques and stopped for one reason or another.  Sometimes your child loses interest and motivation, or you found yourself not following through.  When you’re ready to try again, know that there are a lot of variations of these methods that are worth exploring.


2. Do not respond or dole out negative consequences for your child’s misbehavior when you are in an angry, emotional state. Do wait until you have had a chance to calm down, regain your composure, and ability to think through an appropriate response before acting.


3. Do not be adversarial, accusatory, or hostile with school personnel. Do remain polite and diplomatic, and always try to build/maintain positive rapport with teachers and other school staff.  Casting blame or being confrontational is almost always counter-productive.


4. Do not bypass the classroom teacher by going directly to the administrator with issues or concerns.  Do grant the teacher the courtesy and professional respect to first meet, share concerns, and try to resolve problems directly with the teacher.


5. Do not be unrealistic or overly demanding of teachers with regard to the individual attention and degree of accommodations you expect for your child.  Do understand the teacher’s responsibility to ALL students in the classroom, and keep in mind what is “reasonable” when making requests of teachers.


6. Do not enter meetings with school personnel with preconceived ideas, or the thought that the school does not have your child’s best interest at heart.  Do enter school meetings with an open mind and cooperative attitude. Be willing to share your opinions, feelings, observations, suggestions, and information about your child or family that may help with planning and intervention.


7. Do not use the services of professionals if you doubt their knowledge and expertise about ADHD. Do choose professionals (e.g., physicians, psychologists, tutors) with whom you feel comfortable and who have experience and training working with kids who have ADHD.  Build a team with clinicians and other professionals who are committed to a multimodal treatment approach, and are willing to communicate and collaborate closely with you and the school.


8. Do not believe what you hear or read about ADHD if not coming from reputable, reliable sources.  There are a lot of myths and misinformation about this disorder.  Do seek out information that is based upon evidence from the scientific research into ADHD and proven treatments.


9. Do not stop learning all you can about ADHD.  Do educate yourself through any number of avenues (e.g., attending ADHD conferences and seminars, reading books and other publications, gaining information available on ADHD-related web sites, attending parent support groups and organizations, receiving training from specialists in the field). Knowledge about ADHD and treatments that are proven to work will empower you with confidence, hope, and the skills you need.


10. Do not be daunted by your role as the leader and administrator of your child’s care team.  Do assume this parental responsibility by:

– knowing enough about the school and factors that make a difference for school success to help make informed decisions regarding your child’s education

–  learning about your child’s rights under the federal laws (IDEA and Section 504) that protect children with disabilities

–  maintaining frequent and regular communication with teachers

–  facilitating communication between all parties involved in your child’s education, treatment, and care

–  keeping an updated and accessible file of your child’s important records/data (e.g., health history, report cards, testing/reports, correspondence to and from the school, meeting summaries).


Source of this blog:

Rief, Sandra (2008). The ADD/ADHD Checklist: A Practical Reference for Parents & Teachers, 2nd edition . San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Rief, Sandra (2005). How to Reach & Teach Children with ADD/ADHD, 2nd edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


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