Behavior therapy is an effective treatment for ADHD. This therapy can improve a child’s behavior, self-control, self-esteem and it is most effective in young children when it is delivered by you. Experts recommend that healthcare providers refer parents of children younger than 12 years old for training in behavior therapy. For children younger than 6 years old, parent training in behavior management should be tried before prescribing ADHD medicine.
With behavior therapy, you, as a parent will learn the skills and strategies to help your child with ADHD succeed at school, at home, and in relationships. Learning and practicing behavior therapy requires time and effort, but it has lasting benefits for your child and your family.
As a parent, What should you look for?
You should look for a therapist who focuses on training you. Some therapists will have training or certification in a parent training program that has been proven to work in young children with ADHD. Find a therapist using the following guidelines:
Does this therapist:
- teach parents skills and strategies that use positive habit enforcing techniques, structure, and consistent discipline to manage their child’s behavior?
- teach parents positive ways to interact and communicate with their child?
- assign activities for parents to practice with their child?
- meet regularly with the family to monitor progress and provide coaching and support?
- re-evaluate treatment plans and remain flexible enough to adjust strategies as needed?
What can you expect?
You will typically attend eight or more sessions with a therapist. Sessions may involve working with groups of parents or with one family alone. The therapist meets regularly with you to review their progress, provide support, and adjust strategies, as needed, to ensure improvement. You will typically practice with their child between sessions.
Why should you get trained as a parent?
You have the greatest influence on their young child’s behavior. Also, Young children with ADHD are not mature enough to change their own behavior without help and guidance, therefore it is important that you learn the techniques and use them at appropriate times. Some therapists may use play therapy or talk therapy to treat young children with ADHD. Play therapy provides a way for children to communicate their experiences and feelings through play. Talk therapy uses verbal communication between the child and a therapist to treat mental and emotional disorders. Neither of these has been proven to improve symptoms in young children with ADHD. Though learning and practicing behavior therapy requires time and effort, but it has lasting benefits for the child.
We request you to call and setup an appointment with your pediatric ADHD doctor, Dr. Shen at Hebron Pediatrics if you have any questions on this topic and how to manage the conditions associated with ADHD.