Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Facts About ADHD

I just finished the book "The Time Keeper" and it was fascinating to consider the birth of time and how it has evolved.  Our day revolves around time - what we have to get done, when we need to get up in order to cross everything from our to-do list and the fact that electricity has artificially prolonged the length of our days. And with that, we only fill it with more stuff to be done. Could ADHD be a bi-product of too much to do and the increasing need to multi-task? How often do we simultaneously check emails, browse pintrest and talk on the phone while dinner is simmering, the laundry is drying and your kid keeps coming to you for help with homework? No longer do people just 'be.' Waiting for a table at a restaurant - how many people (even those with others with them) have their eyes glued to their phone? At lunch the other day I watched two women sit across from each other and hardly chat and instead spent more time checking their phones. I think it's weird and I don't think it is a good direction to be going in. What will become of us at this rate?

I'll get off my soap box now but I've also been coming across some great articles on ADHD as of late. I pasted in some great tidbits from an article I read but apparently forgot to paste in the link to the rest of the article - sorry! Regardless, the facts about ADHD were what struck me the most and are oftentimes the facts I try to get through some peoples heads (including my husband's!). Understanding what having ADHD really equates to in the real world is so key in how we as parents help them.

Facts about ADHD
  • ADHD exists
  • ADHD is highly heritable
  • People with ADHD have value
  • People with ADHD have low self esteem and low self awareness
  • People with ADHD need to know that they are not alone
  • People with ADHD thrive with structure and encouragement, just like anyone else
  • People with ADHD cannot pay more attention just because you told them to
  • People with ADHD cannot pay less attention just because you told them to
  • People with ADHD will say inappropriate things
  • People with ADHD will do inappropriate things
  • People with ADHD will punish themselves for those things
  • People with ADHD will forget things, lose things, break things
Lastly, I’d like to point out the commonality in all these facts, people with ADHD – are People.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Know It's Not About Me, But Sometimes It Just Is

A good friend of mine the other day quoted his wife as saying, "I know it's not about me, but sometimes it just is." I had a good laugh over that one because it really is quite true. And actually VERY NECESSARY. What I am about to divulge may not be any big ammo for a case you WANT to make to your husband or special someone, but it is key to the health and thriving of your family. We've all heard it before but please repeat after me:

"If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't No One Happy!"
 
Preston had another (I get almost giddy that I get to use the word - another) great day yesterday and spent the rest of his waking hours playing with Bentley. With his natural tendency to be un-self-aware, it got a little rough at times, but I was pleased with the interaction (Preston has been slightly hostile to the younger brother that likes to play with the bigger brother's way cool toys). Preston was very loving, pleasant to be around and actually followed through as I made a very concerted effort to make eye-contact with him when making a request. When he starts to mellow out and be pleasant and manageable, I start thinking about what has been going on that helps facilitate the change in his behavior. I've had this thought before but for some reason this morning, the light bulb went on above my brain - IT'S ALL ABOUT ME. I have been calm, patient, loving and workable. That's it. Because I've been in a good place, he has been in a good place.
 
Kids feel safe when they know the parents are in control. In this case - me. Even when he is having a rough day (school, friends, having eaten something with colors in it), time-outs and discipline go so much smoother if I've got my game face on and am emotionless and appear (fake it till you make it) unaffected. Part of the Love and Logic thinking is that the parents always take really good care of themselves in front of the kids; doing what you need to do to stay calm, patient and loving is integral. You really don't have control over anything else but yourself - and that can make giant waves. Take some time to figure out what you need in your life to help you be more balanced and level-headed - does your diet need tweaking? Do you need more sleep? Would journal writing ( and/or mapping/bridging) help? Monthly massages? A night out where you don't have to cook? Whatever it is, make the necessary changes. Being a parent is the toughest job you will ever have (I don't care what anybody else says - it just plain is) and you've got to take care of you in order to be able to care of those around you. Especially those tiny little minds that are soaking in everything you do and say and feel (yes, our energy can say a lot about us) like a sponge. Take care of yourself a little better and I think you will see some small and great changes in your home.
 
Blended Family Parenting Side note:
As a blended family with a yours, mine and ours; parenting gets a little tricky. Preston will often times be very resistant to my husband. I've had my therapist, books and a random person at the park note that it is the best practice of step-parent to play a 'consultant' role and stay out of parenting/disciplining the step-child. There will always be a different bond between that of a blood parent to their child vs. step-parent to step-child. There is also a level of trust and love that takes time (and what the length of time is will differ for every child) to build between these new people that just appeared out of nowhere that are now living under the same roof and we're all of a sudden a 'family.' My step-son has been very accepting of the whole situation from the get-go; that's his personality (I got really lucky on that one), but it's been tough for Preston and that is largely due to his personality (not to mention that kids with ADHD struggle with transition).
 
My therapist made a key distinction for me recently regarding enforcing vs. parenting. My husband, by nature of his work, is very busy and in an out regularly. That leaves me here as the person in charge fairly consistently. As the 'consultant' parent to my step-son, I can enforce the rules of the home but leave parenting issues to my husband to address. This applies also to my husband and Preston. My husband asked me at one point that without playing a 'parenting role' how does he be a fatherly figure to Preston? Simple: by example. I learned more from my parent's examples and little notes of encouragement on my bed than I did from any lecture or major discipline. They're watching us people. Make it count.
 
What do you do to take care of you?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Reminder on Anger

Okay. I'm a monster three-days before my period. I've said it before and I'm admitting it again. It's awful! I hate it because I feel like a different person and my blood boils almost immediately - there is no chill-out time. Talk about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. So, as I'm in the throws of my alter-pre-menstrual ego, one morning at breakfast Preston says to me, "I'm thinking I don't have much of a relationship with you anymore." Dagger to the heart. And URGH to my PMS non-tongue-biting impulse that I know was the underlying cause of this comment! I told him that he was certainly entitled to his feelings but I needed to know why he felt like that. He didn't have an answer for me but I knew from the moment he said it where the issue was stemming from - off-the-cuff blow-up's.

Kids are not motivated by anger nor do they see through it as to why you are angry. I may be angry when the kids break one of my glass bowls because they were throwing a ball in the house which is against house rules (because ironically, stuff breaks. Crazy, I know); but they only hear that you don't like them. Have you ever had your kid storm off in their own fit - after you throw yours- and say, "You just hate me!" In fact, I totally have a memory of doing that to my Dad. Anger decreases your influence and your influence is all you have. This is why popular parenting techniques have you remove the child from the situation, (or yourself) and stop the bad behavior by timing them out (1-2-3 Magic) or use empathy with a natural consequence (Love and Logic). Both of which allow for time for you to cool off before you say something really stupid which then warrants some damage control. My son has been seeing my lack of a patience as less love for him and therefore, a weakening relationship. On the up-side, what a wonderful reminder that I'm the adult and that I do have control of me. And now I get to have some one-on-one game time with my little guy to fit in some positives and a little fun.