Are you doing things for your child with ADHD that they can do themselves?
It’s really common for parents of kids with ADHD to do things for their kids that they’re capable of doing themselves.
This is another clanger that belongs in the “trying really hard, best intentions” category of parenting.
It’s kind of an extreme version of or misinterpretation of the choose your battles ethos.
We our kids are finding daily life being at school so difficult, so we often take all responsibility from them at home. So much so that I often have kids come and see me for ADHD coaching for the first time and they think everything is hunky-dory. I’ll ask “what would you like to work on? What would like to be different?” And they’ll say “Nope, everything;s great. No problemss with organisation, time management… etc etc”
They don’t think that they need to work on getting the homework done or keeping their room tidy or packing their bag because mums been doing it all for them so it’s not a problem. Why would they change it.
Here’s the problem. When we do things for our kids that they’re capable of figuring out themselves, we rob them of three things:
- A chance to problem solve.
Helping them find their own way to do something activates the pre-frontal cortex (where all the executive functions live). It gives us a chance to guide and model this process by asking open-ended questions. They start building their own operations manual for how they do things, as well as the processes they use to figure this stuff out.
- A building block in their self-confidence
Kids don’t build self-esteem and self-confidence by hearing compliments about how great they are. They build self-esteem by seeing evidence of their own competency and contribution, and lots of support, validation and encouragement from you.
- A step towards independence
Remember our job as parents is to, step-by-step, do ourselves out of a job. We want them to build into their life what we currently do for them. It’s all too common for kids to be heavily supported and scaffolded beyond what they need up until the end of school, and to be left hanging off a cliff without the skills for them to cope at uni, outside home or at work.
Warning - Your kids might not do it your way!
As you start letting kids do things their own way, you might find they might not want to do it your way! Get really curious about your resistance to do this. What's actually important here? We want our kids to figure out how to get the stuff of life done in a way that works for them.
And the other bonus? You get to do less!
My challenge for you today (like you didn't already have enough)
What is one thing you’re doing for your kids that they could do for themselves?
How can you pass the baton onto them?