Understanding ADHD and How to Cope with It

”Blaming other people@

Imagine a situation where a child is going to give some sweets to another child. There are many different reasons that could make him/her do so. For example, a two-year old child will show satisfaction by giving others something. The child thinks that giving is a good thing and would be pleased to give away sweets. When he/she becomes aware of likes and dislikes, he/she thinks, "I will give it because I like him/her". They will also say, "I don't give it because I don't like him/her." As a child becomes more competitive, they will think, "I will give it because I lost". A situation like this implies that a child makes decision against his/her own criteria.

œLearning various criteria.

A child is not born with criteria like an adult. As he/she grows up, the child learns it through experiences to make an appropriate judgment for certain situations and conditions. Here is an example of an ADHD child who is at stage of learning "Good -Bad" criteria. We also show you how to deal with such problems.

œBlaming Parents

There are some ADHD children who speak of bad things about their parents to others such as "My daddy always sleeps in." or "My mommy eats lots of sweets". It is a common characteristic of ADHD children that they are not afraid of strangers, so some children talk badly about their family even to an unfamiliar person.

Others blame not only their parents but all adults in general. They sometimes target teachers (and if the parents believe it, they will in turn blame teachers as well and the problem arises). The characteristic of the ADHD children is that they persistently blame others.

œFollowing the Rules@

If you ask a three-year old child, "What do you want to be when you are grown up?", it will be hard for him/her to answer. But if the child reaches four- or five-year old, they will say, "Motorman" "Nurse" or something like that.

One of the reasons for such change is that they start to recognize that a child will grow up to become an adult one day. Also they learn to "follow the rules" and "repeatedly" "do the same thing". As they follow the rules and repeat the same thing over and over, they understand that "I can make improvement". In rehabilitation program of the infants, four- to five-year old is a general starting point for the training. They now think, "I want to do it better, I can do it." and positively work on rehabilitation.

As they become aware of their own improvement, they are able to start picturing their future. That's why they can answer "Motorman" or "Nurse". This is also the period of omnipotence when a child feels "I can do anything". The recognition of growing up, the understanding of rules and ability to challenge and improve are supported by inner structure of omnipotent self, and that makes the children answer in a characteristically childlike way (if the child cannot answer the question, find the reason as it is sometimes necessary to deal with it).

œFinding out the "external world"

These rules will be also applied to play activities such as a foot race, dodge ball and tag. If a child breaks the rule, he/she will be blamed for "cheating". If breaking it repeatedly, he/she may be ostracized.

Children at this stage also become aware of the "external world" that is different from their own world. They started to take interest in various jobs. They also recognize the ones with handicaps, and sometimes mimic their movement and laugh. (This is a sign that the child is cultivating interest to the external world. So adults should not scold him/her emotionally or ignore the behavior. Instead, they should talk honestly to the child that some "disease" is the cause for the handicap and then the child would not laugh at them anymore).

œFinding of the "Morals"

When they start thinking that the rules are there to keep, they will find that, for example, it is not good to hit others when quarreling and it is more appropriate to speak up. They learn that they should be kind to children younger than themselves. They also find out that in the new territory of the external world, there are rules that say "You should not use violence." or "You should not give hard time to the weak people". This is the period when children discover the universal morals.

œSocial Common Sense@

They also start to learn common knowledge in social life, such as "Eat vegetables and you won't get cold." or "Drink milk to make your body strong". Some children overcome their likes and dislikes of the food by learning this knowledge.

If a child complains that "My father always sleeps in.", he/she has a criteria in his/her mind that tells that sleeping in is a bad thing. If the child knows that too many sweets are bad for your body, he/she worries and says, "My mother eats a lot of sweets". For them, what their parents are doing is breaking the rules, and they should be blamed. Especially if the child has ADHD, he/she tends to adhere to it and becomes over-critical.

The child will blame others, but they themselves may be violent, rough, or break the promises. Adults may think that their behavior is selfish and one-way, and become emotional. However, if the parents happen to hit the child, they will become "Not a good person = Bad person".
(to be continued)

”From the monthly journal "The Developmental Education"
Eishi Yuk
umi, Speech-Language-Hearing Therapist
Naoko Ogura, Speech-Language-Hearing Therapist
The Association of Remedial Teaching for People with Developmental Handicaps