In 2016, Dr. Bill Pelham and his team put out a great paper. In it, he compared teaching parents behavioral skills or using medicine for ADHD children. What he found was the order you first use the parenting skills and medicine matters.

Parenting benefits children with ADHD when it includes direct behavioral strategies. For example, parents must be more careful about how they give attention to ADHD children. Attention, even negative attention, can reward the very behaviors parents want to stop. Strategies like focusing on positive behavioral expectations, and rewarding them with praise and attention, can benefit children with ADHD quite a bit.

But what Pelham’s article shows is not just the benefits of behavioral parenting, it also showed that often, introduction of behavioral parenting first, and then introducing medication, appears to produce the best outcomes.  Of course, this finding isn’t true for every child, but Pelham’s team help us to see that early use of behavioral strategies is beneficial.

It’s important to remember that decisions like learning behavioral parenting or medication should be discussed with your pediatrician. To be well informed, consider looking at these sites to read about positive, behavioral parenting.

Yale Parenting Center

Triple P:  Positive Parenting Program

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