Once a child masters a problem, give him recognition for it. As Jack mastered riding the AquaSkipper, family and friends congratulated him on his progress. Jack beamed. It was great to see.
By recognition, I do not mean awarding him a prize or a lead role in the school play. I mean that someone — a teacher, teammate, parent, or friend — gives him a pat on the back or a silent nod, some word or gesture to let him know that the person notices and appreciates the progress he has made.
Such recognition solidifies the confidence, self-esteem, and motivation that mastery engendered. It also connects the child to the person or group who recognized him. The single most important treatment for ADHD — or for any child, at any age — is to enter into this cycle of excellence. It’s open to everyone, everywhere, always. Parents shouldn’t worry as much about grades as about their child’s progress in this cycle.
A child may get poor grades in school, but still be in the cycle of excellence. His future is bright. Another child may get top grades but be living a disconnected, joyless childhood. Needless to say, his future is not as bright.
I urge you to take this cycle seriously and use it in your child’s everyday life. It is the most reliable way to unwrap your child’s gifts while helping him develop self-esteem, confidence, desire, enthusiasm, friendliness, and even moral rectitude.
Not only will your child benefit enormously. You will, too.
Excerpted from Superparenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child, by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and Peter S. Jensen, M.D. © 2009 by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and Peter S. Jensen, M.D.