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The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders, 2nd Edition by Sandra F. Rief

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2.6 Preventing Behavior Problems outside of the Home

Many parents of children with ADHD dread having to take their son or daughter shopping with them or to other places outside of the home where behavior issues often emerge. The behavioral controls expected in some of these environments can be more than a child with ADHD is able to handle. Following are some recommendations for preventing or at least reducing potential behavior problems that can occur outside of the home:

  • Anticipate and prepare for potential problems.
  • Teach, model, and practice appropriate behaviors and manners that you expect your child to display outside of the home—for example, following directions, cleaning up after yourself, walking instead of running inside a building, and saying “please” and “thank you.”
  • Give your child advance notice before leaving the house. Avoid catching him or her off guard and provide enough time for getting ready.
  • Talk about what to expect.
  • Before going into public places (stores, doctor's office, restaurants, church or temple, movie theaters) or visiting other people's homes:
    • Talk to your child about behavioral expectations.
    • State the rules simply.
    • Have your child repeat the rules back to you.
    • Give written directions if appropriate.
  • Establish rewards that your child will be able to receive if he or she behaves appropriately and follows the rules. Remind your child of the contingency: “If you…, you will be able to earn ….”
  • Try not to put your child in situations that are too taxing ...

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