I am very lucky to be the parent of two beautiful children. They are my world and mean everything to me. So when I write this piece, I come from a place of empathy for the parents of my younger clients. However, ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning concerns makes an already difficult job even more challenging. Many of the parents I work with are open to helping his or her child, but a regular occurrence has been the resistance of parents to confronting the issues of the child.
Allow me to ellaborate…many parents enter my office defeated. He or she has tried to help his or her child, but the results do not match-up to the effort. This leads many parents to extremely high levels of frustration and resistance. Parents will regularly tell me of the struggles and frustration involved with his or her child, and everything that he or she has tried doesn’t work. For obvious reasons, the notion of starting new battles isn’t exactly a priority.
Yesterday, I had a meeting with a parent meeting this profile. She’s a wonderful mom, but she’s losing the battle. It is causing her to question her parenting and her efforts on behalf of her son (she has other children and hasn’t dealt with the same frustration she sees out of her son). When we were discussing about her efforts and things to try, she met the interventions with resistance and empathy. Why was she doing this? Because she feels that anything she does moving forward will be another brick wall.
In cases like this (and I have to say these are regular occurrences), parents need to feel supported. Fighting battles over things like homework and chores on a daily basis is frustrating and defeating. It also leads to a parent enabling a child by easing expectations or creating excuses for the child’s failures. I had one mother lie about a project to a teacher because she didn’t want to deal with the wrath of her son. The mother recognized the fault in her actions but felt like she was left with little choice.
Individuals with ADD/ADHD and Executive Functioning concerns are masters at avoidance. He or she will use every avenue to ease the burden on skills that are lacking in his or her arsenal. Does this mean parents are wrong for helping his or her child? Of course not! Parents are supposed to help and guide children. But parents can make this avoidance easier by not forcing a child to rely on his or her own skills.
When I work with a client, I will not do things for him or her. I will discuss methods and suggest that the client use his or her’s own skills. Modeling and doing are two different things. I am frustrated by professionals that do the work for a child. This happens often in my work because individuals see this as a quick way of making money. Think of it this way…saying you can help and being able to help are two different things. Doing schoolwork for a child will result in better grades (I would hope), but it doesn’t fix the bigger issue of understanding the content. I suggest to clients that when they hire a tutor, be sure you are hiring someone who expects the child to do his or her own work. Any promise of improved grades creates the pressure of delivering on that promise.
Parents will feel this same pressure. Obviously, we want what’s best for our children. But helping a child become independent is the key to that child being successful. When a child is enabled, this will become the expectation. Instead, help the child learn good skills and strategies for success.
One of the major areas of my practice is family education. In addition to working with the client, I also work with the families. Why do I do this? Because it is important that not only am I educating a child on better methods of approaching tasks, but also help families not defeat the process. Families are open to this help, but educating them on the process is essential.
For more information on my ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning coaching, please visit www.adhdefcoach.com. In addition to working with clients in-person, I also work with clients all over the United States and World online, please visit www.onlineadhdcoach.com for more information. To learn more about my other services, please visit www.carrolleducationalgroup.com & www.iepexperts.com. I can be found on Twitter at ADHDGuru. You can also find me on Facebook, Google Plus and Tumblr. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877.398.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.