Getting to Know Your Child
Children are like snowflakes. Each share many common characteristics, and each are uniquely different. Sometimes our kids’ uniqueness insures success, whether it be as a student, athlete or communicator. Other times, it can foster frustration, sadness, and anger. This results in understandable concern and confusion for parents, as the source of our child’s struggles is often unclear. It is at these moments where adopting the “I don’t know what I don’t know” philosophy should be embraced, specifically when it’s accompanied with a willingness to seek advice and support from others. Regardless if this occurs through conversations with family members, friends, teachers, or treating professionals, you shouldhave confidence that a new perspective can often result in real and significant gains for your child.
A shared experienced for many parents, and one that evokes the need for the above philosophy, is hearing that your child is “processing” information differently in the classroom. From my seat as a neuropsychologist, this is the same as telling your mechanic that your engine is making a strange noise. Specifically, it doesn’t really clarify how to make things run smoother. From my seat as a parent, I know that gaining clarification on whether an underlying learning difficulty or attention problem is the source of the “processing” concern can result in an opportunity to act. Through this action, I’ve fostered success and prevented more significant difficulties.
Importantly, not every intervention you initiate will help your child. In addition, there are times when you might start an intervention only to quickly realize that it is no longer necessary. When the need for support is clear, however, the right intervention should readily capture your child’s attention and willingness to participate. Specifically, kids often thrive when they are given the tools to address and offset their weaknesses, resulting in more confidence and success. I’ve seen this in thousands of kids, including my own. I’ve also witnessed that this process helps parents feel more confident and assured which, in turn, can bring harmony to the entire family. So, embrace what you know about your snowflake and take comfort that understanding what you don’t is a sign of an active and present parent.