A central principle discussed in the soon to be released “School Struggles,” is the notion of the “Soup Pot Theory” of everything.  

As I note in School Struggles:

“I subscribe to the soup pot theory of practically everything.  What this means is that I rarely see things as one way or another, but as a mixture of variables that interact to create challenges for children.  There is a myriad of different issues for most children of concern.”

Young Jack, age 13 illustrates this point.  For years Jack has been on an ADHD medication, as a physician along the way determined that Jack was ADHD.  Medication was the extent of treatment or intervention done with Jack  since he was six and a half.

As the parents reviewed their stories and concerns about Jack, I certainly hear that Jack struggles with being impulsive and showing questionable judgment, common characteristics of ADHD.  However, when I hear more about the family dynamics and how his parents’ divorce has affected Jack, there is a new wrinkle to consider.  Maybe there are other facets to the story that the ongoing view of ADHD has not revealed.

When I meet Jack my sense of him is that there is anger in the mix that nobody seems to know  about or have mentioned.  From what I can tell, Jack’s anger has been like a simmering pilot light, there but largely ignored. 

Jack’s anger needs airing.

The takeaway point is that you may need to go beyond the label.  While labels may be comforting to you on one level, they don’t often describe the many variables interacting with a child. 

With Jack there has been too much of an emphasis on medicating and not enough of an emphasis on understanding.