Monday, February 19, 2007

Time: A Marker for Change

“My child always did well in elementary school… but since about 5th or 6th grade, his performance has really deteriorated… he is disorganized, does everything at the last minute, makes repeated careless mistakes. I’ve been told that a lot of kids have difficulties at that age due to the transition into middle school along with the hormones kicking in. Is this just a maturity thing? Will it just get better with time?” The last two questions posed by beleaguered parents take on the quality of a hopeful plea.

Last things first. “Will it get better with time?” Check out your garden… some weeds crop up. Will the weeds get better with time? How about the rusty fender on your car… will the rust go away over time? Unfortunately, nothing changes as a result of or due to time. Time is a marker for change, but time actually causes nothing. So, the belief (or perhaps wish) of parents that “time” will make things better is unfortunately not true. What actions you take across time, however, definitely have the potential to make things better. Unfortunately, some actions have the potential to have no effect and some actions have the potential to make things worse. Actions, like treatments, need to address the specific underlying problem or issue. Weeding the garden will enhance the quality of the garden, but has no known effect upon the rust in your car’s fender. Likewise, the actions of trimming away the rusty fender, sanding, painting, etc. may enhance our fender, the garden weeds tend to show limited effect (unless you pour the solvent on the weeds). Getting the point?! An effective intervention (or parental action) must address the underlying problem or issue. The solution… treatments, interventions or parental actions must begin with a comprehensive assessment of the problem and factors contributing to the problem.

No comments: