How to Discipline an ADHD Child for Temper Tantrums

Impulse control is a reality for your ADHD child. When those impulse problems arise in the form of a temper tantrum, it can be very hard not to have one yourself. But that would defeat your purpose as a your child's best teacher and advocate. Work with a counselor or try these strategies.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil and paper, or a computer


    • 1

      Remember that your child has a more difficult time with impulse control than a child without ADHD. Use time-outs rather than corporal punishment. And be prepared to give yourself a time-out when you need it. This helps in two ways: You set a good example for the child, and it allows your child the time he needs to gain control over his feelings and become calm.

    • 2

      When your child is not upset, talk with him about what is appropriate and what is not appropriate behavior for when he feels frustrated and angry. Cut out pictures of people expressing their emotions and discuss them with your child. Encourage your child to tell you how he feels at various times.

    • 3

      Together, again during calm moments, write up an "I Can, I Can't" chart. If your child is old enough to write, he should compose the chart with your help. Otherwise, you can do the writing. For the chart, create two columns, one labeled "I Can Do When I am Angry" and the other labeled "I Can't Do When I am Angry." List acceptable behaviors under the first column: going to his room to calm down, counting to 10, taking deep breaths, etc. Under the second column, list all the negative things that your child does when he is throwing a temper tantrum. These will be unique to your child. Post the list in your child's room and refer to it often. In a firm voice, remind your child of the list when negative behaviors arise.

    • 4

      Put together a behavioral modification chart with a stated reward. Place a grid on paper. On the first row list positive behaviors: getting through the day without a tantrum, doing what Mom or Dad says on the first request, etc. On the left-hand column, list the days Sunday through Saturday. On each day, reward the positive behaviors with a sticker. When your child gets through the week with a previously agreed upon number of stickers, reward him with a treat. These can be non-monetary rewards such as special times with Mom or Dad, extra play or TV time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use of time-outs for yourself when you need them.
  • Stick to the plan. Your extra effort will eventually pay off -- don't get discouraged.
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  • Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

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