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with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

11 Tips for Parenting a Child with ADHD

It can be exhausting and confusing to have a child with ADHD (or ADHD-like symptoms). However, if you’re reading this, I know that you also love your child whole-heartedly. Your child is probably creative, adventourous, fun, unique, or any combination of these characteristics.

Because it can be difficult to know what parenting tactics work best for kids with ADHD, I will provide a quick list of some parenting strategies that are based on evidence-based treatment models for kids with ADHD as well as from the behaviorism literature (which is based on the science of behavior and learning).

Pelham and Fabiano (2008) reviewed the scientific literature and concluded that behavioral parent training and classroom management strategies were the approaches to treating ADHD which had the most support. They had the most studies which showed the effectiveness of their procedures.

These two approaches were in comparison to behavioral peer interventions and social skills training which both had smaller effects on ADHD symptoms.

All treatments that produced positive outcomes for kids with ADHD included a behavioral approach.

Pelham and Fabiano (2008) discuss the positive effects of the following interventions:

  • Behavioral contingency strategies, such as token or point systems
  • Daily Report (Behavior) Cards from school to home with rewards provided at home for meeting certain criteria (i.e. good behavior)
  • Parent training: To learn about and implement behavior management plans

Other suggestions for parenting a child with ADHD include:

  • Establishing rules and consequences and maintain consistency with both the rules and consequences
  • Remain calm when your child “misbehaves”
  • Reinforce positive behaviors (Ex: give praise or rewards for maintaining longer periods of attention or following multiple step instructions, etc.)
  • Have your child implement a self-management plan (help him to set personal goals and work toward those goals)
  • Help your child to become more aware of his “problem behaviors” (in a loving, nurturing way)
  • Help your child identify his strengths and interests
  • Allow your child time to participate in hobbies and build on his strengths
  • Break challenging tasks into smaller pieces and give breaks in between completion of the pieces


Pelham Jr, W. E., & Fabiano, G. A. (2008). Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 37(1), 184-214.
[image credit: Christin Lola via Fotalia]
11 Tips for Parenting a Child with ADHD

APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2015). 11 Tips for Parenting a Child with ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 20, 2019, from