Parenting skills improve in ADHD parents with medication

July 31, 2014 by Matthew Solovey

Parenting skills of adults with ADHD improve when their ADHD is treated with medication, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

At least 25 percent of clinic-referred children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder have a parent with ADHD.

"Parents with ADHD are at increased risk to engage in problematic parenting techniques, including inconsistent disciplinary practices, making ineffectual commands and diminished use of praise," said James Waxmonsky, associate professor of psychiatry. "Having a parent with ADHD also decreases the chances that children with ADHD will respond to typically effective medication or counseling treatment."

The researchers studied 20 parents of children age 5 to 12, both parents having ADHD. Parents were evaluated to determine their optimal dosage of lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) and then stabilized on the medicine.

In the first phase of the study, parents and children were brought into the laboratory on two separate occasions and observed while completing typical parenting tasks. Each standardized interaction consisted of a homework component and a non-academic portion. In the homework task, parents helped children to complete age-appropriate schoolwork. In the non-academic task, parents and children played together, then parents were instructed to complete paperwork while the child was told to play quietly by themselves.

The parent received either lisdexamfetamine or a for the first observation and then the opposite for the second. Neither the researchers nor participants knew when the active medication was received.

The results of the first phase showed no medication effect was seen during the homework component. During the non-academic component, parents on lisdexamfetamine rather than on placebo were less likely to make negative statements toward their children.

Children showed less inappropriate behavior during the homework task when their parent was prescribed lisdexamfetamine versus placebo.

Then, in the second phase, parents had a 50 percent chance of staying on active medication or a 50 percent chance of being switched to placebo for the remainder of the study. They completed the same parent-child interaction tasks as in the first phase.

The results of the second phase showed that parents on lisdexamfetamine made fewer commands, were more responsive to their child and praised their child more than parents switched to placebo.

Parents on lisdexamfetamine spoke less than parents on placebo during the homework task, with no differences during the non-academic task. They were less demanding than parents on placebo during the nonacademic task, with no differences during the homework task. The children of parents on lisdexamfetamine had fewer inappropriate behaviors during the homework task.

"In the laboratory setting, lisdexamfetamine treatment of parental ADHD was associated with significant reductions in children's negative behaviors and improvements in parenting behaviors found to be adversely impacted by ADHD," Waxmonsky said.

With different effects being seen in the homework versus the nonacademic tasks, it appears that ADHD medication may improve adults' capacity to adjust their parenting behaviors to the task at hand.

"Changes in children's behaviors were seen first, with parenting behaviors improving over time in those continuously treated with lisdexamfetamine," said Waxmonsky.

Explore further: Study finds ADHD and trauma often go hand in hand

Related Stories

Study finds ADHD and trauma often go hand in hand

May 6, 2014
When children struggle with focusing on tasks, staying organized, controlling their behavior and sitting still, they may be evaluated for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Clinicians, however, shouldn't stop ...

Study evaluates treating mothers with ADHD to improve outcomes in kids

October 18, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—University of Illinois at Chicago researchers are conducting a study to determine if treating mothers with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder—either with medication or parent training—will help ...

Added benefit of lisdexamfetamine is not proven

September 3, 2013
Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (trade name: Elvanse) has been approved in Germany since March 2013 as part of a comprehensive treatment programme for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children aged 6 years and ...

Continued increases in ADHD diagnoses and treatment with medication among US children

November 22, 2013
A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) found that an estimated two million more children in the United States (U.S.) have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity ...

New parenting program benefits ADHD children

May 24, 2013
A new program for treating the emotional health of mothers of children with ADHD has shown significant benefits for the children themselves, finds a new study by University of Maryland researchers. The program combines treatment ...

Parent-focused classes may help tots at risk for ADHD

April 1, 2013
(HealthDay)—Parent behavior training is an effective and well-studied intervention for preschoolers at risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new review shows.

Recommended for you

ADHD medication tied to lower risk for alcohol, drug abuse in teens and adults

July 13, 2017
The use of medication to treat attention deficient hyperactivity disorder is linked to significantly lower risk for substance use problems in adolescents and adults with ADHD, according to a study led by researchers at Indiana ...

Video game promotes better attention skills in some children with sensory processing dysfunction

April 6, 2017
A video game under development as a medical device boosts attention in some children with sensory processing dysfunction, or SPD, a condition that can make the sound of a vacuum, or contact with a clothing tag intolerable ...

Children with ADHD often live in chaotic households

March 9, 2017
Researchers often observe inadequate parenting, a negative emotional climate and household chaos in families of children with ADHD. A research group at Goethe University Frankfurt and the universities of Bremen, Heidelberg, ...

ADHD a 'brain disorder', not just bad behaviour: study

February 16, 2017
People with ADHD have slightly smaller brains than those without the condition, according to a study released Thursday which insisted it is a physical disorder and not just bad behaviour.

Could the 'Mediterranean' diet help prevent ADHD?

January 30, 2017
(HealthDay)—Kids who follow a Mediterranean diet—high in fruits, vegetables and "good" fats—may be less likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a small study suggests.

Data scientists find causal relation in characteristics of ADHD

December 2, 2016
Hyperactivity seems to be the result of not being able to focus one's attention rather than the other way around. This was proposed in an article in PLOS ONE, written by researchers at Radboud university medical center and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.