I went out this morning while my husband was getting ready for work. When I came back, I heard the washer running. He had actually put a load of laundry together and put it in the wash without me asking! He was looking through all his pants for his wallet and realized he had enough for a load. To someone without ADD it sounds minor, but the fact that he could figure out that he needed to do them, because they are his pants, without prompting from me, is a great step. Only the spouse of an ADD person would understand this post.
My husband did the laundry without me asking! Hooray!
Submitted by Sueann on 08/18/2009.
Submitted by ajr on
Small victory for you. good... If possible, give your husband a lot of positive reinforcement today about the laundry....Let him know your true feelings about how happy it made you feel that he did that....I know if sounds utterly ridiculous to have to overly praise someone for something they should be doing anyway ( at least thats how I feel) but.....its sort of like Pavlovs dog...ringing the bell and the dog gets a treat.....He needs the postitive reinforcement to continue and reward the behavior...
My husband has just recently made the connection about picking up his clothes in out bedroom and its been " sticking" for the last 2: weeks....Instead of just dropping them in piles on the floor when he gets home from work, he is actually taking the time to put them away so the floor is clothes free for 23 hrs of the day....He mentioned to me that he knows its important to me that he picks up his clothes and to keep our bedroom orderly....I think he's made the connection..Pick up clothes. Im happy..less clutter....no more nagging...Happy household....
Small steps whatever if takes I guess.
encouraging ADD spouse helps *you* too
Submitted by arwen on
AJR and Sueann, I'm so happy for both of you -- yes, they are small steps, but very positive ones, good for you and your spouses!
The positive reinforcement of praise does more than just reward your spouse and help establish a connection between the positive step they took and the good feeling they got from you about it. It also reinforces the memory that they did it at all. Memory reinforcement is super-important with an ADD-spouse. I try to not only show my pleasure to my spouse when I learn of a positive step he took, but make later mention of it again about how pleased it made me feel. And the more "notable" your appreciation seems, the more strongly the memory will be formed. It shouldn't be overwhelming, I'm not saying you should gush. But beaming and clapping your hands with delight will make more of an impression than just saying "thank you so much!", no matter how heartfelt. All these things help reinforce the memory of the action and the positive consequences, which is key to getting it to happen habitually. That's how the reinforcement ends up helping you.
Don't be discouraged if something happens to steal your spouse's focus and this positive behavior goes away. As soon as you notice it fading, mention (perhaps with some sadness) to your spouse how much you appreciated his doing it before, and suggest that now might be a good time to do it again. There are times when my husband gets very pressured at work for several weeks at a time, and I've learned not to expect him to retain every positive habit during these periods. But as soon as they're over, we work to re-establish them as quickly as possible.
I read somewhere that it takes the average person three weeks to learn a new habit (or at least one that doesn't have a lot of appeal, lol). I figure it has got to take at least that much time, and/or with more reinforcement during the process, for someone with ADD. And of course there's a limit to how many new habits can be established at a time!
Great news! Hang in there!