Parents wants what’s best for his or her child. A trend in parenting is trying to be friends with a child. It almost is as if parents feel redeemed if the child is also his or her friend. I’m amazed at how more often I see this in my work. It is especially dangerous for parents of children with ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning Deficits.
In an earlier piece, I discussed how individuals with ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning can be very narcissistic (click here). While it doesn’t mean he or she is particularly selfish, it does mean that the world is viewed through that individual’s eyes only. With this being the case, giving into demands, ultimatums and meltdowns is a road-map for disaster. While it is the easiest thing to do, it isn’t the smartest. This will just reinforce the bad behavior and feed the narcissistic beast of ADD/ADHD and Executive Functioning.
More parents are becoming scared of his or her child. Parents regularly ask me how they can get his or her child into my office…what should I tell my child? When I hear this, I know my work with the parents will be as important as my work with the client. If a parent regularly gives into his or her child’s demands, the child will generally be more difficult to help. I will have to spend a majority of my time unprogramming the child and implementing a pound of cure. This takes some time, but it can be done. The parents just have to hold the line and not give in despite establishing that mentality.
Here are some of the suggestions I give the parents of my clients to help with unprogramming the child…
- Create rules. Don’t be too rigid, but begin establishing expectations and hold the line. The more rules one creates, the harder these are to enforce. Start with simple things like…homework is to be completed when the child comes home or dishes are to be cleared after dinner.
- Do not have your child provide input into the rules. It is important that these are your rules and not up for discussion. The minute there’s wiggle room, your child will take full advantage of it.
- Do not reward meeting your rules. The world doesn’t reward following the rules, neither should you.
- No wiggle room…if you say computer time is an hour, it’s an hour. If you hand out a consequence, do not ease the punishment or reward good behavior time. Give a fair but stern punishment and make sure it sticks.