Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to deal with your ADHD child #5: What's your Resilience Number?

Being a father of two children with ADHD issues I have noticed that their reactions to other people’s demands sometimes seem to be arbitrary. Sometimes they take on a task as if they were normal children with no ADHD issues at all, but the next day that very same task suddenly becomes a mountain high obstacle they feel they can’t overcome. Maybe you have noticed it as well?

Having ADHD even the simplest task can be overwhelming and in the end may discourage that person the point of just giving up.

One day their homework is done in almost no time at all and the next day they can’t even find the energy to open their books and get to work, even if their homework that second day is much easier than it was the day before, when it seemed to be like a walk in the park?

It may seem strange, but there is a quite simple explanation for this apparently arbitrary behavioral pattern.

Each day your child fights the challenges of having ADHD and every single battle requires energy. Of course, this is true for all of us, but for the person with ADHD the energy consumption is much higher than that of normal people. Additionally, their level of stress has a huge impact on how well they do when fighting to achieve the best possible life.

When your ADHD child has a surplus of energy it can perform almost any task as if they had no ADHD issues to fight – but when your child has a worn down battery? Well, basically… Everything is a mess!

When this situation emerges, there is really nothing you can do about it. It is what it is: no juice, no movement! But the good news is that there are ways to prevent or at least postpone those situations.

One of the most powerful tools I’ve ever encountered in my learning experience of being a father of children with ADHD, is the “Resilience Number.”

In order to have some kind of understanding on how much more your child can take, you need to get your child to tell you about it. But having ADHD it is almost impossible to say with words how you feel and what you think you can accomplish.

The Resilience Number takes care of this problem in the simplest way: instead of trying to encourage your child to explain with words, how they feel, you may have more success asking them to give you a number. This number can be on any scale you like: 1-5, 1-10, 1-100 or whatever you think works best.

On that scale, the number 1 means that you are completely exhausted and that there is nothing left in your battery to deal with your ADHD issues at all. The highest number means that you’re ready for the world to come barging in and make any demand and you would be able to take on anything as if you had no ADHD issues.

How to use the Resilience Number
Let’s say the scale is 1-10 and your child comes home from school.

You ask about their Resilience Number and get the answer “7.”

This means that your child is fairly capable of getting their homework done as long as you’re available if they have questions.

If you get the number “4,” you may want to let your child rest for a while, give them some time off without any kind of demands. Then, an hour or two later, your child could be ready to get their homework done.

If the number is between 1 and 3, you might as well accept that their homework will not be coming anyway near to getting done that day.

If your child’s Resilience Number is 9 or 10, you can easily go do the laundry or go shopping while they complete their homework.

The point?
Did you get the point of the Resilience Number?
By using this tool you basically get an idea on how much more your child can take and act accordingly.

If your child has a low resilience, you know it is time to give them some rest in order to "recharge" their batteries.

This way, instead of exhausting your child and get to a point where nothing positive can be accomplished, your child is given the chance to raise their resilience and then, when they are ready, you can begin making demands.
You will find this to provide you and your child with a decrease of those not very fruitful battles AND an increase of situations where challenging your child actually improves their abilities both socially and school wise.

A note on responsibility!
Being the intelligent and wise parent you are, this probably already popped up in your head, but I’m going to say it anyway, just to be clear:

Your child is just as much of an angel as you were when you were young. It’s your responsibility to come up with ways to detect a lie!

Having said that, rest assured that if you explain to them what the Resilience Number is for and that when using it honestly, it will make their lives much easier, they will – in time – learn to not abuse your trust.

Find previous chapters here:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

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