Finger Pointing

December 13, 2019

In  Struggling Kidland There’s often a lot of finger pointing taking place.

Played out ritualistically on a near daily basis,  there’s the classic parent finger-pointing dance.  It’s the, “You’re too soft on him – You’re too tough on him” ballet.  While the parents point fingers at each other in this dance, the kid is in the basement or the family room with his headset on playing Fortnite or on Youtube.

The dance makes no dent on him.

Or then there’s the adolescent finger pointing telling his mother that it’s her fault that he didn’t get out of bed in the morning or get his homework completed.

Schools receive a great deal finger pointing, as they often are viewed as not delivering services or meeting the child’s needs.

In return, behind the scenes the school is shaking its head and finger pointing with  a collective sigh  accompanied by a “What’s their problem,” when it comes to the parents.

There are few truisms that I can reliably count on in Struggling Kidland, but here’s is one that I know.

99.999% of the time it’s not ever one thing or another – it’s always multifactor variables contributing to the struggling.

Or, as I like to explain to parents in my, oh, so scientific and scholarly way, “It’s always a soup-pot of variables.”

What this means is that whenever a child is struggling or not meeting expectation whether it is with dyslexia, ADHD, oppositional behavior, challenging temperament, etc., the struggling is never explained by where the finger is pointing.

Finger pointing is a one-factor explanation.  There’s no “soup pot” with the finger pointing.  It’s reduced to the object of the finger-pointing as the culprit of the child’s struggling.

Almost to an obsessive fault, I find myself pushing back on these one-factor finger points.

You can hear it in the way the problems are presented or hypothesized.  Here are a few common ones I hear:

“My wife is a pushover – my son runs roughshod over her.” (While that may be true, there may be other variables explaining his behavior.)

“It’s his ADHD – that’s why he keeps interrupting.” (Certainly ADHD children often impulsively interrupt. However,  I could think of a few other reasons beyond the ADHD for the interrupting.)

“She refuses to read – I’m sure it’s her dyslexia.”  (There are many dyslexic kids who are not obstinately refusing to read.)

“The teacher is so unmotivating – of course he’s bored.”  (Are all the children in class similarly bored?)

“My daughter is creative. Asking her to do her math worksheets is stultifying.”  (Could be so, but perhaps she needs legitimate help in math.)

“My child loves LEGOS – he only likes to do hands on things – that’s why he has meltdowns doing something else.” (LEGOS are certainly fun for many kids,  but is it possible that the child is also temperamentally difficult?)

Trust me.  I could go on.

Takeaway Point

It’s cold outside.  We’re heading into winter.

Go make a nice pot of soup with lots of ingredients and think about how it applies to your child’s struggling.


Copyright, 2019 www.shutdownlearner.com
Questions or topics email Dr. Selznick.  Not in the South Jersey area? For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email – rselznick615@gmail.com

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