“The ends justify the means.” “Outcomes measurement.” ”Getting to the finish line.” Our focus as a society seems to be on where we are going, and not how we get there. With ADHD kids, this mind-set can lead to frustration and feeling defeated, because the “finish line” often feels out of reach.
So what can they focus on if not the prize?
One key concept in ADHD management is to hold your child (or yourself) accountable to the process, rather than to outcomes. This idea removes some pressure. Kids need to learn the “how” in order to get the results they want. For example, rather than focusing on finishing homework, you could hold your child accountable for staying focused for 10-20 minutes (depending on age and ability). Celebrate a success with a quick energy break or reward. If you stack a handful of these together, the homework can get done, typically with less stress. If your child is working on managing his/her emotions, base success on whether self-calming strategies are used to calm down. Acknowledging the success is much more effective than punishing outbursts.
Success breeds success, so take the time to reward the use of strategies. It can lead to improvement and increased self-esteem. And besides, celebrating is fun!
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