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Steven Richfield provides articles on many different aspects of raising a child
month we our advocate will be answering questions from our visitors about yours
and your children's rights in the educational system.
A mother is trying to help her teenage son learn anger management.
Five great ideas for motivation, including The Shoe Race, Trading Places
Organize your child at home, and maybe find some tips that will help you
IN THE NEWS
Headlines about ADHD, Learning Disability and Mental Disorders
Study on ADD and TV
The recent study published on watching television between the ages of one and
three and the possible link to ADD/ADHD did not take many considerations into
account. The author of the study even admits that he cannot conclude that
television watching and ADD/ADHD are linked.
Parent Coach Archives
Parent Coach: Coaching The Child Who Feels Like A Victim
Parents write: Is there such a thing as a child having a "victim
complex?" Our preteen son often views the world in terms of what others are
doing to him or what he is not getting. As much as we try to convince him
otherwise he still persists. What should we do?
All of us perceive events with some degree of subjectivity. Our
background experiences, personality, and present circumstances cause some
"perceptual blurring." When these factors create a persistent pattern
of narrow interpretations, such as overly trusting or mistrusting attitudes, the
results can be emotionally and socially costly. This is especially true of
children since they don't have the same freedom to avoid those people or
situations that trigger such slanted perceptions.
Those children who view themselves as the consistent victim of
events around them tend to behave in ways that fulfill these perceptions.
Relentless arguing one's point, stubborn refusals to consider alternate
explanations, and spiteful efforts to "punish" nonbelievers can turn
family life into a daily debate over facts and fantasy. Parents soon run out of
patience, reacting in ways that augment the child's self-defeating
beliefs. Here are some strategies to help rebalance a child's perceptions:
˜ Don't try to change your child's perceptions when emotions are at their peak.
If your child is in the throes of protesting about yet another grievance it is
best to listen and answer in a nonjudgmental manner. Later, after the emotions
have subsided, begin a discussion about how people misinterpret events around
them. Offer examples of how it happens to adults and see if they can open their
mind to that possibility. If so, explain how everyone looks at things in life a
little differently than others and that when people see similar bad things over
and over again it's time to consider that maybe they are misinterpreting.
Suggest they begin to ask themselves the following question after something bad
happens to them: "Is there another way of looking at this other than that I
always have bad things happen to me?"
˜ Consider the possibility that some intrinsic limitation, such as a learning
disability or processing delay, is placing pressure upon a child's perceptions
of fairness and equality. Children with learning or other issues have more
difficulty navigating within the world of expectations and consequences. Rather
than appreciate how these limits may be producing such difficulty, they may
project blame for those difficulties upon events and people around them.
Educating them about their "learning or listening differences," and
teaching them how to advocate for themselves, may make them less prone to view
life as a victim.
˜ Address those sources that may be continuing to fuel your child's
perceptions. Unresolved jealousy of a sibling, untenable pressures at home,
school, practice, or within the community, or past traumas may be contributing
to these narrow views. If so, give your child the freedom to talk about these
circumstances and develop an action plan to correct, or at least minimize, the
˜ Look for opportunities to point out when favorable outcomes occur. Children
with these propensities are not especially cognizant of such events because they
do not confirm their belief system. Parents can help by "mentally
highlighting" the good things that happen and suggesting that the child
store some of these for times of disappointment. Such a "good
time reserve tank " can also be documented for future reference.
Dr. Steven Richfield is a child psychologist in Plymouth Meeting, PA. His
column appears monthly. He can be contacted at 610-238-4450 or email@example.com