Discipline for ADHD child: My daughter... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Discipline for ADHD child

kimhaddock29 profile image
12 Replies

My daughter is 7 years old and seems to find a way to get into things that don't belong to her. She breaks things and tries to hide them in her bedroom. I know that if I am missing something I can find it in her room, hopefully still like I left it. I have spanked her in the past and she would plead with me saying, " I won't do it again." Well she goes right back the next day and does the same thing. Obviously spanking is not the best form of discipline at this point. I have read some research that it is fruitless. So I am going to stop wasting my energy. My question is what are you all doing that works to discipline your kid? I have tried to take away things she likes but that doesn't work. I try to calm down and not make it into a screaming match but that is sometime unavoidable. It also concerns me that she lies about things and goes through periods of rage ( almost demonic like fits). I am a Registered Nurse and I worry about what is physically going on in her body. Those fits cant be good for her blood pressure. I am going to devote my time to researching all I can about this disease. I have a 16 year old daughter that I have been through this with already. She did the same thing and nothing every worked with disciplining her. She grew out of it the older she got but it was a tough time for both of us. I am praying my 2 year old does not have ADHD or I am going to pull my hair out.

12 Replies
Adam081911 profile image

Hi- My son is 7 in grade 2. He loves to sneak into kitchen covers and freezers especially on the weekend because my husband and I both want to sleep in a bit. He takes this opportunity to hide behind the living room curtains or the bathroom and lock himself and eats his sugary foods.

We purchased a box with a lock, lock those foods in the box with scissors so he can't get to those and cut them open.

We still don't have anything to lock freezer which we still have to figure out, but my question to you is that what are the things your daughter tends to break or hide?

kimhaddock29 profile image
kimhaddock29 in reply to Adam081911

It's a variety of items. Makeup, hair products, foods. Yesterday she powdered her room with flour and played in AD ointment. I can always find hair brushes which is understandable for a little girl but hair gel, conditioner, shampoo, sprays are things she knows she should have. I don't know how many times we have cleaned up lotion or vasaline off walls, toys, and the floor. Believe me when I tell you these things are up high in cabinets and shelves the I can barely reach. I'm going to start locking my bedroom door because majority of the stuff she takes is from our bedroom. I'm going to get a fridge lock so she can't get in there and a lock for the pantry. It will make it hard for the entire family but it seems to be the only thing to do. I have a box of highlighters, pens, pencils because they disappear or get messed up. It seems to work. Just hate to live with locks everywhere.

katcald profile image

Our son, now 11, does the same thing, especially with food. I don’t usually keep soda in the house, but when we do have it for a party it always winds up hidden in his room. Candy and chips, too.

We tried locking the fridge at night, but he managed to find out the combination to the lock and got in anyway. We gave up, because we want to teach him not to take things because it’s wrong, not because it’s locked up. (If there were no locks or guards at the bank, would you go in and take money? For most of us the answer is no. )

It’s an impulse thing pure and simple. He doesn’t think through his actions (He cut up the corners of three of our VERY expensive custom cabinets just a few months after we got them because he liked the way the knife stuck in the soft wood!)

We are working with a therapist to teach him how to control these impulses. I worry that some day he will get sent to prison for stealing something. I imagine him telling the judge “I didn’t mean to” or “I just didn’t think” 😔

Morety profile image
Morety in reply to katcald

I’m sorry you are going through this. I don’t have any advice. We are facing this issue with our 6 year old son.

Applecrisp profile image
Applecrisp in reply to katcald

Wow! I have exactly the same thought about the judge when I think of our 8 year old's future. He doesn't steal things or usually sneak food, but he throws food and medicine that he doesn't want to eat/take away and lies about it. If he winds up in front of a judge though, it will be because he impulsively grabbed or hurt someone. He's not violent exactly, but he gets grabby and physical with other kids when they play and some other kid is always getting hurt. I can absolutely see him trying to tell the judge "oops" and "I don't remember", his two favorites.

kondasa profile image

Discipline is tough for sure. My daughter's prize possession is her tablet and I do a lot of threatening with loss of time on tablet--no more than one day, otherwise it isn't helpful to me or her. She gets one hour a day on weekdays and four hours on weekends. So I will take away one hour at a time. If I see her starting to make a bad choice I will look at her and say, "do you want to lose an hour?" which makes her think of consequences and she will stop. I do find that I have to be more present to be her check.

I think for us, we don't give our 7 year old much time to get into trouble and make bad choices. I know it seems crazy, but we try to keep a pretty strict schedule at our house because she can't deal with open days. She has free play time built into the schedule, but during those times I am usually around the house checking-in. We actually started enrolling her in evening classes and summer camps-- tumbling, cheer, tennis to keep her occupied as to minimize damage to my house and put her in situations that cause less stress for me. On a free Saturday, we are taking her to the trampoline park, Monkey Joes or the park so she isn't in my house making a mess.

kimhaddock29 profile image
kimhaddock29 in reply to kondasa

Great ideas. When I am home she rarely gets into things. This usually happens when I'm not around. I actually lock my bedroom door when I'm home so that she won't be tempted to go in there. She is smart because she told her grandmother she wasn't allowed in my bedroom when I wasn't home. Her grandmother ask her to get the brush so she could fix her hair. So she knows, she just forgets. My husband and mother in law don't watch her as close as I do and those are the times she gets in trouble. My husband falls asleep around her. I warn him about doing that. He always wakes to a mess and calls me at work fussing about it.

scrabble2018 profile image

When my daughter was 5, we found all kinds of candy and chip wrappers and bags under the sofa when we moved it to vacuum underneath. She would get into everything, from ointments, medicines, make-up, but especially anything sweet. Now, I don't buy much sweets or candy, and If I buy snacks for school lunch, I hide it away somewhere she cant get to. She is older now, but I still keep medicine in a safe box with a lock, and I still hide away sweet snacks. In addition, to keep her from getting into my closet and taking things, I got a lock for my door. We had to take away the locking feature on her bedroom door knobs, because she would lock herself in her room or bathroom, and would not open the door.

We also try and keep her pretty busy during the school week (piano, swimming, math tutor, counseling), and we have a reward system for chores, and she gets points for putting away things, making her bed, etc. At the end of the week, she can redeem the points for a reward.

anirush profile image

Spanking never did any good for us. Made my grandson more aggressive and it didn't seem to hurt him at all. Taking away toys or electronics only had him in my face all the time and didn't seem to bother him either.

Medication to stabilize his ADHD and behavioral counselor to teach him to control impulses are they only thing that have worked

Janice_H profile image

Disciplining does not work for me and my 11 y.o. son either. I have tried spanking, taking away electronics, issuing punishment from outings and visiting friends. None of these things works. He will apologize for wrong doing and a few days later go back to doing the same thing that got him into trouble. It is confusing for me. Every few days he has gotten himself into a jam for one reason or another. I really believe when they get to a certain age, this behavior stops and they become more responsible.

Pennywink profile image

My 6 year old also has some intense impulse control issues. He especially loves keys / locks & technology. I've seen him grab ear buds from our office, not even thinking. He also has a little safe & small food stashes.

To my knowledge, some medications help better with impulse control than others.

So far, here is what we have tried. It seems to come & go whether it works. We also really liked Smart but Scattered. Here's an article that may be helpful:


1. Sleep makes a world of difference for us. He has an early bedtime (7:30p) and a daily schedule with freetime built in to the structure.

2. I allow him one little food stash. The rules are everything has to be approved & kept tidy (no crumbs or opened containers.) I'd rather him have the stash and be honest about it than lying on top of it. it also helps by giving him a sense of control.

3. We try role playing to teach impulse control. Like at new places, he always wants to monkey with the door handles & locks (drives em CRAZY.) So, we practice going through doors & leaving them alone. There's probably other things a behavioral therapist could also help you with.

4. Punishment also doesn't always work, but PRAISE - oh, he lives for adult praise! So, when I catch him doing something good, or just not doing something we've been trying to stop, I calmly point it out. Though I can't make too big of a deal of it, or he gets amped up & it all goes downhill.

5. Connection. The praise helps with this, but also just making sure to connect with him and show him love & appreciation really helps. It helps his motivation to want to behave.

katcald profile image

I am so sorry, Courtney. I totally understand as I am going through the same thing with my son. 😞

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