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.
- 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.”
- 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.’
- Praise moments of social interaction as well as academic and sport achievements. “Your friends really enjoyed the games you chose today.”
- 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.