Declarative Language Builds Expertise and Confidence in Children with ADHD
We are all guilty of showering our children with empty praise that is essentially meaningless.
Empty praise sounds like “Great job!” – which is too general and abstract to make sense – or “You are so smart!” – which is not helpful because intelligence is a genetic trait; it is not something that is earned through hard work. Additionally, children who are constantly reminded of their intelligence can develop a sense of intellectual arrogance that is incredibly daunting to their peers.
Instead of empty praise, give your children targeted praise and recognition. In doing this, you are teaching your child that you appreciate the things that require effort of them that may not be taken for granted – such as: B. Showing resilience, exercising patience, thinking of others and putting effort into non-preferred tasks.
To give targeted recognition, try using declarative language like, “I noticed you were very patient at the grocery store today.” If you leave it at that, children will need to use their own self-directed conversations, internal dialogues, or their own brain trainer to connect the dots. Declarative language helps them build that self directed speech by stimulating them to think about what they did in the market that was laudable.
To build better behavior and confidence, use episodic memory to recall past experiences and the emotions associated with those past experiences. For example, if your child is nervous about going to a new summer camp, you might say, “Last year you were very nervous about starting a new camp, but after the first day you lost that discomfort and had a great time being new Friends found. When you start the new camp tomorrow it will be the same in the sense that you will be successful as last time; it’s just different because it’s a new warehouse. “
Using this same / different language is really important as it connects past achievements with future things. This is key for children with ADHD as they have weak episodic memories, which means they cannot always connect past experiences to future plans. We need to build that connection with them by tapping into declarative language and episodic memory.
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Using Declarative Language in Positive Parenting: The Next Steps
Ryan Wexelblatt, LCSW is the moderator of the ADHD Dude Facebook Group and the YouTube channel.
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Updated on August 2, 2021