Learned Helplessness

I haven’t heard the term “learned helplessness” in a while, but I cam across it while listening to Lesson 1 in the Total Transformation Review I have been doing.

If you are not familiar with the term, it means that kids (in this case, but it can just easily apply to adults and in fact, does when they never grow out of it as kids) ending up being helpless in a given situation or when facing a particular issue as a result of the way they are treated by those around them who make excuses for them when they can’t or won’t do something.

The example in the Total Transformation literature was about ADD, saying something like, “He can’t be expected to do his homework because he has ADD.” Just substitute any task and any excuse and you’ve got the concept. Think of how many times you’ve seen parents use that reasoning: She has X so she can’t do Y.

Parents and schools are not doing kids or themselves a favor with that line of (or lack of) reasoning. A much better theory to avoid learned helplessness would be to think and say, “He has X so therefore we have to come up with a different way to get him to accomplish Y.”

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