Parenting a Person With ADHD: Chapter 6

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

This will be the final post in this series. If you have not already, please read the previous chapters to get an in-depth view of each category. Also feel free to go back and look over the skills, it takes time and practice to hone them.

This post is gonna be short and sweet! The links for the previous articles are above and you can reach out to me or your therapist with questions.

I started this series with the intent to spread some love, understanding, and skills to parents like myself out there who are trying their best. Even though this series is geared towards being a parent of a defiant child, these skills can be applied to many aspects of life and to other kids who you have close connections to.

There are lots of helpful books out there, but I’d like to share the one’s we found to be most useful to us.

  • Mindful Mantras: This is a group of 8 books total (they may have added more since then) and we love them! My son loves to read them out loud himself too. They are simple, encouraging, and have a different defined message clearly implied from the title.
  • Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda: This is one I found to even be helpful for me. It keeps mindfulness simple and explains it in a way everyone can understand.
  • Angry Octopus: This one is extremely helpful to teach kids that they are in control of their bodies and it shows them how to do that through progressive relaxation that is both engaging and relaxing. It also has a fun journaling/coloring book with prompts geared towards getting feelings out and relaxation.

I hope that you gained some insightful tips on this journey with me! Until next time, be well!

Parenting a Person With ADHD: Chapter 5-It Takes a Village

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” means so many things to me. But for the purpose of this article we’ll focus on the direct hands involved in your child’s life. These could be parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, babysitters, grandparents, counselors, teachers, sports leaders, religious leaders, and so so many more. The people who are directly partaking in the development and growth of your child.

In this chapter I’ll be discussing how to include other adults in the changes that you are making for your child’s life structure. If you are new here and haven’t read up on the previous chapters in this series, please do so! The links are provided below for each.

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Integrating other adults in your child’s new plan can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You are the parent and you hold a majority of the power when it comes to decisions about your child’s needs.

When we implemented the ticket system we didn’t include the school in it right away. We mastered it at home first, made it a consistent daily part of our lives and then, when it became apparent an additional tool was needed at school to help modify negative behaviors, we brought in tickets to be given to our son after successful parts of the day.

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We broke up the day into 3 separate categories: beginning, at recess, and after recess. He could earn a ticket during each portion as long as he kept safe hands and feet, kept his saliva to himself, and had listening ears. It was hugely successful.

This strategy can be easily started at a daycare or grandparents house or any other facility that you may use for your child care. The tickets must retain their currency though, so don’t allow anyone to get too ticket happy. The child must do the work to earn the reward.

Sometimes you will come across an adult who does not use the system when they are around your child, whether it be difference of opinion or down-right sabotage of the situation, my point is it does happen. You need to be prepared for those times.

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Remember boundaries from the previous chapters? This is one of those times you set your boundaries and you stick to them with this other adult, regardless of who they may be in your life. You are allowed boundaries and deserve respect as a parent (and a person) to decide what works best for you and your child.

If you are working with a professional and making safe, effective changes and someone else comes in with their own idea of what should be going on, don’t hesitate to yeet them out the door (politely but assertively, of course).

This is not only important for yourself, but also for your child to see that when you set a boundary you expect it to be followed and that you produce real consequences when it is not.

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It’s important to remember that if you do come across an adult who doesn’t agree with your parenting technique: be kind, be assertive, and move on. You don’t need to waste energy and focus on this. Most of the adults in your child’s life will likely see the benefit of making certain changes and be totally on board with all that’s required to keep it going.

It’s also worth noting that having these other adults involved with your child is very important for your kiddo. If you are the only one laying down new laws, it can start to feel like a dictatorship to some kids (especially defiant ones). But when there are other grown-ups saying and doing the same things as you, your child starts to see this is just how the world is and they adapt to it.

It can really make all the difference having a supportive team on your side while rearing your kid. And kids benefit from having all that much more love in their lives!

The next chapter will be the last in this series! Stay tuned

Parenting a Person With ADHD: Chapter 4-Deep Breathing and Other Tools

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

Holy heck it’s been awhile since my last post! Needless to say, life got rather crazy there for a little bit but that’s a story for another time . Without further ado, let’s get into it and back on track!

If you haven’t read the first parts in this series here are the links:

This post is going to focus on tools/skills to be used in the heat of the moment. These are helpful for adults to learn themselves and teach to kids. These also work best when you the adult are doing these with your own emotions and stressful moments.

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By far one of the most helpful skills we utilize (with ourselves and our sons) is deep breathing. We use it when the energy is too high and the kids are bouncing off the walls; when any of us are getting upset and starting to loose our patience; and we use it in both the calm down corner and time-out.

I have to say it’s extremely gratifying to hear your kiddo using their deep breathing exercises (that they used to fight you on) all on their own while they are seated in the calm down corner or on time-out. We had that success roughly a year into working with our counselor and implementing these tactics, which seems like a long time when you’re in the thick of it but looking back, that year flew by quickly.

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There’s a ton of variations on how to do deep breathing and make it fun for kids (your counselor may have some books that make it fun too! See Chapter 6 for some we used) but our kiddo likes the “snake breathing” the best. You take a slow deep belly breath in through the nose then you breath out making a “SSSSSS” sound while keeping your breath controlled and steady. Do this at least 3 times, I find 5+ is best, and see who can make the sound the longest!

We often do this right before bedtime, and it helps set the mood and mind for the next steps (usually lullabies) of the nightly routine.

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The other tool we used was the S.T.O.P skill. It’s ultimately an acronym for: S-Stop what you’re doing, stop engaging, stop moving, just STOP. T-Take a step back, both mentally and physically, to pull yourself out of the situation and get out of your emotional state. O-Observe, how you are feeling, how others are feeling around you, put yourself in their shoes and try to see how they are experiencing this interaction. P-Plan what your next step is now that you have removed yourself from the heat of the moment, gotten some perspective, and seen the situation from all sides.

For our son this was some pretty advanced stuff and he worked with it like a champ. The reality is, we just introduced this skill to him to start the process of learning and practicing it. Because that’s what this is all about! We all have heard “practice makes perfect” but there is no such thing as perfection, it’s an illusion. I prefer “practice makes permanent”. The more you do something the better you know it and how to do it and are more likely to do it in the future.

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Sometimes there are outbursts that my son has where I just kinda have to to let him come down on his own. His therapist described it as “letting the train get through the tunnel” and once he’s able to see the light on the other side and rejoin the rest of us, I’m then able to use the skills above or talk about how he got to that high level of anger or whatever other feeling he was having. We usually end this discussion with a hug it out session .

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your kid….is nothing. And it’s not doing nothing and acting like you don’t care. You’re doing nothing while still being available; you’re giving them space (and respecting their individual needs) while keeping the boundaries in place and showing that you are consistent and can be counted on to be there once they chill out and need a hug or snugs.

What’s your go to skill for calming yourself or your little one down? Tell me about it in the comments.

Next time: Parenting a Person With ADHD: It Takes a Village

Dealing With Those Hard Days

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

I’m gonna start this post off with a trigger warning. It’s not regarding violence or addiction but this subject I’m about to broach can be a really sensitive one for some. I strongly feel this is a conversation we need to be having more often and normalizing, both within ourselves and with our peers. It needs to be a conversation without judgement and with lots of room for grace and understanding. I ask that we practice kindness to yourselves and others.

There are some days when I don’t like my son. This is a hard feeling to have as a parent, and it’s even harder to talk about. I love my child, I jump through hoops frequently to give him what he needs…but it doesn’t change that some days he acts like an asshat and is hard to be around. This topic usually sends most people running for the hills when brought up in casual conversation. Whether it be they are scared to discuss it with others, or scared to admit that they’ve had these feelings themselves; we as parents still need to address this turmoil inside that some of us face.

If I tell you that while growing up there were days I didn’t like my mom, you wouldn’t blink an eye; most people struggled with parental relationships as a youth. Some of us still do as adults.

So why is it such taboo if it’s the other way around?

Why are we, as parents, left to feel guilty when we don’t want to hang out with the screaming jerk-face that just happens to be our off-spring? If it was any other jerk-face behaving that way people would be telling us to get the heck away from them!

But for some inexplicable reason the tables turn when the culprit is someone you’ve had a hand in creating and/or raising. The funny thing is though-WE DON’T CHOOSE OUR KIDS! We don’t choose who they are from birth and we don’t get to choose who they become. Certainly, we have the job of guiding them down better paths but we are not the one’s in the drivers seat, much as we may want to be sometimes.

Yet somehow we allow others to convince us that if only we did this thing instead of that, then everything would have ended up perfect for our child. We tell ourselves “I should have done this better, I should have handled that differently” and while yes there is always room to improve, we are forgetting the reality every parent faces: that children don’t come with an instruction manual, and even if they did each child would require their own version. They are all different people. They are all unique and individual.

What works for calming my eldest right now, will likely not work for my littlest when he gets to crossing that same bridge. And how my littlest knows I love him is different than how my eldest receives my love. Both wants snuggles when they are sick; both are busy and active on a constant basis. But each has a very different relationship with me. I love them equally, and that is with my whole heart; however what they need from me as a parent is varied and different. It is unique and individual, just like them.

So although we cannot choose who are children are or will become, we CAN choose to love and accept them as they are. I make that choice, everyday. Because love is a choice, it is work and commitment. Regardless of the attitude or behaviors being thrown my way, I do my best to remind each of my boys that they are loved and wanted and they are special, to the world and to me. Even on days when I don’t like being around them, I still love them with my whole heart. And I let them know it.

Parenting a Person With ADHD: Chapter 3-The Calm Down Corner *Plus Bonus Craft!*

This post may contain affiliate links. Please view our affiliate policy and our terms and conditions here. I am not a mental health professional, all the opinions in this post are my own and reflect what has worked for me. None is of this is given as medical or professional advice. Please seek professional advice in the matters of mental/physical health should you or a loved one need it.

This is chapter 3 of the series Parenting a Person With ADHD. If you haven’t already, please read the prologue, chapter 1, and chapter 2 so you are up to speed on the information.

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Creating a calm down corner was one of my favorite things about the changes we made. We specifically made the calm down toys ourselves so it became a craft, rather than a chore or forced activity. It put a positive spin on a calming place and set the tone for how we wanted the area to function. It was also a good bonding activity for myself and my son to do together.

Calm Down Corner Craft

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We did 2 different themed bottles: one with water and oil and glitter; the other with water, water absorbing polymer beads, and glitter. For both, the water was colored with food dye. My son picked the colors of glitter and water because it’s important to include your child throughout the process of making changes in the household. That way they feel like their voice is still being heard and they are able to exert some control. Allowing him choices in a controlled setting shows him he does have power over his choices, which is a skill in and of itself!

Directions: add your water to the bottles then color it, shake with lid on to mix. Fill the bottles with water about half way for the oil one and 3/4 for the other. Add your glitter to each bottle. We did about 2 Tbsp in each, but add as much or as little as you like. Then add your oil to the one bottle and your polymer beads to the other. For the oil bottle leave a little bit of space for air. For the polymer beads add 5 at a time and allow to fully absorb the water. We ultimately added like 20 beads and topped off the water once we were done. Then use the super glue on the inside screw threads of each lid, tighten the lids on and allow to dry per manufacturer instructions before you play with them.

We keep these bottles in the calm down corner and they are only allowed to be played with if you are there. It helps to keep them feeling “special” while you’re in the calm down corner.

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We also hung up some pages from his therapist, like a thermometer of how high your emotion was that landed you in the calm down corner and of the S.T.O.P. skill (I’ll do a post about that soon). Here’s a different emotion chart that helps kids learn what emotion they are feeling.

The other big factor about the calm down corner is that it’s chosen by the child. We offer our son the option to go to the calm down corner when we see him beginning to get upset. He chooses to go of his own free will or not. If he doesn’t go, he usually gets more upset and makes choices that land him in time-out….which is by our appointing, not his.

This little action of letting kids pick their own consequence goes a long way. Plus it teaches children how to start self regulating their own emotions (which is a challenge for most kids, let alone one’s with behavioral struggles). When they are in the calm down corner, they decide when they are ready to come back to the activity at hand.

Occasionally (and when starting out) you’ll have to send them back because they weren’t actually ready to return to the activity at hand; they’re still too wound up but that’s just part of the process-it becomes sort of a natural consequence.

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Also, time-outs are used as a last resort and a no tolerance tool. Meaning that if my child does something that is absolutely unacceptable-like hitting, spitting, back-talking, breaking or throwing things, ect-he gets put directly to time-out and I decide for how long. We keep the rule of 1 minute per year of age starting at 2 years and that seems to work fine for us.

For most kids, you can explain briefly why they are there and that you will get them when their time is done. For my child I have to say nothing, any talking with him becomes a form of engagement in his eyes. I don’t want to reinforce that he gets my attention while in time-out so he gets the silent treatment or the one phrase treatment. “Go to time-out”, I say it once. If he squawks, I go put him to the garage which is right next to our time-out area.

This works like a sort of reset button for him, similar to the calm down corner. He decides when he’s ready to come back in and finish his time-out but if he keeps making poor choices he’ll keep being sent to the garage. It then gets put on him to manage his emotions to get out of time-out. Same thing for when he used to try to leave time-out; I physically and silently go get him and put him back. For as many times as it takes…..I’m glad he doesn’t do that anymore. The garage upgrade seemed to fix that.

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Retraining kids on what is expected and tolerated is tough work. But the right tools and planning can make it a lot smoother. Giving them the opportunity to try again with a calming environment they can go to helps them to seek out space when they need it and redirect their our emotions in a positive way.

Next time on Parenting a Person With ADHD: Deep Breathing and Other Tools