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My (ADHD) Child is so Immature!!!

“My child is so immature.”  I hear it a lot from parents in my Coaching Discovery Sessions.  It often comes at the end of their list of reasons for coming to coaching.  “He is unorganized, she misses or forgets assignments, he doesn’t complete tasks, and MY CHILD IS SO IMMATURE!

Well, yes.  Your ADHD child IS immature.  That is exactly what ADHD is: a delayed maturity of the brain’s infrastructure including the parts used for executive functions* like attention and self-control.  If your child is one of the youngest in his grade, he may appear even more immature.

Here is the encouraging news.

Your child’s brain is developing normally. It’s just developing at a slower rate.  Some researchers say this development gap can be as much as 25%.  So, when you think you are working with a 10-year-old, that child could be operating at the emotional or executive functioning level of an 8-year-old.

Your child can still exhibit a high degree of intelligence. In fact, most kids with ADHD rank very high on IQ tests (when they can sit down and finished them, lol). Don’t confuse a child’s abilities to understand complex academic problems and use high-level vocabulary in conversations with her ability to accept “no” as your answer to “Can I have ice cream for dinner?”

What you can do?

Stop comparing your child to other children, especially to siblings.  Figure out where your child is today and work from there.  If it is a life process he hasn’t mastered, break it down and re-teach it to him.  If it is an inappropriate behavior, talk to her calmly and show her what a proper response looks and sounds like.

Reframe your perspective.  When you feel your child is acting immature ask yourself, “How would a child 2 years younger act in this situation?”  I am not advocating letting your child act inappropriately, I am asking you to check the level of “appropriateness” at which you are expecting them to act.

Be patient.  On some level, your child is aware of the development gap.  They realize they are getting in trouble when other kids aren’t.  They realize they can’t do things that other kids can.  They also realize they don’t seem to have any control over this.  Encourage your child.  Let them know their time for learning these things is coming and, until then, you will be there to help them any way you can.

Let me know what you think about this in the comments below.

 

*Executive functions are those special processes needed to accomplish a task.  They include response inhibition, working memory, emotional control, sustained attention, task initiation, planning/prioritization, organization, time management,  goal-directed persistence, flexibility, and metacognition.

Time Management, Uncategorized

Hello Again, Watch

March 6, 2018.  What a happy day for me.  Today is the day I return to wearing a watch.  Maybe it doesn’t sound that magnificent to you but, to me, it symbolizes a victory over my time management issues.  It also symbolizes how creative coaching solutions can mean so much to those who struggle.

Flashback to 2000, I was 35 years old and constantly late to EVERYTHING.  I told my therapist I was so ashamed of not being able to get anywhere or do anything on-time.  I would wake up early and get ready early.  Then, I would look at my watch, my lovely moon phase watch, and say, “I have plenty of time” and promptly start another task – which of course made me late!

“Sounds like looking at your watch is actually making you late,” my therapist said.  I was dumbstruck.  Was she actually suggesting that the device responsible for keeping me on time was really at the root of making me late? I would like to say I received this question in the spirit of the curiosity with which it was intended.  I did not.  Instead, I questioned my therapist’s qualifications and state of mind.

Her question nagged at me.  What if she was right? What if I didn’t look at my watch? That’s crazy.  No, what if I still got up early, still got ready early, and then didn’t look at my watch?  What would happen?  Well, it turned out I was so enamored with my watch I couldn’t not look at it!  So, I took it off and put it in the bathroom drawer.

The first weeks were a bit rough but, I stopped trying to do that “one more thing” before I left.  And, I started to be on time.  And, I began to feel responsible.

Four months ago I was cleaning out that bathroom drawer and found the watch.  It took a new battery, a new movement, and a few months at the Citizen factory to get it running again but, I think it was worth it.  I was brave enough to set it aside and get my time management processes securely in place.  Now, I am brave enough to put it back on and see how I do.  I’ll let you know.

(Yes, that is a picture of my watch.)

Task completion

Why Won’t My Child Do What I Ask?

Here is the scene: Your child is playing a video game or watching TV and you ask them to do a small chore.  You come back 15 minutes later to discover HE IS STILL SITTING THERE and the chore has not been done!  What are you suppose to do?

Instead of using traditional parenting wisdom and concluding the chore is not done because your child is lazy, unmotivated, and CHOSE not to mind you. Let’s break this down and see what went wrong.

First, your child is engaged in a very stimulating activity which is sucking all of the focus out of his brain.  Just because you walked through giving instructions, didn’t mean his brain was ready to hear them.  Transitioning from a focus-sucking activity to start another (like doing a chore or coming to dinner) is tremendously difficult for a child with ADHD.  Allowing your child adequate time to make that transition will often result in a better connection with your child.  It will also result in fewer incidences of emotional responses like crying, tantrums, or eye-rolling.

Second, pay attention to how you are delivering the instructions.  Are you just barking out orders as you pass through the room?  Are you downstairs yelling at them upstairs?  You have to focus on making a connection BEFORE giving instructions.

Third, you have to check for understanding.  You don’t have to make them repeat your instructions (what a drag).  Just hang around for a second to see your child stand up and head towards starting your request.

Finally, let your child know he was successful.  A simple “thank you” can be quite motivating for the next time.

So, briefly:

  1. Allow for a focus transition.  I like giving a 2-minute warning for the child to find a stopping place. Then I come back in 2 minutes with my request.
  2. Make the connection.  Wait for hands to be still and eyes to be on you before giving instructions.
  3. Wait for physical engagement. You don’t have to loom over your child, just hang out and see he is headed in the right direction.
  4. Say “Thank you”.

 

Let me know how this works for you in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Welcome to

“Encouraging News”

Welcome to my blog.  Welcome to my world. Welcome to the Encouraging News about life with ADHD.  My primary mission is to get the word out…

You can live chaos free with ADHD!

I want my blog to challenge the perspectives people have about their child’s ADHD, their own ADHD, and ADHD in general.  I have found in my coaching practice that, often, a change in perspective can be the most effective agent of change and motivator for success.

I want my blog to educate people on effective techniques to overcome the unique challenges of ADHD.  I want to serve adults with ADHD and parents of children with ADHD equally.  So, whenever possible, techniques will be presented with age-appropriate variations.

Finally, I want my blog to create a community of “people like us”.  It can be lonely when those around you don’t understand you.  In fact, I hope the comments will be plentiful enough for people to see they are not alone in facing their ADHD.  I will be posting the small successes my clients’ experience and highlighting how stringing them together can build into a major achievement.

Take heart.  In the world of ADHD, the is truly some Encouraging News!