Don’t Redirect Autistic or ADHD Behaviors — Just Ignore Them!

Ignore It! By Catherine Pearlman

I love the discipline book Ignore It!: How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction. The book discusses selective ignoring to help curb frustrating behaviors in healthy children and I will be reviewing the book this upcoming Saturday on our column “Weekly Trip to the Library.”

In the meantime, I want to share an important point the author makes in the book about working with children with social, developmental, or learning disabilities. Catherine Pearlman explains that it is easy to get annoyed by behaviors that autistic kids or children diagnosed with ADHD don’t choose to do. It’s essential to realize that these children usually don’t choose to be bothersome.

They tend to wiggle a lot, touch things they shouldn’t, make strange noises, or have strange tics and redirections by parents and caregivers don’t help. The adult’s comments are actually more distracting to a child that doesn’t even realize they are making the troublesome behaviors, and it can ruin their self esteem and lead to depression.

Ignoring behaviors that autistic and ADHD children do by no choice of their own will also help create a better relationship for the two of you. In fact, you may even stop noticing that a child fidgets, taps a pencil, or mumbles to calm themself after choosing to ignore behaviors that they do not realize they are doing.

Verbal discipline (yelling) also increases depression in children and conduct problems. Catherine Pearlman urges us to realize that if we choose to ignore the behavior rather than yelling, we will also feel better.

Remember children with developmental, social, or learning disabilities aren’t doing irritating behaviors as a battle of wills. You should ignore their annoying behaviors (as long as they aren’t hurting themselves or others) simply because they cannot control the actions and to create a happier and easier environment for the children and yourself.

You can purchase your own copy of the book by clicking the links above or below:

Ignore It!: How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction

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