Why sorry is important

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People with ADHD have to say sorry a lot, I mean a lot more, than others.

The other day a friend of mine mentioned she had to miss out on dinner plans as her son had misbehaved at school. As punishment he had to apologise, had devices taken away, and he wasn’t allowed to go to his grandma’s house (where he has a lot of fun). This got me thinking about how we, as parents, are often punished as a result of a child’s grievances. Does this help us and the child? Does this do any good?

A child with ADHD suffers punishments with the same intensity, but often more frequently. Imagine how damaging this can be to their self-esteem over time; now I am not saying they shouldn’t be accountable for their actions as they can comprehend the consequences, in truth people with ADHD should be more accountable, more often; but perhaps with less intensity as the frequency should be taken into consideration (it’s also not always a deliberate or controllable act). I suggested to my friend to try a different approach, as I have used this technique before; I encourage my children to write a letter to apologise to the person they’ve hurt. This isn’t about the other person getting an apology or “doing the right thing”, although that is a nice extra, it’s a way for the child to identify their feelings of why they did the behaviours and to relate to how that person would have been feeling. This way they feel all those emotions and we can offer suggestion for ways to respond next time and that is what helps them in future to make better choices (it is important to be present while they write it as a lot of emotion needs to be helped through this is a critical part of the process). I find punishment works best if I make them do “something” instead of not letting them do “something” (although I do that too in the right situations). Not getting “something” just makes children mad, resentful and they always find something to do that they like anyway.

Here is an interesting read….


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