So let's talk about how to fix your child's ADHD or ADD. We have these terms that described a condition that has plagued us for many years. There is a fair amount of controversy on the topic, but I'm not worried about controversy; I'm worried about you being in a situation with a child who can't focus. It's incredibly frustrating, and I get it from my own personal experience, and with our kids, and through personally working with hundreds and hundreds of people around this country. I guess what I want to do is to tell you how to fix your child's ADD or ADHD.
First, if you don’t mind, I’d like to share why you should trust me. I am a valid ADHD, distractible, Attention Deficit Oh Squirrel kind of person. I was talking to parent recently who was describing their 10 year old child as a great procrastinator. I shared that children don't really procrastinated at ten years old. What they do is they don't obey; they aren’t motivated. Young children don't have choice or the ability to really procrastinate. The simply need to follow your directions (I have a crazy way of thinking, but you're the parent and you're responsible for your own child...you give them direction and they follow them or not. Well, ADHD and ADD as focus problems are different than disobedience and they often present a dramatic sense of helpless to us as parents. We give them medication, but the medication doesn’t quite work, like we're finding is true about most of these neurochemical cocktails. They do something, but it's unclear how much they help because there is a game in play where the individual has to contribute to the medicines effectiveness.
What I know that you want is for your child to have some measure of self-mastery; not a great focus-king or queen, but the ability to grab their own soul and bring their attention on something long enough to do what they need to do. That’s what you need and I'm going to tell you quickly how to do it.
What you need are 4 simple things to start out.
(1) One is Neuroplasticity, another's
(2) Motivation, another's
(3) Uniqueness, and the last is
Neuroplasticity means the brain still can grow and develop. It's not locked in. It can improve. This is how we learn skills and when we a learn skill, we're laying down new ‘paths’ in the brain. Neurons are growing, dendrites are connecting, and it's really cool because it means there's hope. We had this hope with our cerebral palsy child. We hoped that he could make new connections to operate his body in fresh ways ---that's exactly what the neurologist the specialist told us. So your child's brain can change, hold onto that.
Next is motivation. A lot of focus is just about motivation folks and it's not about much else. Have you noticed that when your child is motivated she actually can concentrate? Even children who work on learning to focus are motivated to learn to focus. It’s important to catch on to the fact that motivation brings energy into the game which can then overcome this distractibility tendency. In fact, the distractibility means they're motivated towards other things... often the work is boring. I can attest to this as a former /recovering ADHD.
The third thing to consdier is your child’s uniqueness. Some of the focus issue is merely a uniqueness issue. You know, if God put in your child to wiggle and you tell them to sit, then who's going to win that debate? You know some people are made dramatically and powerfully to notice things going on around them, to interrupt themselves, to be able to rush outside and run,or to be athletic. Some people are made for emergency rooms where they can see in a moment that an exception is going on...so they can interrupt everyone to save a life. Some people are made for incredible focus, but that is their uniqueness. As parents, a lot of this is concerning the uniqueness of your child is about helping him or her find their place in this world.
Lastly, consider your expectations, which matches with uniqueness, goes with motivation, and hopes in neuroplasticity. If your expectations are merely what the world has been telling you that every child, rather than being on a bell curve in terms of focus, that your child should focus as well as anybody on the planet, then you're missing the uniqueness of your child. You expectations are out-of-line with reality. Your child’s uniqueness is a special gift, and you want to bring that challenge in a range where it's not hurting their life. You don't want to turn them into an incredibly (but perhaps medicated to do it) focused person. You want that blossoming person, that child, to thrive in this world. He or she can do it when you start learning the game of how to ‘set up’ a world around them that encourages their uniqueness (and better focus). That's where you want to start thinking this through. Search for expectations you can have to match their uniqueness. Learn about motivation and count on this neuroplasticity. If you and your doctor think the medicine is a help, then stick with it. But know that you can begin to transform the world for your child by simply starting to hope in a different way.