Coaching Tips For Parents Of Children With LD And ADHD
The following Information has been written by
Dr Steven Richfield
Many thanks to Dr Richfield who has kindly given permission for us to use the following aticle.
Dr Richfield has produced The Parent Coaching Cards and the book The Parent Coach: A New Approach to Parenting in Today's Society. He has written many more articles which I am sure will be of real help to many parents and these are listed below with links to his site at www.parentcoachcards.com
School is one of the most potent influences upon the social and emotional development of our children. Peer pressures, teacher evaluations, academic challenges, and a host of other forces await our kids everyday. These forces shape children's evolving repertoire of life skills in a variety of ways. Sometimes the impact is favorable; for example, warm and healthy friendships can spur the continued growth of empathy, perspective-taking, and mutuality. On the other hand, the potential negative impact of teacher criticism or peer rejection can threaten academic motivation and self-acceptance. While it is reasonable for parents to try to shield youngsters from the negative influences of school, teachers and guidance counselors are in the best position to do so.
A parent writes: Both our son and daughter struggle with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder. As they struggle so do my husband and I. Communication breaks down into arguments, problems arise in school and among peers, and we are often unsure of how to handle their emotional ups and downs. Any suggestions?
Children with LD and ADHD present unique challenges and rewards to parents. The vulnerability of a fragile ego, the unthinking behaviors rooted in impulsivity, or the steep decline of emotional meltdowns, can render even the most patient parent looking for tools and techniques to manage their child's unpredictable behaviors.
These scenarios fall under the heading of what I have come to call the "Now, what do I do?" syndrome. It is a question echoing through the minds of all parents at one time or another. As a child psychologist who trains parents who regularly witness these scenarios, I help empower parents with tools and tips to manage the emotional and social currents of ADHD and LD children. Here are some to consider:
Stress through words and actions that you are on the same "team" with the child. When emotions are peaking, children with ADHD and LD may perceive us as taking sides and rushing to judgment. Sometimes these perceptions are accurate. A nurturing tone of voice and an open mind sends the message that we want to listen to their point of view. Every interaction you have when they are emotionally charged is an opportunity for them to see you as a coaching ally, not a judging adversary. Ally with them by starting conversations with comments such as "Let me hear your side" or "You look like you need to talk - let's find a private place." Listen intently and resist jumping to conclusions. Instead, "float" some ideas with statements such as "I understand your feelings now so let's try to figure out what we can learn from this situation. Maybe there's a lesson for both of us - a way for me to understand you better and for you to better understand yourself." Move towards more meaningful discussion of the issues by suggesting that if they can be open to their contributions to what happened positive change can occur. Don't force the discussion and offer them time to be ready.
When it's time to talk have your "verbal playbook" ready for use. Once you have built a trusting dialogue it's time to offer them your explanations about what went wrong. Explain how their thinking side (the part of their mind that makes good decisions and watches over their behavior) sometimes loses control over their reacting side (the part of them that reacts emotionally to triggers in their life). This commonsense dichotomy resonates with most children's experience and allows you to explain how certain traps in their life trigger the reacting side. Typical traps include being teased, insulted, or feeling embarrassed by some difficulty. Suggest that all people have traps that we must look out for or our reacting sides will create all sorts of trouble for us. Give examples of how this has happened in your life and perhaps famous people whose reacting side stories have made headlines. Once you generalize the discussion in this way, the child tends to be more open and honest about their errors.
Offer "thinking side messages" as preventive strategies. Many children don't appreciate the significance of how their thoughts fuel their actions. This internal language is often running in the background of their interactions with others, sometimes spurring them on to an impulsive response to one of their traps. Explain how the way we talk to ourselves when we are facing one of our traps sets the stage for whether the thinking side or reacting side wins the battle for control over our behavior. Emphasize the plural "we" to reduce the chances of sounding accusatory or blaming. Give examples of how if they say to themselves, "I'm going to get even with that kid," the results are going to be much different than if they say to themselves, "I'm not going to take the bait from that kid." These brief, pointed mental scripts help decrease the intensity of the reacting side fires. Internal statements such as "I can't always get it right," or "I shouldn't take it personally," may help them avoid other potential traps.
The prevention of future troubles is aided by practicing and processing. Prepare your child for improved coping by speaking beforehand about what is likely to happen in a given situation. Rehearse situations so they can practice their silent self-control strategies. Afterwards, process the child's experience by reviewing how well they coped with their trap. Reassure them that it requires a lot of practice for all of us to use our thinking side when our traps are tempting us. Adults already know that it is very difficult to desensitize oneself from our issues. Children have even more trouble. It's easy for them to get caught up in unhelpful thinking and even more unhelpful reactions. Praise them for their willingness to discuss their contributions and desire to change for the better.
Other Articles By Dr Steven Richfield:
WHAT IS A PARENT COACH?
WHY IS COACHING IMPORTANT?
WHEN THE COACH NEEDS JUST AS MUCH COACHING
TO COACH OR NOT TO COACH
CLASSROOM COACHING: DEVELOPING CONSTRUCTIVE INTERNAL LANGUAGE
CLASSROOM COACHING: BRINGING SKILLS ON-LINE
COACHING THE RULES OF THE ROAD
COACHING THE SCHOOL AGED "IMPULSIVE DRIVER"
REMOVING THE BARRIERS BETWEEN GENERATIONS
GETTING BIG HAS BENEFITS
DEALING WITH THE MIDDLE SCHOOL YEARS
DEVELOPING EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE
HELPING YOUR CHILD BECOME BULLY WISE
PROVIDING SUMMER STRUCTURE
MAKE CAMP AN ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE
HAPPIER FAMILY VACATIONS
HELPING YOUR CHILD FIT IN SOCIALLY
DEALING WITH TEEN'S DESIRE FOR FREEDOM
UNDERSTANDING NEGATIVE INFLUENCES
HELPING THE IMPULSIVE CHILD
DISCUSSING AWKWARD SUBJECTS
DON'T LET YOUR CHILD TURN INTO A BULLY
DEVELOPING A TRUSTED DIALOGUE
DEALING WITH YOUR CHILDREN'S ISSUES
MANAGING SUMMERTIME MOODINESS
COACHING CALMNESS IN THE ANXIOUS CHILD
TAMING THE HORRORS OF HOMEWORK
HELPING CHILDREN COPE WITH TERRORISM
COACHING CONVERSATION SKILLS
HOW HOME LIFE CAN BREED BULLYING
USING GOOD JUDGMENT AMONG PEERS
COACHING THE CONTROLLING CHILD
COACHING THE CHILD WHO FEELS LIKE A VICTIM
WHEN FRIEND BECOMES FOE
STRATEGIES TO BOLSTER SELF ESTEEM
MATCHING YOUR COACHING APPROACH TO YOUR CHILD
PARENT COP VS. PARENT COACH: REPAIRING THE TEAR IN PARENTING STYLES
TAMING THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN FATHER AND SON (OR DAUGHTER)
TIPS FOR PARENTING PRE-SCHOOLERS
COACHING SOCIAL MATURITY IN MIDDLE SCHOOL
COACHING ADVICE FOR DIVORCING PARENTS
COACHING TIPS FOR CHILDREN WITH LD AND ADHD
COACHING INDEPENDENCE TO THE OVERLY DEPENDENT CHILD
HELP FOR THE PERFECTIONISTIC CHILD
PREPARING CHILDREN EMOTIONALLY IN A SCARY WORLD
RAISING THE SINGLE-PARENTED CHILD
UNDERSTANDING AND HELPING THE DISTRESSED TEEN
GUIDANCE FOR THE SIBLINGS OF DIFFICULT CHILDREN
RESPONDING TO THE CONCERNS OF THE ADOPTED CHILD
TIPS FOR COACHING KIDS WITH ASPERGERS SYNDROME
PARENT COACHING SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDRERN
COACHING PEER ATTUNEMENT TO THE CHILD WHO DOESN'T FIT IN
More information on Parent Coaching www.parentcoachcards.com
Author(s): Steven Richfield, Psy.D., Carol Borchert B.A.
© adders.org 2004
You can try some unique ideas for playing with your child such as different outdoor and indoor activities for preschoolers or after school games for older kids. We strongly recommend different types of games for toddlers for your youngest ones. Just search on the Internet, ask your friends and share your knowledge on the Interent in order to find the best games for your kids.
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