- If you don’t clean your room, you lose your favorite game
- If you don’t get to the bus on time, you lose your sleepover
Does this sound all too familiar? As defeating as it is for an ADHD kid to hear again and again, it is equally demoralizing for parents to keep repeating. The truth is that negative consequences, threats, and yelling do get a reaction. They tend to get our kids to do what we want — in the short term.
But do they change the behavior in the long term? Probably not. Do they make everyone stressed and anxious? No doubt. So, what works?
Rewards. Kids tend to respond more favorably to the carrot than to the stick. If there is a behavior you want to change, find a clear motivator and use it to support her behavior. If it’s cleaning the room, give her an immediate reward: clean room = 30 minutes of screen time. Rewards focus on the positive, supporting good behavior, rather than focusing on bad behavior. This change, alone, can make a powerful difference for ADHD kids — and their parents!