May 25, 2007

Is it ADD/ADHD or Just Bad Behavior - Part 3

ADD – Attention Divided by Divorce?

It is interesting to note that ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder, is being diagnosed at ever higher rates these days. Doctors and school professionals seem to find more ADD everywhere that they look. It seems that there is an epidemic of this "disease" that seems to hit young kids.

I would like to weigh in with another of my thoughts on the subject of ADD. I will offer today’s thoughts just so that you have another new idea to chew on. In this article I am not attempting to place blame on anyone. Rather I am offering today’s statements just to cause some folks to think a little bit about their situation just to see if it might be possible to improve the situation of a few children.

It is pretty interesting to me that the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder has risen concurrently with the rise in the national divorce rate! Now, I want you to know that I am NOT claiming any scientific study linking divorce with ADD. I am just saying that I have observed some interesting coincidences between the two while teaching! It seemed that an inordinate number of the kids with ADD were also children of divorce.

Then, I read a number of articles and essays that said that some cases of ADD could be linked to the child not being paid attention to by adults, parents, and teachers. It occurred to me that some of what I was seeing diagnosed as ADD/ADHD could be attributed to the child just seeking attention from adults! As a matter of fact, as we were running some of our early Parenting with Dignity Classes, we found that many parents told us that their children’s Hyperactive Behavior really decreased when they did the assignment for Lessons 5&6 in our curriculum!

When parents offered regular messages of unconditional love to their children, they found that many of those kids decreased their hyperactivity. To us that said that Attention Deficit Disorder for some kids was just a deficit of attention being paid to them by adults.

I know that was true in my classroom. Many kids who showed some of the characteristics of ADD like apparent lack of attention span and inability to concentrate changed markedly when I found time to give them some undivided attention of a positive nature!
Divorce and Lack of Attention

“So what does this have to do with divorce?” you ask. Well, stop and think for a second. Many children of divorce find that their parents’ attention becomes rather divided and random as the divorce is taking place and the parents are working out their differences that sometimes include contentious child custody issues.

As a matter of fact a few years ago, a father from the Boston area contacted me wanting me to support some Father’s Rights issues back there in Massachusetts and among other things he made the comment that many of the divorced fathers were noticing ADD issues with their children.
Be Careful to Give Positive Attention to Children

So what is the point? Just this… if your family is or has gone through a divorce, be extremely careful to give your children lots of positive attention and expressions of love! I am not proposing that all ADD could be traced to divorce or lack of positive parental attention. All I am saying is be on the lookout for opportunities to give your children added attention at times of stress. Just be aware of any Deficit of Attention that your child may be experiencing.

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