Advertisement

How can people-watching help my child with ADHD?

One aspect of adopting an optimistic explanatory style is to find environmental explanations for bad behavior. As a simple example, if your child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) doesn't follow directions, it's pessimistic to say, "It's because he's a bad kid" (internal) and optimistic to say, "It's because he is stressed out" or "It's because Mommy and Daddy had a fight" (external). You can practice building the skill of seeing the external causes for behavior by playing a game with your family where you observe others and try to find a reason in the environment for what they are doing. You can do this when you're talking about others, reading a story, or even watching TV.

For example, you can go to a mall with your child for some people watching. Together you can try to explain why people are doing weird things. If you see a teenager who is dressed outrageously and acting obnoxiously, ask your child why she thinks he's acting that way. She may say something about the teen himself, for instance that he's crazy or mean. Guide her to practice coming up with an explanation that puts the cause in his environment. You might come up with an example, like maybe his parents don't give him any attention and he is simply trying to get more attention from his parents or others. You can apply this to bad behaviors you see on TV or when talking about neighbors, friends, or family. Don't forget that you use external explanation for bad behavior only. For any good behaviors, you try to find internal explanations (for example, you got a good grade because you're smart).
The Gift of ADHD Activity Book: 101 Ways to Turn Your Child's Problems into Strengths (Companion)

More About this Book

The Gift of ADHD Activity Book: 101 Ways to Turn Your Child's Problems into Strengths (Companion)

So much depends on how you look at things: Are you a glass-half-empty person, or do you discover advantages where other people find only weaknesses? When it comes to raising healthy, happy kids,...

Continue Learning about ADHD

Bike Safety for Kids with ADHD
Bike Safety for Kids with ADHD
Once hedge-funder Martin Shkreli got his hands on the rights to the life-saving, toxoplasmosis medication, Daraprim, he raised its price from $13.50 p...
Read More
What are some criticisms of ADHD?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Many people have negative opinions about the increasing prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivit...
More Answers
Can adults have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
Dr. Diana K. Blythe, MDDr. Diana K. Blythe, MD
Grown-ups can have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but they have more ability to co...
More Answers
Keep a Journal to Track Adult ADHD Symptoms
Keep a Journal to Track Adult ADHD Symptoms

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.