How can we help discipline our daughter with ADHD and bipolar disorder?
I am looking for advice on how to discplne my seven year old daughter. She has ADHD and Bi - polar. We are on medications and seeing a therapist on a regular basis. I am looking for ideas on positive reinforcement. We have been told to reward the positive and keep it simple. We are out of ideas and looking for some new ones. It seems that we will try something new and it will work for a week or two and then she is back to not making good choices. If someone had any ideas please help we are out of ideas.
You are doing many good things for your daughter. Keeping the therapy appointments and taking her medications is teaching her that taking care of herself is important. You have also developed a motivation system for which will ultimately help her.
Continue to reward your daughter when she is being positive and making good choices. Any seven year old will have times when they do not make good choices. Kids are not always perfect or will behave well. I would encourage you to keep being consistent with what you are doing now. Consistency is key for your daughter. As children grow, so should parents grow in their techniques. You can enhance what you are already doing. A suggestion would be to talk with her at the end of the day and ask her what went well and what did not. What could she have done differently? Think of some other motivators that could also encourage good behavior. What consequences does she earn for negative behaviors? What consequences does she earn for positive behaviors? Ask yourself: Does she make consistent bad decisions at home or at school? Is she tired, hungry, thirsty, or not feeling well? Is there someone at home that she consistently has the most problems with or is there a time of day that the negative behavior surfaces? If it is a person that she is having the most problems with, can that person spend more time with her--maybe doing something together, like cooking, cleaning, or playing a game?
As a parent, stay in touch with your own feelings. This is hard when our children make bad choices as we know they can be good. Its reminding yourself that tomorrow is a different day. If you ever need to talk to someone, call The Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000. We have counselors available and we talk to kids and parents about various issues. Continue to reach out for help because parenting is a tough job!
Could you possibly briefly describe the type of positive reinforcements that you have used with your daughter. There are several methods so making the case of not wanting to be redundant, I can look to see what you have used and then give you a more exact answer.
Kid Angel Foundation
Even as a mom of two typical children, I constantly struggle with how to keep them motivated and moving in the right directions so I can only imagine what a challenge it is for you given your daughter's ADHD and Bi-polar diagnosis.
The very best positive reinforcement method we've used with our six year old son is a marble jar. It actually works as a positive reward and as a negative consequence when needed. We have a peanut butter jar and a bag full of marbles. We "pay" marbles for good behavior and then when the jar gets full, he earns a reward (like going out to breakfast at his favorite diner or making a trip to the book store to buy a new book).
Sometimes we talk about the marbles before he does something ("I'll pay 5 marbles if you can get dressed for school by the time I count to 20") and sometimes I give him marbles when I "catch him" in good behavior ("I loved the way you put your toys away without being asked. I'm putting 5 marbles in the jar").
If I have to ask him multiple times to do something, I may let him know that I'm going to take away marbles ("If I have to ask you to brush your teeth again it's going to cost you 3 marbles") And I may also take away marbles if he does something that he knows isn't ok in our family ("I found your backpack in the middle of the hallway again so I had to charge you 3 marbles")
It works really well for us and he's stayed very motivated by the system. Each time he fills the jar and earns the reward, he gets to choose what the next reward will be - so it stays fresh for him.
You didn't mention siblings, but we also have a 3 year old and he's on the marble system too. They use the same jar so they're really motivated to help each other do the right things (if one loses marbles, they're both farther away from the reward and if one earns marbles they're both closer to the reward).
You may want to start with a smaller jar while your daughter is getting used to the system. We started out with a small juice glass and they earned an M&M when it was full (they could fill it once a day or so). Then we slowly chose bigger jars (and bigger rewards) and now they fill the jar about once a week.
I can't wait to hear other parents' ideas!
Let us know what works (and doesn't work) for your daughter.