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Adult Underachievement Can Be Reversed
Q. I am a 35-year-old mother of two beautiful boys ages 6 and 4. I am also a classic underachiever. I have tried so many different things to change myself. I have been diagnosed (as an adult) with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder (OCD), but wonder how much of that is really my underachieving. My marriage of 14 years is suffering and I'm afraid my boys will follow in my footsteps. I need to change my underachievement. I am at my wits' end and have no idea how to do it. If I could say one thing to parents about letting their children become underachievers, it would be this: Underachieving is not passive behavior, it is destructive behavior. Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.
A. Underachievement (BEGIN ITALS) is (END ITALS) destructive behavior but it can be reversed. It is easier to reverse in childhood, but it's never too late. While ADHD and OCD can cause obstacles if they are accurate diagnoses, they can be treated and can still permit achievement motivation to prosper. You need counseling help. Motivation is about finding your strengths, setting realistic goals (not too high or too low), and working diligently toward those goals. You'll probably have to set small goals at first, so you can establish confidence in your effectiveness. It will also be good for you to find a supportive mentor or guide. Don't give up on yourself, your marriage, or your children. Achievement is not magical, it takes much harder work than it appears.
I would suggest you read my books on the childhoods of successful women, "See Jane WinŽ" or "How Jane Won." They have inspired many women to achieve. You'll find that the women's successes involved multiple failure experiences, times of anxiety and depression, but extreme perseverance. Many didn't find success until later in life. Being a mom involves plenty of responsibility and energy. You can be resilient, but you will want to get some counseling help to get you through your difficult times.
For free newsletters about "Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades," "See Jane WinŽ," or "How Jane Won" send a large self-addressed, stamped envelope to P.O.
Reassurance Needed For 4 Year Old
Q. My son and his wife are going through a contentious divorce. They have two children together, and she has two children from a previous marriage. They are still living together. My son feels they should discuss what is going on with the 4-year-old as he witnesses their fights and says he wants things to be like they were when he was 3. His wife feels they should not discuss the upcoming divorce with a 4 year old. How should they handle this?
A. Your grandson desperately needs reassurance. Children who hear their parents argue become anxious. Sometimes they blame themselves for the arguments. Other times they think their parents will leave them. Their imaginations can cause worse stress than the reality. Divorce should be explained very simply to a preschooler. He needs assurance that although his parents will now live in two different homes, he will still be loved and cared for by both of them. Your grandson also needs the opportunity to ask questions and even when parents aren't sure of the answers, they can reassure him that with time, he'll have answers and his life will surely work out well.
For a free newsletter about helping children after divorce, send a large self-addressed, stamped envelope to P.O. Box 32, Watertown, WI, 53094. Read Dr. Rimm's Parenting Articles and submit family questions online at www.sylviarimm.com. All questions are answered.
Dr. Sylvia B. Rimm is the director of the Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, a clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the author of many books on parenting. More information on raising kids is available at www.sylviarimm.com. Please send questions to: Sylvia B. Rimm on Raising Kids, P.O. Box 32, Watertown, WI 53094 or email@example.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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