Liking the Child You Love

How to build a better relationship with your kids—even when they're driving you crazy.

Ways to Control Impulsivity in Children and Teens

If your child is having difficulties with impulsive behaviors, please consider trying the following strategies, which may be helpful. 

• Encourage your child to think, "How I will feel afterward (after receiving the consequences of my actions)?"

• Convey that, "What feels good to do right now, may not be good for me later on." Read More


This sounds like some really good ideas! I was thinking about the "count to ten" idea, and it seems like for a teenager it might be more beneficial to count to 100 :)

Doesn't work

As a former very impulsive ADD youngster, I can tell you from personal experience that "encouraging" your child to think, "How I will feel afterward" is not likely to work in very many cases where a serious impulsivity problem exists. Impulsive kids don't care how they will feel afterward. All they care about is what they want to do NOW. They also are not likely to stop and THINK. They just jump and DO.

So, good luck. If it works, then great. But I don't give it much chance.

Thanks Ulysses but my mother would tell you otherwise

Ulysses i like your personal yet respectful response. My interest in reducing impusivity is more than academic, it's personal as well. Certainly, no one strategy will work all the time to reduce impulsivity. But I am living proof thar parental coaching can go a long way in reducing impulsivity. My own mother often told me I would feel better about myself if I slowed down. She also employed similar strategies to those I shared above. The key was she spoke with me, not at me. The more I saw her on my side, the more her suggestions helped me to slow down and think before I made choices. I certainly still made my share of mistakes in my life but her coaching during my childhood helped lessen them.

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Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D., has authored four books, including 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child.


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