Living with the Problem

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder [ADD / ADHD] | 0 comments

For many children, parents, caregivers, and teachers the problems associated with those children diagnosed with either Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are very real. For some children it may simply be mean an inability to concentrate in a traditional classroom. For others, it involves a constellation of behaviors creatinge a full range of problems.

Most often teachers experience male students as exhibiting the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. These boys are loud, aggressive and impulsive. Behavior management with explosive and erratic students is a full-time job; they need more attention than one can possibly give. As class sizes and work loads have grown, teachers have less support in the classroom than they once did. The use of medication, such as Ritalin or anti-depressants, becomes an inviting solution.

Parents or caregivers
The experience of parents and caregivers who have a child dealing with these kinds of problems can range from a “challenge” to extreme distress. Some parents and caregivers have good resources and support from family, friends, and professionals. Others may experience disadvantages related to social class, race, or education. For children in this situation, whose families do not have access to resources, an ADD/ADHD diagnosis not only fails to solve the problem, but it makes it more difficult for families and professionals to see or attend to the societal and emotional issues.

The diagnosis of ADD/ADHD has a profound effect on children as it impacts their sense of identity, self-confidence, and self-esteem. For some, particularly those who already have a strong sense of themselves or are confident that they are worthy, loved, competent, and good, a diagnosis may be simply a name for the cognitive difficulties they experience. Unfortunately, many others might see themselves as a “problem,” not likable, untrustworthy, too rough, lazy, stupid or “mental.”

Diagnosis for these children can seem like a confirmation that they are bad or damaged.

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Recognizing ADD/ADHD

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder [ADD / ADHD] | 0 comments

Not all children who are naturally rambunctious or extraordinarily curious have ADHD . . . Nor do all disorganized adults who have many things going on at one time have ADD . . .

A professional diagnosis is the best way to determine ADD / ADHD in any individual. However, the following description, as given by experts in the field of ADD / ADHD, serves as a guide.

  • A high level of frustration causes ADD people to be impatient. Whatever is going on — they want it to go quickly and be finished.
  • People with ADD suffer from “overload”; they have a heightened awareness of incoming environmental stimuli. Their world tends to be too bright, too loud, too abrasive and too rapidly changing for comfort.
  • Unable to filter out normal background “noise” they find it difficult to concentrate on a task before them.
  • Disorientation to time and space is often a problem. For instance they may have to stop and think which hand is their right or left.
  • They may have difficulty following a set of instructions or reading a map.
  • ADD people tend to be disorganized. They have trouble making and carrying out plans.
  • Many ADD people are hyperactive.
    • As youngsters they’re constantly moving, squirming, twisting and getting into everything.
    • As adults they’re restless and easily distracted.
    • They often tend to forget appointments, to pay bills and complete tasks.
  • Because they’re always in a hurry, delays of any kind make them frantic.
  • ADD people live under such stress, frustration is difficult to tolerate, and when they’re frustrated they’re likely to become angry.
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Understanding the Problem

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder [ADD / ADHD] | 0 comments

ADD/ADHD is one of the most controversial social issues of our time. It raises strong and passionate feelings among those who believe in it and those who don’t. Many people simply do not know what to believe.

There is widespread belief that the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is a medically proven fact. However, within medicine itself pediatricians, child psychiatrists, family doctors, and medical researchers hold varied opinions. There are many who do not even believe that ADD/ADHD is a valid diagnostic category. Some say this diagnosis depends entirely upon the beliefs of the treating medical or psychological practitioner.

Professional Myths about ADD/ADHD:

  • ADD/ADHD a diagnostic category and therefore it is a medical problem.
  • Behavior rating scales can scientifically measure ADD/ADHD.
  • Research has proven that ADD/ADHD has a biological cause.
  • Real Facts about ADD/ADHD
    Public and professional consensus created ADD/ADHD, not science!
  • Behavior rating scales are composed of behaviors that have been selected through consensus rather than science.
  • When a teacher, parent, or doctor rate a particular child’s behavior, there is usually a range of varying scores.
  • There is no medical researcher or geneticist has ever claimed to prove that ADD/ADHD has a biological cause or is a genetic condition.

This is not to say that problems don’t exist. For some children these problems can involve aggression and non-cooperation, lack of control in the classroom, and experiences of isolation or exclusion at school or from peers and siblings. These problems may include increased violence and temper:, breaking things, spitting, biting, kicking, hitting, swearing and name-calling. Teachers, siblings, parents, caregivers and young persons themselves can feel powerless in trying to control these problems.

However, to use the terms ADD/ADHD is to use to label these behaviours as a psychiatric label. Labeling may limit the range of available options people might otherwise have available.

The following information is often given to families whose child receives the ADD/ADHD diagnosis.

The problem is medical and the child needs medication.

The problem is psychological and the parent(s) will have to treat the child differently.
However, there are many people for whom medication has had a short-term effect or no effect at all. In these instances, the diagnosis and medication bring an additional sense of failure as well as blame and inadequacy to an already difficult situation. Unfortunately this second option presents an even heavier burden on the family. It is often a message that the mother or the child is “bad.” The mother is seen as irresponsible, as either not providing the child with the medical attention the child requires or is parenting “inadequately.” The child is not only seen as pathological, but willfully bad, otherwise the medication would have worked. These methods limit, rather than expand, families’ and professionals’ effectiveness.

Despite the above, many people experience a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD as a very positive influence or even a turning point in their lives, and they find taking medication enormously beneficial. This is a wonderful outcome for these individuals.

It is important to consider these multiple views of ADD/ADHD and to deal with the very real difficulties this problem creates.

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Understanding the Problem

Posted by on Mar 26, 2012 in Parenting | 0 comments

As everyone knows, having children can bring about changes in a person’s identity, lifestyle, relationship, and career that seems cataclysmic. While everyone has some advice for “how to be a good parent” there are only a few publications written specifically for new parents, particularly younger couples.

There is little recognition that a variety of unforeseen problems can occur as parents adjust to this new beginning. In fact, when you tell people you are the parent of a newborn – or a one-year-old, or even a three-year-old – a common response is a nostalgic smile and a request to see pictures.

Society promotes the idea that new parents should be experiencing a wonderful and blissful time – all the time – making difficulties that do arise with new parenting invisible. The overall message seems to be: “only problem parents have problems with parenting,” which of course keeps parents from talking about, and connecting with universal fears, stress, and worries.

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Solutions (Do’s and Don’ts)

Posted by on Mar 26, 2012 in Perfection - The "Curse" of Perfect Parenting | 0 comments

Here are some do’s and don’ts that others have found helpful and not so helpful in their relationship.

Ten Do’s

  • Appreciate what you are doing well as a parent.
  • Recognize that idealized versions of parenthood are idealized and not real.
  • Develop your own priorities as a parent and focus on them.
  • Appreciate what you are doing well as a parent.
  • Recognize that although the culture supports a specific family constellation, there are alternatives that may be better for you and your child.
  • At times when frustration colors your relationship with your child, remember that things will inevitably change as your child grows.
  • Spend time with others who understand and support your situation.
  • Take time for yourself and your relationships.
  • Recognize that although others might make different choices about parenting, children do well in a variety of situations.
  • If you are engaging in actions as a parent that may be harmful to your child, seek help.

Four Don’ts

  • Don’t compare yourself to others or to idealized images.
  • Don’t replay your worst moments over and over in your mind and take your best ones for granted.
  • Don’t assume that others know more about your child than you do.
  • Don’t compare your child’s every action and rate of development to other children.
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Posted by on Mar 26, 2012 in Perfection - The "Curse" of Perfect Parenting | 0 comments

Questions for Parents

  • If you can keep the culture’s idealized image of parenthood out of the picture, what is most important to each of you in raising your child?
  • What do you or could you and your partner each contribute to what is important to you?
  • What do you know about yourself and your partner that makes you confident that this could happen or could continue to happen?
  • What do you hope to protect and nurture in your own relationship?
  • How have you been able to do that or how can you imagine doing that?
  • What have you appreciated already in your partner’s parenting that you might not have predicted?

Questions for Grandparents

  • What do you most hope for in your relationship with your grandchild?
  • What has happened so far that contributes to that?
  • In establishing this relationship what have been the effects on your relationship with your child and his or her partner (if they have one)? Is that what you intended?
  • How might you get what you want with both your children and grandchildren?
  • What do you appreciate in your child as a parent? Does he or she know that?

Questions for Young Parents

  • What does being a parent at this particular time in your life offer that might not be available at other times?
  • If you keep the knowledge of this advantage in your awareness, how will that make a difference?
  • If you think about your whole life, are there important things that you are putting on hold? How can you keep dreams and plans of those things alive for your future?
  • Who supports and finds joy in your parenting at this time in your life? Does it make a difference to spend more time with them?

Questions for Single Adult Parents

  • If you think about yourself as a sole parent rather than a single parent what comes to light that you can appreciate about yourself?
  • What are the advantages of sole parenting?
  • What keeps these advantages hidden?
  • How is your family part of a larger community?
  • What does this connection contribute to your child?
  • What have you done to make this possible?
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