In the landscape of modern childhood there is something that I have come to call, “P.A.D.” or “Pain Avoidance Disorder.”

For children showing P.A.D., basic tasks/chores asked of them are viewed as enormous impositions and they will go to great lengths to sidestep the perceived discomfort.

Take, Callie a 9-year-old who begged her mother for two years to get a dog.

After about three months of having the dog, the novelty wore off and asking Callie to take the dog out for a walk upset her, as it interrupted her ongoing TikTok viewing.

“How could her mother dare interrupt her pleasure on TikTok?  Didn’t she know it was important,” was Callie’s thought process.

P.A.D. style children also have the notion that school should be fun most of the time.

While school has its fun, inevitably there will be hard work and periods of boredom.  As 11-year old Peter protests to his mother while playing Fortnite,  “School is so boring – I hate the work.  It’s just not fun.”

So, Peter largely avoids completing school work.

Similarly, 14-year-old Kyle offers a litany of complaints about the horrors of school, complaining that school is boring and not fun.

During a session  Kyle continues his complaining about the intensive boredom.

After a few minutes of listening to the complaining, I joke back at him and respond, “Wait! Stop.  I can’t listen anymore.  When was school ever fun? Since at least the year 1650 school’s always been a pain in the rear end (said differently), so why should it be any different now?”

I ask Kyle to translate to see if he understood what I said. “School sucks and it always sucked, Kyle translates.” “Brilliant analysis,” I tell him.

While laughing, he continues to tell me the horror of his teachers and why his classes are so terrible, trying to convince me that his problems are due to the teachers and the way they run their classes.

I continue poking fun at Kyle explaining to him about the law of averages regarding how many teachers out of five or six are going to be fun and entertaining.

I do my best to bring a dose of reality to his head, but it’s not making too much of a dent.

Takeaway Point

P.A.D. can run very deep especially when pleasure is at their fingertips throughout the day.  There’s a built-in reality to school and school work that needs to be understood to help these kids work through their issues.

Copyright, 2021
Questions or comments email Dr. Selznick: