In my last post I discussed a common occurrence at home – using items that belong to someone else without asking. Sometimes the guilty party cannot discriminate her toothbrush from that of a sibling – maybe the child does not remember the color of her toothbrush. Or, she just wasn’t paying attention.
Last week’s post offered strategies that adults can put into place to help the child recognize her belongings. The more difficult task is anticipating and recognizing the impact of our behavior on others and then dealing with the consequences.
Most parents/adults begin early to point out to children the hurt feelings that can result from an interaction. For example, the 2-year old who bites someone or the preschooler who takes a ball from a peer or calls someone “stupid” would elicit corrective feedback from an adult. The adult would likely have the child say “I’m sorry,” comfort the victim and say how he would feel if someone did the same thing to him.
With age, we expect increased consideration/awareness of the feelings of others. This can be a real struggle for the student with ADHD or LD! First of all, the child may have spoken or acted impulsively. She may be unaware that “borrowing” a book with an interesting cover from her brother’s room would cause a problem. She was unaware that it needed to go back to the library that day, for example. Some type of restitution would be in order. Sister could pay the library fine and/or perform some activity for her brother to make up for wasted time searching for the library book. General house rules can help here, for example a rule that allows children to enter someone’s room only with permission. Role-playing with brother and sister playing each other’s part might develop an appreciation for the other person’s perspective..
On the other hand, the student may recognize and apologize because he caused a problem for someone else, but without help, it could be hard for him to change his behavior. For example, a child who is chronically late leaving for school might cause a sibling to lose recess or get a detention because now the sibling is late too!
Recognizing and apologizing for causing the problem will not be enough to keep a child on track tomorrow morning. Understanding why someone would be upset may not change behavior immediately, but it is a first step!
A step-by-step process including a schedule will need to be developed, with adult support, to help her get on track to leave on time. Checklists, timers and an incentive for success will be part of the plan. Perhaps a family meeting with input from everyone would be helpful. Emphasize positive steps forward, not assigning blame.
Blogger Mary Ann Mulcahey, PhD, shares her expertise in assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities and ADHD, and the social/emotional adjustment to those issues. If you have questions, please contact Mary Ann at .