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Managing Challenging Behavior

1)  Say how you feel – Rather than criticising the child directly e.g. “You’re behaving badly”, talk about the way their behaviour affects you, e.g. “It really upsets me when you….”

2) Avoid arguments – There are clear rules. You know them, the child knows them. End of story.

3) Count to three – For example if the child has taken someone else’s toy, say “Darren, please give the dinosaur back to James. I’m going to count to three. One…(wait 5 seconds)…two (more forcefully)…three.”

4) Time out –  You can establish a special place – a chair, a step, a corner – where the child goes to cool off (and let you cool off) for a fixed period (e.g. 5 or 10 minutes).

You can use a kitchen timer. During the time out, don’t talk to the child and don’t answer them. When the time is up, don’t talk about the problem. They have served their time, and now the slate is clean.


If the child refuses to take time out, then threaten to withdraw a privilege, such as playing on the computer or going out to play football. If necessary carry out the threat. Make a “Do not Disturb” sign, encourage your child to colour it in and decorate it, they can then use this sign whenever they need some time alone.


Education – coping with school

Many children with ADHD require extra support in school.  Make sure your child’s school area aware of their ADHD diagnosis and discuss what extra help you child might require.

Our Family Advice Workers can come to meetings in school to provide support if needed.