Study: Parent Skills Program Can Improve Symptoms For Kids With ADHD

Oct 9, 2017

Improving parenting skills can help reduce risks for children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. That's according to research from UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.

Kids with ADHD face high risks of poor school performance, suspension, physical injury, and psychiatric disorders. However, psychologist Desiree Murray and her team found that early intervention can improve symptoms for children between ages 3 and 8. They reviewed outcomes from the Incredible Years Basic Parent Program.

Murray said many programs focus on structure and discipline to help control a child's environment, but Incredible Years also focuses on relationships and self-regulation.

"One of the reasons I like it is that it sort of gets at, how can we actually teach kids some skills that they can take with them when they do not have a specific behavior plan in place or when they are not on medication or if their families are choosing not to utilize medication," said Murray.

She said it teaches parents to positively coach their children to encourage better behavior.

"So, for example, 'I see you getting frustrated, but you're sticking with that puzzle,' or, 'It looks like you're getting upset, but look how you're keeping your body calm. You're making a really good choice.' That coaching language, I think, helps kids increase their own awareness and is a mechanism for increasing their own self regulation skills."

Murray's study was published in the Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders.

Communities in Schools of Durham, KidSCope and Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina teach the Incredible Years program at the local level.