I am often asked how parents can stay calm with their children with ADHD and/or autism. In the midst of an emotional outburst or meltdown, it isn’t easy, that’s for sure. Yet, it is possible most of the time. Not easy, but definitely possible. In this video, I explain how I maintain calm composure in the face of ADHD/autism behavior.
Positive changes at home
So often, when raising a child with ADHD or autism, parents worry more about their child’s behavior and performance at school than at home. There’s good reason for that — we’re taught that school success is paramount to life success in our culture. We think, “As long as Ricochet can keep it together for school and stay out of trouble, I can handle behavior at home. That’s good enough.” Yet, it’s not good enough. In thinking that way, we are sacrificing our own relationship with our child and our family’s joy. That’s simply not okay. You can improve life at home, too.
More damage than good?
“Sit down right NOW!”
“Why didn’t you turn in your homework? You are so forgetful.”
“Why do I have to tell you over and over again? Just do it now.”
“You are driving me crazy!”
“Your backpack is a mess.”
“I don’t want to play with you.”
“Just focus and do your work.”
“Look at Jimmy over there, he’s doing his work. Be like him.”
Statements such as these can leave kiddos feeling defeated, inadequate, and incompetent, and with low self-esteem. As parents, we can nurture our children’s self-esteem by making a few shifts in our parenting approach.
The other day I took my children to the park for a play date. It was one of those fantastic North Carolina days where the air was warm, the breeze was light, and one could forget that it was winter. My girlfriend was lamenting how her son, “Isaac,” was being punished at school by having his recess revoked and getting the dreaded silent lunches. This sweet boy has a heart of gold and is incredibly bright, but struggles in the classroom due to his ADHD. I know, you are all eye rolling and head nodding — if you have a child with ADHD, then there’s about a 100% chance that your kiddo has been forced to have a similar consequence.
It’s a matter of comfort.
“I just want to be alone,” Ricochet says, his eyes fixed on his feet. He seems to sense that it will disappoint us. We hear this quite a bit from Ricochet these days. He doesn’t want to participate in family activities. He doesn’t even want to have family dinner anymore. Why this seemingly sudden shift?
Why do schools insist on antiquated methods?
For most U.S. students, their life at home and their life at school is like living in two different centuries. At home, they use a personal computer, a tablet, a cell phone, and maybe even a smart phone. They communicate with it, read books on it, record scenes of life, and use the alarms and reminders for time management. Yet, at school, they are several decades back, still using notebooks, #2 pencils, and large, heavy, out-of-date textbooks. Why?Read More
A little magic for the tough times
While there is no magic bullet cure for ADHD or autism (you know that’s right!), there is one phrase you can say to your child that almost always turns around an unwanted situation.Read More
“Quirky” isn’t a compliment.
Kids with ADHD, autism, and other developmental delays that make them appear “odd” to others are often called “quirky.” Many use it innocently, but it is meant to call them out for their differences. I take offense to that. Stop calling my child “quirky!” Calling him “quirky” is further calling him out for being different. It’s further perpetuating that he is his label(s), when he is so much more than that.Read More
The Similarities of ADHD and Autism
It’s no secret that ADHD and autism share many similar traits and that some symptoms from each neurodevelopmental disorder overlap. Yet, they are two distinct conditions. Until the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health (DSM-V) was released recently, clinicians were advised to diagnose ADHD or autism, but never both. Now that the DSM-V tells clinicians that an individual can have both ADHD and autism, this dual diagnosis is on the rise. Now, clinicians must carefully consider if the profile they are seeing is ADHD, autism, or both.
It can certainly still be a challenge to get both diagnoses for one child. Read More
Defining ‘Academic Success’ for Kids with ADHD, Autism
Most individuals define academic success by grades and test scores — A’s and B’s and high scores on benchmark tests are a success. In turn, average and failing grades are indicative of not being successful at school. When your child has ADHD and/or autism though, you have to modify your yardstick as well as your definition of success.
Growing up, I was expected to earn all A’s and B’s, because my parents knew that I had the intelligence and skills to do so. When I brought home a C once or twice on a report card, I was immediately grounded. These house rules taught me that grades were a measure of Read More
I’m an award-winning author, parenting mentor, and ADHD-obsessed momma on a mission, dedicated to helping you survive and thrive in this special parenthood.