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  • Sam B.

Setback after Setback

We have a lot of parents that come in and say that their kid is unmotivated and doesn't care about school. At the same time, they call the student lazy and chide them for missing assignments and wasting time. This is an occurrence we see all the time.

We spend a lot of time talking to parents about the differences between an Executive Functioning deficit and free choice to avoid work. The biggest difference is that students with Executive Functioning deficits are often not making a deliberate choice to avoid work; instead they do not "feel" time passing, deadlines getting closer, and their low working memory means that they are not balancing their priorities in their head all day.

Students with EF deficits and ADHD can encounter a lot of failure over the years. This culmination of failure can result in many adverse behaviors. For example, a student may pass up on new experiences because it involves some sort of risk of failure. They may not push themselves academically and instead opt to take the easiest classes. They may appear apathetic, as if they don't care.

In Dr. Ari Tuckman's podcast on the Fear of Failure, he speaks of the all too common stereotypical high school student who experiences several Fs and then they spiral. It's easy for them to put up a defense of not caring and apathy. Therefor, the next time they get an F, it's not because they tried and failed; it's "obviously" because they didn't try. While this type of behavior can prevent disappointment, it also impedes success.

Dr. Tuckman says that we have to encounter failures in life in order to learn. Quite simply, in order to be successful, we have to fail at times. The overarching goal cannot be a 100% success rate; it must be that we always decide to learn from failures and move forward. Parents also need to understand this and be supportive. Calling a kid lazy may actually have the effect of them believing they are lazy, which is counterproductive. If you need help talking to your child about these issues, please see our Center staff and we can provide useful tips and tricks!

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