A study of over 500 children followed for three years found that children with ADHD whose parents were highly critical of them were more likely to maintain symptoms of ADHD. Children with ADHD whose parents were less critical were more likely to have symptoms of ADHD decline over time.
Erica Musser, Sara Karalunas, Nathan Dieckmann, Joel Nigg and Tara Peris. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Developmental Trajectories Related to Parental Expressed Emotion. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2016 DOI: 10.1037/abn0000097
Children with ADHD appear to have a greater response to praise and motivation systems than children without ADHD – and they seem to need this external or additional reinforcement to perform at their best.
Whitney D Fosco, Larry W Hawk, Keri S Rosch, Michelle G Bubnik. Evaluating cognitive and motivational accounts of greater reinforcement effects among children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Behavioral and Brain Functions, 2015; 11 (1) DOI:
This is an encouragement for all parents to pay attention to the way we communicate with our children. Praise is more effective than criticism - for all children. Remember - for praise to be effective, it must specifically target a behavior / characteristic of the child you wish to encourage and should be based upon direct observation. "I appreciated seeing how you shared your toys when Susie came to visit." "You showed courage when you stood up in front of the class to read your story out loud." "Even though your team was losing, I could see that you didn't give up, but kept trying."