In this video, Dr. Jim, ADHD specialist and founder of FastBraiin, answers the question many parents are asking, “Can I stop my ADHD child from being lazy?” The following is a basic transcript…
The quick answer to that is probably not. The long answer to that is why are we allowing them to be lazy? What are the rules of the household? What are the boundaries set up? Do we allow them to be lazy on one day and not lazy the next day?
My dad was interesting in that, if I went to bed early at night, on Saturday morning he let me sleep late. If I stayed up late Friday night he had me up Saturday at 7 o’clock.
What are the boundary issues? What do you allow? Do you allow them to sit on the couch and watch TV? Do you allow them to go to their room and do nothing or do you have chores for them to do?
A lot of times I have parents that come in saying well I have them do this, this and this. And I go, woah, sorry child you got to do so many chores.
But you know what? That child is learning things that aren’t being taught at school, that you can’t learn from a book. That’s what the idea of being lazy is all about and teaching somebody how not to be lazy. How do we teach people to be interactive, and to know the value of going and doing something? That’s really the question.
I heard a talk about an individual who said he learned everything about a business he needed to learn because his dad made him cut people’s grass. He said he went to his father and asked if he could cut the neighbors grass, that he’d get 5 dollars for it. The dad responds, sure you can do that, that will be fine.
Then the dad said, “Whose lawnmower are you going to use?”
“I thought ours.”
“No,” replied the dad. “Who’s going to put gas in it?”
“I thought you would.”
The dad said, “No. I’ll rent it to you, and you also need to pay for the gas, and you need to put out fliers and find someone to help you.”
“What do you mean someone to help me?”
“You have to find someone to work with you,” replied the dad.
So what did the individual learn through this process?
He learned that employees don’t always show up on time. That his friend that was helping him didn’t always complete the task and he had to come behind him. That he could make extra money–if they made 5 dollars an hour, he would give his friend 4 and he would take 1, so he learned business from that.
He learned that he had to rent the equipment. He had to get gas to go put it in the mower. He had to put out fliers. People had to write recommendations and testimonials. He had to go back and do things that weren’t finished.
Wow! All from cutting grass? Yes!
Are these lifelong skills to learn. Yes, they are. Is he being lazy? No. Well, then how do I get my kid to do that? It’s all about finding the perceived value in the work. Maybe there is a value in doing something because you are going to get paid.
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Maybe I’m not going to give you money to go to the mall every time.
Maybe I’m not going to buy you car insurance, or gasoline, or maybe I’m not going to buy you a new car, even though it’s sold, maybe you are going to pay half and I’ll pay half.
Now if we have both shared in the payment, say of your bike, then you’ll go get it and bring it out of the rain.
All these types of things you can be very much interactive with your kids, and you can help them and I have certainly had my boys work for me, but they work for me and they get paid a minimum wage.
I never believed in allowances. Why? Because an allowance is a gift. They have to earn it. Even as adults, I give my kids loans, and they have to pay them back. Why? Because that is part of the learning process, part of accountability, and part of them working so that they’re not lazy.
Again, there has to be perceived value in the work for them. There has to be relevance. The work they do has to mean something to them. If we do all that, they will be fine. They will see the reward and go after it.