Extreme Discipline Is NOT The Way To Deal With ADHD
By Robert Locke MBE
Would you have your violent ADHD son put down like a dog? That may seem like a ridiculous question but that was one option suggested by the mother of a very violent child with ADHD who punches her in the face at least once a day!
Jenny Young was talking recently on ITV’s “This Morning” show when she spoke and appealed for help for those parents who have out of control children. She was bitterly attacked for her comments.
But what did she say?
Let us look at what she actually said. She spoke about some neighbours of hers who had had a very violent dog. In the end, because of the risk to the family’s security and health, they had to have the dog put down. They had to make a choice
With her very violent ten year old son, she has no choice and there is nowhere she can escape. She just has to go on. Then she remarked that if her son was a dog, she would have him put down!
She later defended her remarks by saying she was using the example of the dog to highlight the problem of parents with children who are totally out of control and they have no choice.
She was using the dog as an example and it was not to be taken literally. Fortunately ITVs Facebook page is full of comments from fans who have come to her defence. Perhaps she chose a poor analogy and was using a rather extreme example of a hypothetical solution to violence. As usual, her words have been hyped up and even misquoted.
Typical ADHD problems
In Jenny Young’s case, her son, Ryan (10 years old) is fairly typical. He is likely to have a meltdown even if he hears a sudden noise. As for a sudden change in routine, you can imagine the scenario.
She is in a very difficult and precarious situation as her three other children and herself all have ADHD. Luckily the three older children are now adults and are aged, 25, 23 and 19 respectively It would be interesting to see how they coping in adulthood with this disorder.
Have YOU got a taser (stun gun) and would you use it?
Let us look at another example of a mother who has actually used a taser against her ADHD children when they start to get violent and threaten her. She whips out the taser and in a nano second, the kid is on the floor and stunned. Problem solved! Well hardly, as violence breeds more violence, resentment and hatred. This can rapidly escalate with horrendous consequences.
But the use of stun guns or tasers in the home is subject to strict legal restrictions depending on where you live. A Texas mother was arrested two months ago because she used a stun gun on her fourteen year old son who she described as “a handful”. She also remarked that she never knew where he was!
So, here we have two instances of extreme discipline measures. The first was more like a provocation in highlighting a mother’s plight. But the second one was a typical example of extreme action in the face of violence.
There are many different ways of dealing with violence but the above examples will never work whereas learning parenting strategies and seeking help from people who have been in the same plight will be infinitely more successful and rewarding.
Is it true that there is no help available?
This is the one point where I disagree with Jenny Young who said that there is no help available. There are several health organisations In the USA and the UK offering help for parents when faced with violent children. I will mention four of them here.
In the USA, the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) has information on local groups in your state plus a help line to give advice when things get tough. There is also a very useful section on ADHD at http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Mental_Illnesses/ADHD/ADHD_and_Parenting.htm
CHADD (Children and Adults With Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) www.chadd.org has chapters all over the USA and offer a variety of services for children and parents learning to manage their ADHD. In some states there is a parent to parent training programme where parents learn about parenting strategies and how to deal with challenging ADHD behavior such as violence.
Young Minds (UK) www.youngminds.org.ukis a charity which has been in existence now for about 20 years. Its mission is to improve the mental and emotional health of young people.
They offer a parents helpline and offer advice for parents coping with emotional and behavioural problems such as violence in the home.
ADDISS (UK) www.addiss.co.uk. ADDISS stands for The National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service. Their website is full of information on ADHD, advice for parents, and local support groups. They also have a bookstore which covers anything from a better understanding of ADHD to dealing with parental and behavioural issues.
So, instead of waiting for the next meltdown, parents should be proactive and going out to seek help, because, believe me, it is there. Just reach out!
About the Author:
Robert Locke MBE is an award winning author and has written extensively on ADHD and related child health problems. He has just published an ebook on Amazon called “Facts About ADHD Children Tips For ADHD Parenting”.
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