I deal with this all the time in my business. Parents looking for medical reasons as to why their children are not behaving perfectly rather than doing a check-up on their parenting skills.
Our parents weren’t perfect either but they understood that kids weren’t always well behaved, clever, social, etc. They didn’t sweat the small stuff. They’d roll their eyes and say “kids will be kids”, and they’d discipline us as needed without thinking twice about it. They understood that children need discipline and that’s their job, not the school’s.
Labels are one of my pet peeves. I used to work with kids with so many labels after their names that I’d just call them the alphabet kids. And if you think those labels don’t affect children, you’re wrong. I can’t remember what I used to call it but to put them at ease I’d write my name with a bunch of letters after it and explain that I was “Crazy Old Lady Who Loves to Laugh” or something like that. Their parents weren’t always impressed with that as were so hypersensitive and possessive of their child’s labels that they were almost afraid of their children and treated their labels as something to be framed or something … weird. The kids loved it when I made fun of their labels and we’d make up new ones for them that were funny like mine. Much better than treating it as something to be ashamed of … cheesh!
Once I was introduced to a teenager I was going to be working with and, right in front of the kid, the teacher said, “He has …” and recited about 3 labels this kid had. I looked at him and said, “Wow … aren’t you a mess” and just laughed. The teacher was horrified but the teenager laughed right along with me. I just don’t care about any of that, I look for the person inside. I can’t work with a label, only a child/teen. Their behaviour is driven by feelings which may be altered by certain “conditions”. Yes, some need medication, but that’s extremely rare. I took it upon myself to understand their feelings and alter my methods to meet their needs. I had zero interest in their labels as they never gave me one speck of information I could use.
Here is the best advice I will give you if you are struggling with your children:
Lower your expectations for your children; and raise your expectations for yourself.
In order to do this you have to put your children first, and you second. Once you do this I guarantee you’ll be more empowered to learn more about their needs and how to meet them. Children need discipline, they crave it. Of course they’re not going to ask you for it by using their words, they use bad behaviour. I’ve never seen a really naughty child who looks happy, they look miserable as their parents aren’t meeting their needs: DISCIPLINE!!!
Discipline is taught by using consequences as necessary.
If your child is acting out, you’re not meeting his needs which may be more attention, more discipline, more sleep, or all 3. If your teen is a snotty brat, you’re not meeting her needs which may be more attention, more space, more understanding, more chores, less nagging, more discipline, etc.
I believe so strongly in the power of parenting as have seen it metamorphis tons of children AND their parents. Parents who came to me with all these alphabet children learned how to set up a disciplining system and have more fun with their children and couldn’t believe the difference. Most of the time the medical diagnoses were thrown out the window, along with the medication.
If you have an alphabet child, think about it, are they one of those extremely rare cases that truly needs medication? Or do they just need you to hone your own skills of understanding their needs?
I’m here if you need help with this, this is my calling, my passion and I derive a tremendous amount of pride in seeing you become great at all this stuff. Many of you have even gone on to help your friends struggling with disciplining their children. It’s so easy once you get it up and running, a lot easier and healthier than relying on medication that may not even be necessary. And if you medicate rather than discipline, the teen years are going to be very difficult for all of you.
Note: My “8 Week Parenting Plans” are now “4 Week Parenting Plans” … as per your feedback, thank you for that :).