ADHD is one of those really challenging
topics for kids and for parents. Today, we’re going to talk about some specific
ways to get a kid with ADHD to focus. There’s a lot of opinions and
philosophies out there about this particular topic. Here’s my take on it
really quickly. ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition
where a child’s mind… Typically a child. We’re talking about kids today but there
are some applications for adults too. We’ll handle that in another video. This
is a condition in which the child’s brain doesn’t appropriately regulate
their own activity. Which includes paying attention to things. So, if you can
picture different parts of your brain that do different things, do you know for
example which part of your brain controls eyesight, vision? Do you know?
Most people don’t. They usually guess that it’s probably up here by the eyes
somewhere. Well that’s the most common incorrect guess. The occipital lobe of
your brain back here at the back. It’s the part that houses the visual cortex.
All of the information coming in through your eyes goes through that part of your
brain. There’s a little strip up on top just off of the side. It’s about the size
of your thumb called the motor cortex. Handles all your arms, legs movement. Big muscles, small muscles. The right side of your brain controls the left side of
your body. And vice versa. I mean, this is crazy how the brain is designed. But just
to understand different parts do different things. Now, picture probably up
here in the frontal part of the brain, a little Center that’s in charge of paying
attention. Staying focused. Well it might be that part of the brain that’s being
affected in a kid with ADHD. So, it kind of goes to sleep. And because
this, the treatment of choice historically for attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder is stimulant medication. I know a lot of parents have
some issues with this because they don’t want to put their kid on stimulants.
Especially if the kid is already bouncing off of the walls. Well, it makes
some sense if you remember that it’s that part of the brain that’s not quite
functioning ideally. And if it’s getting lazy then the kid doesn’t have any way
to regulate his own behavior. Stimulant medication tends to wake up that part of
the brain a little bit. This is my understanding of it. And so that he can
pay attention and focus. That’s why I think stimulant medication works. In fact,
if you give stimulant medications to a kid who is not actually verifiably
diagnoseable, you’re going to increase the hyperactivity not decrease it. It’s been
well-established in the research and in the literature that having ADHD if it
goes untreated, can lead to behavioral problems, relationship problems, academic
problems. These kids tend to get into trouble a lot. So, we can’t just let it go.
I think we need to treat it. We’re not going to talk about the medication
treatment on this video. That’s not within my licensure, that’s not my
expertise. Here’s where I want to go. The behavioral side. And honestly, even if we
can’t figure out how to fix this thing from a medical perspective, if we can
manage the behaviors and help these kids focus better or pay attention better
then we’re solving at least a part of the problem.
Would you agree? So, let’s take a look at what can be done. I’m suggesting 4
steps here. And experiment with this a little bit. Let’s start with an
assumption that you as a parent are in a good place,
Psychologically. Alright? If you’re all upset this isn’t the time to do it. But
if you’re calm and cool and positive and you remember your job is to love them no
matter even if, then you’re in a good place to
try these 4 steps. Let’s do a little experiment, see what happens.
Step number 1, give them a task that they can handle. How can you tell if your
kid can handle any particular task? I like to use the 5k rule. It goes like
this. If I were to offer my child $5,000 (Or whatever the equivalent of $5,000 is
for your kid.) to do what I just asked him to do, would he do it? If the answer is
yes then we know that he has the ability to do it. And then we’re talking about
motivation. Now, what if I offer my daughter $5,000
to replace the roof on the home? No, she can’t do that. That’s outside of her
abilities. So, we’re trying to focus on ability not motivation, you got it? And if
we take the motivation out of the picture, do they have the ability to do
it? How about keeping their room clean? How about getting their homework done?
How about treating their sister nicely? Yeah. They can handle that. So step number
1, give them a task they can handle. Step number 2. As a parent, you want to
back off at this point. And by that, I mean don’t get all uptight about whether
they’re going to do it or not. In fact, it’s a little better if you hope that they
blow it. Well wait! Wait. That’s counterintuitive, right? Well normally, we
give our kids a task and what do we do? We hope that they do it, right? Because
that would show that we’re a good parent or whatever. No. I want you to hope that
they blow it? Why? Because they’re going to learn something. And they’re going to
learn something at the lowest cost possible. Do you remember all those
things that I said would happen if we let this go untreated? That’s expensive. A
learning experience can be cheap if it happens earlier. So, we hope that they
blow it because they’re going to learn something
at the lowest cost possible. Another thing this step does for you as a parent
is it puts you in a very different place psychologically. Think about it. If you’re
hoping… If you are hoping and praying that they do what you just asked them to
do, what are you going to do? You’re going to remind them. Well, we call it reminding.
They call it something else. Probably nagging or ragging on me, right?
Doesn’t work. If you hope that they blow it, you’re going to step back a little bit
and you’re going to smile. When Mom smiling, kids are thinking. Make a note of that
somewhere. You’re smiling. Why? Because they’re going to blow it. And you’re okay
with that. We’ve got 2 more steps. So, I’m not going to leave you hanging. It puts
you in a different place psychologically and this is powerful as a parent. Let’s
go to step number 3. You let consequences and empathy do the teaching.
Consequences and empathy. Now, quick little gut check here as a parent. Most
parents aren’t willing to let their kids have consequences. And so they go to the
old 3 Rs of parenting. You know what those are? Rant, rave, and rescue
where you ball them out and bail them out. Check here first to make sure that
you are okay with them having the consequence. If you are really opposed to
your child having a particular consequence then you will bail them out.
So, make sure you’re okay with it because that puts you in that powerful smiling
position where it’s like, “You can do this or not do this. Either way, it’s really
fine with me.” And you smile. And they get nervous. Why? Because now they have to
think and thinking’s a little hard for them already. Because they have a hard
time focusing, remember? This is going to improve their focus because now we’re
talking about things that are to them. So, you let consequences happen
and then we wrap that in empathy. Not anger. Anger usually indicates that
you’re going to bail them out soon. Don’t go there. Empathy is where you
understanding care how they feel. Connect with them. They don’t want this
consequence. You’re okay with it but they don’t want it. See, that shifts the
responsibility over to those little shoulders. She is fully capable of
handling whatever consequence you just gave her. Yeah. She can’t. And you’re okay
with it. Powerful psychological tool. Now, let’s go to step number 4. Step number
4 is where you give the same task again.
Yeah. Maybe the next day or in a couple of days. You give them the same task
again. This creates a very powerful message to your child. It says to your
child, “I trust you to learn from your experience. I know you can handle this.
You’ve got this buddy.” Wow, isn’t that empowering? As opposed to bail on him out
when you ball them out and bail them out, the message they get is, “Oh, you obviously
can’t handle thinking for yourself. I’ll do it for you.” Really? Do you want to sign
up for that job long term? That’s going to be terribly exhausting. Let’s empower our
kids instead. Hope you found that helpful. My hat goes off to you as a parent. Thank
you for the good job that you’re doing raising the kids in our world. We’ve got
lots of other resources here on the positive parenting playlist here on the
channel. And if you haven’t checked it out yet, please go to parentingpowerup.com where we have other amazing resources for you as a parent. If you’re
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