We've been having parenting challenges with a couple of our little ones lately, primarily revolving around a lack of ability to focus and pay attention. They can be told something - instructions, a rule, or what have you - and moments later it is as if they never heard it. As you can imagine, this is rather frustrating. Admittedly, they come by it honestly... I was diagnosed with both ADD and "absent seizures" as an adolescent, and these two definitely share those tendencies!
However, I am of the opinion that behavior is learned. While they may have tendencies toward spaciness and forgetfulness, they can (and will) learn ways to deal with it - as I continue to do even today. Staying on top of things is a constant struggle for me, and I see that reflected in my girls' behavior. It's not out of any sense of laziness or malice, just a simple "Oops; I forgot!" ... But it does have real-world consequences, some of them pretty serious. As an adult, if they "forget" that they have work on a certain day, for example, that could very well be the end of their job - setting in motion a whole crazy CHAIN of consequences!
I am finding that there is no easy answer to teaching my children how to pay attention, focus and think through their actions. It is a constant process of learning (or teaching, depending on where you stand), and is different for every person. An excellent article I came across that offers some practical and effective suggestions for teaching children to focus is titled (prepare to be shocked) "Helping Children Learn to Pay Attention", by Jane M. Healy.
Many of the suggestions Dr. Healy offers are things we already do in our household. Many others are things I understand and support, and just haven't had the time to put into practice! Family martial arts and yoga have been on my "must-do" list for a long time now, for example. *laughing*
I have to wonder... Would so many kids (and grownups) have "ADD" and other focus difficulties if we didn't spend so much time indoors and plugged in?? I highly doubt it. Someday, we'll move out to the country and test that theory. :)