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TOPIC: Ghost Children:Brothers & Sisters of ADHD Children

Ghost Children:Brothers & Sisters of ADHD Children 21 May 2013 12:39 #161

Ghost Children: Brothers and Sisters of ADHD Children
Posted on October 17, 2011 by Kevin D. Arnold, Ph.D.

Non-ADHD brothers and sisters become ghost-like in the family.

Anyone who spends time with ADHD children knows the excessive talking, impulsivity, and strong emotional expressions so characteristic of these young ones. Even though we know that ADHD results from less effective operation of brain mechanisms, parents find it hard sometimes to handle these behaviors.

In families, ADHD results in a different life experience for the members. Parents often find themselves repeating directions or making requests several times. Over the course of months or years, parents tend to become less patient and more authoritarian, using "consequences" as threats to gain compliance. Often, parents become impatient and irritable. Eventually, parents pay attention much more to the ADHD behaviors but almost no attention to good behaviors.

Parents eventually, without realizing it, invest large amounts of time rearing an ADHD child. And the unintended consequence is less attention paid to the other children in the family. The non-ADHD brother or sister becomes like a ghost, for a while.

The ghostly siblings eventually force parents to pay attention to them. They often begin to act out in the family around age 4 or 5, as they realize that mom and dad notice misbehavior. The siblings compete for attention through mimicking many of the ADHD behaviors they see. Parents, many times, find themselves exhausted from the one-two punch of ADHD and sibling rivalry.


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