Seth Perler Explains Executive Function

Does your son have a problem with executive function?

Let’s put it another way….

Does he struggle with homework, procrastination, time management, or lack of motivation? Does he have ADHD? If so, he probably needs help developing his executive functioning.

“If you want to help a kid who is struggling with homework, grades, procrastination, under acheivement, time management, and motivation, you have to understand ONE thing – and one thing only – and that’s EXECUTIVE FUNCTION,” says Seth Perler, a former struggling student who now helps others as an executive function, ADHD, and 2e coach. 

Boys who have executive function challenges typically struggle in two areas: Schoolwork and responsibilities, Seth says. And parents who are distressed at their sons’ lack of achievement aren’t necessarily helicopter parents. Intuitively, parents realize that if boys can’t figure out how to get stuff done, their future options dwindle.

But simply nagging these boys won’t help. In fact, nagging often makes things worse.

“You have to understand the experience these boys are having,” Seth says. “They’ve been asked to do these things so many time and they’ve failed or it’s been ‘not good enough;’ they’ve been told to re-do it, or ‘you didn’t put your name on it” or ‘it’s late so you’re getting a zero’ so many times.”

Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes for these challenges. But you CAN build your son’s skills. Pay attention to these 3 things:

  1. Systems. Children with executive function problems need direct instruction to develop a system of planning, of organization, a homework system, etc.
  2. Mindset. You can help your son move past his resistance mindset and help him develop a “can do” attitude.
  3. Habits and routines. After you’ve helped your son develop systems and adjust his mindset, you can help him establish systems and routines to get stuff done.

In this episode, Jen, Janet & Seth discuss:
  • What is executive function?
  • Why boys with executive function challenges don’t struggle with Legos, video games or other activities they enjoy
  • Why punishments & rewards aren’t effective motivation strategies
  • Establishing reasonable expectations
  • Helping kids who are behind (on turning in assignments, etc) “catch up”
  • When (& how) to reach out to your son’s teacher
  • How to deal with resistance
  • Why it’s OK for your son to aim for a D (vs. a B)
  • Exploring other educational options
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode: — Seth’s website

ADHD with Ryan Wexelblatt, the ADHD Dude — ON BOYS episode

Twice Exceptional (2e) Boys – ON BOYS episode

Developing a Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck — TED talk

The Shame of ADHD and Executive Function — Seth’s video/blog post, mentioned at 33:10

The Executive Function Online Summit — summit mentioned  at 39:19 (scheduled for Aug. 20-22, 2021)