Monday, June 24, 2013

How to deal with your ADHD child #6: The power of expectations

The power of expectations
One of the most basic characteristics of mankind is that we are social creatures. We gather in groups to form protective communities and societies. For these communities to work the way they are intended, we need guidelines, without which our societies would simply break down.

These guidelines are more than just laws, but also norms and culture. But having such rules is not enough. We need ways in which these guidelines can be enforced.

Breaking a law, you are punished in forms of imprisonment or financial penalty.
Breaking the norms of our community equally results in punishment, although in a different way. Breaking norms, you are punished when people do not welcome you in their fellowship or your social status in the group goes down the drain due to inappropriate behavior.
Because of this, we have developed a strong urge to live up to other people’s expectations in order to achieve social acceptance. This is a good thing. Without it, we would not get the benefits of being protected by our community.

The bad news
However, there is a downside: our urge to live up to other people’s expectations goes for both positive and negative expectations. If you expect other people to be kind and forthcoming, they will try to live up to it – and if you expect other people to be selfish and cold hearted, they will try to live up to that expectation!

The good news
In every kind of relationship, you can use this knowledge to better the lives of both yourself, your family and your community. When actively working with yourself and trying to change your expectations to be positive rather than negative, you can actually influence other people, because they will try to live up to those positive expectations.

In a nutshell: If you show your ADHD child that you expect them to do well in school, they will work very hard to prove your trust in them is not misplaced. But if your ADHD child gets the notion that you expect them to do poorly at school, they will not believe in themselves and they will not work toward such a goal.

So, basically, it's your call...

Find previous chapters here:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

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