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My Child is Easily Distracted: He Can Be Successful

Author: Michael Garant, Ph.D. 24 February 2010 No Comment

When I first heard my nine year old son had AD/HD, I was VERY concerned. What will happen to him?    The next thing my son’s doctor told me was that he has above average intelligence. I asked “What does this mean for his education?”  Basically the doctor told me he could do whatever he wanted if he was provided with the proper skills and support.

The common cause of distractibility in children is AD/HD. In addition, there are other causes for distractibility, such as anxiety, depression, learning challenges, stress and even a gifted child’s enhanced sensory awareness. With proper skills and support, your child can manage these challenges.

“…I forget things sometimes” – Your child knows what is going on

I was heading back up stairs for the third time to see why my son was not dressed for school. I had laid out his clothes in front of him on the bed and asked him to get dressed. Last time I was up there he promised me he would get dressed. So now I turned off the television and calmly reminded him again that he has to get ready for school. When he stopped complaining about the TV, he looked at me and said “I forgot to get dressed… I forget things sometimes.”  That is when I realized he knew what was going on as well. Now, I had broken his morning routine and caused his distraction setting him up for failure. Establishing and sticking to a routine is a must for children with distractibility to help them be successful.

 “…Why Can’t I have A Good Day?” – How your child feels

I understand, it can be very stressful dealing with a distracted child on a daily basis. Let’s look at it from your child’s point-of-view. He doesn’t know why he is absent-minded or how to address this issue. Have you heard this from your child, “Why can’t I have a good day?” or “Why can’t I do anything right?”  Distracted children are scolded and/or corrected ALL DAY at school, at home, EVERYWHERE!  They hear “Why aren’t you finished yet!!”, “What did I just ask you to do!” or “Why can’t you pay attention!  Their self-esteem plummets and they become frustrated and can lash out. For example you will hear “I heard you already!” or “I can’t do it!” As a parent, I realize that you are not intentionally doing anything to harm your child. Your child needs your patience and understanding. I realize it can be a difficult task some days, seemingly impossible, however you can do it for your child’s sake.

“…Nobody likes me.” – A common message.

Do you often wonder why you don’t hear your child talk about friends, birthday parties or the term of the times “a play date”?  Have you ever heard “Nobody like me.” or “I have no friends”. Distracted children are not sure how to act or what to say in a social setting for fear of failing. This low self-esteem stems from the negative feed-back they receive on a daily basis, as I discussed above. Another factor is that other children do not know how to deal with their absent mindedness. We know a school social setting can be quite difficult, if not outright cruel. It is important for parents to actively work on social skills with your distracted child. A must for distracted children, for all children, is to build them up and help them feel good about themselves. This will do wonders to enhance their social abilities.

“You Can Do It!” – A message your child needs to hear!!

Now, as a martial arts instructor I have basically heard more than once; I have AD/HD. I can’t do martial arts. The first thing I say is; “You can do it!  I believe in you. You have to believe in yourself.”  I am setting the tone for how I will interact with that child. It can take constant reminders and support for distracted children to persevere and conquer a challenge. As you string theses victories together you are building up their confidence. As they become more confident they will challenge themselves, by trying new and more difficult activities and/or making new friends. Recognize your child’s strengths and highlight them over and over to instill confidence. That is how you will build up your child and he will begin to engage, learn and grow. That is SUCCESS!!

Additional posts by Michael Garant, Ph.D.