How To Get A Kid With ADHD To Focus

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ADHD is one of those really challenging topics for kids and for parents. Today,

we're going to talk about some specific ways to get a kid with ADHD to focus.

There's a lot of opinions and philosophies out there about this

particular topic. Here's my take on it really quickly. ADHD or Attention Deficit

Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition where a child's mind... Typically a child.

We're talking about kids today but there are some applications for adults too.

We'll handle that in another video. This is a condition in which the child's

brain doesn't appropriately regulate their own activity. Which includes paying

attention to things. So, if you can picture different parts of your brain

that do different things, do you know for example which part of your brain

controls eyesight, vision? Do you know? Most people don't. They usually guess

that it's probably up here by the eyes somewhere. Well that's the most common

incorrect guess. The occipital lobe of your brain back here at the back. It's

the part that houses the visual cortex. All of the information coming in through

your eyes goes through that part of your brain. There's a little strip up on top

just off of the side. It's about the size of your thumb called the motor cortex.

Handles all your arms, legs movement. Big muscles, small muscles. The right side of

your brain controls the left side of your body. And vice versa. I mean, this is

crazy how the brain is designed. But just to understand different parts do

different things. Now, picture probably up here in the frontal part of the brain, a

little Center that's in charge of paying attention. Staying focused. Well it might

be that part of the brain that's being affected in a kid with ADHD. So, it kind

of goes to sleep. And because this, the treatment of choice

historically for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is stimulant

medication. I know a lot of parents have some issues with this because they don't

want to put their kid on stimulants. Especially if the kid is already

bouncing off of the walls. Well, it makes some sense if you remember that it's

that part of the brain that's not quite functioning ideally. And if it's getting

lazy then the kid doesn't have any way to regulate his own behavior. Stimulant

medication tends to wake up that part of the brain a little bit. This is my

understanding of it. And so that he can pay attention and focus. That's why I

think stimulant medication works. In fact, if you give stimulant medications to a

kid who is not actually verifiably diagnoseable, you're going to increase the

hyperactivity not decrease it. It's been well-established in the research and in

the literature that having ADHD if it goes untreated, can lead to behavioral

problems, relationship problems, academic problems. These kids tend to get into

trouble a lot. So, we can't just let it go. I think we need to treat it. We're not

going to talk about the medication treatment on this video. That's not

within my licensure, that's not my expertise. Here's where I want to go. The

behavioral side. And honestly, even if we can't figure out how to fix this thing

from a medical perspective, if we can manage the behaviors and help these kids

focus better or pay attention better then we're solving at least a part of

the problem. Would you agree? So, let's take a look at

what can be done. I'm suggesting 4 steps here. And experiment with this a

little bit. Let's start with an assumption that you as a parent are in a

good place, Psychologically. Alright? If you're all

upset this isn't the time to do it. But if you're calm and cool and positive and

you remember your job is to love them no matter

even if, then you're in a good place to try these 4 steps. Let's do a little

experiment, see what happens. Step number 1, give them a task that

they can handle. How can you tell if your kid can handle any particular task? I

like to use the 5k rule. It goes like this. If I were to offer my child $5,000

(Or whatever the equivalent of $5,000 is for your kid.) to do what I just asked him

to do, would he do it? If the answer is yes then we know that he has the ability

to do it. And then we're talking about motivation.

Now, what if I offer my daughter $5,000 to replace the roof on the home? No, she

can't do that. That's outside of her abilities. So, we're trying to focus on

ability not motivation, you got it? And if we take the motivation out of the

picture, do they have the ability to do it? How about keeping their room clean?

How about getting their homework done? How about treating their sister nicely?

Yeah. They can handle that. So step number 1, give them a task they can handle.

Step number 2. As a parent, you want to back off at this point. And by that, I

mean don't get all uptight about whether they're going to do it or not. In fact, it's

a little better if you hope that they blow it. Well wait! Wait. That's

counterintuitive, right? Well normally, we give our kids a task and what do we do?

We hope that they do it, right? Because that would show that we're a good parent

or whatever. No. I want you to hope that they blow it? Why? Because they're going to

learn something. And they're going to learn something at the lowest cost

possible. Do you remember all those things that I said would happen if we

let this go untreated? That's expensive. A learning experience can be cheap if it

happens earlier. So, we hope that they blow it because they're going to learn

something at the lowest cost possible. Another

thing this step does for you as a parent is it puts you in a very different place

psychologically. Think about it. If you're hoping... If you are hoping and praying

that they do what you just asked them to do, what are you going to do? You're going to

remind them. Well, we call it reminding. They call it something else.

Probably nagging or ragging on me, right? Doesn't work. If you hope that they blow

it, you're going to step back a little bit and you're going to smile. When Mom smiling,

kids are thinking. Make a note of that somewhere. You're smiling. Why? Because

they're going to blow it. And you're okay with that. We've got 2 more steps. So,

I'm not going to leave you hanging. It puts you in a different place psychologically

and this is powerful as a parent. Let's go to step number 3. You let

consequences and empathy do the teaching. Consequences and empathy. Now, quick

little gut check here as a parent. Most parents aren't willing to let their kids

have consequences. And so they go to the old 3 Rs of parenting. You know

what those are? Rant, rave, and rescue where you ball them out and bail them

out. Check here first to make sure that you are okay with them having the

consequence. If you are really opposed to your child having a particular

consequence then you will bail them out. So, make sure you're okay with it because

that puts you in that powerful smiling position where it's like, "You can do this

or not do this. Either way, it's really fine with me." And you smile. And they get

nervous. Why? Because now they have to think and thinking's a little hard for

them already. Because they have a hard time focusing, remember? This is going to

improve their focus because now we're talking about things that are

to them. So, you let consequences happen and then we wrap that in empathy. Not

anger. Anger usually indicates that you're going to bail them out soon. Don't

go there. Empathy is where you understanding care how they feel. Connect

with them. They don't want this consequence. You're okay with it but they

don't want it. See, that shifts the responsibility over to those little

shoulders. She is fully capable of handling whatever consequence you just

gave her. Yeah. She can't. And you're okay with it. Powerful psychological tool. Now,

let's go to step number 4. Step number 4 is where you give the same task

again. Yeah. Maybe the next day or in a couple

of days. You give them the same task again. This creates a very powerful

message to your child. It says to your child, "I trust you to learn from your

experience. I know you can handle this. You've got this buddy." Wow, isn't that

empowering? As opposed to bail on him out when you ball them out and bail them out,

the message they get is, "Oh, you obviously can't handle thinking for yourself. I'll

do it for you." Really? Do you want to sign up for that job long term? That's going to

be terribly exhausting. Let's empower our kids instead. Hope you found that helpful.

My hat goes off to you as a parent. Thank you for the good job that you're doing

raising the kids in our world. We've got lots of other resources here on the

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