Monday, June 24, 2013

Recognizing a Manipulative Child: Stop It Early or Pay for it Later

We've talked a lot about manipulative behavior in RAD kids, and with kids in general, and nipping this kind of behavior in the bud early is vital.

We see it a lot in kids who have issues with Lying, as discussed in our post: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire, and we deal with the behavior in our post on House Rules.

Overall, once you can learn to identify manipulative behavior in your children, even very young children, when you see it, and not give in to it, you disarm the child and force him or her to deal with individuals in a more straightforward manner.

 It teaches children that they must deal with consequences and must learn to get what they want from others by earning things, requesting things or must learn to accept limitations, respecting the guidelines of their caregiver.

Check out this article recently published online on the topic on

Is My Young Child Manipulating Me? An Interview with Dr. Susan Rutherford

By Molly Yarnell Skyar & Dr. Susan Rutherford

Mother of two young kids, Molly Skyar interviews her mother, Dr. Susan Rutherford, a clinical psychologist about how to deal with a manipulative child and how your parenting decisions today may affect your child as an adult.

Dr. Rutherford: That is an interesting question, and I don’t have a definitive answer, but even very young children can see the power they can have over their parents. It’s mostly an issue of patterns.
For instance, if a 2-year-old is crying at night and his parents always pick him up and hold him when he does this, he will actually train himself to wake up to get the comfort. You could call that manipulative behavior, and maybe it is, but I confess that I’m on the fence about using that term here.

Children can learn how to get certain responses from their parents from a very young age. Typically not before 15 months, but some kids can understand this dynamic really quickly, and the parents can tell. They may feel manipulated and resent their child. In this case, they must intervene to change the dynamic. Let’s remember who’s the parent and who’s the child. As a parent, you have to set the tone for the child, and when they attempt to manipulate you, you have to be firm – loving but firm – that it is not going to work.

Supposing you have an older child. You might want to set up some limits around how often they can be on the computer. Then he or she will test you (and they will always test you) by trying to expand beyond the boundaries you have set. You should expect this. You’ll have to intervene right away and say, “Remember how we talked about this: you get to play on your computer for one-half hour a day and now you’re moving into 45 minutes. That’s not okay, and you need to put the computer away. If you can’t follow the rules, you’ll lose your time on the computer tomorrow.”

Kids will test you, and may test to see if they can manipulate you with tears or tantrums, and a parent should be ready to face these behaviors with resolve.

Molly: Are there any long-term consequences for not dealing with this type of manipulative behavior early on?
Dr. Rutherford: Yes, there can be, especially if the pattern sets in and the child learns that the way to get what he wants is to manipulate the parents. Children can actually be quite good at this. That behavior will go on and on at home, and it will expand to include other people like classmates and teachers, or other people that he comes in contact with, like coaches. Nobody likes to feel manipulated and usually people do experience a sense of being manipulated when it happens. What happens if this is left unaddressed in children is they end up forming a kind of character flaw or a negative character aspect that follows them into adulthood and really lasts forever. It’s much more difficult to change your character as an adult.

What do you think? And how do you deal with manipulative behavior?  


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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Is Neurofeedback the Solution for Your Child? Follow Our Journey: Part 4 More Upward Progress!

The below post is from our friend “Marie.” She is sharing her story with us as she tries a brain-retraining program (neurofeedback) with her daughter who has ADD and severe memory issues.  This will be an ongoing series following their progress and success.  We hope you find it helpful as you search for solutions for your own children.

If you missed the first three parts of the series, read them here: 
Is Neurofeedback the Solution for Your Child? Follow Our Journey: Part 1.

Is Neurofeedback the Solution for Your Child? Follow Our Journey: Part 2 The First 3 Sessions

Part 4: The Importance of Breathing and a Progress Report

 I just got my child’s 10th session assessment and it describes what they have been tracking. 

In earlier posts I mentioned that a lot of the beginning training for my daughter is about breathing and heart rate. 
When she was first tested she was breathing at a rate of 9.65 breaths per minute, with a cohesion rate (heart rate combined) of 36.44%. 
She is now breathing at about 8.5 per minute, with a cohesion rate of 66.68%. 
The goal is to get her breathing properly at more like 6-7 breaths per minute, with a cohesion rate at around 80%. 
High cohesion is essential for brain training and achieving the desired result. This is what they are looking for, and again recommended that she practice good breathing techniques at home.  Taking breath in through your nose and as your stomach (diaphragm) should extend on inhale slowly, hold, and then slowly retract your stomach on the exhale. This all makes sense to me.  I have always heard how taking deep even breaths can calm me down and allow me to think more clearly.
 This is something everyone can teach their ADHD kids to do, and can start today. You don't need special training or therapy to take advantage of deep breathing techniques. 
 The brain wave assessment will be completed after session 20. Then we will have a more concrete picture of how this is changing her other abilities.
Overall Update:
My daughter has been making steady, positive progress since she has started the neurofeedback, and it's been very exciting. 
 I just have to remind myself what I am hearing from my daughter and from those around her about what is happening to her personally. We have all had the experience of someone commenting on how big our children have grown since they saw them last.  Sometimes when we live with a gradual change we don’t notice how much they have grown or changed, but when we look back at pictures or a measurement marked on the wall we are amazed. I had a similar experience the other day regarding my daughter’s progress.
We have had a weekly college grad babysitter that has been with us for over a year. She was gone recently and unable to babysit for at least a month. When she came back to babysit the other night, she commented on how my daughter had changed. She couldn’t quite describe it, but said that my daughter paid more attention when she asked her to do something. I said , “did she seem more engaged?” She said YES that’s it. Then I told her about Neurocore and what we had been experiencing.
My daughter continues to feel more confident and seems to be able to think on her feet more quickly. This can have a downside if you don’t prepare yourself. My sweet daughter that was living in a daydreaming world sometimes didn’t notice things. She seems to have more power emotionally, and I quickly realized that I needed to give that power some guidance. I am so thankful that the girl that has so many gifts will not be held back by the lack of focus. She is still imaginative and creative and now hopefully will be able to follow through with her thoughts and dreams. She is so proud that her “daydreaming score” has gone down and that her video doesn’t seem to be pausing anymore!
I don't work for or get anything from Neurocore, this is just something I tried to help my ADHD daughter, and was asked to share my results, good or bad, with other parents via this blog.  I have to say I have been very excited and happy with the progress, as has my daughter. It has totally been worthwhile thus far.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Does Your ADHD Teen Need a Coach Instead of a Therapist?

In a recent article on, titled "ADHD Coaching: Look to the Willow Tree" talks about how ADHD might be better well treated if looked at as not a diagnosis, but as a behavioral issue that can be "coached" through.
For example, much like a mentor, or a personal trainer, an ADHD coach would address a teenagers troublesome behaviors, like forgetfulness, by teaching them new behaviors that would help them adapt to their issues, like using reminder technologies or forming new routines to make everyday items easier to find.

Overall, the idea behind coaching for ADHD teens is to empower them to acknowledge their issues and to formulate ways to handle them on their own terms, on their own, so that they can cope successfully as adults.

Of course, this may work for some of our Foster or Adopted kids, and might not work for some, but we feel that empowering the kids that CAN learn to deal with their own behavioral issues or habits, well, you should at least try.  We are all coaches everyday in some way.... we just need to concentrate our efforts perhaps with our ADHD kids as they grow older on teaching them how to help themselves.

Read the article below, what do you think?

Partnering with a coach of any kind can lead to rewarding self-discovery. Whether specified as executive, life or career coach, these people are essentially teachers at their core. And as progressive educator/ liberal philosopher John Dewey remarked throughout the context of his life’s work in educational reform, you cannot so much teach individuals, or impart knowledge, as actually only help those who desire to learn.
The best teachers are essentially mentors (and counselors of sorts), drawing out any little glimpse they can sense and intuit that someone near them has even the smallest seed of will or fascination to learn a new fact or method. Such learning may not come easily, though, especially with a learning-disabled student or individual.
There are coaches who specialize in helping those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as well. One such coach in Pittsburgh, Penn., Susan Lieber, is an impassioned counselor for those struggling to make sense of their debilitating neurobiological condition.
Lieber’s focus is to help her clients “develop a language to advocate for themselves.” This is no small task for those whose esteem is shredded by their lessened ability to prepare for important tasks, establish daily routines, see tasks to completion and remember where everyday objects were placed — not to mention having a loss for words other than the pat self-label ADHD to describe their challenges. “I have a hard time with managing unscheduled time” would be one way to define yourself to the outer world, Lieber posits, as opposed to saying “I am ADHD.”
A former occupational therapist versed in cognitive-behavioral strategies, as well as a former pain clinic researcher, Lieber decided to go into coaching for the reason many do — a deep interest in significantly applying her existing skillset and keen ability to effectively work one on one with folks. Many of her clients are high school students diagnosed with ADHD, and others have similar problems. In the case of the former, she tries to help them move toward an adult life on their terms and in a manner that “makes sense to them.”
This involves “developing an awareness” of behaviors and actions. It is apparent from talking with her that Lieber masterfully culls those slight seeds of desire for change and improvement in the lives of these young people who may be frustrated with themselves and their place in the world.
Her work as a coach is behaviorally-based and focused on education, as she has observed that really all ADHD individuals “want change… want better outcomes.” So Lieber figures out “what kinds of support the client needs.” She stresses here that the ADHD experience “is unique to each individual, and for a lot of reasons.” She has an apt term, pivoting — “getting clients back on track to where they need to be”– to describe the goal of her coaching sessions.
Through the coaching process, ADHD individuals can, according to Lieber, “gain a better understanding how their brain works” and learn tactics “to manage day-to-day demands.” Identifying solutions comes about in a mutual manner, with the coach encouraging honesty, humor, and “a steadfast belief” in themselves, which she exemplifies. “Coaching is all about asking questions and really listening,” she says.
Lieber also is a certified organizer coach, providing a more in-depth service to select individuals who are coming to her for ADHD counsel. Here she models and continues to identify effective strategies for the ADHD client, evaluates effectiveness and joins in helping that person develop some “habits for lasting change” in their home environment or elsewhere.
ADHD coaching, as addressed on Lieber’s website, “can help you sort through the physical and mental clutter that is limiting you….” She defines her help as empowering — truly helping people set up a life “which includes supportive persons, routines and spaces that is aligned with the things that matter most.” As Lieber also describes it, “Imagine replacing feelings of frustration with understanding and confidence… and developing a deeper awareness of what’s significant.”
After some coaching sessions, some family members have said things such as “now I understand my loved one doesn’t do this [lose keys or can’t get out the door on time] on purpose.” And the clients themselves? Instead of “feeling like you can do it all but falling short,” they are learning new behavioral approaches that speak to their unique lives, yet fitting those individual lives better into the larger whole of society.
The New York Times recently ran an article about the possible connection between sleep disorders and ADHD, suggesting that ADHD may be really be a sleep disorder in disguise. Nevertheless, the symptomatology is debilitating, and an ADHD coach such as Lieber can effectively address what is disrupting an otherwise fulfilling life.

Read more here:

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Is Neurofeedback the Solution for Your Child? Follow Our Journey: Part 3 Seeing Improvements!

The below post is from our friend “Marie.” She is sharing her story with us as she tries a brain-retraining program (neurofeedback) with her daughter who has ADD and severe memory issues.  This will be an ongoing series following their progress and success.  We hope you find it helpful as you search for solutions for your own children.

If you missed the first two parts of the series, read them here: 
Is Neurofeedback the Solution for Your Child? Follow Our Journey: Part 1.

Is Neurofeedback the Solution for Your Child? Follow Our Journey: Part 2 The First 3 Sessions

Part 3:  Seeing Signs of Success and Positive Changes!


The last I left off we had not seen much if any change nor had the teachers. This time I am happy to report there have definitely been some changes!!
The first difference I started to notice was in her sleep habits.
My daughter has always had a very active dream life. She would have “bad dreams” that would wake her up nightly, usually occurring around some emotional upheaval or event. This time she started having them regularly and there was nothing that I could see had changed, except starting the Neurocore. 
So I called to ask if they had other people that had commented on having the same experience. She said no, but that the treatment causes you to be able to sleep more soundly and get in to the REM stage more easily.  I have had to give her melatonin 5mg nightly for the last year to get her to slow down enough to get to sleep.  I began to wonder if maybe the combination was too much.
 I dropped her dosage in half and low and behold she slept like a rock. Then another week later the same thing happened again, and I dropped her dose to a quarter and she slept great!
During that same week she began to report to me that she felt that she was able to really focus in school and that she wasn’t daydreaming as much. I asked her teacher to confirm for me what she was noticing and he said yes it was true. She had not been doodling on her paper as ususal. 
The following week he commented on how well she did paying attention and participating. She told him,” it’s the Neurocore.” He said ,”no I think it is you, and maybe the Neurocore is helping you be your best you!” She agreed and has been pleased with herself and her work (even math) for the first time in her school history.
Another waiting room sideline story…
As I sat in the waiting room I overheard a mom talking to one of the technicians. She was reporting that she had been able to reduce her daughter’s dosage of Concerta to half, and was ready to reduce her even further. They were on about session 15.

Staytuned for further progress reports!
 ( Do you have experience with this type of therapy? Let us know what you think! ~ John: FPR