Be honest – are you one of those parents who worry about their child’s apparent inability to concentrate? Are you constantly asking, does he or she have ADHD? Are they doomed to failure and a life of disrupting others? This may come as a surprise, but many schools in the western world are seeing a fall in the concentration levels of their students, especially those in the younger age-groups. So you’re not alone.
Here are three steps you can take to tackle the problem.
Step 1: Investigate whether there is a biological basis for the child’s behaviour? Too many parents, I’m afraid, are very quick to assume there is. If they feel guilty about their poor parenting or have low self-esteem, they often start to blame themselves – but if their child is ill . . . well, that’s different!
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is usually the first thing parents suspect if little Johnny or Susie is running the teachers ragged. So let’s be clear what it is.
ADHD has a biological basis and is characterized by impulsive or hyperactive behavior (such as fidgeting, squirming, excessive moving about, excessive talking), and inattentive behavior (such as difficulty keeping sustained attention, listening problems, difficulty following instructions, forgetfulness and lack of organization).
If the disorder is diagnosed it can be treated by a combination of medication and counseling. However, many parents are reluctant to see their children ‘medicated’ at such a tender age and worry that the treatment may be ‘drugging’ them in order to suppress their energy.
If you genuinely think that your child has the disorder, then seek professional advice. But consider this: medical researchers tell us that ADHD affects only a tiny minority, around 3%-5% of school-age children. So the chances are that your inattentive child does not suffer from it. What then?