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ImpactADHD by Jeremy Didier - 3d ago

I know a lot about ADHD. That might sound like a pretty cocky thing to say, but bear with me.

I'm an adult thriving with ADHD. I am a Mom to 5 kids (2 boys with ADHD!), the leader & founder of an award winning CHADD Chapter, a trained Parent 2 Parent teacher, and a credentialed ADHD coach.

Factor in my life experience and a whole lot of online research time, and you would probably agree that I do, indeed, know a lot about ADHD.

Hiding in Plain Sight

So, when my beautiful, brilliant & successful teenage daughter told me that she was having trouble staying focused in class, you would probably expect it to be a no-brainer. That I would sagely nod, give her Dr. Thomas E. Brown's ADHD evaluation for adolescents, quickly scan the answers, and then celebrate that she, too, has the family gift!

But you would be wrong.

A few months later, when she began struggling with social anxiety, extreme depression and mind-blowing mood swings, it would make sense that at least one of the medical & mental health professionals we consulted would also consider ADHD, right? Because of family history (Mom, 2 brothers, maternal aunt, maternal uncle, to name a few!?), that would make sense, right?

Wrong again.

And a few months after that, as she tried anti-depressant after anti-depressant, sat through more hours of therapy in a week than she did in school, and scared herself again and again with a shocking inability to control risk-taking impulses, you'd think at some point I would say, ‘Do you think it might be ADHD?'

But I didn't.

Knowledge did not equal power or answers when it came to diagnosing my daughter's ADHD. Knowledge did not even spur me to ask the question. Not once.

Blind Spots

She was in my blind spot.

Everyone has blind spots. At work or at home, we all have things that we just don't recognize as the truth. Sometimes we are too close to a person or situation to see what's really happening. On the flip side, sometimes we see exactly what's happening, but we desperately want to hide that reality, even from ourselves.

These blind spots can be pretty ironic. Like the doctor who doesn't notice that he has a serious medical condition. The friend who talks about herself all the time but is confused when people fade from her social circle. The marriage counselor whose own partnership is falling apart because she's too busy helping other couples heal their relationships.

Blind spots can be painfully obvious to those on the outside looking in, but potentially devastating to those in the thick of it.

Rationalizations

When it came to diagnosing my daughter, I had long-since talked myself out of the ADHD possibility. After all, I already had 2 kids with the ADHD diagnosis – wouldn't 3 kids with ADHD defy the odds?

Plus, she didn't have any symptoms like her brothers. She was (and is!) a well-organized, young lady. She's a great student & she has a solid social circle. She didn't ‘look' like she had ADHD. But she does.

And my inability to ‘see' her literally almost cost us her life.

I'm happy to report that with therapy & medication, our daughter is thriving once again. She's back to being a straight-A student, eagerly engaging in family life and expanding her circle of close friends. She exudes enthusiasm -- something that had been missing for a long time.

My husband and I are happily stunned by how quickly the correct treatment combination turned things around for the better. It was touch-and-go there for a while, and it was terrifying.

Looking for What You Don't Want to See

So, how do you ‘look' for something you don't even know you're missing?
The fabulous Martha Beck offers this:

“You already know what's in your blind spot; it's just that looking at it makes you extremely uncomfortable. Only by being very gentle with yourself will you become able to tolerate more awareness. So as kindly as you can, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What am I afraid to know?
  • What's the one thing I least want to accept?
  • What do I sense without knowing?”

On some level I think I knew that my daughter had ADHD; I just didn't want it to be true. Girls with ADHD are at high risk for all kinds of terrifying consequences. Like any parent, I wanted to shield my baby girl from that pain. But turning a ‘blind eye' to the problem clearly wasn't the answer.

Approach your Kids with Open Eyes

So, I want to encourage you to approach your kids with open eyes and an open mind & heart. Allow yourself to truly ‘see' them -- their individual strengths & challenges. I think this quote from The Water Giver says it best:

“Parenting is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you'd have. It's about understanding your child is exactly the person they are supposed to be. And, if you're lucky, they might be the teacher who turns you into the person you're supposed to be.”

They may even be able to teach you to ‘see' the things you didn't know you were missing!

*Photograph credited to Colette Waters.

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The post Is Your Child in Your Blind Spot? appeared first on ImpactADHD<sup>®</sup>.

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ImpactADHD by Elaine Taylor-klaus And Diane Demps.. - 3d ago

Welcome to Tea & Tips, where we respond to burning questions from parents and educators — taking aim on one topic at a time, guiding you to improve communication, confidence and calm.

Tea & Tips: Tips for Helping Kids Feel Proud (When They Don’t Like Praise) - YouTube

Many kids with complex challenges resist getting positive feedback from their parents. It’s strange, because they get so much negative feedback that you’d think they’d be all over it. But truly, it’s quite common for complex kids to feel embarrassed or ashamed. They don’t want you to make a big deal about things. So how do you build their confidence and help them feel proud of themselves? Diane and Elaine have a few simple thoughts.

Elaine: One of the issues we hear a lot from parents is frustration because their kids don't take praise well. Parents want to acknowledge them for something they're doing well, and the kid doesn't want to hear it. And so parents really want to be able to boost their confidence, but the kid is kind of resistant.

Diane: And a lot of times what happens is these kids do get a little self-conscious, so they feel beat up. And so as parents we naturally want to boost them and get their ego's up. And so part of it is modeling that, because I think as adults, sometimes we do the same thing. It's like, "Oh no, it's nothing, it's not a big deal." We kind of dismiss praise when it comes to us as well.

Elaine: Yeah. So, really modeling that and celebrating, right? Celebrating when things go well. Celebrating what we do well.

Diane: Celebrating what they do well, and doing it in a way that they can hear it. So, sometimes people like verbal praise. Sometimes it's a high five. Sometimes it's a, "Hey, let's go out for ice cream." But part of it is about finding ways that your kids can comfortably hear and accept praise, rather than having it be the same way all the time.

Elaine: Well, and it's got to be authentic, right? It's got to come from a real feeling of, "Wow, this is exciting," instead of a sense, "I want to make sure I'm boosting your confidence." We want to do it really authentically.

Diane: And pat of it is about it being external praise. So, if you can get them to the point where they're praising themselves and using words like, "You must be really proud of yourself," instead of, "I'm proud of you," it feels really different to a kid.

Elaine: One of my kids really struggled with this issue, and I remember having a conversation where she said to me, "But I was taught not to be prideful." Right. And so to make that distinction between prideful and it's okay to be proud of yourself. That's a leap for some of them. And so to really help her say, "I bet you're really proud of yourself," was way more important than me saying, "I'm proud of you."

Diane: Right, so there's two pieces. One is the kid maybe beating himself up internally. And so you want to model celebration. And then the other is that they may be feeling like they shouldn't be boastful.

Elaine: Right, and so give them permission and model it for them as well.

Bottom Line: If your kids are embarrassed by your praise, you can help them feel proud of themselves and build their confidence with a few quick shifts.

Tea & Tips videos are for busy parents. Short, sweet and to the point. To get weekly wisdom delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter below.

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The post Tips for Helping Kids Feel Proud (When They Don’t Like Praise) appeared first on ImpactADHD<sup>®</sup>.

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ImpactADHD by Elaine Taylor-klaus - 1w ago

Diane and I talk -- a lot -- about the importance of parenting from a place of calm and confidence. I've given some thought, lately, to WHY it's so important. Especially the confident parenting part. And the answer lies deep in my early years as a mom.

An Anxious Parent

Because I wasn't always a confident parent. In fact, I was pretty darn anxious … about everything. I got off to a rocky start with parenting. I lost my first pregnancy pretty late, and I didn't really believe that the second pregnancy was going to make it until the day my daughter was born. Literally.

When I finally got to meet her, after a protracted labor and a maternal fever, I struggled with nursing, and yeast infections, and just about everything. And that was all before she started to scream when she was two weeks old. A lot. For months.

Yeah, whatever confidence I might have mustered going into parenting was pretty much shot by the time my daughter was 6 months old. I worried about everything – whether she was getting enough food or growing appropriately, whether I was doing anything right at all.

Basically, I worried about all that a new mother is taught to think about, with a doubting internal voice, a private saboteur message just for me: “What if they find out that you have no idea what you're doing? What if you're messing up this baby and it's all your fault that she's having such a hard time?”

Sound familiar?

Dancing with Doubt

I spent the first ten years of my life as a parent dancing with extreme doubt, interspersed with moments of cautious confidence. Occasionally I'd have days or weeks that felt like I was on the right track; but inevitably something would happen with one of my kiddos that would throw me back into the gallows of self-doubt.

My sense of self-worth and success was inextricably linked with my kids' success. And in those days, my definition of success was still pretty much tied to society's ideas of mainstream perfection.

  • When my kids were hitting appropriate milestones, I was a good mom, right?
  • When they were failing to hit milestones – which happened a lot with three kids who combined struggled with anxiety, ADHD, dyslexia, celiac disease, severe allergies, and other challenges – I was a mess.

Basically, my sense of myself was only as strong as any of my weakest's child's worst day.

What is it to Parent with Confidence?

Sometimes I marvel at how much our lives have changed – in less than a decade -- since I became a special needs advocate, since I discovered the world of coaching, since I started focusing on empowering other parents…since I started focusing on empowering myself (the secret sauce to effective parenting)!

And it's clear to me, now, that the single biggest change in my success as a parent -- and ultimately in my kids' success – has been learning to approach every encounter with a kind of “bring it on” attitude. Learning to trust myself as a parent – and as a resourceful, creative, compassionate human being who is absolutely the best person on the planet to raise my three kids.

So what is confidence?

  • It's self-trust — the ability to make decisions and take action based on your own values or compass.
  • It's about living according to your own expectations, and not trying to live up to everyone else's.
  • It's about knowing that whatever comes up, you are resourceful enough to figure out how to handle it.
  • It's about not needing to know what is going to happen because you have surety that you'll be able to determine a clear course of action when a decision is needed.

And how do parents show confidence?

  • Parents show confidence when they are able to set clear, consistent expectations and communicate them; and yet, have the flexibility to roll with the changes as they arise (because, inevitably, they will).
  • Parents show confidence when they apologize and take responsibility for their mistakes, when they don't need to exert power or control because they are operating from a place of internal authority.
  • Parents show confidence by not needing to be right, not needing their kids to be perfect, and teaching their kids to learn from mistakes (without feeling blamed, shamed or wrong for making mistakes).

Intuitively, it makes sense that kids do better when their parents are confident. When kids see their moms and dads acting with confidence (not to be confused with controlling things out of fear), it instills confidence. It fosters cooperation and trust. And it models the ability to believe in themselves.

So if you're reading this, and you, too, have stepped into confidence as you've tackled the challenges of raising complex kids – PLEASE, celebrate. Pat yourself on the back. Give yourself some credit. It's not been easy, I'm sure.

And if you're not feeling as confident as you would like – if you're worried about your child's self-esteem, or second-guessing your decisions, or never quite comfortable with the choices you're making, then I want to invite you to do something different. Take a chance – maybe it's a or a woman's empowerment retreat, or working with a life coach. Whatever it is, TAKE AIM on improving your confidence as a parent. And then take action to make change happen.

Trust me, I speak from experience when I tell you that confidence IS a muscle you can strengthen. And when you do, everyone in your family will benefit!

Sanity Is Not Optional

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The post Confident Parenting – Why Bother? appeared first on ImpactADHD<sup>®</sup>.

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Shifting to “Yes”

It’s amazing how often we say the word “no.” Our kids probably hear it more often than most. They are frequently doing something out of line. In intimate relationships, for every negative or corrective statement, the ideal is to give 5 positive ones. It’s hard… I’ve tried!

A few years ago I made a commitment to my kids. Whenever reasonable I would agree to their requests – I would say, “yes.” This doesn’t mean I never say “no,” but it does mean that my first thought is, “How can I make this a yes?”It also means that if I do say no, that I provide them with a reason, even if that reason is “I’m sorry, but I’m too tired and tonight isn’t a convenient night for me.”

While the goal in saying “yes” more often is to be a more positive and supportive parent, it comes with a few added bonuses.

You’re On The Same Team

First, your kids will likely trust you more. They know that you are on their side, and when you do have to turn down a request, they may be more willing to trust that your reasons are justified and you’re not just pulling rank on them as a parent.

Second, saying positive things supports not only your kid, but you. It feels good to say yes; to give positive feedback. So don’t feel like you have to get out a counter and keep track of the 5-to-1 ratio, but accept my challenge to you this week and say “yes” more often. Even out the balance – just a little bit.

PARENT SUCCESS = KID SUCCESS

This year, get the tools you REALLY need to help your kids succeed. With live group calls, training & coaching, online parent forums and more, you’ll finally feel calm & confident!

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The post Say Yes! A Parenting Approach The Experts Forgot to Mention appeared first on ImpactADHD<sup>®</sup>.

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ImpactADHD by Sabrina Marasovich - 1w ago

I have something really embarrassing to share: I tried countless times over the course of about 15 years to change my husband and my kids.

Yup. I am a recovering control freak, wife to my hubby of 20 years and mom to my kiddos, ages 16 and 12. I won’t tell you which, ‘cause I think — um, I know they’d give me much more than a stink eye — but 2 of those 3 lovely beings have ADD. For years, I tried to get them to see things my way, and do things my way.

You see, I’m efficient and effective. I’m smart and creative. (Not that they are not. Their creativity is superior to mine, actually and they’re smart in so many ways I am not.) I’m pretty on top of things, though. And reasonable, too.

Isn’t it realistic to believe that if you use something, you should put it back? That if you drop food or anything on the floor that you should pick it up? That a “Thank you” is called for when I worked all day, went grocery shopping, cooked dinner for you and have now gone to the store at 8pm to buy the spray paint, stickers and bandana you need for that project that is due TOMORROW?

Recovering-control-freak-mamas tend to move in packs, so you might have some of these same tendencies. If so, I’m confident you don’t want to shed any more tears, nor pull out any more hair than you already have. So I’d like to give you a gift.

3 Simple, Life-Changing Tips to Increase Peace and Love in your Home

  1. Identify and honor the ways in which each member of your family (including YOU) is unique and loveable. The flaws and blemishes in each of our family members, particularly our spouses, tend to jump right out at us, like a plastic mole in “Whack-a-mole.” Every time we try to control or change them in some way, we squash them like that same plastic mole, only they are soft and squishy — they get hurt. If we do that enough times, they stop being who they are, resentment grows and we definitely do not have what we want: a connected, loving family.
  1. Stop and ask yourself, “Is this how I want to parent my kids and behave in my marriage?” If you tend to try to control, your attempts to control are likely bearing ugly fruit. Given this, I’m sure the answer is “No.” Now, here comes the good stuff….
  1. Love, honor and cherish yourself. Yes ma’am. (OK, I mostly work with women, so forgive me. Yes sir, if that applies.) We tend to control others and situations because we are afraid. We are afraid of being seen as less-than-perfect. We are afraid others will look at us and think or say, “She definitely does not have it ‘all together.’” We tend to be people-pleasers. We care a tremendous amount about what others think. Not only are we afraid, but we are often hurt. These two are completely connected. We are often grown up women (men), with a hurting and sad little girl (boy) crouching on the inside asking, “Is there anyone out there who will love me just as I am?”

Initially, I said these steps were simple. Well – they can be, but let me help make it a little easier for you:

Homework: Take 10 minutes today, and write down the name of each person in your immediate family. Next to that, write down 1-3 things that are absolutely unique and amazing about him/her. Now focus on those facts and not the flaws — as much as you can.

Now, turn your attention to yourself, and repeat the exercise above. Yes—go on. You’re worth it. And everyone in your family will benefit, I assure you.

Truth be told, the last one is definitely not simple. But you can take one simple step every day in the direction of loving, honoring and cherishing yourself. A step toward that little girl (boy) crouching on the inside, in which you take her (him) gently by the hand and say, “Yes, I will love you just as you are.”

She needs to be loved. And you — who know her in ways no one else does — can love her in ways no one else can.

That’s when the healing in your family will start.

That’s when the magic happens.

That’s when you will begin to love others just as they are — frustrating ADD challenges and all.

The post 3 Tips to Increase Peace in Your Home appeared first on ImpactADHD<sup>®</sup>.

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After the stunning death of Cory Monteith, an US magazine article quoted a source, which said, “He was not a typical addict…He was the nicest, sweetest guy.” What a dangerous, dangerous statement. There is no such thing as a “typical” addict. The truth is, our kids, no matter how sweet and nice and talented and special they are, can end up on that path. That’s the reality, one that is even more frightening for parents of high-risk ADHD kids. Cory Monteith’s death is heartbreaking – and it is a wakeup call that it’s time for parents to start talking.

It’s not too late. Whatever the age of your child:

Start having embarrassing conversations with your kids. Teach them to face life’s challenges, embarrassments and shames, and take the judgment away. Think it’s too early? Cory started using drugs at age 13.

Start listening to them, and talking with them. This is going to take some time, so be patient. Count on it being awkward at first, but remember, it is not nearly as “awkward” as a late-night knock on the door from a State Trooper, telling you there has been an accident. These conversations will be difficult. Get over it. It’s a matter of life and death.

If this seems a little harsh, it is. I’m not taking my usual playful tone. This is serious business. A talented young actor – more importantly, a son, a partner, a brother, and a friend – is gone. 81 percent of teens say they have the opportunity to take illegal drugs – and over 42 percent try them.* Our kids are at risk, and it is up to us to do something about it. Get the help you need, whatever that looks like for you, to open up conversations with your kids. And don’t wait another week, or another day, to get started. The longer you wait, the greater the risk.

I know it is hard. Here are five tips to help you initiate these conversations:

  1. Keep breathing.
  2. Talk while doing something “normal,” like driving or making dinner to relieve some tension and pressure.
  3. Keep it matter-of-fact. Don’t make it too emotional.
  4. Use stories from life or the media, such as the death of Monteith, as teachable moments or conversation-starters.
  5. Empower them to want to make good and safe choices, rather than telling them what not to do.

Here’s an example of how this might play out: 

Diane and her daughter were in the grocery store check-out line, looking at the US magazine story about Cory Monteith. Diane took a deep breath and started a conversation about it. Her daughter got embarrassed because Diane used the word “sex.” Diane persevered, calmly, asking her daughter how she might handle an uncomfortable or compromising situation with her friends. When her daughter expressed a desire to be responsible, Diane presented herself as a resource if she ever needed support. Then they checked out and went home. Simple as that. Parenting report card: A+.

It is important that your children know that they are not alone and that they can count on your support and guidance. It’s important that you know that as well. We want our kids to reach out for help when they need it. Sometimes we need to show them how by doing it ourselves. If you want help, we are happy to coach you to develop the tools you need for these embarrassing, but essential, talks.

ADHD Parent Video

At LAST — Operating Instructions for raising ADHD kids! This video gives you the tools you need to tackle ANY challenging situation, one step at a time.

Learn More

The post 5 Tips for Having Embarrassing Conversations with Your Kids appeared first on ImpactADHD<sup>®</sup>.

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A relationship of trust tells our kids it’s ok to be themselves, to mess up, to try, to fail, to succeed – because we will be there with our love unconditionally. It is critical that we foster this connection for our kids’ sake – and our own.

When our children trust us, they know we are doing our best for them and that we won’t lead them down a path we’re not willing to go on ourselves. Introducing systems and structures to everyday life can be frustrating and scary for kids as they learn how to cope with ADHD and its challenges. And it can be frustrating and scary for us. That relationship, though, that’s what’s going to make this all work. It tells them that we have their best interests at heart; that we have their backs. And it tells us that it’s ok to be ourselves, to mess up, to try, to fail, to succeed – as long as we keep going, learning, and trying. That’s what families do for each other; that’s what trust is all about.

For more articles on Building Trust please visit the below articles:

What To Do When Your Teen Says “Don’t Worry, I’ve Got It!” by Diane Dempster

Outdoor Adventure Camp Experiences for Kids with ADHD by John Willson

Targeting Behaviors for Change: Take the Two-Week Challenge by Tracey Powell

Get your FREE Parent’s Guide!

10 Parenting Tips for
School Success with Complex Kids

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The post Creating a Relationship of Trust with Your ADHD Child appeared first on ImpactADHD<sup>®</sup>.

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Welcome to Tea & Tips, where we respond to burning questions from parents and educators — taking aim on one topic at a time, guiding you to improve communication, confidence and calm.

Tea and Tips When Kids Don't Want to Take Medication - YouTube

Many kids and teens -- especially those with ADHD, anxiety, and depression -- do not want to have to rely on medication, and they’d rather not take it.

Elaine: So we've gotten a bunch of different questions that are all related to the issue of: what if my kid doesn't want to take meds, what if my kid just stopped taking his meds and I don't know what to do or my kid won't take the meds and we're in a battle about it right. So lots of issues around kids have been prescribed a medication, they've been taking it for a while or maybe they haven't yet and now they don't want to or they don't want to start.

Diane: Well and part of this is going to be a little bit age specific but through the whole process, you want to try to be giving your child as much control and involvement in the process as they can reasonably manage. And I'm going to challenge us to push it a little further than we would naturally because a lot of times we'll go, "oh no, my child has to take their medication," and the reality is that it really may help them to take the medication, but if they're not involved in that process and in that decision making their buy in is going to be completely different.

Elaine: Well you know the ultimate goal here right, is these kids have a chronic medical condition that they're going to need to manage throughout their life and so part of our job here is teaching them to become their own medical manager. So we want to help them become aware of, how do I feel when I'm on it, what is the benefit to me of taking this med, what are the side-effects or downsides of taking it so that their part of the decision making process, even if they're too young to make the decision on their own, you want them to feel like they have a voice because we want them to learn to become their own decision makers.

Diane: Well and I think that, that's the piece of it is that there are times as parents we're going to say, nope we're the parents we set the rules and there are times that they're we're going to say, well no, you can try this and hold them accountable for what happens if they try it and its not successful; and what does success look like and those sorts of things.

Elaine: And the other thing I would add is that a lot of this comes down to a feeling, a sense of control. A lot of our kids feel out of control for a lot of reasons and medication is one more thing that's sort of done to them or at them. And So oftentimes in those pre-teen years especially and through teen years--They want control and so if we give it to them and be in conversation with them about it instead of resisting it, and saying, no you have to, it may take a little bit longer for them to land in a safe easy relationship with it; but then it will be theirs.

Diane: And a thing that comes up more than anything else is about the language you use. So if you're telling them what to do, you must do this, you must do that, you get a very different conversation than, and very different reaction than if you ask questions. "Well what did you notice when this happens, and what did you notice? How did it feel? And what do you really want out of this ? And how are you going to manage your brain if you don't take in the medication?"

Elaine: I was talking to a private client about this issue this week and a 14 year old boy had decided, I don't want to take the meds anymore, and so... And he's a really scientific kid -- and so the conversation that she was going to have with him was, so let's talk about the scientific method, what happens when you change more than one variable at a time in a scientific experiment. So that was a way that she could connect to this kid in a way that could really resonate with him -- so he could be the one saying, "well maybe I should only change one thing at a time."

Diane: So giving them that empowerment and that control makes a huge difference.

Bottom Line: If your kid or teen does not want to take medication for ADHD, anxiety, depression, or anything else -- step into curiosity and conversation. You can empower your kids to manage their life-long, chronic medical conditions by changing the conversation around medication.

Tea & Tips videos are for busy parents. Short, sweet and to the point. To get weekly wisdom delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter below.

Stay Up to Date

Get our newest tips, articles & videos
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The post When Kids Don’t Want to Take Medication for ADHD, Anxiety or Depression appeared first on ImpactADHD<sup>®</sup>.

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On any given day, as a mom of ADHD children, I alternately encourage, strategize, corral, advise, bite my tongue, worry, structure, monitor, reward, stifle, enjoin, persuade, tempt, set boundaries, beckon, subdue, referee, smile, laugh and occasionally tear my hair.  

Can you relate? 

There’s common ground in that (partial) list of things we do: they are for the benefit and guidance of our children. That’s appropriate. Our children are important, often the center of our lives. 

But when do you allow yourself to receive encouragement, rewards, laughter and a deep sense of renewal? If your answer is: “I don’t enough time for ‘me,’” then Houston…we have a problem. 

Two Glasses, One Mom 

One of my first coaching mentors used two wine glasses to show me the value of refreshing “me.” She filled each one half full of water (not with wine, to our mutual disappointment). The water represented her energy. 

Then she told me that each client she coached took a little bit of energy, so a splash of water was poured from one glass into the second one. As she talked, she poured more and more splashes of water into the second glass to represent more and more clients, until the first glass was empty. 

“This is what happens when we give and give and give to our clients,” she said quietly. “We end up completely exhausted. And then we have nothing to give anyone, at any time, anywhere.” 

The same analogy applies to moms of ADHD children. Moms splash more and more energy onto their children, depleting their own precious reserves. And if a mom also has ADHD, the energy drain is even more dramatic. 

If you continue to shower everyone else with kindness, generosity, concern and compassion — without jumping into the shower, as well — the result can be resentment … and a powder keg of anger. 

A Simple Answer, in 5 Steps 

The answer, of course, is to take care of you.  

“Yeah, right,” you mutter under your breath. “You should see my To Do list of things that never get done. There are too many other important issues to deal with.” 

Stop right there! 

Are you saying that YOU aren’t on that list of important things? Do you realize that if you stumble and fall, you literally cannot do anything on that list? And what kind of modeling are you offering your children, ADHD or no? Are you teaching them to give until they drop, then give a little bit more? 

It’s time to reset your tipping point.  

That means stepping back from the day-to-day and looking at your life, then rearranging the list a bit to include ‘you time.’  

Here’s a step-by-step set of recommendations for mama-rejuvenation: 

  1. You are already filling up 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You cannot simply shoehorn something else into your life – it will never stick. You must make room for you. This will require letting go of something you are already doing. 
  2. The quality of “you time” is not measured by its longevity. You can retreat to your room for 10 minutes of meditation and emerge as refreshed as you might with a day off (well, almost). 
  3. If you have forgotten what refills your “glass,” take a walk backwards in your mind to a younger era when you were more carefree. What made you jump out of bed with excitement? Painting? Swimming? Reading a new novel? That can give you a hint as to what might feed you again.
  4. Teach your children and other members of your household that your “me time” is sacred. No one disturbs you, no phone calls (turn OFF that cell phone) and no screaming fights. Ask for their cooperation. After all, your renewal time benefits them, too.
  5.  Finally, when you have precious little time for renewal, follow the suggestion of my coach: send positive energy to the outside world, then receive it, refilling your “energy” glass. It takes just a moment to pause, notice your positive thoughts going out into the world, then returning to you as tranquil serenity. 

The good news is that even a smattering of attention to yourself will reap long lasting rewards – for you, and the whole family! You are literally demonstrating to your children (and the rest of the world) that taking care of Number One is the most important step toward self-reliance and success. It’s a lesson we all need to remember regularly.

The post 5 Steps to Go from Stressed Mom to Happy Mom appeared first on ImpactADHD<sup>®</sup>.

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Parents tell me daily that they regret yelling at their children, or using a condescending tone, or maybe pushing in a moment of extreme frustration. Children can be really difficult and frustrating. Staying calm in the face of their annoying behaviors can be one of the most difficult challenges that parents face. ADHD adds a whole other dimension to this challenge, and even the most calm of parents will “lose it” periodically.

So besides the typical, “count to 10” and “take a deep breath,” what are the best tips for parents who want to manage your own reactions in the face of annoying, sometimes awful, behavior of your children? Here are my three personal favorites that I’ve also used with both my own offspring, as well as my occasionally-trying spouse.

    1. Do a serious mindset check. Our mindset always leads to our feelings, and our feelings lead to our behaviors. It is likely to cause less than positive reactions if your mindset sounds something like one of these:
      • “Why me, why do I have such bad children?”
      • “My kids are purposely evil and trying to ruin my life.”
      • “Why can’t my kids be as good as Suzie’s kids?”

      A victim-like or adversarial mindset will only lead to angry and frustrated feelings, which lead to negative parenting behaviors. Rarely do our kids misbehave just to torture us. Typically, they misbehave because they are struggling with their own issues. If we don’t take their behavior personally, it will be so much easier for us to respond positively and with appropriate consequences.

    1. Buy yourself some time with a little empathy for aggravating children. What’s that? It’s acknowledging the emotions of your little angels regardless of how frustrating they may be behaving. You might say something such as:
      • “You are really upset right now” or
      • “You are so frustrated that you just want to scream and yell.”

      Then you want to validate their feelings, even if you don’t understand them at all. After acknowledging their feelings you might say:

      • “Who could blame you for being so upset?” or
      • “Anyone in your shoes might be really frustrated.”

      Why would we do this and how does it help us to manage our reactions? Empathy will help your child calm down almost immediately, and it will buy you time to calm down yourself. Empathy is an automatic mindset change, in that we take the focus off of how angry we are in order to focus on the feelings of our children. It isn’t always easy to do, but trust me — empathy can be a magic calming pill for all involved.

  1. Ask some questions – open ended ones. Yep, instead of instantly reacting to your children in a negative way, why not ask them some clarifying questions. You can say to them:
    • “Say more?” or
    • “What about this situation is so upsetting to you?” or
    • “How can I help you?”

    Open-ended questions are a great way to calm things down, get more information from your children, and help you to respond in a more positive, helpful way. It takes some practice to do this, but once you get in the habit, it’s a powerful parenting tool.

Reacting in a helpful way is one of the most challenging aspects of parenting, particularly when parenting children with ADHD. The usual tips of taking a deep breath, taking a parenting time out, or counting to 10 are not always successful or useful in the moment.

Changing our mindset to one that is more hopeful and less defensive is the first step to managing our reactions. Showing your children empathy in the form of acknowledging and validating their feelings will immediately remove the heat from any situation. It will allow your children to have their feelings, and to be heard and loved despite those feelings. Open-ended questions will help parents to gather more information from their children, and to clarify the situation at hand.

Get in the habit of using these three skills, and you will find that you feel better about your own responses and you will have an improved relationship with your children. When we manage a challenging situation by utilizing a calm, healthy response, we walk away from our children with everyone feeling respected, loved … and still connected.

Minimize Meltdowns

Is there more yelling in your house than you’d like? You just want your child (or spouse) to learn self control! This online course teaches you step by step how to manage emotional intensity.

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The post Managing Your Reactions – 3 Unusual Tips for Parents appeared first on ImpactADHD<sup>®</sup>.

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