Struggling children and teens are empowered when their parents and educators consistently collaborate to consider if a specific challenge is best addressed by (1) providing structure to help the child successfully complete the difficult task, (2) flexibly making age-appropriate adjustments/accommodations for weak executive skills, or (3) a combination of flexibility and structure (flexiture).
Children and teens with ADD/ADHD respond well to structure in any setting: Over 30 years of research shows that structured behavioral techniques and discipline are successful in the classroom and at home. By adding flexibility, parents and educators can help children and teens solve important problems without bemoaning them.
This is not an easy “quick-fix” gimmick: flexiture is a way of thinking that involves celebrating little successes each day. It is an attitude that requires creative and consistent discipline, a fair amount of grace, and a strong sense of humor while helping a child or student develop his or her own systematic approach to problem solving.
Flexiture is an attitude that can change how you see your child and how you help your child reach her fullest potential. It is an attitude that involves celebrating little successes each day. When your ADHD toddler finally focuses long enough to actually potty on the potty, have a party! Celebrate your nine-year-old finally remembering to bring home the books and materials he needs to complete his homework. Throw a party when your sixth grader maintains consistently strong grades before Christmas break. Celebrate when your attention challenged teenager manages to make it through one month without getting a single dent or ding in the car.
Where do you get flexiture? It comes from deep within your heart and soul. It comes from the love you felt when you first laid your eyes on your beautiful child. You get it by doing hard day-to-day labor of loving your child or student when he or she is most unlovable. You get it by focusing on your child’s strengths as much or more than you focus on her weaknesses. You get it by reframing weaknesses into strengths: impulsivity becomes curiosity, inattention becomes creativity, and stubbornness becomes determination. Yes, it is hard work, but the rewards are worth the tireless consistent effort.
Just as your child can learn how to develop the executive skills she needs to be successful, you can learn the skills you need to help her. Keep reading: the remaining chapters are designed to help families and educators develop the skills and abilities to successfully address the often overwhelming needs of their children and students who struggle with ADD/ADHD and poor executive skills.
(c) 2009- 2012, Monte W. Davenport, Ph.D.