Thursday, October 18, 2012

Holding Our Kids That Struggle With ADHD to the Same Standards as the Rest of Our Kids

So... As we know kids with ADHD struggle with linking their present actions to future consequences. This is where being a parent is challenging as we try to teach and train and consequence and re-inforce despite the fact that they don't get it like other kids will. I continue to give Preston choices that he has to live with even though most of the time it doesn't sink in. I also have to hold Preston to the same standards I hold all of my kids too; the home would fall apart if there was not a clear, set of rules and expectations that everyone has to comply with. So, if they meltdown when you ask them to clean the bathroom or take their shoes down to their room, or put a hint of a green bean on their plate, I can't back-down because I expect my other kids to clean-up and try the food on their plate. Because of their emotional erratic tendencies, you do have to go about enforcing a little different. Preston's neuropsychologist put it to me this way:

"I believe that you still need to hold kids with ADHD to the same standards, but realize that they will need extra help and support to hold them to that standard. For example, Preston should be held to the same standard as any other child to do chores, follow directions, do homework etc., however, he will likely need extra supports or modification in how to help him meet the standard (i.e., positive reinforcement, close monitoring, modification in the time to complete it etc.)  Don't let Preston get away with things or not do something because of his challenges with ADHD; help put in place the right kind of support, encouragement, positive reinforcement and appropriate consequence to help him achieve those standards."

I use humor, try to make a game of things or I have to phsycially follow and cue him with what needs to be done. These kids also need specificis - "the shoes need to go in the closet, pick the clothes up off the floor;" "put your shoes away" or "clean your room" may not be enough to go off of, especially as what you define as 'clean' will always differ from your child's (or anybody's) definition. I dangle carrots (bunny gummy's) for completing the 1-2-3's in the morning, I give him a yummy snack before he has to buckle down to do homework and then offer to play a fun game after, or allow him to then go play with a friend. There are of course times I simply offer praise for his effort - this is another key point, we need to always offer praise for the effort and not only for a perfect completion. If I can get Preston outside to clean up the doggy land mines without a meltdown, I feel that is a huge accomplishment. If he misses one or two piles, I'm not going to make a huge deal out of it. For him, it then turns into "I can never do anything right (so why should I try?)." Take baby-steps along the way. Once he gets in the mode of doing something, then I can start upping the expectation as he progresses. Teach and train, teach and train. Do your best and forget the rest.

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