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Your Child Is Not Giving You a Hard Time. Your Child Is Having a Hard Time.

When your child ignores, disregards, or otherwise disobeys you, punishment is an understandable consequence. It’s also not always effective. To prevent similar behavior in the future, you’ve got to dig a little deeper and change the language you use to describe your child — even in your own head.

9 Comments: Your Child Is Not Giving You a Hard Time. Your Child Is Having a Hard Time.

  1. Hey Penny! I’m new here, and I’d like to thank you for writing these wonderful articles!

    I wanted to add that one Red Light Word I’ve noticed many people using – and consciously tried to avoid myself – is the word “disrespectful”. Because again, in situations where kids could be called “disrespectful”, they’re rarely thinking of it that way; they’re probably not thinking of you or the message they’re sending at all (except of course when they are. it takes some skills of discretion to tell the difference).

    Again, thanks so much!

  2. This was a very enlightening article. I see where I’m going wrong. I do try but it’s not always easy. I have two with ADHD & ODD. The more I read the more I wonder if I have it as well. The challenges are more with my 8yr old daughter with whom I’d use many of the Red Flag words (noted & will attempt to stop). In hindsight I think it’s my own frustration in not knowing how to REALLY help her….and she tells me she needs help. Sometimes I try and sometimes I just don’t see it (the way she does). Often times I feel like a bad mom and she deserves better. After reading this I will do everything I can to be better. I’m still new to this and learning. I need to bear with my kids and hope they’ll bear with me.

  3. @ladc23 — When you’re in the positive mindset and seeing your child for who they really are and where they are, the more positive approach is natural. In the instance where my son didn’t respond to me noting that the shoes weren’t when they belong, when he doesn’t respond, I work on making sure he’s hearing and processing what I’m saying. I go over to him and put a hand on his shoulder and say something like, “Hey Buddy, you must not have heard me. Can you focus on what I’m saying for a second? You’re shoes aren’t where they belong. Where should you put them?” When I remember that my child is HAVING a hard time, not GIVING ME a hard time, it automatically shifts what you say and do and how you say and do it.

    ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

  4. @rocprof — please note that, in my example, my son never said “no” or verbally refused to put his shoes away. He just didn’t respond to what I said. There is a time and place for discipline, of course, but when a child’s neurological difference is preventing them from completing a task successfully, all the discipline in the world won’t change that. If we ignore our kids’ challenges and hold them to neurological expectations, that’s doing far greater damage… for the rest of their lives.

    ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

  5. rockprof, Perhaps you are a Russian bot, or perhaps this is an anger outburst due to your ADHD that your parents never recognized and adjusted their parenting style.It’s curious that you are on this forum and reading the comments only to display your lack of understanding of ADD/ADHD. This piece resonated with me because I was constantly labeled as lazy as a kid. In reality I was quite motivated-when I saw what the purpose was behind the task requested of me. I’m still that way. Don’t ask me to ‘just do it’ because I most likely won’t. Shoes! I still have shoes all of the house (I’m 63) and my wife understands that and does not see any reason to try to change my behavior. If she says we’re having company, I’ll gather and put my shoes where ‘they belong’. Being an engineer, I see function first. ADDer’s do not think in a linear way. Now, Re-read that-ADD’s do not think in a linear way. Neuro-typical folks cannot understand that.Thoughts placed on a yardstick evenly, or thoughts thrown in a bucket, mixed up, and you pick one at random without looking at them. Imagine the work we go through JUST TO THINK. Let alone act and get something done. My advice? Keep learning with this forum and recognize that when you read something thank causes you to react in a negative way it may point to how you were treated by the formative people in your life. The people who read these articles have had enough people telling us we are wrong,stupid,and lazy. I hope you find peace.

  6. Thank you for the reminder of using positive language. I do find it helpful. However, I feel this article is lacking in the what to use. It focuses on the negative parenting as opposed to what the positive parenting should look like. Ironically, since the premise of the article is to be positive.

  7. Well isn’t this just so precious? We’re raising a generation of fragile stick figures instead of human beings. When I tell my kid to put his shoes away and he says no, guess what? He’s…wait for it…refusing! He’s not having a hard time. He’s just simply refusing, like kids do sometimes.

    Don’t ever discipline your kids! Lord have mercy, they might shatter!

  8. First let me say this article is just what I needed right now. I sent this to all of my friends and I’m filing it away to use if needed for my kids teachers/administrators.

    I am also beginning to see my neurotypical children’s behavior as a signal of a lagging skill at times. I believe when Ross Greene says “kids do well if they can” – I think he is referring to all kids not just those with special needs ??

    I mean kids can lag in certain emotional/social areas without having a diagnosable disorder. Just like kids can have lagging math skills but no diagnosed learning disability isn’t that the same for emotional/social stuff ? Just wondering what everyone else thinks.

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