When parents unintentionally accommodate social anxiety - ADHD Dude - Ryan Wexelblatt

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𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁: "His therapist said we shouldn't make him come to the program, if we force him it might traumatize him."
𝗥𝘆𝗮𝗻: "So the therapist thinks if you make him come to a 2.5 hour program where he's hanging out with other boys his age and walking to a frozen yogurt shop that's going to traumatize him?"
When kids participate in my 5th grade & Middle School 𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘰 𝘏𝘢𝘯𝘨 𝘖𝘶𝘵 programs sometimes one of the kids would go home to his parents and make comments like "I'm not like those kids.", "Those kids are weird", etc.
This would occur for 1 of 2 reasons:
1. Initial social anxiety being around a new group of similar-age boys.
2. The kid's lack of perspective-taking skills, specifically not recognizing how he's exactly like the kids he's criticizing. In this particular case, it was initial social anxiety.
This conversation occurred after one of the boys complained to his parents and his therapist after the first session of How to Hang Out.
𝗦𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗮𝗻𝘅𝗶𝗲𝘁𝘆 𝗶𝗻 𝗯𝗼𝘆𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗔𝗗𝗛𝗗 𝗶𝘀 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗹𝘆 𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗯𝘆 𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝗮𝘀 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀. 𝗢𝗳𝘁𝗲𝗻, 𝗶𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗻 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀.
𝗦𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗮𝗻𝘅𝗶𝗲𝘁𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗮 𝘁𝘄𝗼 𝘀𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗶𝘀𝘀𝘂𝗲𝘀:
Social anxiety is at it's core, a fear of being judged by others, particularly your peers.
Social learning challenges are a result of not learning social information intuitively from early childhood.
𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝘄𝗼 𝘄𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗸𝗶𝗱𝘀 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗮𝗻𝘅𝗶𝗲𝘁𝘆:
Learning strategies to use self-directed talk when feeling anxious (This often does not work with kids with ADHD who lack self-directed talk which is why Cognitive Behavior Therapy is typically not effective for kids with ADHD). combined with exposure to anxiety producing social situations.
Repeated exposure to social situations that produce anxiety and helping the individual recognize how their anxiety faded over time and they were able to be successful. (This requires tapping into "episodic memory" which is lagging in kids with ADHD.)
Unfortunately, many parents do the opposite of what they should do to help their son with social anxiety. They accommodate their son's anxiety by allowing him to avoid anxiety producing situations.
𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗼𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘀𝗼𝗻'𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝘅𝗶𝗲𝘁𝘆 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗶𝘁'𝘀 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝘂𝗹𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗲𝗲 𝗵𝗶𝗺 𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗼𝗿 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝘁𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴/𝗻𝗲𝗴𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗶𝘁𝘆/𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗵𝗶𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗮𝗻𝘅𝗶𝗲𝘁𝘆. 𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗵𝗶𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹𝗼𝗽 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗹𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗵𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁.
Anxiety of any form doesn't disappear overnight. It takes repeated exposure and practice. Sadly, I've had this experience more than once when parents are given bad advice by their son's therapist.
A well-trained therapist would have told the parents: "𝘋𝘰𝘯'𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘦𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘪𝘵'𝘴 𝘢𝘷𝘰𝘪𝘥𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦. 𝘔𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘨𝘰 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘰𝘯'𝘵 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘢 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘶𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘵". I always appreciate those therapists.
𝗥𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿:
🟢Flexibility is cultivated, inflexibility is accommodated
🟢Resiliency is cultivated, anxiety grows when it is accommodated.
🟢Kids are born "anti-fragile", anxious parents deny their children the ability to develop resiliency & confidence when they treat them as if they're fragile.
🟢Confidence is developed through recognizing your own resiliency and ability, not from empty praise or protection from temporary, uncomfortable feelings.
One of the most rewarding parts of what I do is watching kids with social anxiety realize they have the ability to successfully connect with their peers.
𝗦𝘂𝗯𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗯𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗔𝗗𝗛𝗗 𝗗𝘂𝗱𝗲 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗧𝘂𝗯𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗹 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘃𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗼𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗼𝗽𝗶𝗰 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗸𝗶𝗱𝘀.
[All videos for kids are in the Dude Talk playlists.] https://www.youtube.com/c/ADHDDudeRyanWexelblattLCSW

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