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Josh-D. S. Davis

Xaminmo / Omnimax / Max Omni / Mad Scientist / Midnight Shadow / Radiation Master

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Lying to oneself about what you really want.
Josh 201604 KWP
I'm having trouble explaining important semantics.

If you keep doing something you shouldn't, it's because you want to. You may not want the outcome from that, but if you didn't want to do it, then you wouldn't keep doing it.

An example -- I wish I were not as heavy as I am, but I "want" to keep eating. I want to satisfaction of the experience more than I want to be less heavy. If I didn't, then I would eat less, and then be less heavy. My will, inner desire, subconscious, or whatever you want to call it, is part of me. I cannot dismiss it. It's a choice, even if I allow it to short circuit my critical reasoning.

So, if my son keeps "getting distracted", that's because he wants to be distracted. He doesn't want to do his homework. Crying at me and telling me he doesn't want to be distracted is only refusing to accept reality. Until he can accept what's really happening, he is a powerless victim of uncontrollable forces. Once he accepts what's really going on, he can be mindful and willful of his decisions.

I'm having a lot of difficulty convincing him of this. I know it's a tough topic that many adults don't get. I don't know how I came to accept responsibility for this aspect of my mind. I don't know how to convince him I'm not making this up, nor am I trying to make him feel bad about it.

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Initial thought: Have you asked him what he thinks he can do to be less distracted?

Would sitting in an empty room with his homework keep him from being distracted?

If so, choosing not to sit in an empty room means choosing to be distracted.

Is he distracted so he forgets to start his HW? Have him set a cxn alarm on his iphone (?). If he doesn't drop what he's doing to go do his homework, that's a choice.

I get both of yours sides, and I know some people struggle with distraction A LOT. Maybe they can be of more help. I'll keep thinking on the explaining part. :)

Nah. He doesn't really want to do his homework, so anything is more interesting. If he's in an empty room, he'll stare off, or doodle.

It's worse when he's tired. There's likely an ADD component he picked up from me.

We try to engage him into "how can you help yourself" but it's usually an issue tied to fatigue, so his critical thinking and problem solving in that regard is already compromised.

In this instance, having an adult sit next to him was what he needed. He would wander off, then see Erica, and then turn back to his homework. Could be tied to him being very much a people person. Homework isolation is still isolation, which is uncomfortable.

Gotcha. I was thinking the empty room could help him see it was a choice, in a way. :)

Good you found something to work (Erica!) and yeah, this shit is tough. It's layered, and behavioral, and biochemical, and sorting it out takes---life. :)

Has he suffered the consequence of not doing homework yet? I did that in 5th grade and holy shit did it help me get back to being motivated. I hated the consequence from my teacher. But then in high school I had the opposite reaction and decided the trade off was ok for me. :)

re: ADD --- you sound like you're on it. I'm not concerned because it sounds like you have empathy. In fact, the empathy probably fuels the frustration. ;)

*HUGS* hang in there!

PS: it looks like here and on facebook you feel kinda attacked. I think it's because you said "want" and "choice" and this got rolled into you applying those words to diagnosable issues, and implying that it was simple to change. That can be personal and triggering to people.

Fwiw, I didn't get that intention from your post. Fwiw, I also agree that "want" and "choice" can even apply to diagnosible issues, but I won't go into how unless you're interested. Because really, I saw this as a post about a parent and child and emotion, and can save my other opinions for another time.

Kids have a shocking lack of logic where this is concerned. If you say, "You don't want to do your homework," maybe he hears, "That is a bad thing and what you need to do is WANT to do your homework" so then he turns it around and thinks, hey, but I DO want to do my homework, or at least, part of me does. Which is true. Most good kids WANT to do well in school on some level.

Just maybe he wants to do well in school without having to stop daydreaming about space, or something. :)

It's hard to get a kid to realize what exactly discipline is and how to practice it and all that business. If you figure it out, write a book, dammit. You'll make billions.

I think it's something vaguely like that. Max is uncannily intelligent, but when he's frustrated, as with anyone, trying to address a source of frustration just makes it worse.

At that instant, he wanted his homework done, but he didn't want to do it. He wanted to play, because homework was frustrating.

Erica went to sit by him, and that was the magic needed. She didn't even interact. She played Words with Friends, but just her being 2 feet from him was exactly what he needed to reset each time and refocus. He went from 2 hours a page to 30 mins a page.

I kept getting distracted at work. As a grown, logical, fully functioning adult, I can promise it wasn't because I wanted to. After a brush with almost losing my job, I did some research, made appointments, and found out I have some pretty intense ADD. Meds have honestly changed my work life.

Not trying to say that's always the answer.... but sometimes, you really don't WANT to be distracted, not in the least.

I had a huge reply, but it got eaten. Luckily, most of it was tangental that probably would have come across wrong.

My intent here was to express my frustration at a failure to communicate with Max. Not every focus issue is clinical ADD. Not every focus issue is only treatable via drugs. The mind is so much more powerful than simply a prisoner to the brain.

At the age of 10, I'm so very far away from considering perpetual stimulant use for him, and still in the phases of teaching him how to be aware of how his own mind works.

In every action, there is a choice. Regardless of any underlying mediators and motivators, whether there's logical thought involved or not, there is a choice.

My goal is to have him slow down or defer that choice so that he can begin to deconstruct the factors at play in his own mind.

I think the term "want" was either inaccurate, or misconstrued; however, I don't have a better term at this time other than "will" or "desire" or "motivator" or etc. I've yet to try other terms, because he's yet to get seriously hung up in avoiding the less interesting aspects of an assignment.

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I think you've mis-stored a misunderstanding, or you're recalling an iteration of me from more than 10 years back.

Nothing within my own self is completely beyond my control. At worst, it's beyond the effort level I care to spend.

As for ADD, maybe, maybe not. Regardless. Every action we take has a decision behind it. There is a choice. We may short-circuit any rational thinking about it, but if you reach your hand out and click on a link, willfully, there was a choice to do that.

I think it's a critical component of helping him learn about himself to attempt to get him to slow down that choice enough that he can deconstruct the forces at play.

Unfortunately, doing so while he's tired and frustrated is difficult enough, without having to deal with the differences between my terminology and interpretations, and his, and anyone else's.

Maybe you have trouble convincing him because you are wrong.

Research shows that people with ADD don't focus any better when they are given stronger incentives. Saying he "wants" to get distracted is like saying someone with insomnia "wants" to stay awake. I'm not saying there aren't things he can do to focus better, but just wanting it more is not one of those things, and no amount of punishment or reward will change that.

What lasher said.

Edited at 2011-05-10 02:22 pm (UTC)

I had a really nice reply here that got eaten by the iPhone app.

But, it's nice to know that from your livingroom, you can diagnose my son whom you've never met with a clinically defined mental illness, and you can assume to know the proper treatment, based on one post about a failure to communicate.

I am throwing this post at everyone I know right now. I have so many people in my life struggling with this same sort of thing.

Unfortunately, there's nothing in here for a solution. It just takes more time and trying to come at the problem from different angles, different understandings, etc.

Max is good at deconstructing some things, and has times where it's better or worse than others. Fatigue (from excess play, insufficient sleep, or growth spurts) and nutrition (recent snack +, recent sugar -, allergy foods -) are major factors in his focus abilities.

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