NATHHAN National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network

Christian Families Homeschooling Special Needs Children

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Better Behavior

By the Klein Family in CA, Spring 1998

 My name is Bonnie Klein and our family has been challenged with ADD and ADHD both. It wasn't until one of our five children, at age 4, showed signs of hyperactivity, that we realized that three other members of our family struggled with the same attention deficits, except the hyperactivity. This knowledge helped us to realize that some areas of character and social interaction needed to be specifically taught to these children.

Many times by the time parents have realized that there is a problem, and help is needed, we feel very frazzled, overwhelmed, and possibly quite incompetent. Please stop and don't panic. God is in control of all things and He will enable you to help your child in the areas they need help. Romans 8:28 says "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to {His} purpose." (NAS)

This is for our GOOD to recognize a problem so we can deal with it. Many children fall through the cracks in a group school and/or are misdiagnosed as ADD/ADHD and put on unnecessary medicines. Having our children at home is an opportunity, a privilege and a lot of work!

Any investment is worth working hard at. Our children are arrows in our quiver, that as adults, will eventually be sent out into this dark and tasteless world as light and salt. This treasure that God has trusted to us is worthy of the hard work of training.

Many special needs children and those with ADD/ ADHD need extra training and practice. You, the parent are the most qualified to do it. No one knows or loves your child the way you do.

Here are my suggestions to get you started:

1. Immediately start training your child to make EYE CONTACT with you and/or LISTEN to your voice when you speak to them. If they move their eyes, are zoning out, or choosing to be distracted, stop and regain their attention. These children have to be taught how to be attentive, it doesn't happen naturally. (Please contact NATHHAN for the following child training resources; "Lovingly Guiding Their Footsteps" and "It's the Heart that Counts"; these are booklets with simple directions on child training)

Some special needs children and most ADD/ADHD children tend to be impulsive with their speech. They have to be taught to "BRIDLE THEIR TONGUE" (see James 3). Don't allow them to argue with you. Our children are allowed the last word if it is "Yes Mom "or "Yes Dad". If they do not follow this rule, they are reminded of this rule and then they must follow it immediately. Look and analyze your family's weaknesses in this area.

If you have a child that exhibits hyperactivity - please consider doing an ALLERGY ELIMINATION DIET. I suggest the book "Is This Your Child?" by Doris Rapp M.D. You can find this or one of her books at your local library or in the NATHHAN Lending Library. The knowledge you will glean from this is invaluable. I have yet to meet a hyperactive child that did not have a food allergy that aggravated their behavior.

We would like to share with you our Klein Family’s Rules of Speech. They are as follows;

1. Do not interrupt.

2. Do not over talk.

3. Do not contradict.

4. Do not answer for someone else.

5. Speak wisely.

6. Speak kindly.

These rules meet the need for our family. Yours will most likely be different, depending on your circumstances. Our family has memorized these rules, and occasionally an offender will be required to write them down in order to reinforce their importance.

We got the idea of making specific rules for social behavior from Richard Fugate.

We attended one of his seminars and he explained how many parents were frustrated with thier children not obeying the rules. Then he pointed out that often their children never really understood what was expected of them. We realized as parents we were guilty of this. Mr. Fugate encouraged us to make the rules clear and then enforce them.

To start with, we dreaded taking our younger three children to the store with just one of us parent (3 to 1 odds) After hearing Mr. Fugate we pushed ourselves and I, Bonnie, took them to the store. By simply focusing on their actions that seemed to distress me. I came up with the following:

a.) Don’t Ask (This is so draining emotionally to a parent and is simply a coveting attitude in the child)

b.) Don’t Climb (We have to distinguish between feet ‘climbing’ and hands ‘touching’ because our children have a real climbing tendency and don’t see it as touching.

c.) Don’t Touch (anything or anyone)

By the end of our long day we realized that all our "social" problems fell into the categories covered by these 3 rules. Offenses had been quickly recognized by me because of the "rule" where before I was simply overwhelmed and often beaten. I made the acronym "ACT" to help me remember!

I’d say "O.K. children, how are we supposed to ACT?" They’d answer "No asking, no climbing, no touching!"

Later we added the rule stay behind Mom and Dad! We separated the "stay behind mom and dad rule" from our shopping rules because it applies everywhere away from home; not just shopping; ie park, library, etc.

If someone breaks a rule I correct them verbally in public by saying their name and asking them what rule they are breaking. Often they look confused and I see the wheels turning and click! they make the connection and say "climbing" or

whatever the offense was. Depending on their heart’s response to my correction I will either write down their name and a mark on my shopping list, or even escort them to the car to be disciplined. Sometimes I have an older sibling sit with them through the next stop, and then we go over the rules and try again.

The majority of their disobedience is "bad habits" as a result of non-specific training on our part as parents.

As for our family, we’ll, we are first generation Christians that God in His mercy brought together in marriage in 1975. The Lord blessed us with five biological children; Timothy 7, Sarah 9, Andrew 11, Marie 16, Aaron 19. This past year the Lord laid upon our hearts adoption and we are prayerfully waiting for a little 5 year old girl Isadora, from Romania. We have home educated since 1983 and were blessed in 1986 to move to the Sierra foothills. We are so thankful for the privilege of having time with our children, to train them in Godliness, to know them intimately and to ultimately release them into this dark and tasteless world as LIGHT and SALT! We’ve struggled with ADD/ADHD, some developmental delays, dyslexia tendencies and many character flaws that need the repair of the Holy Spirit. Thank God for His convicting power and grace that changes lives and moulds us into His image.

Remember that God did not make a mistake when he made your child. Ps 139:13-16

13. For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb.

14. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well.

15. My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, {and} skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.

16. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained {for me} when as yet there was not one of them.


God trusted this child to you, an older, wiser, stronger parent.

Rom 15:1

1. Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not {just} please ourselves.


God will give you the grace and ability and discernment to do what he has commanded you to do "Train up a child in the way he should go.." Proverbs 22:6