Helping Your Child with Impulsivity (Part 1)

Young Girl Hula Hooping on Her Bed

Impulsivity involves acting before thinking and is the most misunderstood and most difficult ADHD difficulty to correct. Internationally recognized ADHD expert, Russell Barkley, Ph.D. has argued that response inhibition or impulsivity is the true core deficit in an attention deficit, and he goes on to say that when they named ADHD, they should have called it a Disorder of Response Inhibition. He says that even the ability to focus on one thing at a time involves the ability to inhibit your response to all the other things around you.

It is highly doubtful that the terms ADD and ADHD will change when the new diagnostic manual comes out in 2013, but in the most recent draft I have seen, it appears they are planning to add more diagnostic criteria that involve impulsivity and they are trying to add specific examples of impulsivity in an attempt to clarify its importance.

At this point, you are probably saying to yourself, “This is all nice to know, but how can we control this most difficult ADHD difficulty that constant plagues my child today?”

Well, the good news is you can help your child improve his or her impulsive behavior, but here’s the bad news: addressing this most difficult ADHD difficulty is going to require some patience and effort  on your part and on the part of your child’s educators.  In other words, it’s not a “quick-fix!”*  It takes time to develop awareness, rehearse, cue, develop awareness, rehearse, cue, and rehearse some more to develop this most difficult ADHD difficulty. (The previous sentence is not a typo!)  And, unfortunately, it’s not going to happen today!

To help you develop the patience you will need to address this challenge, I am going to require you to patiently wait for my next post when I will discuss the first and second steps in helping your child or teen
with impulsivity.

In the meantime, feel free to share how you are struggling with your child or teen’s impulsiveness.

(c) 2011, monte w davenport, ph.d.,

*If anyone ever tells you that your child or teens impulsivity can be fixed quickly and without much effort on your part, don’t just walk out of their office…run out of their office!

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