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Teens and Self Cutting!!

Posted by on 7:58 am in Blog | 0 comments

  Few images evoke the degree of shock and disgust that accompanies those of self harm. When you think about cutting – one form of self harm – what likely comes to your mind is an emotionally unstable teenage girl who cuts her forearms with razor blades. However, self-injurious behavior can be much more subtle, and in turn, much more difficult to detect and address. That’s why it’s so important to know how and why it happens and where you can find help. Self harm is intentionally harming oneself, oftentimes with the objective of alleviating suffering. Examples of self harm include cutting the skin with objects, scratching the skin, picking wounds so they can’t heal, biting or burning oneself, and more harmful instances that include hitting one’s head or breaking bones. Of the many types of self harm, cutting is the most common. It damages the skin or other tissues, it is rarely associated with suicide attempts, and it is socially unacceptable. People who cut themselves may attempt to hide the marks or scars, and they may give false explanations for how they occurred (e.g., being scratched by a pet). Teens use many different items to cut (e.g., razor blades, scissors, pens, bottle tops, etc.), and it occurs in a variety of body locations (e.g., arms, legs, genital area, abdomen, etc). Approximately one out of every eight people engages in some form of self harm, and currently, it’s more widespread than it has been in prior decades. Among people who have mental illnesses, it is more common, affecting approximately one out of every four people.  How It Starts Cutting has a contagious element and therefore spreads in stressful environments that contain greater numbers of vulnerable subjects. Eager to please, overly stressed teen girls are at risk. Many girls share that they are sickened yet fascinated when they first hear of cutting. From there, the information is stored on a shelf in their consciousness. It is an option. Depending on factors including stress level, stress sensitivity, emotional development, emotional support and overall lifestyle health and balance, a teen girl either will or won’t explore cutting herself. Why It “Works” Cutting is a coping mechanism which means it is a way to regulate feelings. Unfortunately, it “works” in that teens report it makes them feel better. They like that they can control it, keep it secret, see and feel a “result,” and express emotions people don’t seem to like, especially anger and sadness. To make things worse, the brain wires quickly for this behavior, creating a stress + cutting = relief circuit that becomes harder and harder to break over time. Ideally, teens employ healthier coping strategies when under stress. For example, a stressed teen might exercise, talk with friends, take a nap, have a good cry, or write in a journal to relieve stress.Instead, cutting and other low ranking coping strategies are hastily adopted because our teens have no time, support, or creativity to develop better coping mechanisms. Cutting Is A Symptom It’s important to think of cutting as a symptom, which means it is secondary to a core problem. The core problem is that fewer teens have an opportunity to experience full and healthy development in a reasonably (not overwhelmingly) challenging environment.Externally, our teens are under too much pressure. Internally, our teens lack sufficient emotional development to help them cope with it. External stressors are numerous, varied and...

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Why My child Is Lying??

Posted by on 10:53 pm in Blog | 6 comments

When you catch your child in a lie, it’s natural to feel betrayed, hurt, angry and frustrated. But here’s the truth: lying is normal. It’s wrong, but it’s normal. In fact, we all do it to some degree. Consider how adults use lies in their daily lives: When we’re stopped for speeding, we often minimize what we’ve done wrong, if not out–and–out lie about it. Why? We’re hoping to get out of something, even if we know better. I believe that with kids, lying is a faulty problem–solving skill. It’s our job as parents and care givers  to teach our children how to solve those problems in more constructive ways. Here are a few of the reasons why kids lie. Why Do Children Lie? Children lie for different reasons at different ages. Very young children may not yet be able to always distinguish fantasy from reality. Three-year-old Shyam’s fantastic story about the toy that flies around his room is not actually an attempt to deceive. More likely, Shyam has a very active imagination and cannot always tell the difference between what he imagined and what really happened. Children this age may also appear to lie because they have honestly forgotten things. When a 2 year-old is accused of putting a roll of toilet paper in the toilet and she claims she didn’t do it, she may simply not remember doing it, especially if it wasn’t discovered for several hours. Around the age of 5 or 6 children start to develop a more consistent understanding of the difference between fantasy and reality and are less likely to insist on the truth of their imaginings. Around this age, a child begins to develop a conscience and understand that certain behaviors may disappoint his or her parents. He or she may also begin to experience feelings of guilt associated with misdeeds. For the first time, the child may construct a lie in an attempt to avoid punishment and/or disapproval. Children this age may also tell fibs or exaggerate extensively in order to get their parents’ attention. By the age of 7 or 8, most children have learned to tell the difference between fantasy and reality and can usually be counted on to tell the truth. The most common reasons for children to lie at this age are to avoid being punished, or to avoid doing something unpleasant like anger parents or some punishments . Children may also begin to grasp the concept of polite social lying around this age. They may pretend to like the knitted socks that Grandma gave them for their birthday, or compliment a friend’s new haircut even though they think it looks ridiculous. Altruistic lies to protect others from harm may be told as well. Lies at this age may also be a cry for help. Children who are very fearful of disappointing their parents and are feeling overwhelmed by school or some other area of their lives, may lie in an attempt to deal with this pressure. By adolescence, lying begins to take on a new significance and parents are likely to become more alarmed by the lies their adolescents tell. Adolescents clearly understand the difference between fantasy and reality and are aware of the possible consequences of telling lies. They have also become better at it!...

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My Adolescent son is Lying !!!!

Posted by on 10:18 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Several questions submitted recently to my web site , are from parents concerned that their children have lied to them. For instance, a mother writes in to complain of her 13-year-old’s having invited a friend over after school instead of practicing his drawing , while the mother was at work. It isn’t even that he skipped drawing class that the mother minds so much, as that her son lied to her about it. She says, “My son is transforming into a new person .” And, by implication, she’s not so sure she likes the new person he is becoming. He never used to lie–or so it seems. And he seldom disobeyed when he was younger. So what’s going on? Adolescence is what’s going on. During adolescence, kids experience a developmental imperative: to become independent of the parents and to establish their own identities separate from the identities of their parents. Beginning in the pre-adolescent years, kids will do nearly anything to achieve these goals–including lying to their parents, if need be. I think the reason the mom we mentioned above was more hurt by the lie than by the disobedience was that on some level she realized that her son had chosen his relationship with his friend over his relationship to her. The lying cost him something in terms of his relationship with his mom. But giving up the opportunity to be with a peer would have, in his scheme of things, cost him far more, and in an area where he is far less certain of his standing. Parents, in other words, get their feelings hurt by their children’s not telling them the truth because at bottom the parent realizes it is a sign that her child is pulling away from her, and there is some pain in letting go. It hurts your feelings when your preteen lies to you, but unlike when she was younger, your teenager is not so powerfully motivated to avoid eliciting your anger or disappointment. In your teenager’s eyes, your feeling hurt or angry may be “a good sign,” in that it proves to her, at least in the moment, that she is not being controlled by you, that you are not running her life… look, here you are hurt and angry. Doesn’t that prove that she decided to do this thing on her own? That she wasn’t allowing herself just to be your ‘toady’? If it takes breaking an agreement with parents to do what the kid feels, in the moment, that she MUST do in order to move towards autonomy and identity, the kid chooses to break the agreement. He chooses himself and his peers over the relationship with the parents. This is what the parent’s deepest experience of hurt is about, and it comes from not realizing the power of the developmental challenge of adolescence: the child really MUST separate from the parent and MUST find his place among his peers. Not that he knows how to do it! Not at all. There are many false starts and painful lunges toward proving himself autonomous and building an identity. Yet these attempts at growing up, however awkward and painful for all concerned, are necessary steps in learning  to become an adult, in learning who he is. If he is truly to become autonomous,...

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Impacts Of Emotional Abuse On Child’s Self Esteem !!

Posted by on 5:00 pm in Blog | 2 comments

  Emotional abuse is a form of assault that is deliberate and manipulative and used as a method of control. The abuser uses intimidation, fear, guilt, and/or threats to frighten and belittle the victim. In intimate relationships, emotional abuse often results in one partner feeling ashamed, afraid, and isolated from friends and family. They may be fearful to talk to anyone about the abuse because their abuser has told them that no one will believe them. Abusers often degrade and humiliate their victims to the point that they are left with little self-esteem. Parents or caregivers who emotionally abuse their children also use similar controlling tactics to gain power over the child. Children who experience emotional abuse may feel that they are responsible for the behavior of their parents and that if only they were more polite, better students, or better children, then their parents would be more loving. Research shows that the parenting  style used on a child during the first 3 to 4 years of his life is the strongest factor that determines his level of self esteem. Parenting  style refers to how parents treat, guide, and nurture their young. It encompasses the messages that parents communicate to a child, verbally and non-verbally, about how lovable, worthy, capable, acceptable and important he is. From the time of infant hood to childhood, a child’s sense of self is defined by how he was treated and what he was told by his parents and primary caregivers. Infants especially, have no knowledge of who they are as a separate person so they rely heavily on their parents’ feedback. When our parents consistently display affection, love, encouragement and set proper boundaries, we grow up feeling confident, secure and achieve our potential. On the other hand, when our parents neglect our needs, criticize us incessantly, withhold love and affection, place excessive demands on us, or are overly controlling, we end up feeling unworthy, insecure, self-critical and unimportant. Over time, our sense of self and self esteem  becomes distorted and crushed from such emotional abuse. Types of emotional abuse in a nutshell 1) Hypercriticism – parents who are hypercritical tend to talk down to their kids, making them feel stupid and embarrassed for failing to understand something or live up to their unreasonable expectations. These parents are impossible to please and find fault in everything their children do. Hypercritical parents typically use words like ‘you should be ashamed of yourself’, what is wrong with you?’, ‘you will never amount to anything’, ‘you are stupid’ and any other remarks that ridicule and humiliate their kids. Effects on self esteem  – Children who are brought up by hypercritical parents suffer from extremely low self-esteem, strong sense of unworthiness and self-hatred. The message they get is ‘I am a bad person’. 2) Neglect – in emotional neglect, the parents will provide basic needs for the children but are generally uninvolved or uninterested their lives. Compared to other types of emotional abuse, neglect has to do more with what parents did not do than what they did do to their kids. On the physical aspect, neglectful parents do not give enough physical nurturance such as holding and hugging their children. On the emotional side, these parents are unable to show empathy and sympathy when their children are in distress. Effects on self-esteem –...

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Is My Spouse An Alcoholic??

Posted by on 1:54 pm in Blog | 0 comments

  Are you one of many people who live with someone who drinks heavily? Do you wonder whether your partner is an alcoholic. Well you are certainly not alone. For many people living with problem drinkers means agony and confusion wondering whether their partner is actually an alcoholic or whether they are making a fuss about nothing. This is a very real problem for many reasons. You, like most partners of drinkers, probably hide the fact that your partner is drinking heavily. You probably do not want your family and friends to know about this aspect of your life, which means that you are left alone with no one to talk to and no one to test out your fears or ask advice. You are aware with the evidence of your own eyes about what is happening, and the drinker’s view of what is happening is generally very different. So you can become confused, and even fearful of your own sanity. The only person you have to discuss the situation with is the drinker him or herself and they often deny that there is a problem. In most cases the drinker does not admit having problem, until it is very obvious to everyone else. So despite your gut feelings you are faced with the drinker’s denial of a problem. Understandably this leads to a lot of doubt about whether you are just making a fuss over nothing and, of course, the drinker will happily reinforce that doubt so that they can continue drinking. A second problem is a concentration on the word alcoholic. There are many definitions of what constitutes and what causes alcoholism. This makes it more difficult for the drinker to admit a problem and also makes it easier to argue that they don’t have a problem. Let’s make that a bit clearer. For most people, even today, the word alcoholic still carries a lot of shame. It suggests a damaged person somebody who is different from the rest of society, who has a different psychological or genetic makeup and therefore can’t drink. It is very difficult for most people to admit that they are different in any way from everyone else, it is even more difficult if that difference carries with it a sense of shame. Consider how difficult it is admit being different, if that means having to give up something that most people enjoy without any problem. So the lack of a clear definition of alcoholism can be very useful for the drinker. It means that they can point to various aspects of definitions and say “well I can’t be an alcoholic because I don’t do that”. For example if we look at the cage questionnaire (a simple assessment tool) it suggests that one of the defining features of alcoholism is the so-called eye-opener, that is having a drink first thing in the morning. Although most people who do drink first thing in the morning would clearly have a drink problem, many people with a drink problem, or even alcoholism, don’t drink first thing in the morning. Therefore concentrating too much on a diagnosis of alcoholism can lead to difficulties, and to a very large degree, fails to recognize and address the real problems. Other common arguments are “I can’t be an alcoholic because I...

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Our Inner demons !!

Posted by on 12:36 pm in Blog | 4 comments

Do you live with inner demons? Is there something you did in the past that haunts you day in and day out? Do these demons control your life and control who you are? Well, they do not have to. There is nothing in the past that can affect you unless YOU ALLOW it to. There is nothing that can DEFINE who you really are OR who you want to be unless YOU ALLOW it to. Too often, we live with guilt and regret over things we have said and done. We allow these feelings to control our entire lives. We live with self-criticism and at times loath ourselves. For some the guilt and pain of the past causes feelings of unworthiness. This will cause you to push against anything or anyone good that comes into your life. You will destroy happiness  and love because you do not feel worthy of it. There are others, who will engage in self-sabotaging behaviour  such as addictions in an effort to numb their thoughts and feelings. For many, it is a non-ending cycle of suffering because of the choice to hang onto the past. Yes, hanging onto the past is YOUR choice. Most of us at one time or another has done something we consider being wrong or bad. Others have committed acts of violent crimes. Regardless of what it was that you have done, if you HONESTLY want to move away from it, out of your past, you must find a way to forgive yourself, for if you cannot find  forgiveness  in yourself, you will never be able to move forward. Forgiveness toward ourselves is not always easy because we have to look in the mirror and like what we see. We have to see who we are, not the demons that live inside of us. We have to come to terms with that which we did but we also have to accept it and ACCEPT OURSELVES for the same. Forgiving and accepting yourself does not make what you did “right” it just RELEASES you from the past so that you can start living in the present moment. Once you are in the present moment, your feelings of guilt, regret, and unworthiness will start to disappear faster than you can imagine. When you live in the NOW how can you be what you once did? You can’t because what happened in the past is not happening right now. For many, negative thinking HABITS get in the way of moving forward and of feeling better. This is when learning how to control your thoughts and PRACTICING positive thinking  comes in handy. Whenever you find yourself thinking a negative thought, immediately change it to something pleasant. It does not matter what that thought is, as long as it makes YOU FEEL GOOD. Hold onto that thought for at least a minute or two. When you do this, you will feel a shift in your vibration creating another pleasant thought that will pop in your head. Meditation is also an extremely valuable “practice” because the “freeing of the mind” creates the connection to your inner-being, which will release your mind of all its clutter, trash, and negativity. It will also increase your awareness of the present moment, release resistance, and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It will...

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Friends Instincts -Value of female friendships!!

Posted by on 9:49 pm in Blog | 4 comments

Maya, age 34, came to see me several weeks after her marriage ended. Like many women coping with recent divorce, she was still dealing with the fact that what she had hoped would be a lifelong relationship had turned out to be temporary. She was concerned about how the split would impact her two young children. And she worried whether she would ever find someone to share her life with. With all those concerns weighing on her, the thing that brought Maya to tears (and seemed to be the most important factor in bringing her to me) was the lack of support she had received from her best friend, Sanya. “We’ve been through everything together over the past eighteen years. College, all kinds of romances, getting married, having kids. Our families  were so close. And now, all of a sudden, she doesn’t have time for me. I think I’m a third wheel to her. She doesn’t know where I fit in her anymore. If I don’t have her, I really don’t have anyone.” “Have you told her how you feel?” I asked. She shook her head. “I don’t think there’s anything to say. I can’t ask her to be a better friend. And I don’t think I could ever forgive the fact that she hasn’t been there for me.” She shook her head and tried to hold back her tears. “I don’t think we’ll ever have what we did.” Again and again in my psychotherapist practice I have witnessed how powerful the bonds between female friends can be and how painful it often is when those bonds are stretched or completely unravel. Yet there isn’t a word like “divorce” that applies, nor any legal proceeding to codify the end of the relationship. Nor do other friends or family members necessarily understand the feelings of grief, abandonment and betrayal that can come with it. Those feelings are very real, however. A woman may have relied on a best friend, after all, to empathize with her struggle to be a complete person in the eyes of her parents, to renew the passion  in her marriage, to cope with the difficulties inherent in raising children or to balance the demands of home and work. They may have been there for one another during childbirth. That kind of constancy breeds the expectation of permanence just as much as sisterhood does or marriage –maybe more. The reason that female friendships are not immune to seemingly insurmountable hurdles is that they are stories, like all relationships. And as stories, female friendships are just as vulnerable as other connections to the unexpected twists and turns of plot that come with living two connected, but separate, lives. When a dramatic plot point–such as Maya’s divorce –happens in one woman’s life, it can alter or threaten the life of even the closest female friendship. The story of a friendship often will unfold against a shared socioeconomic backdrop. Two women shop together, take their children to school together, plan additions to their homes together, shop for bargains or splurge on designer clothes together. But sometimes one of the women becomes wealthy and doesn’t face the same financial challenges as her friend, narrowing what they share and potentially fostering competitiveness or bringing out underlying feelings of low self esteem. A friend’s good fortune can mean that she is...

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The Most Important Skill Of Life – Empathy

Posted by on 5:06 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Empathy is one of the most important aspects of creating harmonious relationships, reducing stress, and enhancing emotional awareness – yet it can be tricky at times. I consider myself to be quite empathetic, but notice that with certain people (especially those I don’t like or agree with and also with myself at times) and in particular situations, my natural ability and desire to empathize can be diminished or almost non-existent. I also notice that when I feel empathy for others and for myself, I feel a sense of peace , connection, and perspective that I like. And, when there is an absence of empathy in a particular relationship, situation, or in how I’m relating to myself, I often experience stress, disconnection, and negativity. Can you relate? What is Empathy? Empathy is not sympathy. When we’re sympathetic, we often pity someone else, but maintain our distance (physically, mentally, and emotionally) from their feelings or experience. Empathy is more a sense that we can truly understand, relate to, or imagine the depth of another person’s emotional state or situation. It implies feeling with a person, rather than feeling sorry for a person. And in some cases that “person” is actually us. Empathy is a translation of the German term Einfühlung, meaning “to feel as one with.” It implies sharing the load, or “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes,” in order to understand that person’s perspective. What Stops Us From Empathizing? There are a number of things that get in the way of us utilizing and experiencing the power of empathy. Three of the main ones, which are all interrelated, are as follows: 1. Feeling Threatened – When we feel threatened by another person or a particular situation, it’s often hard to empathize. This makes perfect sense from a survival standpoint (i.e. if someone is trying to hurt us, we want to protect ourselves, rather than have compassion and understanding about where they’re coming from). However, we often feel “threatened” based on our own fears, projections, and past experiences – not by what is actually happening in the moment or in a particular relationship or situation. Whether the threat is “real” or “imagined,” when we feel threatened in any way, it often shuts down our ability to experience empathy. 2.Being Judgmental – Judgments are a part of life, we all must make lots of judgments and decisions on a daily basis (what to wear, what to eat, where to sit, what to watch/listen to/read, what to say, and on and on). Making value judgments (the relative placement of our discernment) is essential to living a healthy life. However, being judgmental is a totally different game. When we’re judgmental, we decide that we’re “right” and someone else is “wrong.” Doing this hurts us and others, cuts us off from those around us, and doesn’t allow us to see alternative options and possibilities. We live in a culture that is obsessed with and passionate about being judgmental. And many of us, myself included, are highly trained in this destructive and damaging “art.” When we’re being judgmental about another person, group of people, or situation, we significantly diminish our capacity to be empathetic. 3. Fear – The root of all this is our fear. Feeling threatened is all about fear. Being judgmental is all about fear. And, not feeling, experiencing, or expressing...

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When You Feel, No One Like You!!

Posted by on 9:54 pm in Blog | 2 comments

Do you feel like no matter how hard you try, other people still don’t like you? Have you been trying hard to make friends with no good results to show for all of your efforts? If it seems that you have been trying hard to make friends, but that other people still don’t want to be your friend, you may have come to the conclusion that there’s something wrong with you. That maybe you are basically unlikable. Many of us go through such torment of self doubt, especially during our teenage years, when teens are often the victims of vicious bullying from their peers for no reason at all. If you feel as if the people you are trying to befriend don’t like you, the first thing you must do is to ask yourself: Do you have any real evidence that others don’t like you?Or are you just imagining the worst because you are always very harsh with yourself? People who have low self-esteem, or who are suffering from depression, are often convinced that others don’t like them, even when there is no evidence for their negative belief. People who have a poor self image can be surrounded by others who like them, care about them, and enjoy their company; yet because these people don’t believe they are worthy of being liked, they are convinced that no one else likes them either. So, if you are feeling as if nobody likes you, try to find out if there is some real evidence that others don’t like you, or whether you are just being very negative in your opinion of yourself. On the other hand, there are times when it’s not just your imagination that others don’t like you. It might be really true that most of the people you meet are consistently rejecting you, even when you make social overtures and try to be as friendly to them as possible.There are many reasons this can happen. You may have moved to a society where the people are very tight knit with each other, and they don’t open up to newcomers easily. You might be surrounded by people who automatically dislike people of your particular religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, skin color, or bodily appearance.You may be surrounded by people who reject you because the clothes you wear are not the latest and most expensive fashion. In high school years in particular, many teens are strongly conformist, and can be very cruel to those who seem to be different from the norm. Sadly, some people never grow out of the stage of judging others for trivial and superficial reasons. If you are really are being rejected by others, it is important that you don’t make the situation worse by attacking yourself. This will only make you feel worse, and will make you lose confidence in approaching new people in the future. Saying negative things to yourself could start you on a downward spiral of self-doubt and self-hatred. Or you might turn your anger outwards in a spirit of bitterness and revenge towards other people. This is not a solution that will win you friends or peace of mind. It’s also important to take a good, hard look at yourself and the way that you interact with other people. There may be specific behaviors that are causing others...

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Children with ADD and ADHD : How to talk to your kids !!!

Posted by on 12:49 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Okay!! Your child is in school and either you are frustrated as their parent, your child’s teacher is frustrated, or both! You have most likely seen behavioral problems and your child’s teacher has called you telling you that your child is disrupting the classroom and is not listening. You are at your “wits end” and finally decide after much deliberating to take your child to a health care professional to figure out what to do. A health care professional tells you that your child has ADHD. Now what?? Well for starters, let me tell you that your child is most likely just as frustrated as you are with constantly getting in trouble at school for not sitting still and not paying attention to what is going on in class. Your child may have also been called a “troublemaker”, “the daydreamer” and has probably been generally “labeled” at their school. At least, we can define what ADHD is and know that there is hope and help for ADHD. No child wants to stick out from the rest of his/her classmates and they especially do not want to be made fun of. If a school-aged child knows what ADHD is and has learning and behavioral strategies to help with the symptoms of ADHD, they are better able to deal with it. This is a critical first step towards coping with ADHD! Many children with ADHD suffer with low self esteem due to their inability to achieve the same level of success as their peers simple because they can not focus their attention for any length of time. This does not have to be the case. Talking to your child about ADHD should be done in a very reassuring and constructive manner. Tell them the truth, but do not “sugar coat” things for them. The reality is that your child will have to work at this just as much as you as their parents will and his/her teachers. As parents, you have most likely taken you child to his/her pediatrician or a health care professional and your child was evaluated by them. Your child is probably by now wondering what is going on and if there is a problem. Start the conversation in a very positive way and emphasize that their brain works “very fast” and even faster than most people around them. When you tell your child that they have ADHD let them know that they are not alone. Every single, solitary person is different in a lot of different ways and we should celebrate these differences. If you keep it a secret from your child that they have ADHD, this actually implies that to have ADHD is shameful and they should really be embarrassed. As with everything else in life, there are positive aspects and negative aspects to absolutely everything. Reinforce that ADHD is something that they also can get control of with help from you as the parent, but they have to do their part as well. Above all, be realistic in what you tell your child and make sure they understand what you are saying. If your child is looking at you with that blank stare, it probably means you lost them in your explanation of what ADHD is and how it affects them. Here are a few pointers of...

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