How to Use the Ticket System for Misbehavior at Home


Hello, we have 2 adopted kids (9yr boy/12yr girl). Our son was diagnosed with ADHD by his school at the age of 6. He has an IEP. He is well-behaved at school. However, at home is a different story. We want to implement the chart system or ticket system for his behavior. I just don't know if my target behaviors at simple enough. Here is what we think our son needs to work on: 1. Use items for what they are used for (he destroys everything); 2. Be nice to family members (he likes to pick fights with his sister by telling on her and making faces); 3. No outbursts because things are not going his way.


Thanks for the question. It's great that he's well-behaved at school! That shows he can behave well at home as well.

Remember that in the chart/ticket system, you need to identify target MIS-behaviors and that they must be very specific. For example, instead of saying "Use items for what they are used for", target misbehavior #1 should read "Destroying things." It doesn't matter what it is, if he destroys anything he loses a ticket, or whatever you've decided is the consequence. The second target misbehavior should be "Aggravating sister." Anytime he does this, whether by making a face or tattling, he gets the consequence. The third target misbehavior should be "outbursts" - any kind, for any reason. If he indulges in an outburst, he gets the consequence.

Before you start, clearly and simply state that you know he's capable of good behavior because he does it at school. You expect him to behave well at home. Set up the chart, and explain how things work. Again, you MUST keep it simple. Don't be threatening, don't be apologetic, just state the facts, dispassionately. Make it clear that if there are things he'd like to discuss with you, that's fine, but he may not engage in antisocial, destructive, or unkind behavior, no matter what.

Oh, and ADHD is NOT an excuse for this--if he or anyone else suggests this, treat it with calm disregard and continue doing the right things.

Kudos to you for doing this. Not doing so will bring on far worse problems for all of you. Remember this when it gets hard to stay consistent and do the hard thing, or when it drags on longer than you think it should (it usually does). And often, things get worse before they get better. Don't give up! Come back for encouragement when you need it! Contact a coach for more support! That's what we are here for!

All the best to you!

Kaye Wilson, Certified Leadership Parenting Coach

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