Many children with A.D.D. have enormous energy and drive. They can be funny, entertaining, and creative. For most children with A.D.D., the future is bright if their needs are recognized. It helps if parents accentuate the positive. Some of the brightest and most capable students and businesspeople take advantage of the positive traits of A.D.D. These include:
- Fast thinking: the ability to see the big picture and to rapidly make connections
- Hyperfocus: intense concentration on something of interest
- Tenacity, an aspect of leadership (remember Churchill)
- High energy, hyperproductivity
It is critical for parents to see these positive traits in their children, rather than focus on the negatives. Spontaneity can slide into impulsivity, for example. It is critical to your child’s gaining self-confidence and establishing a positive self-image that you notice and build on these good qualities.
A positive note. While we cannot ignore the negative aspects of A.D.D., it is important to remember that many children with A.D.D. are extraordinarily bright and talented. Remember that A.D.D. is not always a deficit, not a disorder in the usual sense, and definitely not a disease. It is a label given to a child who has a different style of thinking, learning, and behaving. Attention Deficit Disorder is not the most accurate label. Yet because of its rhythmic ring, A.D.D. is probably here to stay. Attentionally Different Deportment or Attention Differently Developed would be more accurate. Regardless of how you define A.D.D., our main message is that A.D.D. left unrecognized and not carefully managed can become a disability. If understood, accepted, valued, and shaped, these traits can work to the child’s advantage.
Your child’s perception of how you view him depends upon how you frame your attitude toward him. Children with A.D.D. sometimes live in a frame of negative labels, and eventually these color the child’s behavior. If your child is surrounded by negative expectations, like “bad,” “lazy,” or “dumb,” sooner or later he’s bound to live up to them. Even when it’s difficult to see the bright side of your child, try to stay positive. A positive attitude is especially important in protecting your child against negative comments. If someone says, “My, he’s disruptive,” come back with “Yes, sometimes he’s so enthusiastic.” To the person who says, “She sure is hyperactive,” say, “Yes, she is interested in everything.” When your critics see that you do not see anything “wrong” with your child, they may change their attitude, too. More importantly, when your child sees that you are framing him in a positive way, it dilutes all the negative things other people have to say about him.