3 Words to Eliminate from Your Vocabulary that Don't Help Your ADHD, SPD, ODD Child

  • 27 September 2019
  • Kristi
3 Words to Eliminate from Your Parenting Vocabulary That Trigger Meltdowns

I don't know about you, but I couldn't stand when my mother nagged me as a child. It was a constant stream of reminders of how to act, what not to do, or simply a way to suck all the fun out of being a kid - or so I thought until I became a parent. I now understand why my mother had to remind me to do something at least a thousand times. Now, with the struggles we face on a daily basis, I tread a fine line between helping my child remember and being a huge nag.

Let's be honest, children do not like being told what not to do, and the minute we use certain trigger words their defenses go up like the walls around Fort Knox. Throughout our struggle with Samantha we have had to change how we parent, and it has been a very difficult change. However, with all the wonderful "practice" we have been given my husband and I are very, very, very good at diffusing a situation quickly. One of the biggest things we did was to remove three simple words from our parenting vocabulary.

Can you guess what they are?

Stop - No - Don't. These three little words cause major upsets. They all tell kids what not to do in a negative tone, assuming they are even listening. They do not help a child learn to think about their behavior and how it is affecting the situation. These words do not guide them, in a positive way, to the behavior we prefer to see and why we prefer it.

Remember, your child does not have control of their bodies, at least in most cases. Their emotions and brains are in hyper-drive, making it very difficult to quickly process what they should be doing. In most cases, they are also poor at articulating their emotions and recognizing the emotional/social queues of others around them. Children under the age of eight cannot self regulate their moods, and so they need our help and guidance.

Instead of throwing out the words "stop, no, or don't," try to frame everything in a question. Give them a chance to think about what they are doing.

For example, my little energizer bunny loved to jump on our old sofa. However, my husband and I preferred that she did not. This is how our conversation would go.

Calm Me: "May I ask what you are doing right now?"

Samantha: "I am jumping on the sofa."

Me: "Are you suppose to be jumping on the sofa?" (while she is still jumping)

Samantha: "no."

Me: "Then why are we jumping on the sofa?"

At this point Samantha will have stopped jumping on the sofa without another word (usually), and would even have apologized for using the couch as a bouncy-castle substitute.

Me: "Why we are not suppose to jump on the sofa?" (This question is critical because we need to help our children identify cause and effect while understanding why we are asking them to not to do something.) 

There is still one last piece of this puzzle. I recognize my ADHD, SPD daughter is jumping on the sofa because her body needs sensory input and movement to help organize her. Therefore, I suggest an okay alternative to help her with that. Things like doing froggy-hops around the room together, stomping around the room like dinosaurs, using her hoppy ball to get the mail, or jumping into an old mattress placed on the floor (with tons of pillows on it). Meaning, you still MUST address the underlying reason for the unwanted behavior if you want to get the behavior you are seeking.

I promise if you take out these three (3) words from you parenting vocabulary and start asking your kids about what they are doing you will create a wonderful, posititve learning opportunities for your child's behavior issue while creating more peace in your household.

Do you use similar techniques? Share them below. Let's help each other!

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