Ever been down this road before? Your child is doing something other than what you asked -- say, dawdling instead of getting ready. So you respond by taking away screen time. Your child feels this is unfair and fights back. You stand your ground. Explosions ensue.
Repeat the next day. And the next.
Eventually, you begin to see your child as lazy and undependable.
It’s what ADHD expert, Russell Barkley, calls the “vicious cycle.” Child misbehaves. Parents punish. Child is upset so he misbehaves even more. Parents and child fight. Parents begin to view child negatively. Cycle begins again.
Perhaps the most damaging part of the cycle is that we, as parents, begin to believe our children are bad or flawed.
Parents of all walks -- especially parents who have kids with ADHD -- understand this cycle perfectly.
What we don’t necessarily understand is how to step outside the cycle. In fact, we would love nothing more than to get along with our kids again by positively leaping out of this blasted cycle, but nobody is showing us how.
How to Break Out of the Vicious Cycle
The key to ending the vicious cycle is to help your children’s self-esteem so she rises to her abilities. But how do you help instill high self esteem?
The Center for Parenting Education tells us we can help increase self-esteem when we help our children feel both worthy of love and when we teach them to feel capable. “When children feel capable, they are more likely to meet their obligations, sign on for new tasks, try their hardest and feel good about what they do. All of these things will increase a child’s responsibility.”
Why It’s So Hard
The problem is that helping our children feel capable takes work. Teaching responsibility to kids is not as simple as telling them what to do. It actually takes training on our part -- which can be exhausting when it’s added on top of all we do to maintain careers and households in addition to parenting!
And if our children have ADHD, we already spend extra hours everywhere. Children with ADHD need more time. They need more reminders. They need more patience. They need to be taught things over and over.
But where does that time come from? If you’re like most of us, it comes from your already-depleting reserves. As a parent, you begin to feel used up. Your nerves are so tight you could bounce a quarter off them, and there are days when even though you love your child endlessly, you struggle to like him.
And if you or your partner has ADHD (which is likely as it’s inherited), this only adds fuel to the frustrations while you cope with your own symptoms. But without the right tools, what else can you do?
Adding Structure Through Routines for Kids
Behavior management techniques, like incorporating routines and structure, are key to helping with many of the basic problems we face as parents of children with ADHD.
A routine that is easily followed allows a child to take control -- which means you as the parent get to step out for a minute. You get to store some of your reserves and let your child manage herself.
And then you happily watch as your child’s self-esteem grows like crazy. When she doesn’t have to be reminded of something over and over because she actually remembers to do it… when she manages to complete something totally on her own with no nagging from parents… well, can you already envision her smiles?
The Challenge of Setting (and Maintaining) Routines
But if you’ve ever had to set a routine for a distractible kid, you know it’s twice (maybe a hundred) times as much work.
First you set the routine. You send your child off to do the first task, only to find him minutes later distracted by the shadows created in his room when he flicks the light switch up and down. So you guide him back to the routine that was set. He does well for a few minutes, but is undoubtedly distracted again.
Even though you sent him to his routine with clear instructions, you’re still in charge of following up over and over.
And you have to do it day after day. He may get a little better each day, but your patience will get tried each time. The task of being taskmaster is a tiring one.
Even the most organized parent struggles.
Remove the Struggle
That’s why Brili exists. We designed it with a fun game-based timeline that lets your kids step up to responsibility. The system teaches routines for kids in an entertaining way, which helps your kids remember what they’re supposed to be doing.
The alerts -- not your voice -- keep kids on track. Kids can’t argue with a bell dinging! And because it’s so fun, they don’t really want to argue. They’re excited to move on to the next task.
And most importantly, their success translates to better self-esteem. More smiles. More proud moments. More reasons to get along.
We all know it’s easier to hang out with a smiley kid than it is to hang out with a grumpy one.
Brili helps you break the vicious cycle, and instead gently step into a cycle of responsibility and smiles.
Wishing you smiles and happiness.