Behavioral Treatment for ADHD
Parents who want an alternative to medicinal treatment for their child with ADHD can discuss behavioral modification options with their doctor. Often, though, behavior therapy works best in combination with medical therapy to affect the entire life of the child. Here are some options for behavior treatment.
It is not uncommon for children who have been diagnosed with ADHD to also have other behavioral conditions. They may also have some form of anxiety or depressive disorder at the same time. Sometimes, the pressure of dealing with ADHD can bring on the symptoms of depression.
With children, addressing ADHD with more than medication has extensive benefits. For one, it helps your child understand what is happening to them. When adults are given medication, they can understand why. But for a child, that may not be the case. Behavioral treatment assists them in accepting the nature of their condition and also showing them how to be instrumental in their own treatment.
Counseling can be effective not just for the child but also for the entire family. Dealing with the effects of ADHD can be hard on everyone in the family. Counseling sessions allow each person to express their feelings about how they are affected. A trained psychiatrist or clinical psychologist can then address the situation and offer feedback and exercises to help the family cope.
Individual counseling with an older child or teen gives them the opportunity to communicate their feelings. It is already difficult for teenagers to find their place amongst peers and ADHD doesn’t make it any easier. They may have anger and shame issues related to their condition. A counselor can offer coping skills for tackling school work and also for dealing with peers.
It sounds like a procedure cooked up in a mad scientist’s lab but it is far less sinister than that. Behavior modification involves cognitive behavior therapy – recognizing certain behaviors and correcting them right then.
Kids with ADHD are often labeled as “bad children”, “behavior problems”, and “unreachable or unteachable.” This is not the case at all, and it can be frustrating for a child who tries to change but doesn’t know why they cannot.
Behavior modification is for parents and their children with ADHD. Both are counseled in child behavior management. The first concept to understand is that children are not acting out or trying to be “bad.” At the same time, parents are not to blame for ADHD because of poor parenting skills. It is a condition that can occur with any child.
Since all children are known to act out, one challenge with ADHD children is knowing when they are being affected by their condition and when they are simply being an adolescent or a teenager with angst. Both parent and child will learn how to:
- Set goals for home environment
- Set specific rewards and also consequences for certain behaviors
- Follow through with those rewards and consequences consistently
Counseling is always a help to families with children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Behavior modification works best when a child is first diagnosed so that both parent and child learn from the beginning how to cope and live with ADHD.
- Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD (psychologytoday.com)