ADHD tips for parents - Address ADHD and Disciplining without Yelling

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Many parents spend a lot of time thinking through how to do ADHD and disciplining without yelling and how to do it well. If you are a parent, whether or not you planned to, you have more than likely yelled at your children once or twice. Raising children can be difficult and frustrating and sometimes as parents we can lose our tempers. When tempers flare, yelling using quickly follows behind.

For parents of ADHD children, discipline can sometimes be more of a challenge. Children with ADHD tend to be hyperactive and have lots of energy. They also usually struggle to listen or focus on what someone tells them. As a result, they can often be very active and constantly moving and can be very difficult to have sit down and listen to what you want to tell them. When they behave at their most active, many parents just what to scream or yell if only to get their attention and have them stop for a minute from doing what they are doing.

Unfortunately, though, yelling rarely gets anyone very far, especially with discipline. In the end, we as parents really need to find other ways to act and respond to our children. In this article, we want to talk through how to successfully approach ADHD and disciplining without yelling. We hope these tips and strategies can help you approach discipline with your ADHD child in a more productive manner.

Use Family Timeouts

To start with, a great way to start looking at ADHD and disciplining without yelling is to think of taking family timeouts. Sometimes, especially in the heat of an argument, we get angry and wrapped up in our emotions. When this happens, we tend to let our rational reasoning fall away. As a result, we simply react instead of think through our actions. When we react, then we yell or say things that later we wish we could take back.

When you watch sports, sometimes the game just starts going against your team. As a result, oftentimes your team’s coach calls a timeout. The coach wants to take the timeout to reorient the team and refocus on the objective of winning the game.

In your home and with interacting with your children, sometimes your family needs a timeout for much of the same reason. The situation might not be heading the way that you want. Now, you need to call a timeout to refocus on the objective of family respect and wellbeing.

When you feel like yelling or if your child starts yelling at you, you should call a family timeout. Send your child to their room and you go to another location. Have everyone involved in the situation go to a different spot by themselves and without electronics or distractions. Provide everyone 20 or 30 minutes just to think about the situation and their response.

Have each person think through what they have done so far and consider the other people’s emotions and feelings in the situation. Then after the timeout, have everyone come back together and sit around the table to discuss the next steps forward. Ideally, when you come back together, cooler heads will have prevailed and you can talk over things without yelling or arguing.


A second way to approach ADHD and disciplining without yelling is to use redirection. Ultimately, discipline should be about corrective teaching as opposed to punishment. You don’t want your child to simply feel guilt and shame for their actions. Instead, you want your child to learn to do things correctly and enjoy doing the right thing. One way to encourage this, encourage your child to make right actions over wrong actions, is to use redirection.

Redirection works by replacing a negative behavior with a positive one. If your child regularly does something wrong, instead of just resorting to constantly yelling at them, teach them a better behavior to do instead. For instance, if your child throws a fit or screams if their sibling wants to play video games instead of them, take a moment to bring your child aside.

In that moment, talk through their response with them and explain why it’s not appropriate. After doing that, though, also give them a better way to respond and something else to do. Redirect them towards another activity they enjoy such as reading or going outside. Tell them that they don’t have to always play video games and this is an opportunity to do something else they enjoy.

Redirection can be useful in many ways in providing correction to your child. Many actions that your child do they do simply because they don’t know any other way to respond. You can use redirection to teach them positive behaviors and right ways to respond in difficult situations. An added bonus is helping you to keep from just yelling as you start to think creatively about addressing the situation for the long term.


Whisper instead of Yell

To practice ADHD and disciplining without yelling, one thing you can try is simply to whisper every time you feel like yelling. Many times we end up losing our tempers and yelling because we let our emotions take over for us. Our emotions then and the heat of the moment disrupts our rational processing and reasoning. To prevent your emotions from taking things towards a negative route, though, you should think of ways to stop that process. One great way of halting your emotions and breaking that cycle is to do something simple like whispering.

Whispering can provide a break because it disrupts the normal expectations. No one expects you to respond to a heated situation with a whisper. In fact, your emotions want to push you in the opposite direction.

With responding in a whisper, you can help to break the tenseness and defuse the situation. Your child more than likely will stop what they are doing to listen to what you’re saying. Additionally, you provide yourself a slight pause to halt your emotions ratcheting up and up.


Work as a Team

Another avenue for addressing ADHD and discipline without yelling can involve working together as a team. Parents should view themselves as part of a two person team. Really, you should think of your whole family as working together. When it comes to discipline, though, specifically parents need to act as two parts of one team working towards the same goal.

Working together as a team first means having a game plan before any discipline occurs. You and your spouse need to sit down and talk through the ways you want to discipline. Think of specific disciplinary actions for specific types of behavior.

Also, you should consider and agree on levels of discipline and intensity. If you want to use time outs, think of the amount of time out needed for different levels of actions. Then when your child does something to break a rule, you have a plan that you can automatically refer to.

Additionally, not only do you need to plan in advance, but you also need to bring the other person into the discussion in the moment. If your spouse is in the other room, bring them in for the conversation on discipline. If your spouse is out of the house, then hit pause if you feel like yelling and wait for them to return to discuss discipline. Ultimately, we resort to yelling when we feel tired, overwhelmed, and on our own. When we think of discipline as working as a team, though, we can remove many of those factors from the equation.

Ask Questions

One other good way for approaching ADHD and discipline without yelling can involve asking questions. This idea goes back to the concept of redirection away from the heated moment and argument. In the moment when you feel like yelling, you should pause and turn the conversation back towards engaging with your child.

Yelling acts as one way communication. There’s no concern with yelling about two way communication and getting feedback. In the moment when we feel like yelling, we just want to command and control the situation.

With asking questions, though, we disrupt that trajectory of limiting the discipline and interaction with our child. In an argument, most of us settle into an offensive posture where we want to lash out or attack the other party. When you ask questions, you slowdown that engagement and can help to reorient the argument towards a productive outcome. Questions force everyone to stop and think about what they are doing and how it impacts the situation.

The next time you feel like yelling, stop and ask your child some questions about the situation and how they feel. More likely than not, your child might feel caught off guard. They then might back down from their argumentative stance and start opening up to consider your point of view.

ADHD and Disciplining without Yelling as a Regular Practice

The goal of this post and the goal of parenting should aim towards regularly implementing ADHD and disciplining without yelling as a normal habit. Yelling rarely if ever benefits any situation in our households. While many times, your child’s ADHD symptoms and tendencies might drive you to want to yell and scream, reacting in that way usually only makes both you and your child feel bad and more upset.

At the minimum, we hope this article has provided you some valuable strategies to use when you feel like yelling. As parents, none of us practice discipline perfectly. We mess up and sometimes we just get frustrated and yell.

With the right tools, though, at our disposable we can get better over time with addressing ADHD and disciplining without yelling. With putting some of these strategies into practice, soon discipline might feel like second nature. Start working towards more effective discipline techniques within your household today and use these tips as a starting place.