One very important thing I’ve learned from Dr. Hallowell is that the greatest influence on future success, whether a child has ADD or not, is a sense of connection. There are many different types, not just connection with family or friends.
In his book, Super-Parenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child, Dr. Hallowell lists many of the possible ways of connecting, “multiple points that hold a child in place, stabilizing her and giving her joy as well as direction.
*Connection to family-This is of the greatest importance, but it doesn’t mean without conflict. There can be arguments, but the important thing is to stay engaged. Make sure to spend time together. Have dinner once in awhile, and make sure to have fun, as well. Converse.
*Connection to friends and neighborhood (I would say community)-Whether an introvert or extrovert, humans are social creatures. Friendships are important for a good quality of life. Set a good example for your children by valuing your own friendships, and support your children’s friendships.
*Connection to school or work (In our case, it would be our homeschool community.)-With respect to this category, making sure your child feels safe here is what is important rather than how well he does academically.
*Connection to activities you love-The more things one can find to enjoy, the more chances there are for one to be happy. Let your child experiment with many things.
*Connection to the past-Have children listen to their grandparents. Research family histories by studying genealogy.
*Connection to nature and special places-In our high-tech world it is easy to experience nature deprivation, but children are inherently connected to nature. Make a point of getting yours outside to experience it. If you live in a big city, simply find a park with some trees and birds.
*Connection to the arts-It doesn’t matter what, music, sculpture, drawing, painting, or poetry. Find something in this category that your child enjoys. It will enrich her life.
*Connection to pets and other animals-I will just quote what Dr. Hallowell writes. “All kids ought to have a pet if possible. Pets provide a special connection, like no other.”
*Connection to information and ideas-The most important thing here is that a child does not feel afraid of learning and connecting to new ideas. According to Hallowell, the greatest learning disability is fear.
*Connection to groups, teams, clubs, institutions-Again, I will quote Dr. Hallowell. “Groups such as these instill a sense of responsibility as well as providing an introduction to the power and joy of a group or team effort.”
*Connection a spiritual practice-Though it can be formal, it does not have to be. It is simply good to be open to discussing the big questions, such as why and how we are here.
*Connection to oneself-This will naturally grow as your child finds connection with other things. Make sure to nurture your child’s unique qualities and gifts. This will allow for his own self-acceptance.
If you would like to learn more about Dr. Hallowell, check out his website by clicking here.
(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici and FreeDigitalPhotos.net)