One of the main problems faced by the parents of a child with ADHD is the restless and disruptive behavior that usually characterizes this disorder. Many complain that their children are restless, do not pay attention to them and it is difficult to talk to them. Therefore, it is not strange that they end up losing patience and resort to punishment. However, the truth is that punishment is almost never the best solution, especially when it comes to children with ADHD.
What really is punishment?
Punishment is a tool used to control behavior through negative external stimuli, which gradually extinguish the behavior inappropriate. This can take different forms, such as asking the child to organize his room or repeat a poorly done task, on other occasions a positive stimulus can simply be withdrawn, such as watching television or going to the park to play with the friends.
However, regardless of what form it takes, punishment should be used with great caution in children with ADHD. It is not that it cannot be used, since these children need to know precisely what the limits are in the family and educational context, but frequent punishment can be ineffective as the child gets used to it. Added to this is that children with ADHD have a hard time understanding what can and cannot be done. Therefore, if a punishment is applied without explaining the reasons that motivated it, it is likely that not even serve to eradicate negative behavior.
On the other hand, the frequent use of punishment often makes positive behaviors go unnoticed, which generates in the child the feeling that attention is only being paid to him when misbehaves, thereby reinforcing negative behaviors. For this reason, most psychologists recommend using other educational techniques, such as positive reinforcement of the behaviors that are to be stimulated or the avoidance strategy, which is often enough to eliminate inappropriate behaviors. However, when these techniques do not work, punishment can be an option, as long as it is applied appropriately.
How should punishment be used in children with ADHD?
Punishment must be negotiated in advance
A random and unwarranted punishment usually will not have the desired effect on a child’s behavior. Any punishment must respond to very clear rules, which tell the child what is right and what is not. Therefore, it is about the child knowing in advance what the consequences of his behavior will be and what kind of punishment will be applied if he does practice it.
It should be applied immediately after the negative behavior
Most children, s Especially the little ones, they tend to easily forget their negative behaviors, children with ADHD have an even shorter memory. Therefore, punishments should be applied immediately after the negative behavior has occurred, so it will be easier to understand the cause-effect relationship.
Punishment should be consistent with the behavior that has motivated it
Often parents tend to exaggerate with punishments. However, when excessive punishments are applied for insignificant behaviors, it loses its force since what the child perceives is that he is being unfairly reprimanded. Therefore, it is important that the intensity of the punishment corresponds to the problem that has caused the child.
The causes that have given rise to the punishment should always be explained
Punishment does not it should be used as an isolated educational technique, for it to take effect the child must understand why he is being punished, only then can he eliminate the negative behavior. Therefore, it is recommended that every time you punish him, you explain the reasons.
Punishments must always be followed
There are not a few parents who They lift punishments easily. However, for punishment to be truly effective as an educational method, it must be maintained, regardless of external factors. It is preferable to impose a short punishment, which is fully complied with, than an exemplary punishment that is removed early.