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General Parenting Issues The purpose of this forum is to discuss general parenting issues related to children with AD/HD(ADD & ADHD)

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Old 06-17-13, 11:53 AM
Leah Sellars Leah Sellars is offline
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ADD - Social Issue- black & white thinking?

I have two boys 8 and 10. 10 yr old had stroke in utero, at age 9 after neuro psychological evaluation diagnosed with severe ADD, global processing disorder, anxiety, learning disabilities. Basically told "Extremely slow processing". We home school both boys. We have worked hard and with a downsized life and pick and choose social interactions he is doing well (all considered) and a pretty happy young man. (which shocked the Dr. - considering his results of the test). My HUGE concern at this time. His "locked" in thinking. I need to wrap my mind around what is going on - to help him to (hopefully) unlock stuck/confusing areas. Listed are some example of social interactions where he "appeared" to others to be stubborn, irritated, and angry - mostly involving games where there are rules to follow. I have a hard time believing it is him JUST be stubborn... afterall in general he is a kid who thrives on pleasing, obeying, etc...

1. Game of tag at the park. A kid decides to change the way it is played... and 2 kids be "it". My son comes walking hanging his head, kind of shaking it, and with intense emotion (normally he is beaming and just has fun in life), and trying not to come unglued but insists "that is not how you play the game". Tells me he is so confused, he sits out for the game in a very quiet, almost frozen state by himself. (we've been working on him not screaming and losing it). He later goes back with the group to play something else and totally snapped back to his calm collected enjoyable self.
2. a younger friend came over to play basketball. One on one. Isaac has been taught the rules. Friend played with no rule team (no stealing ,etc.). I did not realize this before hand. Isaac was VERY annoyed and was perplexed why the boy was saying "no stealing". When I tried to explain.. Isaac was locked into "I am confused". He could not transition to play the other way (I kind of don't blame him)
3).same friend playing Sorry game together. 3 players. The other player won. His friend wanted Isaac to play for who is 2nd, and 3rd. Isaac said, "the game is done". Someone gets home the game is over. He refused to play on.
4)then at church gym. Isaac shooting hoops. His little brother didn't have a ball. I told him to look out for him and share. His response he said: "but I won't have a ball all to myself". At first I thought he is being selfish but how strange cause he usually isn't like that. Later I realized that at home he and his brother have separate balls to shoot hoops. I AM THINKING THAT IT WAS INITIALLY DIFFICULT FOR HIM TO DISCERN/DICIHPER THAT THIS WAS A DIFFERENT SETTING... and a hard time processing the DIFFERENT.

My fear.... wanting him to not be misunderstood or lose friendships. How do I help him with the "different" thing? What is going on inside of him to make him become intense, seemingly unkind with a tone of sternness, and almost anger, and appear to be selfish or stubborn?

HELP?
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Old 06-17-13, 12:20 PM
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Re: ADD - Social Issue- black & white thinking?

I don't have any experience dealing with this in a child, but there's an excellent resource that may be of use to you:

projectlearnnet.org -- It is a website sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of NY State.

They have a series of "tutorials" -- basically, articles that address common problems seen in kids with brain injuries (and the ideas are often relevant for kids who have ADHD without brain injuries as well, since there's a good deal of overlap in the self-regulation problems.



The ones that seem most relevant to this concern about black & white thinking/having trouble appreciating that there could be more than one "right" or "acceptable" way to do things are:...but you may find some of the others, which cover cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral issues, useful as well.

As far as the problem of "[becoming] intense, seemingly unkind with a tone of sternness, and almost anger, and appear to be selfish or stubborn" -- for a kid who clings to "scripts" for how things are supposed to go -- the rules for games that *he* knows, the way things work in *your* house, etc. -- different sets of rules or unfamiliar circumstances may throw him for a loop.

Suddenly, the way things "are" or "are supposed to be" is pulled out from under him, and he may truly struggle to adapt to that.

Whether that's because he's anxious about the unfamiliar, has difficulty learning new sets of rules, doesn't appreciate that there can be more than one right way of doing things, or has difficulty when someone else makes the rules because he's not in control (or some combination, or other possible reasons) -- it's likely he's not just selfish and stubborn, but that he is genuinely struggling to wrap his head around the sudden departure from what's familiar to him, and this makes him frustrated, angry, anxious, sad, confused, overwhelmed, etc.

Have you ever talked to him about this directly? (For example, asking him why it is important that he have a ball all to himself, or discussing the idea that there can be more than one "OK" way to play a game?) If so, how did he respond? This may also help you figure out what he's struggling with, cognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally.

Best wishes.

Last edited by namazu; 06-17-13 at 12:42 PM..
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Old 06-17-13, 12:35 PM
Leah Sellars Leah Sellars is offline
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Re: ADD - Social Issue- black & white thinking?

Thank you so much! Your "thoughts" and possibly insights into more of the workings are very helpful! Yes, I have explained the whole when we play games it can be "different" rules... but each time it comes up... it is still hard for him to grasp. But yes, your variety of thoughts make a lot of sense and I will check out the resources. Thank you!
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Old 06-17-13, 12:38 PM
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Re: ADD - Social Issue- black & white thinking?

Could be that he doesnīt do well with sudden changes. He needs routine, familiarity and to know whatīs coming up next. So to change the rules suddenly throws his world into chaos and he canīt cope so gets upset or angry.

Have you tried playing something at home and then asking him to consider adding a new rule or something? How does he react. If you speak about it first is he willing to change one thing, or is he completely against the idea?
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Old 06-17-13, 02:53 PM
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Re: ADD - Social Issue- black & white thinking?

have you considered some therapy?
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Old 06-20-13, 09:27 AM
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Re: ADD - Social Issue- black & white thinking?

Concrete thinking is also very common in kids with FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome), although that is not what your son would have, you may find resources that help with the issue of black/white thinking by searching for concrete thinking related to FASD, ARND, etc. (which is also along the lines of a brain injury - brilliant info from Namazu).

I think it's great that your son can verbalize how he feels - ie. "I'm confused".
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Old 06-20-13, 11:54 AM
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Re: ADD - Social Issue- black & white thinking?

Look into Asperger's syndrome. Not too sure that's it, but it's worth a look.

Also, in my (correct ) opinion, black and white thinking can be a good thing (depending on how the "black" or "white" opinion was arrived at). For example, if one arrives at a good or bad judgement of something (like say ethics or justice issue for example) by using a series of logical "this follows this (repeat a few times if needed), therefore..." steps, then often it explains why something IS black or white, and therefore the black and white rigid thinking is a good thing because there is no middle ground (when that happens to be the case).
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Old 06-22-13, 11:51 PM
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Re: ADD - Social Issue- black & white thinking?

My son isn't 8 yet, so there might be a maturity difference. But he is very into rules and is bothered and upset when games are changed. Or people break rules. He was just diagnosed with ADHD but we have suspected it a long time. So I don't know if it is an ADHD thing ( seems like it could be) or a personality thing
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