For the first time in many years, I did not attend the Annual International Conference on ADHD, sponsored by CHADD, ACO, and ADDA.
I opted to embrace my new role as Grandma (Gigi, actually) and help my daughter with her new baby.
A group of my ADHD Parent Coach Academy graduates attended and met one another in person (I was proud but jealous that I couldn’t join them!).
I received a wonderful letter from Coach Lauren Gladstone when I asked them for some highlights. I am sharing this with her permission.
“Some of the greatest takeaways boil down to your quote: “Parent the child you have.” After listening to adults who grew up with shame, frustration, and failure when asked what they would tell their younger selves, the answer was always that “it’s going to be OK.” No matter who you are or how neurodiverse or challenged you may be, you are a human being with feelings and deserve the respect to be happy. Telling a person to stop doing what they’re doing, being told that you can control yourself or your feelings, or even being told to get over it has tremendous consequences on your overall well-being as you grow into adulthood.
If the goal of parent coaching is to get kids to do better in school and have test-taking strategies so that they can sit still and thrive, we are truly missing the point. Our goal as a parent should be to raise a happy, confident, empathetic, and giving person who finds their place in the world where they feel like they can make a difference no matter how small. The more I think about it, the more important it is to let kids be kids so that when they need to buckle down and concentrate, they feel good about themselves, and their lives are not judged by grades.
I feel that the more I think about it, the more I feel that we can positively change the trajectory of a child’s life by giving the parents the tools and strategies to “parent a child that we have.” The sooner the child learns to embrace their differences and focus on their strengths, the better chance they will have in adapting to the world in which we live. We can build their self-confidence before layers of trauma develop.”
As I always say, parenting is complex!
We do not always know if we are enabling or supporting, what kind of boundaries will help them feel independent and not too restricted, and what kind of consequences will build skills and not just be punitive.
Parents often ask, “How can I get them to buckle down and concentrate?” or get them to be more compliant regarding school work and personal responsibilities.
The truth is, ultimately, you don’t have that control… you can only be there to support, encourage, and guide them. But your relationship is primary.
They must feel/believe that you REALLY understand their experience so they don’t dismiss your advice/expectations as unreasonable or you as unrelatable.