Advertisement

How does moralizing affect a child with ADHD?

One important reason that your child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has such a low tolerance for a lot of talk about the moral of the story during cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is that all moralizing implies that she is wrong or something she is doing is wrong. This sounds to her like invalidation. Kids with ADHD are particularly sensitive and intuitive in regard to the underlying messages of interpersonal interactions, which tends to give them a low threshold for invalidation. For them, it is like the world's volume has been turned up to an unbearably high level and any implied, subtle, or well-meaning efforts to reform your child will be heard by her as stinging condemnation. Also bear in mind that the diagnosis of ADHD itself can be a profound invalidation of her way of being in the world. And consider that any person, and certainly any sensitive child, can only take so much invalidation.

For this reason, you will have more success with your child if you engage her senses in using the cognitive behavior exercises and work to increase her own motivation to change rather than imposing it on her in a moralizing way. There are many strategies you can use and activities you can do to make your child's desire to change come from within, rather than from a wish to please you, her teachers, or her mental health professional.
The Gift of ADHD: How to Transform Your Child's Problems into Strengths

More About this Book

The Gift of ADHD: How to Transform Your Child's Problems into Strengths

As a parent, you already know that your child has many gifts. What you may not know is that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) related symptoms—the very qualities that lead him or her...

Continue Learning about ADHD

Succeeding in High School with ADHD
Succeeding in High School with ADHD
High school can be both exciting and emotional for any teen. But for teens who have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the high school y...
Read More
What is attention deficit disorder (ADD)?
Robert D. MacMillan, MDRobert D. MacMillan, MD
People with attention deficit disorder (ADD) are not lazy, crazy or stupid. Their brains are simply ...
More Answers
Impact of ADHD on 5 Key Areas of Adult Life
Impact of ADHD on 5 Key Areas of Adult LifeImpact of ADHD on 5 Key Areas of Adult LifeImpact of ADHD on 5 Key Areas of Adult LifeImpact of ADHD on 5 Key Areas of Adult Life
How Do I Know If I Have ADHD as an Adult?
How Do I Know If I Have ADHD as an Adult?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.