Wendy Martin Prof. Eileen Roth Psychology 11 Child Psychology Parenting Children With Attention Deficit Disorder Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that is usually first evident in childhood and can affect the individual into adulthood.
At one time it was thought to be only a behavior problem, later t was redefined in the 50s as “minimal brain dysfunction,” before it finally metamorphosed into today’s ADD and ADHD. ADD is a neurobehavioral disorder and is characterized in the DSM IV as inattention, hyperactivity, and impassivity that is prese before the age of seven and which causes impairment with social, academic or occupational functioning. The problems that children with ADD/HD go through affect many aspects of a child’s life. The usual developmental tasks can become extremely diffi lt for these children, and especially frustrating for the parents.
The main areas that are affected in the lives of attention different children are those of self-esteem, social relationships, their academic skills, and most importantly their family r ationships namely those between the parent and ADD/HD child. If a child is able to be diagnosed early in life, the parent is at an advantage over one who has no idea that their child has this disorder. Parent training can be one of the most import t and effective interventions for a child with ADD. In the aforementioned difficult areas where ADD can cause the most problems to be prepared as a parent for the situations that their children and they themselves as parents face can be lessened and ca even be turned into productive learning tools. CompuServe, on the World Wide Web has a forum that is specifically dedicated to Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is one of the best resources for individuals with ADD/HD, children, parents and therapists.
One rticle, was written by Pamela Darr Wright, a licensed social worker specializing in child development in children with learning and attention disorders. In her article she explained each stage of child development and how kids with ADD experience these tages with much greater difficulty and cause a lot of strain on the parent/caregiver-child relationship. She began with the infant stage of development where some of the most critical developmental tasks occur. These are the tasks of calming themselve how to use the senses to learn about the world, and develop trust with the parent/caregiver. Infants that may later be diagnosed with ADD/HD are often labeled as “colicky,” “hyper-excitable,” “irritable,” or “unsoothable.” They are very active, easi distracted, and over-reactive to stimuli.
The parents of these infants often respond to a ‘difficult’ baby with confusion and alarm. The interaction between nurturing parent(s) and child is critical. When parents cannot ‘cope’ with their baby, they ually assume it is their own fault as failing parents which begins a relationship laden with guilt that can continue on through the entire relationship with their child. The second psychosocial developmental stage which occurs in the Toddler years, is that of separation. The period wherein the child develops the ability to hold a mental image of the parent in his mind.
As the child accomplishes the task of separating, strong sense of autonomy and confidence develops. It is during this stage also where the toddler develops ideas and concepts and is learning to accept limits and to tolerate frustration and to recover from disappointments. Wright explains that these evelopmental tasks can present significant problems for toddlers with ADD/HD. Typically, these youngsters have difficulty tolerating frustration and may be emotionally over-reactive. Parents describe them as “all-or-nothing” children who have difficul calming themselves. They tend to fall apart easily, dissolving into tears of frustration when needs and wants are not met immediately.
One of they most important things that a parent can do for their ADD/HD child is to be consistent. When children h e predictable consequences to their behavior it helps them to learn more quickly. For example, a child with ADD who wants a toy while shopping with his mother may immediately begin to throw a tantrum when she refuses to comply to her toddler’s wishes. n order to discourage further behavior there are many behavioral methods which one can use to form a discipline strategy.
Most parenting classes talk about how to discipline your child. There are two main principles taught. The first, is the parents onsistency ie. not giving in to the child throwing a tantrum and pulling the child aside for a time out or even ignoring the tantrum altogether; and the second, is parent’s control of their own emotions in order to use less negativity toward their child A technique called “charting” is often the first step in any behavior modification program.
It requires that parents specifically define the behavior they are concerned about so that it can be observed and counted. Charting makes parents more aware f their own behavior and children more aware of a problem behavior. During pre-school where the child begins to develop a solid identity and self-concepts are emerging, Wright gives the common behavioral signs exhibited by many children with attentional deficits–high activity levels, poor persistence, interpersonal/ er group problems, and difficulty modulating behavior and impulses, with aggression, tantrums, silliness, bossiness, and impulsivity. These are often beginning to create problems for the youngster. He may be fearful, confused, manipulative, or avoidan ADD and other learning disabilities are strong contributors to the emergence of over-anxious disorders of childhood, including school phobias.
Parents who are aware of their childs attention difficulties can help their youngsters and in the long run, hemselves, by avoiding emotional reactions such as anger, sarcasm, and ridicule. Dr. Janet Z. Giler Ph.D. states that parents need to begin observing what their child’s strengths and weaknesses are. In addition, they need to know which behaviors are u er the child’s conscious control and which are not.
Dr. Giler gives a solution for discovering whether their child is unable to follow the parents request or if it is simply the child’s non-compliance. To define non-compliance, you must ask the questi of “Can your child control the identified behavior?” If the answer is yes, you then need to ask yourself if your child is choosing to disobey. If the answer is yes, then you are defining non-compliance. However, for many ADD/LD children, a behavio can be an inability even if there are times when the child can control the behavior. The subject of movement is a good example.
When children with ADD are highly interested or scared, they can control their need to move. Since the parent sees that th can control their need to move they incorrectly assume that their child has this ability all of the time. Many ADD children use movements to wake up their brains. Moving helps them to pay attention. However, many parents view their child’s squirmi as an act of defiance instead of a behavior which they have trouble controlling.
If the parent thinks the child is defying them, they might get angry. If instead they are able to view movement as an inability, parents might …