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10 Positive Things to Say to Your Child with ADD

Updated on April 11, 2013

Stay Positive

Sometimes when parenting a child with ADD it can take a Herculean effort to stay positive. Due to their impulse control issues your interaction with a child with ADD can be down right exhausting. As most parents with children with ADD can attest to, you find yourself starting almost every sentence with "NO," "STOP," or "Why did you do that?" After a while two things start to inevitably happen: 1) your child with ADD tunes you out, 2) you feel terrible all the time for not being a positive person.

Now, I'm not saying turning into Mary Poppin's is the answer, but a little humour and some positivity can go a long way.

Words of love
Words of love | Source

Change Your Words, Change Your Feelings

Words have power, what we choose to say effects who we are and how we feel. What if you made the conscious decision to stop saying "no," so much and tried to find a positive way to interact and redirect your child with ADD?

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten to help us deal with our daughter's difficult ADD related behavior was to replace negative behaviour with positive behaviour and instructions if necessary. For example if she was hitting her sister I would typically say "Stop hitting your sister." Using the new model I say "Hands off. Use words." If a child can do better they will, sometimes they just don't know how. I have to admit, I was skeptical initially, it all seemed a little too "touchy feely," but after trying it for a few weeks I saw a change. She was able to make better choices and I didn't feel so draconian.

The other thing we try to do often in finding a way to positively speak to our daughter with ADD is to highlight what she does well. It's the "Catch them doing something right," philosophy. It makes sense, no one wants to feel like everything they do is wrong. So celebrate what they do well and the unique gifts that come with ADD.

Open your heart to positive interactions.
Open your heart to positive interactions. | Source

Prepared to be Positive

Being positive doesn't happen overnight. It takes effort and thought to change the way we interact with one another. Rather then trying to come up with a positive response on the fly, post these on the mirror in your bedroom or on a kitchen cupboard and ease them into your daily interactions. You'll be amazed at how much better you and your child will feel about yourselves when you do.

1. Wow! You are full of energy today, how about going outside?

Instead of “Stop moving, it's exhausting just looking at you.”

2. You have alot to say, let's just catch our breath together for a moment.

Instead of “Stop talking,” or "Shut up!"

3. I would have never thought of doing it that way, can you explain it to me?

Instead of "This looks completely crazy, what have you done?"

4. Accidents happen. How can we fix this together?

Instead of "What have you broken now?"

5. That’s so creative.

Instead of "What on earth is this mess?"

6. You are so colorful today, how about you pick two colors to wear at a time and save the others for another day?

Instead of "Nothing you are wearing matches, you look like you got dressed in the dark."

7. You have a lot going on here. Let's pick one thing to do first and then move on to the next.

Instead of "It's total chaos in here, you're so disorganized."

8. Gee that was fast. Let's see what it would look like if we did it a little slower.

Instead of "You raced through this and it's all wrong, now do it again."

9. You look like you're having some pretty big feelings right now, do you want to talk about it or have some time to yourself?

Instead of "What is wrong with you?"

10. I can see you're frustrated, so am I .Take a breath, take a break and we'll try again.

Instead of a tribal scream from both of you.


A Journey of a Thousand Steps

Parenting a child with ADD is challenging, but so is parenting in general. It's a journey, we put one foot in front of the other and do our best everyday. Choosing to be positive can make all the difference in the world.

Remember: At any given moment we are all doing our best. Love each other, forgive each other and move forward in the best way you know how.


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    • LongTimeMother profile image


      3 years ago from Australia

      Sharing this hub, Thundermama, because it makes such good sense!!

    • Beltane73 profile image

      Holly Kline 

      5 years ago from South Jersey

      Well written! As an ADD adult, I wish I had seen this around me more when I was a kid.

    • Thundermama profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Taylor 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for reading and commenting JB. I suspect a lot of adults struggle with ADD without being diagnosed and have found a way to cope much like you.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      6 years ago from UK

      Many of the children I've worked with over the years have ADHD/ADD diagnoses and we always try to boost their self-esteem and look for behaviour we can praise. I'm convinced that I have ADD myself - I often find I hyper-focus on something which helps shut out the racing thoughts.

    • Thundermama profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Taylor 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for reading ihk, I suspect your right, really for any professionals working with children.

    • iheartkafka profile image


      6 years ago

      Great tips and advice. I feel like this would be helpful for teachers, too.

    • Thundermama profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Taylor 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Many thanks for the kinds words everyone.

      @ billybuc, special thank you for reading so much of my work and commenting. You are a tremendous support on here.

      @ denisemai, thank you for the share and it's nice to meet someone in the ADD trenches as well. One day at a time.

      @ savingkathy thanks for reading and pointing out that positivity works for all children regardless of their needs. Sending you positive thoughts as you journey with your son.

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love these suggestions! Rephrasing things into more postive statements is good advice for anyone dealing with children with ADD, but is useful for others as well. I have a son with autism, and I try to keep this strategy in mind - otherwise I feel like I'm constantly telling him to stop doing things, and who wants that?

    • denisemai profile image

      Denise Mai 

      6 years ago from Idaho

      As a parent of a child with ADD, I can't say enough good things about your article. ADD kids are often highly intelligent, creative people. They just need a little extra help to maintain focus. The words of adults are powerful and can affect them for a lifetime. Many parents and teachers would be better at their jobs if they heeded your advice.

      Wonderful job. Voted up and sharing because I think this could help anyone who comes in contact with an ADD kiddo. Incidentally, many of our most brilliant minds in history had ADD.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent suggestions for a difficult situation. I don't know how many ADD kids I taught over the years, but I do know that they require extra attention and a different approach. Very useful hub!


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