The Importance of Praise in Parenting a Child with ADHD

Many experts, including Dr.  William Dodson, estimate that children with ADHD on average receive 20,000 more negative messages than other children. The importance of giving praise can’t be overestimated.  Kids with ADHD need our feedback to be motivating, inspiring, and loving. Think about praise as an underused condiment in the recipe of parenting. Take it off the shelf and pepper it into everything you do.  Here are some examples of how to incorporate more specific, targeted praise for your child.

  1. Recognize the efforts/as well as the end result.  “Wow.  I can see how much work you are putting into studying for your Spanish test.”
  2. Make observations in the present.  Instead of saying ‘good job’ or   ‘well done,’ notice and observe a detail about your child in the moment.  For instance, ‘the brush strokes you are painting in your art project really stand out.’
  3. Praise moments of social interaction as well as academic and sports achievements.  “Your friends really enjoyed the games you chose today.”
  4. Take the time to highlight efforts to problem solve. “I noticed how you took a moment to breathe and think about how to react when you missed the goal.”

Don’t forget nonverbal praise.  Giving your child a subtle wink, thumbs up, high five or smile when you see that they are trying can go a long way.

Allison Tyler

Allison Tyler is an author, a licensed clinical social worker with over 17 years experience, and founder of ADHD Strategy Mom. She believes that all individuals with ADHD can learn new skills and strategies to not only help them to live but to thrive in our neurodiverse world. Using a blend of motivational, cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness techniques, She teaches specific approaches and strategies to help strengthen executive function skills.

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