It is a widely held belief that children with ADHD are generally a behavioral problem. But that’s not entirely accurate. Just because someone has been diagnosed with ADHD, there is no formula for how they will behave or what characteristics he or she will display.
From where I stand, ADHD and bad behavior are two very different things. While there are certainly going to be instances where someone’s behavior is influenced or impacted by their experience of ADHD, it is not an “if, then” situation.
Let’s Take A Closer Look
I often get asked questions about whether or not “certain behaviors” are a direct result of ADHD. It’s never really that simple, but I take a different approach to advising my clients and their families. I always suggest that we look at ADHD and behavior as two very different things.
Yes, there will be instances where a child’s impulsivity (for example) will lead to bad behavior, but having ADHD is not a get out of jail free card. It’s not an excuse for a free for all.
In fact, I think parents should know that having ADHD does not excuse a certain expectation for behavior and how a child conducts him or herself.
It’s A Very Fine Line…
I’m going back and forth in my own words because there is a very fine line here. We know that ADHD can influence how a person behaves. I’m not arguing that.
Rather, I am saying that a parent (or a teacher) should look at what behavior is acceptable.
What behavior would you expect from any other child?
What behavior would you accept in this situation?
The difference here is understanding that your child is different, so you might need to take a different approach to how you get the behaviors that are acceptable.
Something To Chew On…
Most of the clients I work (either directly or indirectly) are incredibly bright children. In most cases, they know exactly what they are doing at the precise moment they are doing it. They are well aware of their actions and the results they are going to receive.
To me, this suggests that ADHD and bad behavior are in fact two very different things. The next time you find yourself wanting to excuse your child’s behavior because of ADHD, I would encourage you to consider whether that is enabling them or not…
What Do You Think?
We’d love to hear from you. Go ahead and give us your thoughts in the comments below.
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