Let’s face it.
We dads don’t always have all the answers. Of course it’s not easy being wrong, but being a good father sometimes means taking a good hard look at what’s really going on with our not-so-academically-successful kids. Here are some popular misconceptions, about ADHD kids, to which we, as fathers, are especially susceptible.
1. “He’s Just a Boy”
“Sure he behaves more immaturely than a girl. True, he’s too hyper and too impulsive and gets into too much trouble, and yes, he can’t properly describe what he’s feeling or why, but then again, isn’t all that just typical for a boy? I think he’s completely normal.”
While it is true that girls generally mature earlier, are less impulsive, and share their feelings more, this is not the point. Comparing apples to apples, boys with ADHD behave less maturely than other boys their age and the older they get, the more obvious this becomes. They tend to be less considerate, less self-regulated, less likely to have friends their age, and less likely to collaborate with peers at school or at play. ADHD kids also have a harder time being accurate in what they think, say and do. Yes, boys will be boys but growing out of it is much harder when you have ADHD.
2. “I Was the Same When I Was a Kid”
“You think he’s trouble? You should have seen me when I was his age! Don’t worry. Just give him time.”
No question you’ve got a point here dad. But what exactly is it that he is going to outgrow? If you think that ADHD symptoms just go away with age then think again. At least 60% will still have symptoms as adults, and up to 80% will be diagnosed with another psychiatric condition as well!
So how did you ‘outgrow’ your wild youthful excesses? First of all, you may just be remembering your rowdier moments. Maybe you actually had better self-regulation overall.
And if you were just like him – distractible, impulsive, restless, etc., chances are you did NOT outgrow it – you just learned how to cope. Adults with ADHD are great at covering up – nodding in agreement while spacing out, choosing lines of work that don’t demand sustained attention, delegating instead of procrastinating, and choosing the excitement of sales over the drudgery of production. Those aren’t solutions, those are work-arounds, and your child deserves better.
3. ”He Can Focus When He Wants To.”
“Attention deficit? He has an attention SURPLUS, when he plays computer games at least! If he decided to focus at school, he would do fine.”
Yes, ADHD kids do actually hyper focus in certain situations, but that’s not something you will ever see during a regular classroom lesson. The ADHD brain needs high-stimulation to organize – either an exciting activity or an imminent reward or punishment. Without that stimulation, their attention and behavioural controls break down. Hence schoolwork that is ‘boring’ for an ADHD can be interesting for the kid in the next desk.
Many things in life are not exciting but nonetheless we need to be able to focus on them and get them done. We should be able to do these things not because of some very strong feelings, but simply because it’s the right thing to do.
Children that have little drive in most life activities have a behavioural issue that will get worse and become more difficult to fix as they gets older.
4. I Don’t Notice Those Things That You See Honey
“My wife is always worrying. If there’s no problem she will invent one. She says our kid has focusing problems, language problems, social problems, the list goes on. Frankly, I don’t see him that way at all.”
Typically fathers don’t spend as much time with their children as much as mothers do. They also naturally don’t have the intuition or sensitivity that women have for their children. When it comes to your child’s development, mothers are usually more aware. Think of all the times that after a while you realized she was right all along. This may be one of them, and it can’t hurt to investigate it further.
5. We’re Not Strict Enough with Him
“Kids these days are simply too spoiled. When you get everything you want no matter what, you get ill-mannered and lazy. My dad knew what to do when I behaved like that – he’d wallop me. Problem is we’ve been too easy on him.”
ADHD kids behave the way they do because they are wired that way. One of the typical results is a lack of social skills. When you come down hard on him, yes you may get immediate compliance, but not only will it not solve the problem in the long run, it will drive it underground causing it to show up later in life.
Calm, consistent, measured consequences are very useful child-rearing techniques. We also need to model the kind of behaviour we want them to emulate.
Every Maxi Mind Brain Training Course comes with a Family Dynamics Program that helps everyone in the family utilize strategies for more happily and successfully dealing with that ADHD kid.
Contact us now to see how a Maxi Mind Brain Training Solution can work for your family.