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If your child is badly behaved
but does not have ADHD    click    here

Some notes for ADHD parents

Quotes below are from this excellent site


The ADHD Child

We begin with a discussion of the problems that we face: the full spectrum of ADHD and co-morbid symptoms.  The chief difficulty is that people with ADHD cannot inhibit the present moment long enough to consider the future. ADHD behaviors make sense once we realize that they are based on reactions taking only the present moment into account.   It is not that Johnny doesn’t care about the future; it is that the future and the past don’t even exist. Such is the nature of the disability.  If you want to make sense out of inexplicable behaviors by someone with ADHD, just ask yourself: “What behavior makes sense if you only had 4 seconds left to live?”  For example, if you only had 4 seconds to live, it would make sense to play a videogame rather than do homework.  After all, why do homework if college doesn't exist?


Martin L. Kutscher, M.D.
Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology
New York Medical College


Again the passage below is taken from this site it suggests that this is fairly typical of a ADHD parents comments


            An ADHD Parent

“I can’t take it any more!! We scream all morning to get out of the house. Homework takes hours. If I don’t help him with his work, he’s so disorganized that he’ll never do well. If I do help him, he screams at me. Since he never finishes anything, everyone thinks he doesn’t care. No matter how much we beg or punish, he keeps doing the same stupid things over and over again. He never considers the consequences of his actions, and doesn’t seem to care if they hurt me. It’s so easy for him to get overwhelmed. Sometimes, he just wants to ‘turn the noise off.’  He is so inflexible, and then blows up over anything. It gets me so angry that I scream back, which makes everything even worse. Now that he’s getting older, the lies and the cursing is getting worse, too.  I know he has trouble paying attention, but why does he have all of these other problems as well?”

Our Comments
This is fairly typical of the of the comments made by many of the parents that we work with
Some of the parents responses here would be counter-productive with any child's behaviour
The frustration caused by this child's behaviour needs support that spells out precisely WHAT TO DO when the child does A, B, C, and D.


----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2001 8:34 AM
Subject: Can your method help?

We have a 6 year old boy - we have been to Dr. Xxxxxxx - who diagnosed ADHD with extreme anxiousness.   His behaviour can be clearly broken into two main elements:

At home - typical ADHD - whole household at each others throats by end of evening!

At school - extremely nervous, sad and anxious - described as "quiet - sad boy".
Your input please
Name of parent withheld

Our Reply

Hi Xxxxx,
Please understand before you read my comments that I am by no means an expert on ADHD.  So please take my comments to someone who is and see what they say about my view.
Your son has ADHD and ADHD is a disorder that results in his  behaving in a particular way at home - but - this same ADHD (with the significant addition "with extreme anxiousness") results in a different behaviour at school i.e. the home behaviour is not repeated.
Your child behaves in a different way when in the different environment and with different adults at school.  The (apparently) powerful child that you have at home becomes a "quiet - sad boy"   when in school. 
Of course the change from home to school is a massive change for a six year old but what is clear is that external circumstances can (and do) effect his behaviour.  This is important because with other more serious conditions external circumstances often have an almost nil effect - this would be the case with a a seriously autistic child for instance.
Emotional disorders can be context sensitive
- that is to say - that they can only occur in a particular environments but for me, when this is the case, it gives advisors a major opportunity to extract (where possible) from environments those elements that tend to produce aspects of behaviour that are positive and attempt to apply them to environments where those positive aspects are not present.
But what if it also the case that - in addition to the above - your child's inappropriate behaviour is dependant on particular triggers or responses from home?  Well, then, should he really be described as having a disorder?
In other words the "disorder" should be viewed as relationship-based rather than
If this were true then work with the child alone will be far less effective than work carried out through the parents looking particularly at their responses to the inappropriate behaviour.
You say that your child at home is "typical ADHD" I would be interested to know what you think that is.
I have to tell you that when parents of children diagnosed as having ADHD describe their child's behaviour to me it is often essentially identical to the behaviour described by parents who have never heard of it and with whom I work successfully.
Also when the ADHD parents describe their current responses to this behaviour it tends to fall into the same - "in urgent need of change" category that the non ADHD parents fall into.  In other words I often judge their responses as representing a large contributory factor.
Once ADHD has been diagnosed, parents tend to stop looking at their own responses. The professionals who diagnose ADHD - which essentially describes what exists - seldom add to the description a prescription of what to do.
Although I do not claim to be an expert on ADHD I have many successful years working to change (sometime very extreme) home and school based behaviour. The prerequisite for my work is that the parents understand that their child is not to blame for their behaviour - in fact they are usually just as trapped by it as their parents are.  
The fact that these children with severe inappropriate behaviour often appear to be controlling events at home, and appear very powerful, rarely means that they are happy.  In fact the "quiet - sad boy"  that the school describe is, in my view,  more likely to be an accurate description of your real six year old.
"the whole household at each others throats by end of evening"   does not sound to me like a family that has any plan whatsoever to handle the inappropriate behaviour nor one that has any idea of the emotional effect of this daily trauma on an (apparently controlling) six year old. 
If a diagnosis (ADHD) prevents parents from looking at their handling of the  problem at home, it is a terrible indictment of this diagnosis. 
Because in any case, even if it is ADHD, there is (as far as I am aware) no other therapy at home other than careful behaviour management.
I cannot help you with ADHD I can help you to manage your child's behaviour.
Warwick Dyer
Behaviour Change Consultancy  

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