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“I’m using against you the biggest fear that you have…Which is the loss of me.”

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

How we handle tantrums can have a huge impact on a developing mind.

Today I’m bringing you my conversation with Dr. Gabor Maté, a renowned trauma, addiction, stress, and childhood development expert, author, and speaker who challenges the mainstream beliefs about ADHD and its treatment.

Dr. Maté explains how strong attachment relationships are essential for a young child's survival and healthy development. Not only humans or ADHDers but ALL mammals.

Children attach physically. They need to physically see, hear, touch, or smell you to feel loved and attached.

Misbehaving is an adult concept. It's them not doing what we want them to do.

Dr. Maté says...

"When you say to them, 'If you displease me, get away from me.' You're saying to them, 'I'm using against you the biggest fear that you have, which is the loss of me. And I'm using that to get you to comply with my expectations. So I'm going to threaten you with your worst nightmare.'"

We throw tantrums when we're frustrated and we get frustrated when our needs aren't being met.

"If you're a good mother, you're going to frustrate your child. [Your child] comes to you before dinner and says, 'Mom, I want a cookie.' and you say 'No cookie before dinner.'... [They keep asking, you keep saying 'No'] Then they throw a tantrum. Why shouldn't they? You've just frustrated them. A tantrum is a normal response to frustration."

So what do we do when they throw a tantrum? We don't leave the room. We don't want them to feel like they are being abandoned in this vulnerable state.

Dr. Mate continues, "You pick them up when you hold them and say, 'You're really upset that mommy won't give you a cookie, huh? Boy, it's hard to wait sometimes when we want something, isn't it?"

We're not indulging them, we don't give in and give them the cookie, but we also don't make them feel wrong for being upset about it. Instead, we help them to understand their own frustration.

To continue the conversation, listen to the SuccessFULL With ADHD podcast interview with Dr. Gabor Maté.

All the best,


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