Parents: Don't overdo the smart talk
Paul Keene, M.A., SpEd (SH), EFT-Adv
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The use of positive affirmations is a good practice. As parents, we try to instill in our children that they are perfect, whole, and complete. They can do and become anything by believing in themselves, and holding fast to their dream.
Most of us are firm believers in the power of affirmations and positive thinking, and rightly so. We experience the results. As adults we are familiar with "when things go wrong". We have the tools and the experience to learn from our set-backs, brush them off, and go forward. Our positive thinking makes this so.
Children need this experience, too. They must develop the capability to separate efforts that end in failure from themselves. They are not the failure.
Out of love, we do everything we can to build self-confidence in our children. We feed them positive talk to instill a belief in themselves. We want them to be successful.
Sometimes we get caught up in building a strong, positive self-image for our child, and we forget to talk about "when things go wrong".
What happens when we tell our children year after year that they are smart, intelligent, can do anything? What happens when we tell them they are going to ace the algebra test, make the first string cut, get a ribbon on their project . . .
And they don't?
They flunk the algebra test. They don't make the team. The project didn't qualify for district.
Repeatedly affirming to children that they have the ability to do great-and they keep failing-creates a problem.
All children, not just those with ADHD, will begin to question at one time or another. What is wrong with me? I am smart, intelligent. Mom and Dad tell me that I can accomplish anything I want. If I am so smart but keep messing up, there must be something really wrong with me. Really wrong.
With the ADHD child, this is magnified. The child already feels different from others. With repeated "failures" coupled with repeated "you are smart", there is no congruency.
This worsens ADHD symptoms. Depression, anger, self-hate, worry, guilt, and other negative emotions easily take over.
What do we do? Do we forget the positive talk and focus on weakness and failure?
Absolutely not. The positive talk is of upmost importance. One can be smart and intelligent, and still make mis-takes. Look at Thomas Edison. How many mis-takes did it take before his many successes? What about Henry Ford? Both of these smart, intelligent men "failed" many times over. But they did not look at their results as failure. They were simply steps in learning to reach the final goal. Both of these intelligent men had ADD.
The separation of what appears as failure and one's self is crucial. Children often see themselves as the outcomes they produce. The ADHD child is not the negative behaviors or symptoms.
As parents, we must instill in our children that they are smart, intelligent beings. We want them to have positive beliefs, high esteem, and confidence.
Introduce your children to EFT. Teach them, by example, to make the use of EFT a daily habit. Tap on the mistakes and not good-enough feelings and release them before they become engrained in the unconscious. Establish mis-takes as normal learning experiences. Next time they will use a different take.
Tell them that they can succeed even though they may go about it in a different way than others, using their ADHD in their favor.
Fortunately, as demonstrated by the hundreds of famous ADD men and women of today and the past, they are intelligent enough to know how to do so.
Paul is recognized for his success with ADHD children and teens. Both EFT and special services teaching give him knowledge, compassion, and understanding for the child as well as family members caught up in the ADHD nightmare. Paul has a client friendly office, but most of his consultations are by phone, teaching children techniques and strategies seldom if ever learned in the classroom.
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