Beyond the Power Struggles

with Richard Selznick, Ph.D.

Today, I get to talk to the incredible Dr. Richard Selznick—a renowned psychologist specializing in dyslexia and learning disabilities. We dive into the traps parents often fall into when communicating with their children, especially those with neurodivergent needs. Dr. Selznick emphasizes the importance of giving our kids choices. It’s eye-opening to hear about the challenges of motivating children with learning struggles and how we tend to blame ourselves as parents. Dr. Selznick’s insight shifts the focus to understanding and supporting our kids in the best possible way.

3 key takeaways:
    1. Communication and Choices: Dr. Richard Selznick emphasizes the importance of offering children choices and allowing them to make decisions with consequences. This approach focuses on empowering children and reducing anxiety.
    2. Complexity of Children’s Challenges: The conversation acknowledges the complex nature of issues such as ADHD, learning challenges, and autism. It highlights the need for personalized approaches tailored to individual children and families, recognizing the lack of easy answers.
    3. Avoiding Power Struggles: The episode delves into the concept of power struggles in parenting and advises against engaging. Proactive and preventive strategies are encouraged, emphasizing the adult’s responsibility in understanding and supporting children with struggles.

You’ll Learn

  • The importance of giving children choices, allowing them to choose well or poorly with consequences, and how this can positively impact their lives.

  • The significance of recognizing your own ability to recover from difficult situations and sharing that with your kids.

  • The concept of reframing power struggles as an adult’s responsibility and employing proactive and preventive strategies to anticipate and address challenging situations with neurodivergent kids.

  • The need for parents to reflect on their approach without blaming themselves, and the importance of trust in their intuition about their child’s issues.

  • The significance of honest and personalized approaches in addressing children’s learning challenges.


  • The Shutdown Learner, by Richard Selznick, Ph.D.

  • Beyond the Power Struggle, by Richard Selznick, Ph.D.

  • Subscribe to Clarity — my weekly newsletter to help you get clear on how to be the parent your neurodivergent kid needs.

  • Work with me to level up your parenting — online parent training and coaching  for neurodiverse families.

Some of the resources may be affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

Today’s Guest

Richard Selznick, Ph.D.

Dr. Richard Selznick is a psychologist, nationally certified school psychologist, assistant professor of pediatrics, school consultant and Wilson certified reading instructor. He is the Director of the Cooper Learning Center, a Division of the Department of Psychiatry, Cooper University Healthcare. The author of six books including his latest, “Beyond the Power Struggle: A Guide to Parents of Challenging Kids,” “The Shut-Down Learner: Helping Your Academically Discouraged Child,” “School Struggles: A Guide to Your Shut-Down Learner’s Success,” and “What to Do About Dyslexia: 25 Essential Points for Parents.”

Dr. Selznick has presented to parents and educators internationally, as far as Dubai and Abu Dhabi and throughout the United States. A down-to-earth presenter who looks to present complex issues in non-jargon terms, he strives to help parents “get it.” He has a particular passion and interest for helping parents understand dyslexia and related reading disorders.

Dr. Selznick’s website www.shutdownlearner.com has over 600 blog posts at the time of the writing of this bio.


Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:00:03]: Frequently, the parents or the teacher will be ascribing ADHD hypotheses or he's just not motivated. And I'm like, this kid has severe reading problems, severe, you know, shut down learner vol, significant dyslexia. That would undercut any of our motivation, and I think that we have to really understand the zone that they're in in terms of what they can and can't handle.

Penny Williams [00:00:30]: Welcome to the Beautifully Complex podcast where I share insights and strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids straight from the trenches. I'm your host, Penny Williams. I'm a parenting coach, author, and mindset mama honored to guide you on the journey of raising your atypical kid. Let's get started.

Penny Williams [00:00:52]: Welcome back to The Beautifully Complex podcast. I am so super excited To have doctor Richard Selznick here with me, who I have been following for years For my own instruction and learning and my own kid, and so I'm really excited to have him here on the podcast to talk to us about Power struggles and shutdown learners and all of the good wonderful wisdom that he has to share. Will you start, doctor Selznick, just by introducing yourself? Let all of us know who you are and what you do.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:01:28]: Sure, Penny. Thanks for, inviting me on. I'm excited to be here.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:01:33]: We appreciate you've been following me all these years, and I I don't know, you know, if I do that. I'm a psychologist. I've been the head of the Cooper Learning Center for a number of years. I've specialized in kind of this somewhat nichey psychologists. I think of myself, like, you know, I've had this specialty in dyslexia and reading learning disability, but, you know, you can't help it in which is tied into, I think, what you've followed over the years where there's a kind of package where it's not just reading. It's reading and then behavior. ADD comes into play, and then the power struggles come. That's kind of what I do.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:02:15]: Parents come to me when they're worried about their kid. That's bottom line. And, you know, there's a lot of it. Yeah. You know, they want advice, and they want guidance. And it can be very, very challenging for parents as I'm sure you can appreciate.

Penny Williams [00:02:28]: Mhmm.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:02:29]: And my mission that hopefully comes through in the books, in the blogs, and, so I'm talking to you is to really talk to parents, mostly to moms, who talk to parents in down to earth plain language.

Penny Williams [00:02:43]: Mhmm.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:02:43]: You know, there's a lot of confusion out there about special ed and IEPs and five zero fours and dyslexia. There's just tremendous confusion. And then, of course, people will go on social media, and they'll try to get more advice. So I try to cut through that. That's really my mission, to cut through things and to talk to you as a parent as straightforwardly as I know how to talk to you.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:03:08]: And to be as honest as I know how to be, because I just don't find that the parents are getting that as much as I think they should.

Penny Williams [00:03:15]: Yeah. And that was why I think your work resonated with me because it was Kind of boiled down to the nitty gritty. Right? Yeah. We're just giving the information that we really needed, and sometimes it was The truth that nobody else was necessarily willing to give, right, which is something I've also focused on in my work is Let's be honest about this. Because if if I go to a therapist and I get information about my kid who's struggling Mhmm. And then I go home and none of it works Or, you know, it seems too hard to implement or and then I feel bad about myself. I think it's me. And So we have to be honest about what's going on.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:03:56]: And it's as you could appreciate, and I as many years as I've been doing this, and I tend to think of it as not like what I call, quote, real medicine

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:04:07]: You know, going to to the dentist. I'm not knocking dentistry, but there's kind of a you know, certain problems are handled a certain way every time, I assume.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:04:17]: So for me, in my work, it's literally child by child.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:04:22]: Family by family. So, you know, how you come in with whatever your circumstances are. It's the easiest thing in the world. It would be to just give a reading test and say, okay. Phonics problems, go get tutoring. Well, you know, that's not the way to do an assessment, but I have to kind of feel around the edges, I think, and get a sense of you. You know, if I recommend tutoring, what if you can't afford it? What if you don't have the time for it? What if your husband or you don't you have 1 you don't have? I don't know. You know? There's so many variables that come up.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:04:53]: Yeah. And then trying to explain that to parents because they want, of course, well, what do we do? You know, they want the answer, and I'm like, uh-huh. I can't I don't know how to give the answer half the time, but I I do the best I can.

Penny Williams [00:05:05]: Yeah. And there isn't 1 answer. That's the first thing we have to learn as parents. There isn't 1 answer.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:05:11]: No. There isn't. And one of one of my standard lines is, you know, a lot of this work sort of depends on whose doorstep you land on. You know? So if you go to the neurologist, You're gonna get the problems through the lens of a neurologist. Right. You know? And more often than not, who I have found, they're seeing it through the ADHD lens. And then if you go to some other type of professional, they're seeing it the audiologists single through that lens. You know what I mean? So it's you can get 10 different opinions from 10 different professionals.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:05:43]: Yeah. And that could also be bewildering to parents.

Penny Williams [00:05:46]: Mhmm. I mean, it's a complex thing to have.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:05:48]: It really is.

Penny Williams [00:05:49]: Learning challenges or ADHD or autism. Yeah. It's so complex, and there are no easy answers. And this was true for myself. I I started wanting to fix that. Right? I cared about my kid. He was struggling. I wanted to fix it.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:06:01]: How old how old were you child when you started to?

Penny Williams [00:06:04]: He was 6. Just turned 6.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:06:06]: Yes. Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:06:07]: And, clearly, something was going on. And we had a great teacher come in in 1st grade. You know, the kindergarten wasn't ideal. We switched schools. We had the most wonderful teacher he had his whole career in 1st grade, And still there are a lot of problems, and that's when we were like, okay. What's happening here? You know? And and Yeah. We were able to Get evaluations and get diagnoses and, you know, start. But then I was like, okay.

Penny Williams [00:06:32]: How do I fix this? How do I make him

Penny Williams [00:06:35]: work for school instead of school work for him. Right? Because you don't know better when you start out, and then you have to figure that out.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:06:42]: And what you just said in fact, I think that I I forget what I've written at this point, but I believe either in my book School Struggles or in Shutdown Learning, the question of how do we fix it. And without sounding negative, basically, we don't. Then my answer is, well, they're not car engines. They're not broken.

Penny Williams [00:07:01]: Mhmm.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:07:02]: So there's no fixing. I understand what's behind the question. You know?

Penny Williams [00:07:06]: Yeah.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:07:06]: But that question comes up a whole lot in my work.

Penny Williams [00:07:10]: Yes.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:07:10]: How How do we fix it?

Penny Williams [00:07:11]: Yes. And I'm like, uh-huh.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:07:12]: How do we fix it?

Penny Williams [00:07:13]: Me too. Yeah. And I I talk so much about the fact that that's the wrong question to be asking. You have to shift your mind to that too To the questions that are helpful, because that one's not that one just keeps you stuck. Let's talk about power struggles. Your new book is Beyond Power Struggles. Right?

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:07:29]: Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:07:30]: I think that this is born probably from societal pressure, traditional parenting. Right? And the first thing we probably have to do is just be able to shift away from that. But I'll let you talk a little bit about, You know, what do you mean by power struggles? Where do we get tripped up?

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:07:49]: Good question reflecting on some power struggles that came in recently. You know, I think you're right that a lot of this could be generational.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:07:57]: And every generation, every 10 years has another view of parenting and how it should be done and how kids should be handled. And, you know, I'm obviously not of a modern generation, let's say, So I think some of this is generational. I think a lot of this came about because I have found, and I don't exactly know why, That kids are becoming more and more challenging when the parents come in to consult with me. Frequently, you know, the word meltdown comes up. You know, they're having tantrums or having meltdowns. I know you're you're involved a fair amount with the autism, and it's not as much my world. But, you know, when a child is having a meltdown, when they're asked to do homework, or they're asked to get off of their screens Mhmm. Or they're just Basically, fundamentally uncooperative, and parents feel like they're at a loss.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:08:54]: And that's kind of the genesis of this type of thing. I have an approach, a mindset for parents to try to guide them in terms of how to handle these issues. And, again, there are all kinds of theories. I know the current one is gentle parenting. I don't know exactly what that is, but I have a sense that it's not my approach, not that I'm advocating for harsh parenting. Right. But, you know, coaching parents and try to get them to understand how to talk to the child in a certain way so the child understands, like, oh, I I better kinda get in the game here and do what my parents is asking do you need to do? That's kind of how this book came about. Parents are very beleaguered.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:09:38]: They feel very worn down

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:09:40]: And, again, trying to give them some support and specific advice on how to handle these things.

Penny Williams [00:09:46]: Yeah. So do you wanna talk a little bit about Sort of those guiding principles that parents can employ to help with that?

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:09:53]: One of my favorites is I think we saw it in a blog recently, to always have a on hand.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:09:59]: And, you know, the mantra being to effectively not go down a rabbit hole with the parents. So the mantra would be something like Remind yourself. I'm almost, like, praying the macho like like, don't take the bait. Remind yourself. Don't take the bait.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:10:16]: Don't take the bait because, Mhmm. And, premiums. They wanna do what they wanna do.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:10:28]: And, you know, they don't want to do something they don't wanna do. I call it IWIWD or something. I want when I want disorder. You know? That's the disorder. I want what I want disorder. So the mantra would be something like, don't take the bait, and you're reminding yourself to just not get into a power struggle with a child Mhmm. You know, to not bite on their hook. Another piece of advice would be to Look at how you're talking to the child.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:10:55]: You know, that we can't help it. We get our buttons pushed. We take the bait. We start yelling.

Penny Williams [00:10:59]: Yeah.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:11:00]: And I try to get parents to be a little bit more mindful of anticipating the situation. Like, if we're going to a birthday party And the last time you were at the birthday party, you start to grab and push and do whatever. So you know your child's tendency, so I called in the book, PPSA, proactive, preventive, strategic approach. Basically, it's, you know, proactive. What do I know before going into the birthday party? What's the likely tendency? You know, what are the odds of something happening? So if you know the odds, then you need to talk to the child before it's happening.

Penny Williams [00:11:34]: Yeah.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:11:34]: You know? So, like, let's talk about the last time you went to the birthday party. It didn't go very well. Do you remember why? Well, yeah, I kind of got grabbed, and I go, that's right. Well, it's not gonna go like that today. Here are the rules. I like using phrases like Here are the rules. This is how it's going to work or here's the deal, and the child knows upfront how it's going to go. Mhmm.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:11:57]: And here's the key. I think this is the essential key. It's the child's choice. They could choose well or they could choose poorly. You've laid out, you know, the guidelines, but you would say, listen. If you choose well, then everybody's happy. You get to play in the birthday party, and no one's fine. You choose poorly, well, then we need to go sit outside for a while, something like that.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:12:20]: You see what I'm saying? Then you're losing the privilege of being in that party. Yeah. But it's your choice. I think that we don't allow the child to make the choice, and people reported back to me that that has really impacted their lives when they recognize it as a child's choice. It seems, by some level, obvious, like, oh, this is all common sense. A lot of it is common sense, but it's not as easy to implement as it might seem.

Penny Williams [00:12:49]: So often, especially for neurodivergent kids because they have the sense of so little control.

Penny Williams [00:12:55]: Over what happens to them, That giving choice makes them less anxious. It makes things feel like they're more in their control. Mhmm. And things tend to go teen better. And, you know, it just really helps. I don't know how else to say like, it's really powerful stuff.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:13:13]: And I don't know how you feel about it, because I do struggle with neurodivergent kids where I okay. If I'm laying out this mindset for the parent and, let's say, the child has been shown to well, I'm just using ADHD as an example. Mhmm. Significant ADHD. And I get stuck with, Alright. Is it within the child's realm of control to what extent?

Penny Williams [00:13:37]: Yeah.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:13:38]: And that always becomes, like, a sticking point for me because it's you know, I do set up this model, and mostly, it works.

Penny Williams [00:13:46]: Right.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:13:47]: But there are gonna be situations where because of the neurodivergent issues Mhmm. Something else is needed.

Penny Williams [00:13:54]: Yeah. I mean, there are certainly times where it's not a choice. The behavior is not a choice. Right. They get triggered. They get dysregulated. They have sensory Processing issues. They're overwhelmed.

Penny Williams [00:14:02]: Right. You know, there's a lot of triggers there that could make it not a choice, but being proactive and you're Talking about it beforehand, and you, the parent, have been watching and you know what the potential triggers are, You can make a plan. You can outline expectations. But, like, I love that you say instead of, like, We're going home if you don't follow the rules. We're just gonna take a break, and we're gonna go outside. You know? That's a compassionate way to do it that Honors that maybe it wasn't necessarily a choice, but seeing they clearly need a break from the environment. Right?

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:14:41]: I love that you're picking up on a couple of things there. I'd like to believe that what you're doing on the front end.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:14:48]: Is in a sense planting a seed in the child's head.

Penny Williams [00:14:51]: Definitely.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:14:51]: You know, when you sit down and talk in a somewhat objective, calm way, to strike while the iron is cold, not while the iron is hot. So while before we go to the party, let's the last time we went, tech and then have that discussion, very brief. And then by letting the child know it's not going to happen that way today. It's going, really? How do you know that? Yeah. I mean, they might be thinking that. I don't know. If, you know, it gets out of hand, this is what we're gonna do. And I do agree with you that it allows for, you know.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:15:25]: Time out is okay. I just think it's overused. Yeah. To me, it's not even a time out. It's kind of like, alright. We're gonna go out the car. We you know, it's a cousin's birthday party, and it's getting too aggressive or whatever. So we're gonna just sit in the car for 5 minutes.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:15:37]: And from my point of view, Let's say the child's having a meltdown in the car. I don't want to be in the car. What's your job as a parent? From my end, the job would be nothing. Mhmm. Just sit there. Mhmm. Just read your book, read look do nothing. And in 5 minutes, 5 minutes, are you ready to go back in? Again, choice.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:15:58]: Mhmm. Are you ready to go back in? Yes? Okay. How do we want it to go? Well, you don't want me to push, and right. Brilliant. I like Joe Tandy. Brilliant.

Penny Williams [00:16:09]: Yeah.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:16:10]: So I'm gonna watch. Let the child know that you're You're not just talking to your sister or something like that and having a drink. You're watching the kid.

Penny Williams [00:16:20]: Yeah.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:16:20]: You know? I'm gonna watch, and what's gonna happen if You start pushing again. Well, we go out to the car. Right? But then the next time you go to a birthday party, I would predict, remember how it went the last time? Mhmm. You know? What are we gonna do? The kid will start to really associate mom, taking an effective action, giving me choice, and recognizing that my choice has positive consequences built in Mhmm. Or negative ones built in. And you don't have to create all kinds of consequences for the parent. You know, I'm gonna give you all the stuff and tokens and, am I talking too much?

Penny Williams [00:16:58]: No. No. Of course not.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:16:59]: Sometimes we're not talking too much.

Penny Williams [00:17:01]: We're learning from you. I would add, you know, when we go outside, There are things that we can do that can help a kid get regulated too. So instead of maybe sitting in the car, We walk, loop around the parking lot, or, you know, any sort of regulation activity that would help to Calm their nervous system too so that they can more successfully go back in.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:17:25]: Totally agree. Totally agree. And that's but that's White said in the beginning, it's kid by kid, family by family.

Penny Williams [00:17:30]: Mhmm.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:17:31]: You know, if it's a more manipulative type of child who's really trying to push and they can control themselves but are choosing poorly, then the car may be a boring place to sit. On the other hand, if it's a child who does get over stimulated, like you're suggesting, too much sensory overload, and they, you know, truly can't handle it, and taking a little walk around would be a a nice way of settling it all down.

Penny Williams [00:17:54]: Yeah. Yeah. And I think too reflecting later.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:17:58]: Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:17:58]: If things went badly, you don't reflect then. You don't try to teach then. You know, I love that you said you just go out there and you sit, because what we tend to do is want to fix it again. And so, you know, I call myself the great rationalizer. All I did was try to rationalize my kid out of every behavior. Right? I just I thought if I can just talk him down. Right? And it never ever ever ever worked, and And it was because he was already overwhelmed. He wasn't processing.

Penny Williams [00:18:27]: I was just adding to that. And so we teach parents all the time in our behavior program, Stop talking. Just stop talking because it's not helping.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:18:38]: Zip it and clip it. It's not that's another mantra. Zip it and clip it. I'm trying to practice. I'm now in the zone of being a grandparent. You know? Mhmm. And my kids don't want their my advice. You might want my advice, but they don't want it.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:18:50]: You know? So my mantra to myself is zip it and clip it. But I think as a parent, sometimes just stop talking so much. I agree. You know? Because they don't wanna hear it, but they have choice, and I go back to that, you know, but you're triggering a lot of thoughts. You know, with the, debriefing, I also like, especially if the kids young, let's say 6, 7, 8, 9, you know, sort of tuck in time.

Penny Williams [00:19:12]: Mhmm.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:19:13]: Because that cements a little bit. I'm not big on overly, you know, reinforcing. You gotta get all this reward stuff. You know what? I'm really proud of you with the birthday party today. I know it's getting a little out of hand, and you totally followed the rules. And I'm really proud of you. I saw what you did, and it was great.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:19:32]: And I hope we do that the next time. You know? And if it didn't go so well, it's like, well, you know, next time, we'll try to follow the rules better.

Penny Williams [00:19:41]: Yeah. Or how do you want it to go different next time you go to a birthday party? Right? Giving them that control again because that gives us insight.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:19:49]: This came up recently where mom had rented, you know, one of those bouncy gym places. You know, it's expensive to rent one of those things.

Penny Williams [00:19:57]: Yeah.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:19:58]: And It wasn't for even for her birthday. It was just for a treat for her child and like, 8, 9, 10, whatever that age range. And In about 5 minutes, the kid got really moody. Like, I don't wanna do this. I'm I'm bored. And mom's, like, starts getting upset. I bored I spent all this money to and, You know, again, giving the kid choice. Listen, Nate.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:20:20]: Here's the deal. You can choose to be miserable or you can be choose to have fun. Here's what the kid wanted, frankly, was to go back and play on his video games. He wanted to go on a screen somewhere, and he was bored because he didn't have his phone or something. But if you're choosing to be miserable, your friends can have fun, but you're gonna be sitting here, not a punishment, end, no screen, no phone, no nothing, and that's your choice again. That fixed it pretty quickly.

Penny Williams [00:20:49]: Yeah. You know, we talk so much Here on the podcast about preferred tasks and nonpreferred tasks and how hard it is for a neurodivergent brain.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:20:59]: Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:21:00]: To really click on to a nonpreferred task. You know? Like, for example, the ADHD brain, it's motivated by Interest and urgency, but not really by importance. You know? And so we are like, well, because you gotta do homework. That's why. Right? But A kid whose brain doesn't just go, okay. It's important. I gotta get in here. It's much harder to do that.

Penny Williams [00:21:23]: And so there's, you know, there's Neurological reasons for a lot of our kids for things like that too, but they do need to be encouraged still Yeah. To do things that are not preferred because that's life.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:21:37]: As another mantra. Well, you know, it's called homework. It's not called home fun.

Penny Williams [00:21:44]: Right. And then for kids who have learning struggles, that's a whole another.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:21:47]: Well, that's to shut down

Penny Williams [00:21:48]: learning stuff. Mhmm. Of course, they're not gonna engage if it's that hard. Right? If it's So nonpreferred and difficult, and I might fail in it. Why am I gonna try? Like, it's so hard to make yourself try.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:22:00]: You know, I have a parade of kids that I evaluate who just, you know, frequently the parent or a parent or the teacher will be ascribing ADHD hypotheses or he's just not motivated. And I'm like, this kid has severe reading problems, severe, you know, shutdown learner style, can't read very well, significant dyslexia. That would undercut any of our motivation.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:22:28]: And I think that we have to really, as a parent understand the zone that they're in in terms of what they can and can't handle.

Penny Williams [00:22:35]: Yeah. There's always a reason. You know, we talk about, oh, my kid is not motivated. They don't care about doing well in school. Well, why? There's something there we could help with.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:22:45]: You had said something really which triggered me, and I think it's it was when you sort of provide your own struggles, so to speak, when your child was younger. And

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:22:54]: You know, I think, again, I I know I know it can't broad stroke it too much, but the moms, it's been my impression tend to take it on the, you know, the burden of, oh, you know, it's my fault. You know, I'm doing something. I I should've been doing something differently or not enough of or whatever. And the focus of these books, including Shutdown Learning and Beyond the Powerstroke, is on the parents, but not because it's your fault Mhmm. But it's because you're the one who can reflect.

Penny Williams [00:23:20]: Yes.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:23:21]: You know, you're like we're doing right now, we're both reflecting and going, okay. That might be an interesting approach, giving the child choice, score, yes, I can back off during homework. The child isn't generally not in a position to go, oh, let me reflect on what you're saying, mom. Right. They don't tend to be that introspective, my impression.

Penny Williams [00:23:44]: They haven't had practice yet. They don't have the skill of recovery. Right? We do.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:23:48]: In theory, we do. I you know? Mhmm. I'm still working on it myself.

Penny Williams [00:23:54]: We're all a work in progress. Yes. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Right? So, yeah, I really think that, you know, understanding what is going on, that's our job. And, you know, when we're talking about kids with these kinda struggles, complex Kids, it's, like, 90% us. We are the ones who need to do the work. We are the ones who need to shift our perspective, dig deeper under behavior, You know, have a different approach because our kid is different, right, or our student is different. And so it's a lot about the work that we need to do as the adult Because we're not changing kids.

Penny Williams [00:24:32]: We're just helping them build skills, find their path, their journey, their version of success. Right?

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:24:39]: And it has to resonate with you. You know, the advice you're getting has to resonate with you. One of my favorite questions, which I think you'll appreciate, and I have found the answer to this 90 I'm not just saying it to be flattering to parents, but I always ask, what's your mom gut? Most of the time, the mom is the one coming in, bringing the child in to see me, at least initially. I'm not saying that dad's uninvolved if there is. But what's your mom got? What do you think is going on? And I have found the answer to that almost always to be, you know, in sync with what I find. Mhmm. You know, so the mom says, you know what? I think he has a reading problem. I don't know what you wanna call it.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:25:16]: That's his primary issue, and he's a little difficult around the edges. And then I tune all that out, do my assessment, end. Most of I say 99% of time. It's it's, every once in a while, I'll get them, you know, where the mom gut is like, well, mom, he's really good shape, and he has no issues. You know, that kind of thing. But or there's something much. Bigger going on. But I think it's important as a parent to remember that, to trust your gut and make sure the advice resonates with you, that it's advice that you're comfortable with.

Penny Williams [00:25:47]: Mhmm. Yeah. You've given us so much wisdom here, and I hope that everyone will connect with you and learn more, pick up your books.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:25:55]: Thank you.

Penny Williams [00:25:56]: And We have links to all of that in the show notes. Great.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:25:59]: Thank you.

Penny Williams [00:26:00]: So for everyone listening, you can go to parentingADHDandautism.com/253 for episode 253, and I really hope that You will sign up for the emails. I get whenever I think it's Friday from you.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:26:17]: Typically, Fridays.

Penny Williams [00:26:18]: And they're always useful. I love them. Really Honest, simple insights

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:26:25]: Oh, thank you.

Penny Williams [00:26:25]: Is how I feel. And I I really enjoy it, and I have for years. And I hope everybody will do that.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:26:30]: Well, thank you. We appreciate you having me on. We could have continued for hours just kicking this around. You know?

Penny Williams [00:26:36]: Just about every podcast interview. I do.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:26:39]: Oh, I thought it was just me.

Penny Williams [00:26:40]: We could talk all day.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:26:42]: Me. Alright. Uh-huh.

Penny Williams [00:26:43]: It's because we're so passionate about what we do, right, and about Kids and helping kids, and it's complex. There's a lot to talk about. But yeah.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:26:51]: That's correct.

Penny Williams [00:26:52]: That's right. So fun to meet like minded people and Yeah. Doing similar work, and it's so great to be a helper in the world.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D. [00:26:58]: Well, thanks, Penny. Really appreciate it, and I appreciate that my dog did not bark only once, and that's so She listened well.

Penny Williams [00:27:06]: Yes. Yours too. Love that. Mind you. Yep. They were good. Well, I appreciate you. Management.

Penny Williams [00:27:13]: With that, we'll end the episode. I'll see everybody on the next show.

Penny Williams [00:27:18]: Thanks for joining me on the Beautifully Complex podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share. And don't forget to check out my online courses and parent coaching at parentingadhdandautism.com and at thebehaviorrevolution.com.

Thanks for joining me!

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