Not Always ADHD
Sue and David came to Psychology Consultants concerned about their four year-old son Nathan. They described him as always being “difficult”. More recently, Nathan had become worse, refusing to follow instructions, hitting his younger brother, and throwing tantrums. Sue and David worried about whether he had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
After discussing Nathan’s problems, we suggested a few changes to improve the way they handled Nathan’s behaviour. Sue and David tried to handle Nathan effectively, but often gave in to Nathan’s demands such as letting him watch TV after he threw a tantrum. This taught Nathan he could get his own way by escalating his behaviour and being aggressive. In contrast, when Nathan was good, his parents often ignored him to enjoy the peace and quiet. Nathan learnt to misbehave to get attention.
Together, we worked on helping Sue and David stop rewarding Nathan for his misbehaviour. They learned to act quickly and consistently with Quiet Time, Time Out and Logical Consequences when Nathan misbehaved. This helped them remain calm and in control and taught Nathan to follow house rules. They also learned to give Nathan praise and encourage him for good behaviour.
It took only four weeks to see dramatic improvements in Nathan. Sue and David now find he usually does as he is asked and plays better alone and with his brother. They also reported they both feel less ‘stressed’ and their relationship has improved as a result of Nathan’s behaviour improvement.