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Monitoring

The next area of executive functioning I like to talk about is difficult for a lot of parents to understand, but when they do understand it they realize it's at the source of a lot of their frustration. Especially at home. That's called monitoring.

Monitoring is your ability to maintain awareness of a situation and to be able to connect dots. So you have awareness of yourself, you're monitoring yourself and what you're doing, and you're also monitoring the world. And if you can piece these two things together, you become very good at cause and effect. I did this, that occurred. They did this, I felt this way.

So if you have trouble with this brain circuitry, it might look like, for example, if you have trouble with monitoring, these are kids when they're highlighting in a book, they highlight very little because their brain isn't saying, This is salient, this is important. People who are very high in monitoring, they notice everything. They don't realize that they're doing this, and when they're highlighting, they're highlighting everything. So we want to maybe a nice balance between these two. You don't wanna notice too much, you don't wanna know it's not enough, you want it to be just right, if you're noticing a lot, these people actually come across as a bit paranoid because they're saying, Did you notice all of that and other people aren't, and so it ends up looking like they're hyper-vigilant about things.

At home, trouble with monitoring what it looks like is, the parents will say, Can you clean your room? And the kids will say, of course, I will, hopefully. And then when the parents come in later, they realize that there's a lot of stuff still scattered all over the floor, and the parents will think this is the false attribution, they'll believe that their kids were just trying to get one over on and maybe even not telling the full truth. But the truth is that these kids would have trouble with... Monitoring don't see it, they're not aware of it. So if the parents say, How about those shorts still on the floor, they'll go, Oh, okay, and they'll pick them up. And the parents was like, Well, why didn't you pick him up before and the kids really don't see them, or if they're cleaning up their place after dinner, they all leave, let's say, a cup or a plate or a napkin, and the parents will become frustrated like this because they make this false attribution that these kids are doing this intentionally just to try to get one over on them, so they don't have to do the work.

In school, unfortunately, what it looks like is on a test, kids will miss important pieces of information. So I get kids who come in who are brilliant, let's say in math, and they're doing calculus, and they do all of the calculus part correctly, and then when they get down to the bottom where it's all the clerical part, it'll be solving the minus seven and they'll write negative 21, and now the entire problem is wrong. So then what will happen is the parents will say, Well, you said you were gonna get an A and you studied well enough, but you actually got a C+ that must mean that you didn't study enough, but that's not necessarily true. These kids know the material, they just make these little careless errors in their work because of trouble with monitoring.

This is a tough one to work around, but at HeadWorks we try to do is teach kids strategies through the use of acronyms about how to go through and drill down into your work and check it for accuracy,