What it Means to Consistently Struggle Meeting Expectations

What it Means to Consistently Struggle Meeting Expectations

What it Means to Consistently Struggle Meeting Expectations 2560 1707 Long Island Counseling Services

Many people see children with ADHD and focus on the behavioral and academic difficulties. They work very hard to push these children to succeed. But it’s important for parents, caregivers, and educators to understand that children with ADHD are frequently dealing with all sorts of different struggles, and knowing these struggles – and how to address them – is going to be very important for making sure your child grows up emotionally and psychologically healthy.

One example of this, which is especially true of children with executive function disorder, is that children often experience constant negative feedback about their inability to meet expectations, as well as reach the expectations they set for themselves. This struggle can be damaging to their self-esteem, leading to mental health issues and even acting out.

The Expectations of Adults and Peers

Children living with ADHD and executive function disorder are often expected to behave, think, or react a specific way. They are experiencing this from many sources:

  • Teachers
  • School Administrators
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Friends

Even those that have a general understanding of ADHD and how it works can struggle to really understand what a child with ADHD and executive function disorder is fully capable of doing.

People will say things to the child like “focus!” or “how could you forget this?” in a way that implies that the child is not living up to their expectations, and the child receives that type of feedback from multiple sources, giving them this feeling as though they are letting people down.

Children and Their Own Expectations

This negative feedback is not limited to the expectations of others, either. Many children, teens, and young adults that struggle with issues like time management or problem solving, often try their best to achieve certain goals or milestones. They have a desire to succeed, and they are motivated to do so.

But ADHD and executive function disorder are neurodevelopmental issues. They are not typically something that a child turns on or off based on motivation alone, despite the encouragement they may receive. That means that, in many cases, they are experiencing feelings of falling short of their own expectations.

The Long Term Effects of Frequent Feelings of Falling Short

Sometimes, we have this feeling like it’s on us to tell our child to “do better” or let them know that they need to try harder to succeed and keep up with others. But we have to remember that this is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is not a problem with motivation, or a desire not to listen and succeed. It is that these functions did not fully develop, and thus do not exist within their current cognitive abilities.

Children typically do want to do better. They simply can’t, at least not yet and without a lot of additional help. Rather than increase conflict, negativity and toxicity on our child, we have to learn how to bring harmony to the family and teach our child to thrive as who they are, not as who other people are. Parents and caregivers need to learn, in a positive way, to parent the child they have and to better understand the child’s needs rather than expect them (or teach them to expect of themselves) more than they can currently provide.