General Parenting Practices

Adapted from Russell Barkley, Ph.D.


  1. Parents are Shepherds, Not Engineers: Strive to Enjoy Your Children as Individuals
  2. Rather Than Trying to Redesign Them to Be Like Others, Accept Children for Who They Are
  3. Use Immediate Feedback
  4. Act, Don’t Yak
  5. Keep Your Sense of Humor
  6. Use Rewards Before Punishment
  7. Anticipate Problem Settings–Make a Plan
  8. Keep a Sense of Priorities
  9. Practice Forgiveness (Child, Self, Others)
  10. Shape Behavior Through Reinforcement Techniques
  11. Consider Establishing a Home Token System
  12. Use Fines, Time-out
  13. Heavily Praise High Compliance Commands Initially
  14. Use Imperatives, Not Questions
  15. Use Eye Contact, Touching When Communicating
  16. Child Recites Request
  17. Make Complex Chores Simpler (if necessary)
  18. Reduce Time Delays for Consequences
  19. Reward Throughout the Task

Time Out Procedure

  • For Household Rules—Instant Time-out
  • Deliver command as a 3-step sequence
    • Command (5 count, backwards)
    • Warning (5 counts, backwards, raise voice)
    • Initiate time-out, if noncompliant
  • Release From Time-out Contingent on:
    • Serving minimum period (1-2 minutes/year of age)
    • Must be quiet during time-out
    • Then consent to and do command
  • Afterwards, Reward Next Good Behavior
  • If Child Escapes Time-out:
    • Increase length of time-out does not work
    • Consider using fines in Token System
    • Use bedroom for time-out (remove fun objects from room); close and lock door if in extreme situations