Many parents (and adults) struggle with all that comes with ADD or ADHD. Many have tried counseling and find little help, as most children are not motivated to change. And trust me, change takes effort!
In this article, let’s abandon the diagnosis for a few moments and the entire story that comes with it. Instead, let’s focus on your daily actions and what you can do in response to each moment to help shape and mold better behavior.
In my experience, this is the key. Parents must focus on what they can control. And then, do your best at that.
If the child is still struggling with behaviors that interfere with life, consider how to permanently improve their brain with Neurofeedback. This technology has proven to bring life-changing results with ADD/ADHD without any side effects. You can learn about Neurofeedback at www.CapitalDistrictNeurofeedback.com.
For now, let’s consider your parenting plan to regain control over your home.
FIVE KEYS FOR PARENTING THE CHALLENGING CHILD
1. Don’t take his/her words or actions personally. It’s not about you.
If you take misbehavior or ugly moments personally, you will get caught up in “reactive parenting,” which only makes things worse. If you have ever reacted with threats, yelling, or angry emotions, you have noticed how your child feeds on that energy.
When you aren’t reactive, you can now follow a game plan. You can be mindful. You can be creative. You can be effective. You can even be a terrific parent who uses challenging moments to teach a critical lesson. This, of course, is only the beginning. Next…
2. Make a list of “Weeds” and “Seeds.”
What do I mean? Weeds are the actions, behaviors, and emotions you would rather not have in your home. Make a list of the negative stuff you want to get rid of.
Seeds are the actions and behaviors you value. Write down (be specific) the things you want to nurture and grow.
Contemplate these two lists as you consider this: regardless of how or why your child carries the ADHD/ADD diagnosis, their behavior (good or bad) expands based upon the amount of attention it gets. Many of the classic attentional problems tend to PULL you into them. You then give those “Weeds” lots of your energy. Thus they multiply. What makes this worse is that the concept of redirection is often like poison to the child with attentional problems. Why? Because they can easily wander off task, and the repeated ‘redirection’ is continuously feeding the weed of inattention. For the average child, a bit of redirection is not a big deal. This is toxic for the distractible child because the brain gets inordinate amounts of energy from being off-task. This is optimal for feeding weeds…NOT what we want.
This also leaves little opportunity to give energy to the “Seeds” of effort and being on task. If you want things to get better, you must turn this dynamic around first. The success of every other strategy and approach will depend upon how this fundamental is handled. So, the next step…
3. Commit to starve the “Weeds.”
Make sure you walk away from all the weed-like behaviors in your home. If it’s not threatening health or safety, walk away and starve that weed.
Keep in mind that things will worsen for a while because the weed is used to being fed, and it will be screaming to pull you in. DON’T DO IT! When your son tantrums, walk away and stay away. You must resist getting pulled in, and instead…
4. Patently wait…and obsess on catching every “seed” you can find.
The weeds will fade away. Now, begin to wait on finding ‘moments’ that you value. These ‘seeds’ must be noticed and given a bit of energy. Do not flood the seed with all sorts of praise and accolades. Simply smile, nod, or perhaps a thumbs up. Be subtle, as seeds only need a tad of energy. But they do require that energy to grow.
Over time, we can predict the quality of your relationship with your son or daughter, as well as their success in school, based on how this pattern unfolds. Abandon feeding the weeds and wait to feed those seeds! Remember: your energy is like water to that weed. If you keep feeding it, it keeps growing. Finally,…
5. When and where you set limits, do so with action, not with words.
Up to this point, you may think that I’m a softie when it comes to consequences. I am not. Consequences teach the real limits, not the threat of a consequence.
Consequences are critical in the learning process. Use them to teach limits, and make sure you don’t use feeble threats. Make your action speak the dominant message. When your child’s actions pose a threat or are out of control, teach with a firm consequence, not a lecture, not a frustrated look, or a threat. Use action to teach these limits, especially for your child with ADHD. He will thrive on these learning opportunities.
Having said this, it is even more important to learn about leverage and how to use that every day. More on that shortly.
But Dr. Cale, I Think We Need More!
Some of you may have children with more severe problems. Attentional issues limit their academic progress. They may have trouble focusing on more difficult problems. Perhaps they are distracted every three seconds, and focusing is almost a joke. Or maybe their behavior is more challenging, causing severe problems in the home or at school.
Regardless, there are cases where children need more help. Stated more accurately, their brains need more help.
Here is where it may be useful to learn about Neurofeedback and how your child’s entire life trajectory can change when their brain learns healthier brain wave patterns. And this is precisely what Neurofeedback can do.
Using more sophisticated technology, Neurofeedback gently and naturally changes the underlying brain wave patterns, bringing about remarkable changes in children with ADD or ADHD. Now proven repeatedly to bring results, the American Academy of Pediatrics categorized Neurofeedback as a Level 1 treatment, providing maximal benefit for ADHD. Despite this conclusion, many pediatricians are not aware of how Neurofeedback works or its proven benefits.
If you want to learn more, visit www.CapitalDistrictNeurofeedback.com. Or, if you would like to discuss Neurofeedback in detail, please set up a free consult with me, Dr. Randy Cale, by calling my assistant at 518-606-3805.
Regardless of where you may live, we can also now offer Neurofeedback training in your home. This evolution in technology brings the hope for change that frees the ADD/ADHD child from a future limited by their inattention and focus issues. Change is available for you and your family, even in the tough times of COVID.
Again, please reach out to learn more. Most of the details are on our website, at www.CapitalDistrictNeurofeedback.com