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Parenting the ADD or ADHD Child May 2, 2007

Posted by edukfun in add, adhd, aspergers, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, challenged, children, discipline, education, general, ld, learning disability, parenting, school, social skills, Sparks of Genius, underachieve.
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Here is some great advice on parenting that applies to any child.

1) Know the difference between big things and little things.

2) Know the difference between incompetence and rebelliousness. If you child does something out of incompetence, then take the time to teach your child how to do it right. If your child acts out of rebellion toward your authority as a parent, then this behavior needs to be disciplined or punished, but cannot be tolerated or accepted.

3) The word “discipline” means “to teach, to shape, to mold, or to perfect.” Remember this.

4) Be firm, be consistent, and build a personal relationship with your child.

5) Be careful not to become overly performance oriented with your children. They are more than just homework, reports, and chores. There is a real person there who has hopes, dreams, fears, likes and dislikes. Get to personally know your child.

6) Quality time is no substitute for quantity time. The average father in America spends only 47 seconds a day in conversation with his children. But I am sure that it is quality time.

7) Be a positive person, and a positive role model for your child. The best predictor of how your child will be when he is 30-40 years old is how YOU are as a person today. Be a positive influence on your child socially, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

8) Make the effort to catch your child doing something right every day.

9) Teach your child how to be successful. First, take the time to figure out in your own life what it means to be “successful.” Is it just having more money or stuff? Or is there more to your life than that?

10) Teach your child self-control and respect for others.

Thanks to the folks at http://www.newideas.net/parents.htm. Let’s take a closer look.

1) Know the difference between big things and little things.

This is also known as “Choose Your Battles Wisely.” The danger is that is you are constantly correcting the child, the message is loud and clear that the child cannot do anything right, and frustration and learned hopelessness arise. Similarly, of you use up your resources seeking cooperation on little things, then you are out of tools when something big comes up.

2) Know the difference between incompetence and rebelliousness. If you child does something out of incompetence, then take the time to teach your child how to do it right. If your child acts out of rebellion toward your authority as a parent, then this behavior needs to be disciplined or punished, but cannot be tolerated or accepted.

This can’t be stressed enough. At Sparks of Genius we often see children who come to us virtually squished because teachers and parents and professionals treat their uncontrollable behaviors like rebellion. Thus they are punished instead of disciplined, and behavioral problems then do develop. The ADD or ADHD child cannot fully control his or her impulses.

3) The word “discipline” means “to teach, to shape, to mold, or to perfect.” Remember this.

Not punish! The goal is to train the child to avoid inappropriate behavior. Many teachers use shame to control their students. This technique works poorly on the impulsive child. He or she may make the connection between inappropriate outbursts and feeling ashamed because the teacher then ridicules them. However, when the time comes they still will not be able to control their impulse to speak out.

4) Be firm, be consistent, and build a personal relationship with your child.

This will give you more resources, more points to spend on buying cooperation from your child. If you have a strong relationship, you can call on that by saying something like, “Listen Billy, I know this is tough for you and your doing a great job so far. Can we finish this essay now? Otherwise I am going to look like I’m not doing my job.” Out of concern for you, the child will push himself.

No relationship = no leverage.

5) Be careful not to become overly performance oriented with your children. They are more than just homework, reports, and chores. There is a real person there who has hopes, dreams, fears, likes and dislikes. Get to personally know your child.

It is so easy to get bogged down with all the have-to’s in a challenged child’s life. But without pursuing dreams, there is no reason to go through all the hard work! Take mini-vacations together by going to the mall or beach or park, as a reward and for no reason whatsoever.

6) Quality time is no substitute for quantity time. The average father in America spends only 47 seconds a day in conversation with his children. But I am sure that it is quality time.

Clue: children who feel neglected by their parents will misbehave to get their attention. Cut out the middleman by giving them the attention they want in the first place.

7) Be a positive person, and a positive role model for your child. The best predictor of how your child will be when he is 30-40 years old is how YOU are as a person today. Be a positive influence on your child socially, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

The child will copy what you DO, not what you tell them to do. If mom and dad yell and fight, the child will too. If mom and dad tell the child that fighting and yelling are bad, but they do it anyway, then the child will do that too! He or she will act as if they think yelling and fighting are bad, but will continue to yell and fight.

8) Make the effort to catch your child doing something right every day.

The life of a child with Attention Deficit Disorder or a Learning Disability is a life filled with mountains of failure. Sometimes it takes work, and a creative imagination, to catch the child on-task. But without positive reinforcement every day, the child’s life becomes a series of endless failures and gloom. Turn a light on the positive.

9) Teach your child how to be successful. First, take the time to figure out in your own life what it means to be “successful.” Is it just having more money or stuff? Or is there more to your life than that?

This is a vital life skill. We assume that kids are picking this up on their own. A challenged child won’t, and most children in general don’t. Heck, you probably didn’t! So take the time to do it now. Showing the child what independent, adult life looks like shows them the light at the end of the tunnel, shows them for what they are working so hard!

10) Teach your child self-control and respect for others.

Good Luck!

-Allen Dobkin

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