Consequences for AD/HD kids - any suggestions?


New Member
I've tried (unsuccessfully) many different forms of consequences for bad behavior with my difficult child and I haven't found anything that works. How do you have consequences for someone who only lives in the here and now? They don't necessarily remember (or care)what happened in the past, so they can't apply that reasoning to the future (if I do A, then B will happen). Does anyone have anything that works for them?


New Member
What have you tried so far?

I could give you alot of suggestions, depending on what you're looking for.

What kind of "bad" behaviors are you talking about? Are you trying to get your difficult child to stop being aggressive (i.e. hitting, name calling, slapping) or are you trying to get difficult child to do things like chores and homework? Or all the above? LOL!

I have done the gamut of behavioral modification here. Alot of people here will tell you they don't like rewards and charts for whatever reason, however, they changed my son Dylan miraculously (in conjunction with therapy and medications), and now I have no issues with him at all.

I guess alot of it depends on what you're looking for help with and what you're experiencing.



New Member
if you find anything that works let me know cause i have tryed it all and nothing helps either and i did the rewards and charts he just did not when he is on medications i have no promblem so it gets confussing.heres something you could did not work for me but it might for you .find something he likes more then any thing in the world.then have a chart if he wants to get it he has to earn so many points but every time he misbehaves he looses points so he has to work at staying good.its just a thought..good luck..


Well-Known Member
I have found that for the most part, you need to target only one or two behaviors, get those under control and then make sure the child is doing what he should with those and then move on. A good reference book is Ross Greene's The Explosive Child. He outlines a method that can work, if you are willing to take the time to work through it, but it takes a long time, and it take patience. There are no easy answers or quick fixes.


Well-Known Member
If he can't learn from his behavior, and you feel he's properly medicated, I'd consider that maybe he has more going on than ADHD. He's on a lot of stimulants. Do you feel it's changing him for the better? How was his developmental history?


Active Member
You asked, " How do you have consequences for someone who only lives in the here and now?"

Short answer - you can't. And shouldn't. Why punish a child for something he can't control? It's like trying to nail down the end of the rainbow.

Prevention is best, and then come natural consequences. ADHD kids are not naughty on purpose. If you sat them down to give them a written test on what is acceptable behaviour and what isn't, they'd probably score well. The problem is, when it comes to USING these rules, they have to have the skills to be able to stop and think first. And they just haven't got those skills. To punish them for this is just plain cruel and will be teaching them that they are being punished for who and what they are. They are automatically set up for failure. You get upset, they get upset, you have to waste your time imposing discipline and supervising it and also dealing with the fallout of their resentment (which often produces more behaviour requiring punishment).

Stop the cycle. Deal with prevention where possible, let them see natural consequences and reparation rather than punishment. Respect their efforts even when those efforts fail, and you will have more success in requesting that same respect in return.

There will be times they will shout at you in frustration (well, you do that to them sometimes, we all do) and times they will throw things. They will do stupid things out of impulsiveness. But the consequences will happen anyway.

Example from a few minutes ago - difficult child 3 has been breaking curfew for the last few nights, playing on his Nintendo DS after bedtime. So for the last two nights, husband has confiscated it. difficult child 3 was very angry about it last night. But tonight he was calm. It's bedtime for him now. I just asked him to bring me his Nintendo DS. "But I'm not going to play it, I'm going straight to sleep."
I told him, "You've said that before, and you've been found playing games after you should have games off. So I'm keeping this for tonight so you won't be tempted."
"But I won't play it!"
"Then it won't matter if I leave it on this desk - you can get it first thing in the morning and play it then, you don't have to wait until I give it to you. But this is a consequence of you breaking the rules for the past two nights - we're helping you keep those rules."

He's now gone to bed, without his DS but also without a fight. He knows he has to earn our trust again. But he's a fast learner - I will let him have it back for tomorrow night, but we will check to make sure he's not breaking rules again. And he knows this.

He's still impulsive. He often makes mistakes, gets loudly angry, can sound very rude. But if we react with punishment all the time he would be even worse because his anxiety and stress would make all these problems MORE likely. By helping him learn self-control and mood control he is more able to behave as he knows is proper.

Inside every difficult child is a really good kid who wants to be able to be easy child but just can't find the way. So they behave in other ways which we don't like. It gets worse. They're trapped in a large black box with no light in it and can't find the door. If we keep zapping them for failing to find the door they'll be even more frightened and scared, making it harder for them to think their way out.

I'm a Ross Greene fan. It works to different degrees in different situations, but it's always worth a read. It's been brilliant, for us. And I'm a much happier person, not having to punish.



New Member
<span style="color: #6633FF">i think you answered your own question when you said he lives in the here & now. consequences must be swift & immediate. do NOT consequence at home for things that happen in school. you know the saying *what happens in vegas stays in vegas*? well what happens in school stays in school it's their job to give consequences for poor behavior there.

i disagree with-the idea that you don't consequence for what they cannot control. how will they learn to control their behaviors if they do not receive consequences. disorders are not excuses for poor behavior. they have to learn early that their are consequences & that society will hold them responsible....if not now then when they are older.

have you read ross greene's THE EXPLOSIVE CHILD? he has an excellent plan that include not working on everything at once. pick your top two & when he's mastered one of them bring something else into the mix. one step at a time. slow but sure wins the race. OK, stopping with-the silly sayings lol.

nothing works overnight. this stuff takes time. you'll have steps forward & there will be slips back. consistency is the key.

kris </span>


New Member
you can't "punish" what they can't control.

You can try and teach coping skills.

I agree that you must concentrate on one or two areas at a time. For us it's homework (it's ALWAYS homework). Hearing an assignment, bringing home the things to do the assignment, doing the assignment, getting it back into the bookbag, and turning it in - is just too many steps. We've had "failures" at every point in the process. We continue to work on strategies to help with success (he's had five weeks now with every assignment turned in!!!!). And strategies need to be flexible - what works this week may not work next week.

Good luck - if there was a "magic" pill or strategy, all of our lives would be so much easier!!!!


Well-Known Member
Over many years on the Board I have discovered that there is a huge difference in what some of us expect and what some of us consider to be a major problem. It's like standing on a stage
anticipating that some members will toss ( tomatoes
at you but if you're brave :)) you may share specific problems and see what the rest of us think.

With my first child (a major easy child, by the way) I honestly believed she
was being "naughty" if she did anything that caused embarrassment
for me or my then young husband. It's a darn good thing she was
a easy child. By the time I had GFGmom, I did not think getting out of
a chair during dinner was even worth thinking about! With difficult child
(the younger grandson with ADHD and AS and whatever??) I could
live with almost any behavior that was not destructive.

Between 1960 and 2007 my definitions have changed. on the other hand I am a
much better Mom now than I was "back in the day" when I began this parenting road. DDD


New Member
Thanks for all the advice and comments. I realize that I have not rewarded my difficult child enough for his good things. I've said in previous posts that I am a strict parent with high expectations of both difficult child and easy child. I've slowly come to realize that fact, and have been less harsh, but I haven't altered the "atta boys". Don't get me wrong, I praise both my boys quite frequently and there's a lot of hugs and kisses and I love yous. However, I need to also realize that what is normal behaviour for pcs can be great behaviour for a difficult child, and I need to reward that more frequently. That way, I can have those natural consequences. I have realized that the reason I have a hard time coming up with consequences is because I don't give enough rewards. The more I think I learn, the more I see my own shortcomings. I just hope that I can do enough good for my difficult child, that he ends up being a happy, healthy, well-adjusted adult that has fond memories of childhood, and having to go to counseling because of his cruel mother!


This is a hard one and a seemingly never ending process -- behvior modification.

There are a lot of things that factor into it -- particularly if your difficult child has ADHD (Combined type).

The 2/3rds rule (child acts like s/he is 2/3rds their chronological age, e.g., behavior-wise an 8 yr old "going on 5," a 15 yr old "going on" 10. [I got a better understanding of this when I flipped it around in my mind. Do we expect a 10 yr old to have the maturity level of a 15 yr old? Would you expect a 14-yr old to be able to have the reasoning ability and self-regulation as a 20 yr old? No.]

Then there's lack of impulse control, executive dysfunction issues, inability to follow directions, more likely than not a learning disability, etc., etc., etc.

We used a behavior modification program named "The Voucher System." We modified it to suit our needs. We added a little of this, a little of that.

Working on two or three behavior areas at a time is a good idea. As those behaviors are controlled and become an instilled habit, drop one off and add another. If not, it may overwhelm your child and create other problems -- like anxiety, anger, etc.

The older our kids get, the less forgiving society becomes of their lack of age-appropriate behaviors. It's a fine line we walk....

If you haven't read , it's a good resource. has some good info related to ADHD and executive dysfunction.


Well-Known Member
ADHD kids can learn self control. Jamie was punished fairly normally as a kid and by the time he was in boot camp he was really treated There was no consideration for "differences". He has complete control of himself today. Sure he still has some attention problems and he is still extremely active but that works to his advantage. He runs for fun. He is an outdoorsy type of guy. He will never work in an office. His profession will be in law enforcement. He started out in the military. This all worked for him. ADHD is not always a disadvantage.