ADD/ADHD & Executive Functioning Coaching Moment…Sticking By the Difficult Client

My work has its ups and downs. I really love what I do but occasionally I am presented with a difficult client. Take the case of Jamie. She’s a brilliant 13-year old that is having so many issues that she is shutting down in every area of her life due to anxiety and Executive Functioning Deficits. Everything is becoming a battle with everyone in her life. It is heartbreaking to see this wonderful child fall apart.

Jamie started off life with the world in her hand. She heard about how smart she is and how there’s nothing she could not overcome. The problem became that things became a challenge and she didn’t know how to handle the stress. So, her response was to begin shutting down. It got to a point where she didn’t even go to school or want anything to do with anything besides her computer. Hours are spent self-absorbed on the Internet. Less time is spent with her friends. She is a likable kid, but is shutting off everyone.

When things get difficult for Jamie, she tells those that are close to her to shut up and to go to hell. Instead of confronting the issues, she lashes out and creates tension. It gets to a point where people cannot stand her even though she isn’t that kind of kid.

There are no simple answers to this problem. My approach is to remain honest and forthright about her strengths and discount the struggles. The truth is that if she is willing to work through her problems, she can have anything she wants. That is what I regularly tell her about the situation. She’s stormed out of my office, called me all kind of names and told me to shut the f#(k up on numerous occasions. And yet, I will not give up on her. She needs support and not a self-fulfilling prophecy of people giving up on her…I will not do that to her. I know she can be an amazing person. She just needs support.

The family and I are looking for baby steps. We’re making some progress. After telling me off and swearing she wouldn’t work with me anymore, I got a heartfelt text asking me for help. It’s a huge step for her, and one that makes all of this rewarding.

My advice to any families dealing with a similar situation goes as follows…keep the topic about the child’s strengths and stop focusing on what the child isn’t doing. He or she realizes it and doesn’t constantly need to be reminded of the problem.

Please follow me on Twitter at ADHDEFCoach and Facebook. For more information on my work, check out www.carrolledu.com and www.iepexperts.com. Feel free to email me at jonathan@adhdefcoach.com if you have any additional questions.

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