Having ADD and ADHD isn’t a built in Get out of Jail free card. Unfortunitally, it has become a built-in excuse for many of us. So the question becomes, what’s acceptable behavior-wise with ADD and ADHD and what crosses the line into not accepting responsibility?
From my perspective, I’d suggest that no misdeeds should go undiscussed. What do I mean by that? One of the ways we folks with ADD and ADHD get out of sticky situations is to create conflict to avoid conflict or discussing everything else except the matter at hand. It’s important to reflect on the misdeed and learn from the experience. While impulsivity is an ADD and ADHD trait, it doesn’t forgive misbehavior. It means we have to discontinue the behavior in the future and learn from our positive and negative experiences.
A good way we can do this is to reflect on the moment then identify other ways of handling things and apply better strategies in the future. It sounds easy enough, but it’s not so simple. Why? Because many of us seem to not accept responsibility for our actions. We also look for ways of justifying our behaviors. Unfortunately, many of us also are enabled. It’s a reality of the situation. Once a misdeed is justified, it’s difficult to learn from it.
Recently, the family of young learner that traded a Ritalin for a candy bar at school called me for assistance. The student that received the pill confessed to the Principal about the trade. The parents of the ADHD child refused to accept their child’s role in the matter. They kept saying their child didn’t know what was occurring and shouldn’t receive a consequence for the action. When I told them they had to recognize their child’s role in the situation, they kept reiterating that it wasn’t their child’s fault. They felt that the child was a good kid and was misunderstood. All of this may be true, but the action still shouldn’t be justified. They didn’t like my message, but the individual needs to be held accountable for his or her behavior. Not doing so only builds in another excuse. The hot stove works as one of the greatest lessons…
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