by: Dr. Dathan Paterno
If ADHD is really a mental illness, a neurobehavioral or even neurological disorder, it should not be cured so simply by parents. But it is cured that simply*.
Many clinicians have worked with children diagnosed with all three types of ADHD—Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined—by equipping the child’s parents to enact and enforce consistent, strict, fair, and loving limits and boundaries. Dr. David Stein is one psychologist who has gotten astounding success with children formerly diagnosed with ADHD. Howard Glasser has taught scores of schools how to provide appropriate behavioral intervention to radically change children who once seemingly could not behave properly in a classroom.
I have worked with children for 18 years in a variety of settings, including schools, residential homes, inpatient hospitals, and private practices. It is a joy and pleasure to work with parents who want to be the agent of change in their child’s life and who commit to doing so without a diagnosis. Almost every one of those families—when they consistently and properly employ reasonable discipline—have transformed their child from one who “has ADHD” to one who does not. Many of the children had been diagnosed ADHD by professionals who are eminent in the field of child psychiatry.
Heck, if I can train parents to make such fundamental change in their children and cure a “serious neurological disorder” in such a short time and with such simple principles and techniques, I should be up for a Noble Peace Prize. I’m not holding my breath.
*Notice I did not say “easily”, but “simply”. Reasonable discipline is simple. Enacting and enforcing it can be very difficult for parents who do not know how or lack the will or ability to do so. Some parents are so locked into permissive parenting or rely on methods that worked well for one child that they can’t conceive of another way to do things. Others are so overworked, overstressed, and overwhelmed that they simply do not have the will. Yet others are stuck parenting on their own with no support from spouse and other adults. This makes reasonable discipline genuinely difficult, but it does not change the reality that if proper limits are enacted and enforced, the child will respond to them—usually rather quickly.