During the World Cup soccer matches, a goal would always set off wild celebrations on the field and in the stands. All the team effort to kick, run, defend and block paid off in scoring a goal, increasing the likelihood of winning the game and ultimately the winner’s trophy. Setting goals is also important for parents if they expect to solve their ADHD child’s problems. We as parents basically want our children to consistently reach their best potential in school, relationships, and self esteem. Keeping these goals in mind is an important problem-solving strategy to help clarify the problem and direct the treatment.
When I see a new patient my last question for the parent is “What is your main concern?” Almost everyone correctly takes a moment to think carefully before they answer. If they have difficultly putting their thoughts into words I ask more specifically about their goals for their child or what behaviors they would like to change. I write this on the front of their chart to remind us on every visit of what our team is trying to accomplish.
I recently had a mother give me this list concerning her son. It is a heartfelt summary of the hopes we all have for our ADHD children.
1. To know and help with what is really wrong with him, even if it is autism
2. To sit down at a meal at home or in a restaurant with him and have him eat without arguing
3. For him to feel safe and know he is loved
4. For him to be able to make friends his own age
5. For him to do well in school – academic and behavior
6. For him to be able to sleep without nightmares or getting up so many times through the night
7. To have one day without him misbehaving
8. For him to listen and understand what I’m trying to explain to him
The path to successful treatment of ADHD starts when the family can begin to clearly and truthfully describe their expectations of a brighter future. The next step is to put a parent team of experts together that can work to reach that magical moment of rejoicing and screaming “GOOOAAALLL!”