105: Under Pressure! Insights from a Teen with ADHD, with Penny and Son, Luke

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

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This is an episode you should listen to with your neuro-atypical kids! I have been trying to get my son to do an episode of the podcast with me for a couple years, and he finally agreed. In this episode, you’ll meet my son, Luke, a nearly 18-year-old with ADHD, ASD, LDs, and a gifted IQ. We jumped on the microphone and found out he has a lot to say about growing up with differences and learning challenges. I posed this question to him: What are some things parents and teachers did for you that really helped you over the years, and what are some things we did that weren’t helpful at all, or even harmful?

The common message woven throughout our conversation was pressure — how parents and teachers amp it up, and how it causes kids like him to be less able to meet expectations. He also shares what he really needs from the people in his life, and even has a message of hope and perseverance for your kids. So listen in and meet my funny, compassionate, insightful boy who has inspired this podcast and all the work that I do.


Some of the resources may be affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

Boy without Instructions, by Penny Williams, our family story of life with a child with ADHD (Luke) from kindergarten to about 5th grade.

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My Guest


Luke is a high school senior who openly shares about his experience with ADHD and autism. He creates digital music and loves video games, especially VR (virtual reality). His favorite personal characteristic is his ability to make people laugh, including the international characters he brings to life through voice acting, including imitating the accents of Britain, Russia, Australia, and Brooklyn. Listen to Luke’s music on Soundcloud.



Luke (00:03): They're trying to help you out and they're trying to do what they think is best for you. And if you don't think that's best for you, you should sit down with yourself, nice little cup of tea and bagel, some cream cheese, and you should say, what do I think is best for me? And what can I tell the people trying to help me to do from now on? So that it stops feeling like they're just pestering me and nagging me about this school.

Intro (00:32): Welcome to the Parenting ADHD Podcast, where I share insights and strategies on raising kids with ADHD, straight from the trenches. I'm your host, Penny Williams. I'm a parenting coach, author, ADHD-aholic and Mindset Mama, honored to guide you on the journey of raising your atypical kid. Let's get started.

Luke (01:01): Welcome back to the parenting ADHD podcast. I am super duper excited to have my son Luke with me for this episode. And we are going to pick his brain and see what his advice would be for all of you parents out there. Luke is going to be 18 in a couple of short weeks and graduating high school soon. And so I thought this was a great time, a great age for him to really have the ability to vocalize a lot of the things that we wonder about for our kids when they're younger. So, Luke, what do you want to start with? What do you want to say about your experience as a kid with ADHD and autism spectrum?

Luke (01:52): Well, I can definitely say that there are a lot of ways that you could be teaching a kid with ADHD or autism in, in school. And I wanted to go over some of the things you shouldn't do first. Okay. Because teachers for teachers, or if you're homeschooling your kid,

Luke (02:17): Right, or a parent can take that information and talk to the teachers at school about it. Right?

Luke (02:22): The best things that you can do is when you have like your, your open house thing, where they go in to the school and they need the teachers for the first time, the first thing that you would want to do is like set a precedent for what your kids quote, disabilities or more struggles would be like we had two or three years where I was doing my schoolwork on an iPad. And we would go into the teacher's rooms on open house. And we would hand them a note that was like, Hey, I do all my stuff digitally on an iPad. And we'll email all of this stuff to you when it's done and stuff like that. And that also on the note was like my learning struggles and stuff like that. So that's useful.

Luke (03:06): Yeah. So you felt like it helped that teachers were introduced to kind of your likes and dislikes and your struggles and challenges and then some of what you were good at too. Cause we always tried to put both in those notes, didn't we? Yes. Yeah. And so you found that helpful.

Luke (03:26): Yeah, because when I went in on the first day of the teachers were automatically like a I know you need to be using your iPad, so you should take that out and you should start doing work. Now there were days where I was kinda nervous about using the iPad because I was like, Oh, these kids are gonna look at me and they're going to be like, wow, look at this weird kid in the back with the iPad, but don't make that same mistake of not using the things that you have to your advantage, because definitely helped when I started using it.

Luke (03:57): I hope that some of the parents listening, let their kids listen to what you have to say too, because I know that many years, you really struggled with using tools at school that would help you because you are always worried about being different. And you felt like you shouldn't have something that other kids didn't have. You seem to just feel bad that you had an iPad to use and other kids didn't. And

Luke (04:23): Like, it was an unfair advantage. Like when I'm gonna make a, I'm going to make a really strange similarly to this, like when someone's so much better than at smash bros than you are, and you try and beat them and you just, can't, it's an unfair advantage.

Luke (04:43): Hm. You know, fairness though, is everybody getting what they need. Right. So that they have equal capacity kind of like, but it's hard when you're a kid to think about it,

Luke (04:55): I'm going to roll into the next point of something that you don't shouldn't do bolstering off of that point of equality or fairness is what a kid uses to make their struggles less of a struggle. I guess it's more of what a kid uses to equalize odds or not. And why it's like trying to find a word, but I'm sure you understood talking about sixth grade was when I went into a private charter

Luke (05:26): School, a charter school public.

Luke (05:28): Oh, it was probably when I went into the school at first it was like, okay, this is pretty good. So I feel like I'm learning a lot of advanced stuff that is really at the level where I should be. But as I went on later on through the year, I started to realize as the work got harder and I started having troubles, keeping up, all of the teachers were having a set expectation for every student, instead of having an expectation for each student of what their capabilities are. So they had a bar that you had to cross at, no matter if you like, okay, I'm going to pull out another simile. It's like, if you went to the Olympics with stunted legs and you tried to do the pole vault, and instead of changing it for your disability, they would keep it there. And they would like berate you for not making it.

Luke (06:19): Yeah. So you reminded me of this example that this woman named grace Friedman talks about in her book. She is a college dinner earliest. She was when she wrote the book and she has ADHD. And she talked about if you were at school and you are having field day and you were doing a race, so maybe a one legged race or something like that, a sack race, and every other kid just had on running clothes and running shoes and they were ready to go. But you had on a 50 pound backpack or a hundred pound backpack. And now you had to do the same thing. You had to try to get to the finish line. And you were sort of competing with these kids who didn't have that additional weight that made it harder. Right.

Luke (07:12): Kind of what it is like. But I think instead of adding weights onto the other kids, it should be more like you do what you can to nullify the weight instead of weighing down everyone else around you, you should try and lift yourself up. So that you're there on the same playing field as everyone else.

Luke (07:32): Favorite thing that you said was that everybody should have their own expectations, that a classroom of students there shouldn't be one expectation that everybody has to try to reach whether they're able to, or not, whether it's easy for them or hard for them, but that everybody has their own expectation. I do

Luke (07:53): Have something about this. Just do your best thing though. Cause I feel like saying that is just kind of giving the excuse of do whatever. It'll be fine instead of like, Oh, just do your best. I feel like you should still set some kind of expectation, but set it towards their abilities and downsizes because saying just do your best kind of sounds to me whenever I hear it, I hear just do it. Just do whatever on it. And that personally didn't really motivate me to do schoolwork at all. No, because when I, when I hear, just do your best, all I can hear is, you know, we'll accept anything. Just get it done. Because if you said like an expectation of, okay, we expect this many problems done, but you do that for like each individual person and do the problems differently for each of them. Then they're going to want to get it done because you set an expectation of, you have to do this many math problems of logarithms or something. And you have to do this many pages of your English work today and stuff like that. Cause again, if you just say do your best if they're like me, they're just going to hear, yeah, there's just going to here. It's going to go in one ear and out the other. And the only thing you're going to pick up is do.

Luke (09:12): Hm. That's really interesting. Everybody needs a goal. Even if your goals are different from your peers, you still need kind of this bar to try to achieve

Luke (09:22): Role is just do what you can then, unless you're really motivated to do what you can. Then you're just going to be like, I'm going to do whatever I want and then save it. That is what I could do.

Luke (09:34): You struggle with that, don't you,

Luke (09:36): If, if you, if you put down a building full of babies and it was on fire and you went and do your best, I would definitely go in there and try and do something. Cause I was motivated to do it. But if you sat down this like big binder of math work and you hand it to me and you're like, do your best, I'm going to go, I'm going to do one problem. That's the best.

Luke (09:56): Yeah. It kind of, it's not motivating. I think that's what you're really talking about. That it's just not motivating. Do your best. Why don't we flip our conversation on its head a little bit and talk about things that have been super helpful to you from your parents, from teachers, from therapists or other people in your life. Wells, even

Luke (10:19): Definitely some of the things that have been helpful are being supportive and just being there and being like, Hey, you're doing good or you're not doing as good as you could be. Let's help you get to that point because bringing up the charter school again, they definitely didn't do that. They were like, Oh, well you could definitely do better, but you don't think that we can help you. We think you already know that you can do better. And we think you're just lacking. That definitely didn't help. But going back to one of my ECE teachers, I think he,

Luke (10:50): Which is an exceptional children's, which is either special education or gifted education.

Luke (10:57): So he has definitely been one of the most helpful assets that I've had in school. Cause he's just been really supportive. He hasn't been strict at all. He's been really loosey goosey. Ha ha. Funny with me relatable. He has been really relatable. I guess little offtrack from that is after school in last year I went to this ECE teacher's classroom every day to get caught up on work. And one day when I had no work, I brought in my VR headset and I took it out and he's like, Hey, I want to try that. And I'm like, okay. And that really helped me feel related to him.

Luke (11:39): Yeah. So he works really hard to connect with you and you guys have fun together. Like he doesn't stress you out. He doesn't, he pushes a little, right. But he doesn't push so much that he really makes you stressed and uncomfortable

Luke (11:55): To the exact opposite of that all the way back in like fourth grade, there was this teacher that did not understand at all, anything of out struggles of ADHD or autism, even though she said she did. So when I got this big project done, it was like this little, we had to make historical figures out of bottles and like foam balls. And when I got it done, I think I got a bad grade on it or no, I think it was just the whole class in general. I was getting pushed way past what I could take. And there was a point where I had a really big meltdown and they had to take me home.

Luke (12:38): Yeah. It actually didn't have to do with that project. I don't think it was the tickets that teacher gave you guys tickets for behavior, for finishing work, all of these sort of things. It's like a reward. And then you, she had an auction with toys for the tickets and because she res rewarding kids on the magnitude of work that they were turning in and you weren't able to do as much volume as your peers or as much volume as she expected. You didn't have enough tickets to really get anything. And it caused kind of a breaking point. It just wasn't fair. Right.

Luke (13:16): There was something that I wanted and a kid that was doing better in class wanted it. They would always outbid me. So I wouldn't be like, well, it felt like now that I look back on it in a way tie, holes, gambling. Cause Hey,

Luke (13:33): It was a rough thing for sure.

Luke (13:36): Weird. And it did then definitely didn't help with my motivation because when I got to the first time, I was like, I've got so many tickets, I'm going to get something. I didn't get anything. The second time I was like, Hmm, I've got less tickets. I'm not going to get anything. I didn't get anything by the time the third one went around and I was like, I just give up.

Luke (13:54): She felt like he couldn't win because you couldn't achieve that

Luke (13:57): Age when you're given a reward. The only thing you look to in your work when you're given a reward, ease the reward. And if you're not given as many rewards, when you don't do as much work, then you start to get, or at least for me, and maybe kids with the same struggles share this when you see your reward and you're not getting the work done instead of wanting to work harder, you kind of lose motivation

Luke (14:24): Because you didn't achieve it

Luke (14:27): Halfway through something where it's like really long and really hard and I'm underperforming. And I see a goal at the end of it and I'm like, I want that instead of going, I want that. So I'm gonna, I'm going to do it harder. I go, I want that, but I can't have it because I'm not doing good enough. I'm tired. Yeah.

Luke (14:45): And it's, it was that experience for you to some degree almost every year at school. Right? Almost.

Luke (14:52): But yeah, a lot of years it was like, I'm not doing as good as I could. And for that, I'm just going to stop doing.

Luke (15:00): Yeah. We've struggled a lot with that last year and this year already. Huh? Yeah. It's hard when you keep trying your best and nobody around you sees that you're trying your best.

Luke (15:12): He hasn't gotten better with this whole stupid, you know, pandemic is an epidemic going on global epidemic and all of the schools are like, well, we're going to do this really weird live class format where you have to log into a zoom call every day at like nine o'clock in the morning and be on and awake and open and have your cameras on and have your microphone on ready to answer questions. And it's like, like only 50% of kids are going to be ready for that.

Luke (15:39): Yeah. It makes it harder. Doesn't it like,

Luke (15:41): And you got to do four of them, but it's a shorter school day technically.

Luke (15:46): And you're really close to the finish line. Right. You're really close to graduation.

Luke (15:52): Actually. I don't really look to the finish line when I see something, I look at the steps ahead and the finish line blurs. So the closer I get, the more I see the finish line and the more I want it, but the further away that I am from it, the less I see it. And the more I see all these big stepping stones away from the finish line or all, I see these hurdles than the Olympic hundred meters.

Luke (16:14): Yeah. But now you can at least see it in the distance. Right. You can at least see that the finish line is there and you're getting home.

Luke (16:22): I am, I can definitely see a finish line in a little blurry flash and I'm like, I can do this. It just got that little bit more to go. I can get there. I can, I can go. If I try, I can go. But if you sat me down in front of a whole school year left and you sat me down in front of what I'm struggling with now, I wouldn't be like, Nope, I can't do that.

Luke (16:45): Mm yeah. It's easy to say, Oh, this is hard. I can't,

Luke (16:49): There are times where I have said that outside of schoolwork too. I'm pretty sure that that whole logic applies to like everything, even when I'm playing games and there's something that you lay down, that's something really hard in front of me. I'm like, I can't do that.

Luke (17:02): Yeah. You really struggling with anything that feels hard. You just shut down. Right. You know, whatever,

Luke (17:08): Something that I'm just like, I don't think I can do this. And she's like,

Luke (17:14): And what do you find is helpful during that time? Like there's parents listening and maybe kids like you listening. Definitely can they do

Luke (17:21): Talking about it helped as of evidence by recent things that have happened talking about it is definitely one of the better things that you can do by it. If you force someone into talking about it, like if you barge into your kid's room, knocking the door off the hinges, and you're like, we're going to talk about this right now and you're going, and it's going to help you. They're not going to want to talk about it, but you don't want to just wait and let it build up until they're like bawling in front of you. Like, I can't take this anymore. You just want to give them little gentle nudges every now and then remind them that if they want to talk about it, then that you're there and you're willing to talk about it. And you're happy to talk about it as long as it helps. You know?

Luke (18:09): So when there's an offer, but no pressure, it's helpful because when you're pressure, cause when you're

Luke (18:16): You feel like you're being obligated or forced into it, so it feels less genuine. It feels less of a moment of, I want to help you in more of a moment of we're going to do this and I don't care what comes of it.

Luke (18:30): And your mom has a hard time with that. Doesn't she?

Luke (18:34): I was, you, you come in and you're like really pushy about, let's talk about this.

Luke (18:40): Cause I know it helps us, you know, as a mom, all you want to do in the world is help your kid feel better. I understand that. So, but I have really, especially lately figured out that if I just let you know that you can talk to me and that I want to help you, you tend to walk away for a bit and say, Nope, I'm not talking about it. And then you come and say, okay, I want to talk. Yeah.

Luke (19:03): I've told this to the friends that want to help me talk to I'm like, well, if you want me to talk, don't constantly tell me that you're there to talk, but tell me once. And then maybe every now and then check in and I'll be laying out, okay,

Luke (19:15): Talk now who I like that every now and then check in. Cause that's,

Luke (19:20): I would do with someone that I care about, that's struggling. I would be like, I'm here to talk. If you want to, you can, you can talk to me and I'll help you through your problems. And then after that, I like every two hours I might come in on like their chat DM or in their, wherever they are and be like, you do doing any better or like, how's it going? Or something like that. Instead of like every 30 seconds going, you could talk to me if you want to. Because a lot of people that want to help me seem to think that pressuring me into talking with them is going to relieve my stress less than it is going to be. Like, they really want me to talk to them. And if I don't talk to them, I'm going to make them really upset.

Luke (20:07): Mm. So it's more pressure on you to do something you're feeling at that moment, going

Luke (20:14): School and sitting in a classroom and constantly having the teacher countdown the time that there is left to the assignment. Because if you sit down in that classroom and the teacher's constantly like 10 minutes left, you're feeling pressured to get that done and you're going to do less work or are you going to do worse at the work? Because you feel pressured to do it instead of feeling like you're just doing it at your own pace and doing it by your own accord. Instead, you feel like there's someone forcing you to do it. So you're going to be a lot less motivated to do it because it feels less of your decision and more of someone else's decision that you're being roped into

Luke (20:48): A, I think you hit on something there, it feels less of your own decision. And I think that's really a team thing too. Especially any team

Luke (21:00): Like it's like a mostly just childhood kind of thing, because all the way back when you're like a little kid and you're like, I want this toy when you might throw a fit, unless you are a well behaved kid, then you, then that's, that's you sitting there and going, I want my way. And only my option is the option. I'm going to accept at this point. So I feel like it's just whole childhood, but it gets less pushed, pushed back when you get into teen years, because they're less willing to throw a fit in front of their friends. When you weigh down a pack of homework and go, you have to do this

Luke (21:39): In front of friends, but not necessarily at home, huh? At home, they don't throw them

Luke (21:44): Wild tantrum and bawl on the floor about homework.

Luke (21:49): Hmm.

Luke (21:50): They don't. I might, but they don't.

Luke (21:55): So what you're saying is a lot of things, cause pressure for you. A lot of things, even if people aren't intending to pressure you, it feels like pressure to you. You know, that, that staples button,

Luke (22:13): One of those, but every time I hit it, it just plays the opening to under pressure by queen.

Luke (22:17): Mm. You all heard that around schools? I do. I like though what you're saying, that's really insightful because it helps me to understand more of what I need to do for you. You know, everything that you're able to really explain to me. And when you were little, you weren't able to do that. And it was really hard to figure out what was helpful.

Luke (22:40): A little, it felt less like I was in control of what was happening and I felt less like I knew what was happening, but I think a little more recently than a year, I started to realize that, wait a second, this is why I'm acting this way. Because I feel like I'm getting forced into a corner and then shoved a bunch of papers into my, my hands and been like, you have to sit in this corner while three armed guards stand around you and watch you as you do that homework. Instead of putting it here on my desk and being like,

Luke (23:18): You gotta do the work. Yeah. There's a lot of things that I think make you feel really backed into a corner. And we have tried to work through some of that together the school year and just in the last month or two, because I feel like it's so important right now for you to do your schoolwork and pass these four classes because you get to graduate in January. If you do. And I get really out about that because I'm ready for you to be done and to get to do something else that fits better for you. Everyone is ready to be, but you don't have that same worry. Like that's about me, that's my stuff. But when I'm pressuring you and when I'm stressed out, it makes you shut down and nothing was getting done. And when I said, okay, I'm really gonna put this in your hands. You tell me when you need help, you tell me what you need, like a weekly or twice a week, check in, like, let's figure out how you can do it on your own, but I have to quit stressing about it. And I have to quit vomiting that stress all over you, right?

Luke (24:26): Because when you stress out me and maybe other kids like me, they're not going to exert the same result or chemical reaction of that stress mixing with their brain. Instead with me, it's going to be like, I don't want to deal with this stress. I'm just going to hide in my little hermit shell and not worry about it at all. And so I just like lay in my bed with my covers over my head. And I'm like, I don't got to worry about this because it's worrying me. So I don't need to give it any attention.

Luke (24:54): You definitely avoid the hard feelings.

Luke (24:57): Yeah. Wind stress knocks at my door instead of opening it and being like, Oh, Hey, come back later. I bolt lock the door, put a chain around it, put three padlocks on the, on the chain and then run into my nuclear bunker shelter and lock that door too.

Luke (25:15): That's pretty much accurate. Yeah. Any perceived or real hardship or discomfort or it is negative emotions.

Luke (25:25): He's very much just a nuclear lockdown. When stress happens. This is very much just the most hard to move a shutdown that there is. It's just like, I'm not doing anything else for the rest of the day. Except sitting here in my turtle, shell lined with Bulletproof casing.

Luke (25:46): And this is what you're working on with your therapist right now. We're kind of working on things, trying to get unstuck

Luke (25:54): Because it's not just with like schoolwork and stress, but it's also like when I get stuck on something, if I get stuck on like, Oh, I really want this game instead of going and asking you like, can I get this game? And you're going, no. And me going like, okay, I'll wait. I go, when I ask, I'm like, can I get this game? And then you going, no. And then I'm like, okay. And then,

Luke (26:16): Then you try to find any means necessary. It's it's me

Luke (26:20): Taking the thought of getting that game and then bolt locking the door with three padlocks running into my nuclear shelter and then locking that with it in my hands. So now I'm locked in the same shelter, but instead of locking out thoughts, I'm walked in with this one, thought that is, it's a really appealing thought of like having this game or getting ice cream. I've never really been like that about ice cream.

Luke (26:48): No, no, but I mean, there, a lot of times it's something that you want to have and you don't want to wait because I think in your brain, it's a lot of now or not now. It's like, if I get it now I got it. If I don't, it might be never, or they'll feel like never

Luke (27:08): Now we're never a complex of, I either get this now or it's probably never going to happen.

Luke (27:14): Yeah.

Luke (27:16): I want to think it's because of anything that has happened previously, I think it's just because of how my brain. Yeah.

Luke (27:22): So it's very characteristic of an ADHD brain and even an autism brain, a lot of autistic people get really stuck on things and it's hard to kind of move through it. And so that's what we've been focusing on for a year, year and a half now. And we'll continue to work on. Right? Yep. Let's talk about something else that you've found super helpful and it can be a tool. It can be the way somebody talked to you or the testimony for you.

Luke (27:52): One of the best things that you can set up in terms of, well, I guess actually I should talk about more home stuff instead of a bunch of school stuff.

Luke (28:03): Well, we can always do this again and talk more about some more stuff too. But I would like to have that

Luke (28:08): Or media thing of these are a couple of things in a wide range that you can do. I like that. So at home, definitely what you could do is not pressure your kid into doing one specific thing. I guess that might be the same thing that I just talked about.

Luke (28:28): Giving options. You mean like, I suppose

Luke (28:31): Less of leaving them to do it on their own and if they don't do it, then you like let it build up. And then they see the consequence of not doing it and then they won't want that to happen again.

Luke (28:44): So you're talking about natural consequences for all consequences,

Luke (28:48): Scariest thing, instead of just being like, Oh, well you won't have electronics for awhile. Okay. So I'll live for like three days and not do anything. And then I will get my electronics back. But if you let natural consequences, do it say you don't clean your room and then you come in and you go, well, you got to clean your room and your kid goes, I don't want to. And you're like, okay, clean it when you, when you do and they don't clean it, they're going to eventually see that. Well, when they have to clean it, it's going to take like eight hours to clean up this massive mess that they can't move through because it's gotten so big. So I don't, I'm not saying, let your kids sit on this massive pile of junk until it gets so bad that child services has to come and condemn the house. I'm saying

Luke (29:39): Like your room,

Luke (29:41): it's not that bad.

Luke (29:44): Instead of telling them to just do it whenever you should be like, Oh right. But you're not gonna, like, when it builds all the way up and you're going to have to do it for like eight hours a whole day, and you're gonna have no free time that day. And it's going to be really painful. And if you spread it over a bunch of days, you're going to be working for like, like seven days instead of just having the three days of electronics taken because you didn't, what I'm saying is natural consequences tend to have a more severe consequence outcome than what parents can.

Luke (30:17): They can. Yeah. Like if you don't do your schoolwork and you fail the class, what happens? You have to do your own class again.

Luke (30:26): Like, Oh, you can't play video games today because you didn't do your homework instead. Just be like, okay, don't do your homework. But when you fail all of the, all of the classes, you got to do the whole school year again. So would you rather do this worksheet and you know, not have electronics for the rest of the day because he didn't do it before or not do any math worksheets and have to do math again until you pass it.

Luke (30:53): And does that work, do you feel like that works? If we're not pressuring you saying, don't forget, this is the consequence,

Luke (31:02): The overbearing consequence of having to do like a whole year's worth of schoolwork over again. And stuff that you've already done is pretty, pretty much more severe than what a parent can give, unless they literally make their kids sit in the rain and sleep outside, which you should not do. That won't happen. That should not happen.

Luke (31:26): So, yeah, you're just saying that we need to take the pressure off of kids, but we need to kind of give some guidance to say, Hey, I just want to let you know that if you choose not to do this, now, this is what might happen. Think about what might happen. Think about doing another semester of math and doing it all over again. Think about nine graduating in January, having to wait until June because of one class that you didn't get your work done.

Luke (31:56): I would like to put in a metaphor here. It's like, as if I would you rather question of, would you rather not have to do any stressful work for two months, but then have to do the stressful work all over again later? Or would you rather do the stressful work now and not have to do stressful work for a long while after that?

Luke (32:19): Yeah, I like that. Would you rather, that's a good one.

Luke (32:23): A lot of life's problems can be chalked up to a, would you rather question because no decisions in life are 100% better than other decisions. Every decision has their upsides and downsides. Like if I were to say, well, do I want to move across the ocean to not be in this kind of political atmosphere of like democracy in general, don't want to get political, but democracy in general, but then I'd have to deal with that country's problems that they're currently having and all of the stuff there. And if I move to a country that's currently in heat with America, then you know, it's going to be bad. Or do I stay here and put up with the stuff that I don't like about America? See, there's probably an obviously better option in that two, but both have an upside and a downside to them. At least

Luke (33:14): Pros and cons pros and cons pros and cons for everything.

Luke (33:17): There cannot be a single

Luke (33:18): The decision in the world that you cannot pull at least one con out of one of the options.

Luke (33:24): And why is that? Because, because there's no such thing as perfection,

Luke (33:27): No such thing as a perfect option. There's no such thing as a perfect person. And there's no such thing as the perfect bacon sandwich.

Luke (33:36): Okay. Then you always keep me laughing, kiddo. What else let's wrap up for today? What else do you think is super mega important for the parents listening to know about their kids? Or you can choose to send a message to the kids. What would you say to your nine or 10 year old self?

Luke (34:01): Probably what I would say is stop being so weird. And then on top of that, I wouldn't say that I, I might, but that's just cause I'm still weird.

Luke (34:15): You're not weird. You you're unique and amazing. Not debatable, not around here. It's not, well, you gotta be yourself. Woo. Yes. Like you got to feel good about being yourself being weird.

Luke (34:31): Good. I'm not saying being weird is bad. Being weird is the best thing that you can do,

Luke (34:37): But it sounds like you're saying try to fit more, but I don't think that's really a good thing. That's not going to make.

Luke (34:45): I say to my nine to 10 year old is stop being so weird to motivate them to be more weird.

Luke (34:51): Okay. If you say the opposite

Luke (34:53): Tonight to 10 year old me, I'm going to do exactly what you want me to do. If you say the opposite.

Luke (34:59): So you're doing the opposite of what your parents said. It's nice that quantifies, our whole relationship,

Luke (35:06): I would actually say to a nine to 10 year old knee is something along the lines of everyone who's pestering you and nagging you nagging quotation marks. Cause it's not actually really nagging about like school and stuff like that. Or actually just trying to help you. I know you feel like they're just trying to be the big old meme, bad guy of the story here. And they're just sitting there and going ha you, you must do your work. I knew cannot move from that spot until you do your work, but they're not, they're not. They're trying to help you out. And they're trying to do what they think is best for you. And if you don't think that's best for you, you should sit down with yourself with a nice little cup of tea and bagel, some cream cheese, and you should say, what do I think is best for me? And what can I tell the people trying to help me to do from now on? So that it stops feeling like they're just pestering me and nagging

Luke (36:09): About the school work link,

Luke (36:11): tell your parents what you need. What do you need help with? Tell your parents what you need. If you were in a British accent

Luke (36:20): Or that you could throw in a nice Australian accent every now and then, and not

Penny (36:25): Will the Russian come out too?.

Luke (36:26): No, no, we don't go Russian today.

Luke (36:32): You enlightening like two monitors to do your schoolwork, which was my situation because in our live classes where at constantly having to go between the window of the live class and the schoolwork that they're also pressuring you to do during the class, because that is very helpful for me to feel like I'm being pinned down for not doing it during the class, but still getting it done after class. So I go to a second monitor. I asked about it and that helped me. So if you think something's going to help you within reasonable means, we're not buying anyone, some private airline to North, North Dakota,

Luke (37:12): North Dakota.

Luke (37:13): I was thinking of like Monte-Carlo, but

Luke (37:17): There you go

Luke (37:19): All the way down to South America.

Luke (37:22): All right, well now we're just digressing to silliness, which is what you do best. You are not. You're a million wonderful things with some struggles within it, which we all have our own struggles.

Luke (37:37): You know what else was a million wonderful things with some struggles in it Anakin Skywalker. Someone is going to understand that

Luke (37:45): Many people, probably not your mother, right? You don't like star Wars. Your father would understand, but not your mother. Well, Luke, thank you. You've actually helped me with you because this is probably the most, really in depth conversation about struggles that we've had in a long time. So I think it's going to help me, help you and you to remember to tell me what you need for me to help you, right?

Luke (38:21): Whenever you need me to tell you what I need help about, you should sit me down in front of your Mac book. We could record one of these every time, every time help you help me help.

Luke (38:32): Well, that's the whole point. That's why we do what we do. And we share a right so we can help other families and other kids. And I promise you that what you have just shared is going to help a bunch of people and entertain them at the same time. Hopefully because you're honest, that's my best part. That is one of your best skirts to my Spotify. That doesn't exist. All right. So let's close. If you want the show notes, you can certainly go to the show notes and leave Luke a comment. I know he would love to hear how helpful this has been or what sort of things that you've found within the stories that he's told maybe are helpful to you and your kids. We can do a thing where I like record me answering your questions. We might be able to do that, or you can type some answers. We'll figure it out. This is a new thing that we're trying. I think Luke has a lot of experience and a lot of insights that are really valuable for families of younger kids and families who are still trying to figure it out. So the show notes for this episode will [email protected] slash one zero five for episode 105. And with that, we will close and end this episode. And at least I will see everyone next time. And hopefully Luke will be back with us at some point too.

Speaker 4 (40:00): Thanks for joining me on the parenting ADHD podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share and don't forget to check out my online courses, parent coaching and mama [email protected].

Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it. Have something to say, or a question to ask? Leave a comment below. I promise to answer every single one. **Also, please leave an honest review for the Beautifully Complex Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and appreciated! That's what helps me reach and help more families like yours.

I'm Penny Williams.

I help stuck and struggling parents (educators, too) make the pivots necessary to unlock success and joy for neurodivergent kids and teens, themselves, and their families. I'm honored to be part of your journey!

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Share your thoughts.

  • Dear Penny and Luke Thank you so much for sharing this podcast. I love hearing from you both guiding our high functioning ASD and ADHD son's journey. Your wisdoms and inspiring journey are very helpful to guide us down the path. Thanks for making such a big difference for the community. Greatly appreciated. 🙂

  • Penny and Luke, I really appreciate the time you took to do this. The conversation was something I really needed to be able to help and understand my son better. Thank you so much! ❤️

  • Thank you Penny and Luke for sharing your journey.
    Thank you Luke for sharing your perspectives and insights to help me to understand my own children better

  • Thank you so much, Luka! This is going to help me understand my almost 10 years old kid so much better. I really appreciate your insights, you're a smart and funny young adult.

  • Hey Luke! Thanks for being willing to have a conversation with your mom that I could listen to. You made me smile and laugh throughout! I'll be honest, I decided to listen to the conversation because I am procrastinating about getting down to the work that I have to do (sound familiar?). This diversion was worthwhile. I love your analogies, similes and metaphors! I'm impressed that you are now able to figure out what is feeding stress in your life and are learning how to deal with it. That life knowledge is so important for success in the “big picture”. I'll be using some of your thoughts from this conversation when I meet with an 18-year-old client, also graduating this year, next week. Thanks for your insight. Best of luck finishing your last four high school courses. You've got this!!!

  • Awesome thanks for sharing Luke!

  • Thank you, Penny and Luke! I really enjoyed your conversation and have received great insights from both of you that will help me so much with my own kiddos. It can be a lonely path as a mom sometimes when you just don’t have a lot of people in your life who understand and know the right things to say that are both truthful and helpful. The content here is the perfect blend of help and truth, with great humor thrown in to make it fun.

  • Thank-you Luke for sharing so many important points in helping us help our children.

  • Thank you so much Luke, I learnt a lot of insights from your interview. I’ll try to apply some of your advice with my son! All the best for you!

  • Thank you so much Luke! I really appreciated you sharing your experiences so I can better understand how my son’s brain works and what I can do to better understand and support him. Bravo!

  • Penny, thank you for convincing Luke to share in this podcast.

    Luke, I am very grateful to you for sharing your experiences and analogies. I think we need more of this so that parents, teachers and others are able to have a better understanding. There are ups and downs, and we are constantly learning.

  • Loved this episode! I'd love to hear more from Luke about his experiences in school and things that helped him. I've adopted a 10 year old w/ ADHD (now 12) who really struggles after her lunch period and I've noticed this pattern the last few years.

  • This was fab! Stay ‘weird' Luke, I love your style – the world needs more of it 🙂 I would definitely tune in to more!

  • Hi Luke, I want to let you know that I really enjoyed this episode that you did with your mom. I have listened to many many talks given by adults trying to help us the parents to support you guys better. I'm so happy to hear one coming from the other side of the aisle, giving us the first hand perspective of how you guys feel and what worked and work did not. Thank you! I wish you will consider doing more of these in the future. By the way, I really liked the part of the talk where you talked about fairness and you are encouraging other kids not to give up the helpful things just because other kids may not have it. I also really liked your jokes and analogies. Thank you for this unique episode and look forward to more from you!

  • Melina Alice Stapfer Crabtree

    Penny and Luke…you saved us! My 14 year old daughter has ADHD & dyslexia & Auditory Processing. I can understand her better after this podcast! So many similarities! And great tips & insights! Thank you! Luke…you're an amazing person!

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