Training Lions and Tigers:
Discipline & Children with Disabilities

Wrightslaw        Law      Advocacy     Training      Products      Store      Subscribe       Sitemap       Contact Us

January 2, 2009

ISSN: 1538-3202

Issue: 467
Subscribers: 67,864

In This Issue:

Pete's Parenting Tips

"Training Lions and Tigers"

Teach Your Children Good Habits & Self Discipline

Tips for Taking Care of Yourself

Wrightslaw Way Blog

Community Helpline

The Wrightslaw Way Blog

Featured Products

Inside Every Wrightslaw book . . .

You'll find answers to questions,
increase your knowledge, and sharpen your skills

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright

About the Book
To Order

About the Book
To Order

Get Help!

Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

Yellow Pages for Kids With Disabilities

rightslaw Advocacy Training

icon Jan. 14: Waterbury, CT
icon Jan. 16-17: Spring Hill, FL
icon Jan.30: Williamsburg, VA
icon Feb.5: Charlotte, NC

Full Schedule

More Helpful Resources

ADD/ADHD Topics Page
Attention Deficit Disorder in Children
Is My Child with ADD/ADHD Eligible for Special Ed Services?
Who is Eligible for Protections Under Section 504 - But Not Under IDEA?
Behavior & Discipline

ATTN! VA Parents
& Advocates

 Candle in window

What Happens Next on Special Ed Regs?

Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043


Copyright 2009, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved. Please do NOT reprint or host on your web site without explicit permission.

School's still out for the holidays. Have your "little angels" turned into lions and tigers running around the house?

Parenting is hard work. If you have a child with a neuro behavior disorder like ADD/ADHD or specific learning disabilities, your job is harder.

Pete Wright, the father of two boys with ADHD and learning disabilities, says "I learned a lot about raising kids over the years. I can tell you how I raised my boys. My experiences may be helpful to you."

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate Pete gives some advice on discipline techniques and shares his own experiences and parenting tips. We've also included some tips for taking care of yourself during the holidays and helpful resources about Behavior & Discipline.

In the next issue, you'll find Pete's Four Rules for Raising Children and a progress report on his two boys.

Please don't hesitate to forward this issue to other families, friends, and colleagues.

forward to a friend

Sign up free today!  l Read previous issues

Pete's Parenting Tips

Tammy writes, "My 11 year old son has ADHD. I am looking for parenting help. I don't know how to discipline him. I'm lost and looking for tips and suggestions."

You need to reward positive behavior, use negative consequences for negative behavior, be consistent, be alert, use tough love, and have high expectations for these children.

need to understand that most kids with ADD/ADHD love to argue - they find it stimulating.

My favorite parenting tips:

  • Provide Consistency & Structure
  • Establish Clear Standards & Rules
  • Have High Expectations
  • Teach Your Child to Behave

For more parenting tips, read Training Lions and Tigers: Discipline and Children with Disabilities.

back to the top

"Training Lions and Tigers"

Pete shares this story from an old friend, a pediatric neurologist from India, who moved to the United States.

When Dr. Hazra talked to parent groups, she shared her reactions to child-raising practices in the U.S. In her family, and with her children, her word was law. She never had to raise her voice.

She was astounded when she heard American parents ask their children questions like this:

  • "Would you like to go to the waiting room now?"
  • "Would you please finish your dinner now?"

When Dr. Hazra talked to parent groups, she told this story:

"Picture a big three-ring circus with thousands of screaming children, a blaring public address system, and flashing lights. Now, picture several huge elephants trotting around the ring. What are these elephants doing?

"These huge animals are climbing onto small pedestals that may be two feet in diameter. While they stand on the pedestals, they perform a series of behaviors on cue - despite the chaos and distractions around them.

"Visualize the circus ring again. Look at the lions and tigers - what are they doing? The lions and tigers have been taught to jump through hoops of flame."

Dr. Hazra said "If we can teach elephants, lions and tigers to behave in public, we can certainly teach our children with disabilities to behave in public too."

What do you think? Was Dr. Hazra right?

back to the top

Teach Your Children Good Habits and Self-Discipline

Developmental tasks can present significant problems for children with attention deficits and other neurobehavioral disorders. Some youngsters have difficulty tolerating frustration and may be emotionally over-reactive.

Parents describe them as "all-or-nothing" children who have difficulty calming themselves. They tend to "fall apart" easily, dissolving into tears of frustration when needs or wants are not met immediately.

Living with a child with these isssues can also offer special charms and delights because these children can be:

  • very perceptive and sensitive
  • intensely curious
  • creative and inventive
  • very affectionate

If this child is raised and educated with an appreciation of his/her uniqueness and strengths, that child can grow up into a healthy, productive adult.

Pete credits much of his success as an attorney to overcoming his problems with ADHD and LD.

"Without these "problems" to overcome, I would not have the obsessive compulsive, perseverative, highly creative mind that enables me to be a successful trial lawyer. In our training programs, I describe my personal experiences - and the difficulties my parents had in raising me."

If you teach your children good habits and self discipline, they will be successful and may change the world in positive ways. When you look at the early childhood histories of people who changed the world, you will often discover that the child had a disability.

Read more about parenting a child with ADHD in Attention Deficit Disorder in Children: Development, Parenting, and Treatment Issues by Pam Wright.

back to the top

Tips for Taking Care of Yourself

Raising a child with special needs can be overwhelming.

With the increased demands on your time (and pocketbook) during the holidays, these problems can seem overwhelming.

Here are a few tips for taking care of yourself and your family from the article Tips for Taking Care of Yourself.

  • Spend time with friends or family to recharge your batteries and regain a healthy perspective.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Set aside time with your partner.
  • Ask friends for help. Find another parent whom you can contact.
  • Help others.

More Tips for Taking Care of Yourself.

back to the top

What People Are Saying About The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter

"Thanks for the trustworthy information and support you provide through the Wrightslaw web site and newsletter. You helped our family act when we needed to - we are thriving now."


Great Products From Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

About the Book
To Order
About Book
To Order
About Book
To Order
About DVD Video
To Order