Linking to my previous post, in which I mentioned the risk of losing our vision as leaders as a result of the frustration we feel while interacting with our children, we must consider another factor that can make us forget that we want our children to grow happy.
Dr. Russell Barkley was in Madrid last month and shared some thoughts. I would like to focus now on the part of inattention, related to the motor process, not the intelligence process. (An ADHD child and one without ADHD see reality in the same way, but do not respond to it in the same manner)
A. – One of the skills an ADHD does NOT have is that he cannot maintain, or sustain his response to meet an objective.
2. – Another characteristic, linked to the first one is about the resistance to distraction. The child who resists, persists in achieving the objective. An ADHD listens and sees like the other children, but any distraction causes a reaction, which other children avoid because they know it is irrelevant to reach the goal. But an ADHD’s always in the tangent of thought and behavior (look at the bird! his wings are blue, like my mother´s bathroom, she bought a nice blue dress …).This is a motor deviation, nothing to do with intelligence.
3. – The third characteristic is that an ADHD child is not able to retain information needed to guide his behavior towards the target. And this can be observed very clearly, because when they return from their distraction, they do not resume the task. We adults, can be distracted for any number of reasons (for example, a phone call that makes us stop doing any activity) but then we can go back to what we were doing. Any distraction eliminates the goal in an ADHD brain.
Therefore retaining the required information in the brain in order to reach the goal is important, and has nothing to do with inattention but with the in- ability to retain while doing something else. The NOW is more important to them than what they had in mind. It creates a myopia about the future.
ADHD is not a disorder of inattention, IT IS A DISORDER OF INTENTION, fulfilling objectives, rather than competences (ADHD’s have the same knowledge that children of their same age, but their problem is that they do not know how to implement that knowledge).
What can we do? The good news is that the connections of the brain will gradually mature to their corresponding level. The bad news is that, in the meantime, we can not fail in our efforts to show them and explain to them the WHY’s, the WHAT FOR’s, so important in their lives and in ours.
Any good leader has a vision. But let’s decide what type of vision we wish to have. Is it just a single written plan with specific, clear stages, as in a professional career? Or do we prefer to take into consideration what our inner thoughts and heart have to say, about our dreams, our values, and those who remind us our priorities, those giving a sense to our lives?
ADHD’s brain is not used to rest. This, by definition, makes our children unproductive (bad grades, resulting in impulsive reactions that hinder proper development of social skills, and forgetfulness often causing frustration in their environment …). We, as the super adults, normally have our written and very well-written plans that determine how things need to be done (a tidy room, preparing their folders for school, picking out their clothes for the next day, washing their hands before sitting at the table …) all, for nothing…as we turn in despair in record time when we see, time and time again that we are ignored …
ADHD parents and educators we must be the guardians and protectors of our children’s future, the one they are not able to foresee the same way as those of their age, because they have no reasons, nor INTENTIONS.
I suggest that we decide which exactly are our priorities and serve as role models for our children. Sometimes it is not necessary to speak. Children imitate parents. Let’s do, share, enjoy everything we consider good, helpful, and they will behave in the same way, according to their maturity level. We also mustn´t forget to provide spaces and moments where our children can create their own routines as they are often very imaginative. Their self-esteem will grow. They’ll recognize the emotions making them feel good, and they’ll seek to recover them.
Let’s wear our explorer’s hat: What are the values, the valuable lessons we wish to transmit to our children? Let’s also consider that we are not their only role models, so look for other environments that will also be suitable.: Extended family? Sports communities? Music? Painting? Volunteer? Remember that here emotional intelligence can be a great ally. Any positive emotion will make them more receptive.
I encourage you to recognize our COMPLETE VISION, and learn to practice patience. One day we will see a slight change in their attitude, a comment that seems more mature. Let’s be aware of these indicators showing us that they are on the right track and help them to define and live an attractive future. And let’s give ourselves our full support. The thanks our children may give us in the future can never be measured. But I am sure that the important thing is to look back and know that what led us was our particular pattern of life and that we remained faithful to it, despite the many changes our children plans imposed on us.