How The Neuroscience Of ADHD Might Change Your Parenting

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The science of the brain is called neuroscience. What we are learning about the brain evolves and changes every day.  The brain is a highly complex creation, and much of the our new knowledge comes from recent advances in brain scans called fMRI.  These scans can determine oxygen uptake in particular areas of the brain. That means if I am having a particular emotional reaction to something, my brain cells in that area become more active, requiring more oxygen, and therefore becoming measurable.

All of this is causing us to rethink how we think. It is important to understand some simple  functions of the brain because it helps us to better understand how and why we react, or our child reacts, to certain things and in certain ways.  We now know that there are over 1,000 connections between our emotional center, the amygdala, and our thinking area, the prefrontal cortex.

These connections are a complex network woven into our brain. Ever time we learn something, have feelings, fear, excitement, adventure, passion, anxiety, our brain is firing information through and around our emotional center.

How does this relate to ADHD?

Imagine an ADHD / FastBraiin child has just been asked to climb a flight of stairs. How does the child respond?

Many times in ADHD people the connection to just go one more step might be hindered, slowed down or even questioned. The child might ask, “Why are we walking up the stairs, or what is at the top?” Some people race up the stairs. Some take a step at a time.  Some race to adventure, some think I don’t care for heights. Some say, “I want to stay here, or “I don’t understand why I need to walk up those steps”, “I can’t do it anyway.”  “No one believes I can make it up there.” Or, “I’m not sure I want to go there.”

These different responses are triggered by different emotional connections that surround the task. When we observe the responses critically, they become windows into the ADHD individual, telling us valuable information about how they are wired and how to help them.

The ADHD individual actually has an emotional center and connection center that may develop 3 years behind their peers.  A lagging emotional center can help us understand why a 12-year-old may argue and have a 9-year-old type of tantrum. The same goes for the 18-year-old who is trying to make decisions that he cannot understand until he is 21 or even 24 years of age.

Remember the old saying that parents often use, “Act your age!”

The ADHD mind might be a few years behind the actual age of the person. Knowing this, how might your attitude change? Do you think you may have a little more patience? A little more understanding? You should. Your child may be incapable of rising to meet the benchmarks common to his physical age. This is not about brain dysfunction, or disorder, but a simple lag in brain connections.

Take some time today to rethink how you engage your child. Relate to them. Understand them. Get to know their emotional responses. What do their emotional responses indicate? How can you adjust your expectations to better meet your child where he or she is?