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What is a Lagging Skill


The word “Lagging” may sound off-putting at first, perhaps even harsh. How can we be saying that we help families overcome stigmas and increase confidence when we describe our children as having a "lagging" skill? We believe that part of overcoming stigmas is calling a thing for what it is. When we stand non-judgmentally in the truth of a situation, we are that much closer to a resolution, or at the very least, the best next step.



For example - I cannot lift 100 lbs. I simply cannot. I have tried. I was not successful. One might say I am weak. One might say I did not try hard enough; I lack motivation; I need more discipline. The fact of the matter is - no matter what anyone says, I cannot lift 100 lbs without building my muscles first. Maybe if my child was stuck under a car I would suddenly have super -human strength - but that scenario aside…

If someone were to hire me for a job that required me lifting 100 lbs today, I would not succeed and likely be fired.

If I had a friend who needed me to lift 100 lbs to remain their friend right at this moment, I would likely lose that friend.

I have a Lagging Skill when it comes to upper body strength.


Now - I could certainly work up to lifting 100 lbs. That is very possible. I could start with 20. Then up to 30. 50. 75. 80. And eventually to 100 lbs. How long would that

take? That depends. My inherent strength. Stamina. Motivation. Drive. Time to practice. I have friends now who could probably lift 100lbs with little practice. I have others who may take even longer than me. We’re all different.


Would you judge me on my ability to lift 100lbs right now? OR - my willingness to try to increase my strength to lift 100 lbs in the future? Would you celebrate my milestones along the way? High fives when I reached 50 lbs. Shout outs on social media when I hit 75, etc. Popping the champagne when I got to 100. Of course you would - that's a wonderful achievement!


We at Whole Family ADHD ask that you offer the same to your child. Do not expect them to lift 100 lbs right now. They cannot, and expecting them to simply sets them up for failure right from the start. However, showing them the possibility of growing that skill and celebrating their milestones along the way - that is the true gift of parenthood.


So what are “Lagging Skills” - emotional dysregulation, lagging social skills, inconsistent behavior, lack of self-motivation, poor executive functioning (working memory, organization, planning and prioritizing, etc.).


Expecting your child to behave as though they have the same inherent skills as their neurotypical counterparts sets them up for failure, and conversely, believing that they’ll never be able to gain those skills, or suitable workarounds, is also shortsighted. Children with ADHD can absolutely learn the skills they need to thrive in this world - to be happy, healthy members of a loving society. They need the consistent, patient guidance of their parents, family, teachers and friends - clearly outlining the skill, the steps and milestones and celebrating those achievements along the way!



By doing this you’re giving your children the greatest gift of all - a Growth Mindset. You’re showing them that they have the power to grow, to learn, to achieve. This is going to serve them in adulthood to navigate the complex, changing world around them in a healthy, authentic way.


For some more tips check out my blog on what it means to be a Super Parent with a child who has ADHD.


We help parents identify their children's Lagging Skills, prioritize them, and work with them in both our one-on-one coaching programs and our workshops. Reach out today for a free consultation.





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