Why empathy helps parents cope with a child's behavior

Learn about: Why empathy helps parents cope with a child's behavior from Edward Hallowell, MD, EdD,...
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Why empathy helps parents cope with a child's behavior

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It's very important for a parent to understand why a child might be doing something that may be upsetting to the parent. For example, a child with ADHD. You can say to the child, "Take out the trash." Then the child will say, "Okay," and walk right past the trash. Now if you don't understand that between the time you said, "take out the trash," and he's walked past it, he's forgotten about the trash; then you will get angry at him. If you understand and empathize, understand the ADHD; you will still be annoyed, but you'll simply say, "You forgot the trash." Instead of getting angry and saying, "You disobedient bad, boy or girl." This is where a lot of parents and teachers don't get it. They think the child is being intentionally defiant. That's not true at all. They simply forget, within a millisecond, what they've been asked to do. Understanding and empathizing is critical in dealing with this condition effectively.

Learn about: Why empathy helps parents cope with a child's behavior from Edward Hallowell, MD, EdD,...

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Edward Hallowell, MD, EdD

Psychiatrist, ADHD Specialist, & Author

Edward (Ned) Hallowell, MD, EdD is a Harvard-trained Child and Adult Psychiatrist in practice in Sudbury, MA (outside Boston) and New York City. The author of 18 books, Dr. Hallowell specializes in learning differences such as ADHD and dyslexia, both of which he has himself.  He has also written extensively on general issues of parenting and living in our modern age. He lives in the Boston area with his wife of 23 years, Sue, and their three children, Lucy, Jack, and Tucker.

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