Category Archives: Parenting

ADHD: Blessing or curse? Or Somewhere in Between?

July 2019 Newsletter


Welcome to July.

Hope your days are not too hot and you have time to relax this summer. If planning and packing for a long vacation is difficult for you or your family, you might try for easier to plan day trips or backyard picnics.

Remember, holidays are a break from everyday routines and challenge normal coping skills. The lack of structure and increased social demands can be a problem for both kids and adults with ADHD. If you need tips on planning vacations, packing, traveling and ideas for the summer break for kids, see our Pinterest Board, Holidays and other Celebrations. Scroll down to find last year’s articles as well.

For myself, spending a lazy afternoon reading in the backyard is just my speed. I like to disconnect and get lost in a new book more than taking a chance on everything going wrong on a trip. I travel not to see the sights but to visit friends and family. I like to walk and talk more than looking for what others consider fun.

My own experience challenges the perception that all people with ADHD are adventurous, always in motion and like doing multiple things at the same time. This month’s author, Michele Cook, however, agrees with this view of Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD in To the Mom with the ADHD Child. Although she acknowledges that ADHD may well be both a blessing and a curse, Michele offers hope to parents that some ADHD traits can become positive aspects by adulthood.

I love the many tips she shares that have helped both her and her children manage their ADHD.  She believes that adults can create an environment that can control most of the negative aspects of ADHD.“Having ADHD as a child is miserable, but having ADHD as an adult can actually be an asset.  As long as you learn to manage the energy and focus the energy on the good, you will be great

She continues, “As an adult, your responsibilities are entirely different.  You need to be able to wear many hats, to switch focus many times a day, and to run around for most of the day… For (some) adults with ADHD, this is an environment they thrive in.”

I am NOT one of those people. Where Michele thrives under pressure, the many and varied responsibilities of adult life are often overwhelming and create major chaos in my life.  Yet,  I do not discount what ADHD coach Marla Cummins says In Are your ADHD Traits also your Strengths?

“I see clients all the time who succeed because of their ADHD traits, not despite it!

“It is a double-edged sword, to be sure. A strength can be a weakness and vice versa. The same trait that helps me to persist when others may give up can hinder me in other areas if I let it.”

Therapist Don Baker from Unpacking ADHD has created a meme of these “Mirror Traits of ADHD. “ This illustrates the idea of redefining symptoms as positive traits. This illustrates the idea that what one man thinks of as a disability, another may think of as his heightened ability. Neurodiversity is the idea that neurological differences like autism and ADHD are the result of normal, natural variation in the human experience.  Neurodiversity: Reframing ADHD, offers a number of articles on this viewpoint.

I do agree with Michele that adults are better able than children to create an environment that works for the individual. I like Dr. Charles Parker’s simple idea to explain why the performance of someone is ADHD is so often hit-or-miss. One of his video tutorials claims that ADHD is people with ADHD have way too much on their mind. Most symptoms disappear. when you “Decrease the number of variables and establish structure and reasonable limits for any given task.” You can also harness the Secrets of the ADHD Brain – using interest, a challenge, novelty, urgency or a strong sense of purpose to help spur action. This has been widely promoted by Dr. William Dodson but is echoed by most ADHD experts today.

I cannot agree with the concept of neurodiversity because it denies the very real consequences of ADHD.   A Canadian non-profit recently put out a report, the CADDAC Policy Paper – The seriousness of ADHD (Link works) that outlines damages that can occur.

To quote, “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder affecting approximately 1.5 million Canadians…”ADHD is not just a disorder of attention, but a disorder of self-regulation. This means ADHD predisposes individuals to adverse health outcomes and risky lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, alcohol and drug use, and poor diet and exercise.”

“Left untreated it can have devastating effects over the course of ones’ lifetime. ADHD is linked to an increased risk of mood and anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorders, transportation accidents, suicides, injuries, teenage pregnancies, unemployment, underemployment, and incarceration (Barbaresi et al. 2013, Ramsey and Rostain, 2016)…. A recent study (even) found that ADHD can shorten one’s life expectancy by up to 22 years if persistent into adulthood and reduces their healthy life expectancy by 8.4 years.”

Strength-based treatment is indeed the current model of controlling the worst emotional aspects of ADHD and helps us control our symptoms to the point where they no longer rule our lives. Dodson has a great article ADHD’s Common Denominators: 11 Hidden Truths that Unlock Treatment Success from ADDitude Mag. To state, “You have ADHD — so your treatment plan should be based on how people with attention deficit think, feel, and live. Dodson also urges that you “Don’t ignore medication. Medication evens the playing field and makes the changes possible.”

We don’t have to suffer. ADHD impacts all of us differently and the strengths we use to cope are uniquely our own.  Rather than focus on remedying areas where you struggle, you need to use those specific tools that get you “in the zone” and help you start each morning feeling motivated and capable. You can combat the worst of future damage through diagnosis, treatment and attending to other disorders that so often accompany ADHD. The same strategies that Michele Cook names for children also work quite well for adults. Use these and other ideas you find here and in articles and video that include even new strategies. Learn to laugh at your own foibles, apologize, and carry on.

Don’t ever give up on learning the best ways to help your child or yourself live well with ADHD.

Joan Jager

ADD freeSources

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Rollercoasters & Egg Shells: ADHD Parent and Child Relationships 

 Ruled by emotions, the opinion of others & in need constant reassurance.By Louise Brown of Thriving with ADHD about Emotional Dysregulation and Rejection Sensitivity


As a young child, I remember believing life was a wonderful adventure. To make the most of it I was always on the move: exploring, dancing, singing, or climbing. I talked a million miles an hour and asked a trillion questions. And I loved the thrill of new experiences, constantly sought stimulation and always wanted more and more.

I also remember being so completely lost in my imagination or absorbed in my latest interest, that I didn’t notice how my endless energy, over-enthusiasm, and constant chatter was affecting others. Nor did I notice when I said something inappropriate or breached someone’s personal space or privacy. Instead, my thoughts happily raced ahead of me in blissful abandonment.

I was carefree, preoccupied in a world of my own oblivious to any damage I caused or signs of possible danger.

On the flip side, I remember struggling with the frustration I felt when asked to wait or to delay gratification, and that being bored felt like ‘hell on earth.’ – A mind-numbing excruciating pain, accompanied by restless agitation.

But even worse was the debilitating pain I experienced when I was in trouble or on the receiving end of rejection, criticism or anger. This pain was crippling. It would surge through my body and flood my senses. And with it my chest would tighten, I’d get a lump in my throat and tears would well in my eyes.

I always tried so damn hard to prevent this pain but, due to my self-regulation challenges, couldn’t seem to avoid it.

As I grew older my emotional challenges intensified. I began to experience what mum called ‘high highs and low lows,’ there was no in between. And due to my extreme sensitivity, could shift between the two in the blink of an eye.

I imagine living with me must have felt like being on a rollercoaster. My family was involuntarily dragged along for the turbulent ride by my emotions. Hanging on for dear life, I experienced my ups and downs with unnerving uncertainty.

How Mum coped through my teenage years I’ll never know. Needing constant stimulation I became rebellious and argumentative – anything to escape the mundane. Yet I remained ever so fragile, in need of love and understanding, and never-ending reassurance: Ruled by my emotions and the opinion of others. – A confusing, misunderstood mix of teenage angst, on steroids.

Even when my Dad stopped coming home until I was asleep, my Mum stayed by my side, persistently trying every strategy she could think of to help me – in the hope that I would change or possibly grow out of it.

But I didn’t. And never will.

For although maturity has greatly decreased their intensity, my emotional dysregulation challenges and rejection sensitivity, along with my inhibition challenges, are here to stay. They are part of who I am: A manifestation of my genetic make-up – An expression of my ADHD traits. – And something I’ve had to accept and learn to live with.

Coming to peace with this realization, however, took time and was only possible once I found out I had ADHD. As before my diagnosis at 47, like an unfinished jigsaw, I was missing part of my puzzle, which made it impossible to really understand and accept myself. However, with all the pieces in place, this changed. For I finally had the self-awareness I required to develop the strategies I needed to maintain a sense of control.

So now it’s my son’s turn. As without his ADHD medication, my Mini Me displays the same traits I did as a child. He’s highly sensitive, emotionally reactive and prone to frustration. At lightning speed, he can flick between being blissfully happy or hurting with frustration, and his big emotions frequently overwhelm him.

As his Mum, it’s heart-breaking to watch and difficult to manage. As although his medication stabilizes the rollercoaster during the day, in the evening I feel like I’m walking on eggshells. I have to tread ever so gently, hoping he won’t break.

But that’s okay. My job is to keep him safe whilst he is young. And to do all that I can to help reduce the impact of his ADHD symptoms, thus ensuring he has a bright future. And he will, for I’ve already begun fostering in him the self-awareness and self-understanding, along with the skills and strategies, he will need to one day manage his emotional challenges independently, so he can thrive and enjoy all life has to offer.

Tips For Adults


If you’d like to work on better managing your emotional regulation challenges and rejection sensitivity, here are some tips that may help:

  • Knowledge is power: to help you develop a deep understanding of your emotional dysregulation challenges read this: Emotional Dysregulation
  • Forewarned is forearmed: the most effective way of managing the emotional challenges associated with ADHD is to pre-empt them in the first place as this enables you to put in place strategies to:
    • Mitigate or avoid your triggers altogether.
    • Reduce your triggers sensitivity. For example, medication (stimulants plus or minus antidepressants), sleep, diet, exercise, meditation, all reduce trigger sensitivity. As can planning what you could say to yourself prior to entering a potentially challenging situation so you’re better able to use speech to self (your verbal working memory) to self-soothe and maintain control.
    • Help you rein in your emotions if you find yourself triggered and experience emotional flooding. For example, planning and practicing ahead of time strategies such as deep breathing, meditation, mantras, and speech to self.
  • Bring your loved ones on board: explaining to your family why you struggle with your emotions, what makes it harder to cope and how they can communicate with you to reduce your challenges, can also greatly reduce emotional regulation challenges.


Tips for Parents


If you’re looking to foster self-regulation skills in your child with ADHD, the tips in these posts found on Thrive with ADHD may be of assistance to you:

Minimizing Meltdowns

Fostering Positive Social Interactions


Originally published as Rollercoasters and Eggshells: Emotional Dysregulation and Rejection Sensitivity by Lou Brown of Thriving with ADD, Lou is an ADHD coach, advocate and author from Australia. Follow her on Facebook.

Rollercoaster Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash – Modified on





Making Peace with ADHD: Priorities and Acceptance

November 2018 Newsletter


Dear readers,

Hope you are well this season. I especially hope that you have avoided the illnesses that have struck my own family this past month.

It’s been rough.  I was only sick for a week, but my mother and husband have both had pneumonia.  My husband spent ten days in the hospital and Mom was both hospitalized and in Rehab to regain her strength and balance for weeks longer. All I had to do is visit once a day and bring them things that they wanted, and now take them to all the follow-up Doctor visits, but that has been just about all that I can handle.

Worry, feeling alone, and changes to my schedule and routines all took their toll. I missed the coaching groups and body double sessions that keep me on track producing a newsletter each month. Fortunately, my basic habits and routines DID remain in place. The bills got paid, the laundry got done, I ate regularly if not always well, and did the dishes. I even trusted in the Doctors and nurses and managed to sleep well. THAT would NOT have happened in the years prior to my diagnosis at forty years of age. Still, I have judged myself for not handling the stress well and have been ashamed of my lack of productivity.

This month I am inspired by two articles dealing with grief and acceptance of ADHD.  In “Can you Make Peace with your Child’s Differences?,” parent coach Elaine Taylor-Klaus reminds us, “To support our “complex” kids in their growth and development, we often need to shift those images we created when they were little, changing our expectations to meet the child we have, not the child we thought we would have. Of course, that means changing our dreams for ourselves, as well.”

Coach Elaine is NOT alone in these feelings of somehow “failing” at parenting.  Her article is directed at parents, but many adults also mourn their own lost years – the failures, intermittent successes, and self-doubt caused by the disorder.

Coach Lou Brown tells her story of how understanding the many ways that undiagnosed ADHD has impacted her life has helped her deal with the grieving process in “Coming to Terms with ADHD,”  Moving forward, one small step at a time, she has developed a self-acceptance that has helped her create a better life for herself and her son.

Why is it that our quest for “normal” has left such deep scars? I believe that it may just be because in many ways ADHD is a problem with productivity.  We have moved work into a place of priority in our lives. That which we struggle with the most has become our measurement for our own self-worth.

As I was feeling bad about everything I HADN’T gotten done last month, I happened upon a note in my husband’s doctor’s office that changed my ADDitude for the better.

Doctor Craddock says:


  1. Yourself
  2. Your family
  3. Your friends
  4. Work

Perhaps I didn’t fail to meet my obligations after all. I just had others that were of higher PRIORITY.

To determine your own priorities, I like a recent post by Jaclyn Paul of the ADHD Homestead, What’s Working Lately: Small Hearts. Its subtitle is self-explanatory: Use small goals and simple tools to create good habits and achieve your dreams with Adult ADHD.  Jaclyn has a number of ideas for managing your goals by using schedules adjusted for your energy levels and previous commitments, as well through building tiny habits that lead to routines that promote growth.

Our video this month is How to (Explain) ADHD. At 7 ½-minutes, these facts from and descriptive metaphors submitted by the community are well worth your time.



Enjoy. Take care and be well,

Joan Jager



Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash – Modified on








Can you Make Peace with your Child’s Differences?

By Elaine Taylor-Klaus, Professional Coach, Trainer, Co-Founder ImpactADHD


Warning: This blog is not about your kids. It’s about you, and about how having an “outside the box” kid can affect you as a parent. And, it’s about how I finally found some peace with it.


My child marches to the beat of a different drummer than most kids her age. Frankly, she’s listening to an entirely different orchestra! And no matter how much I know that it’s actually a good thing for her to dance to her own music, it can be really hard for me to keep dancing myself when I have no clue what music I’m dancing to most of the time.

Once we have children, their lives influence ours, their friends’ parents become ours, their schools become a focus of our attention, and their activities become an outlet for our volunteerism. We are enmeshed in each other’s worlds. For most of us, long before they get there, we create a vision of what it will be like when our children achieve certain milestones – kindergarten, school dances & proms, graduations. Alongside that vision, we create a picture of what the experience will be like for us.

To support our “complex” kids in their growth and development, we often need to shift those images we created when they were little, changing our expectations to meet the child we have, not the child we thought we would have. Of course, that means changing our dreams for ourselves, as well.

It’s difficult for parents to shift expectations for our kids. I’ve come to believe that it’s even harder to change what we envision for ourselves!

So over the years, with a particularly “quirky” kid, I have found myself a little lost with each of her childhood milestones, out of sync with my friends and – to be totally honest – mesmerized and a little jealous. It’s been hard to find my place as a parent among my own peers when my daughter has chosen a path so different from hers.

This has happened so many times, now, that you’d think I’d be accustomed to it. But I’m not. It still has the ability to hit me like a ton of bricks. This year’s graduation season was no exception.

As I attended the HS graduation ceremony of a school I once expected my daughter to graduate from –and watched her peers, a few friends, and my niece cross a stage that she would never cross – I found myself intensely conflicted. It’s not that I wanted my daughter to be there. Okay, well, it would have been nice. But would I trade what was best for her for my comfort as a parent? No way! So I supported the many children I’ve known all these years and their parents who were once my peers. And I cried, co-mingling tears of joy and sadness.

The following week David and I attended our daughter’s graduation at another school, in another state. It’s a long and complicated story that I won’t go into here – I’m still trying to figure out how best to share it – but the bottom line is that she graduated in a small class of 15 kids in a school dedicated to “2E” Education– education for kids who are twice exceptional, both gifted and challenged.

We attended the lovely backyard-style graduation, surrounded by parents we didn’t know. At first, I felt like a guest at my own wedding. Then, I realized that I had more in common with these parents than all of my friends at the other school. THESE parents fully understood our journey, though they didn’t know us at all. THESE parents understood what it means to raise an intensely bright, complicated child. THESE parents had also struggled with the challenges of educating a child for whom “doing school” did not come naturally or easily.

So in addition to earning a High School diploma — which was hard won, to say the least — my daughter reached a major milestone alongside her peers. She marched in a cap and gown – and floral-lined combat boots – her successes, both in and out of school, acknowledged and celebrated. I sat reveling in my peers, parents I didn’t know but who understood my parenting experience in a way that was surprisingly gratifying!

Even though I’ve grown to accept and embrace my daughter’s approach to life, sometimes I still find myself left standing on the sidelines of a game she’s no longer playing. As I look around, it seems like I should be in the right place. But then I remember that my child left the field, in search of a game better suited for her. I’m really proud of her for that! And I’m learning to take a deep breath, smile to myself, and either enjoy the game I’m watching – or give myself permission to do something else.

At the end of the day (or, rather, a very long High School career), my daughter’s High School graduation reminded me that as my daughter’s path shifts, so, too, will mine. It’s okay that I don’t know the other parents on the new route. We understand each other. And let’s be serious, at the end of this long educational adventure called childhood, that is what I’ve wanted all along.


 “This article originally appeared on and is reproduced with permission.”

Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash  – Modified on

enews: ADHD Tips for You and Your Family

ADHD Tips for You and Your Family

July 2018

Welcome to summer. I’m looking forward to enjoying 93 days of warmer weather and longer hours of daylight. Hope you have a chance to take a few day trips, invite friends over or take a relaxing vacation.

So sorry, but I need your help again with getting the Newsletter out to people that would actually like to receive it. I find it necessary to abandon my current email list and start anew. Please sign up for my new list when you click through to the Newsletter.

Through my work, I hope you will better understand ADHD, how and when it affects our lives and help you and your family get a handle on living a full and satisfying life.

Thanks go to ADHD advocate Kari Taylor Hogan and to ADHD coach Linda Walker for our feature articles about addressing your ADHD symptoms with self-compassion. Both offer effective strategies to improve your functioning in:

16 Steps to Better Self-Esteem with ADHD and
12 Great Strategies that Help ADHers Thrive.

We also have a video from Dr. Charles Parker explaining that ADHD is NOT 24-7 and when ADHD symptoms are most likely to interfere.

Parents may find the next two articles useful. They address what to expect if your child was just diagnosed with ADHD and how to deal with difficult transitions through a simple positive parenting technique: S.M.I.L.E.  You can also enjoy two short Videos from the ADHD Mama.


You’ll find the July Newsletter here.


Thanks for looking over this preview. Please sign up for our new email list if you like what you see.


Take care of yourself and your family.

Joan Jager


Visit us on Facebook or Pinterest

See last year’s Newsletters here.

(Image courtesy of Kookkai_nak/

ADHD Tips for You and your Family

July 2018 Newsletter

According to ADHD pioneer, Ned Hallowell, M.D, education is the first step in identifying and treating ADHD. Unfortunately, we often start our education about ADHD having to overcome fear and stigma, myths, and partial, often negative information. Misunderstanding abounds. We are still learning, but reliable information is now available to help you get a good start on living well with ADHD.  I share some of what I’ve learned on the last twenty years through my website and newsletter, as well as ADD freeSources’ Facebook and Pinterest pages.

It’s important to understand that ADHD is NOT 24/7! Indeed, ADHD symptoms most often interfere in specific situations when increased variables and decreased structure leads to an absence of focus. This meme outlines what Dr. Charles Parker, author of ADHD Medication Rules proposes in his 5-minute video Reality- ADHD in Context(Sorry, the embed link doesn’t work)

We are often SO hard on ourselves that dealing with many problems stemming from ADHD is secondary to the emotional upheaval this self-deprecation brings. One thing that really really helps is to address your ADHD symptoms with self-compassion and learn new strategies to improve your functioning. Both of the following articles do a wonderful job providing great basic information and encouragement.

16 Steps to Better Self-Esteem with ADHD by Kari Taylor Hogan

  • Your first step is STRUCTURE.
    By creating structure, each day, you’re giving yourself a reason to wake up and get out of bed!
  • The second step echoes the first step. Set up a daily to-do list. This will give you a sense of accomplishment (it gives you a reason to be proud of yourself).
  • FOCUS on your good qualities. Look in the mirror and choose 5 things about yourself that you DO like about you! Write these 5 things down and tape it to the mirror (changing the 5 things each week). By choosing 5 things you do like about yourself, you’re creating hope and mindfulness that goes deep down to create an inner peace. Inner peace leads to a sense of power and in a matter of weeks, a more confident you!
  • Be your own cheerleader! No one else will do it for you. Your only concern should be you. If you have to, tell yourself, “I can do this”, “I am going to do great”, “I AM worthy”.
  • Learn to LIKE yourself. Meditation works wonders!! Sit in a quiet place for 10 minutes and just breathe in and exhale all of that negativity.        Finish article here.

What if you decided to rely more on your strengths? Your approach to managing your ADHD could look quite different.12 Great Strategies that Help ADHers Thrive by ADHD coach Linda Walker PCC, B. Admin. takes a slightly different but still valid approach.

  1. Take advantage of your strengths. Identify what you’re strong in and find ways to do more of it. Keep a journal and note down when you’ve managed to learn something particularly well.  You know, when you realize “you’re a natural” at something, this is almost always an indication that you are playing to your strengths.
  2. Surround yourself with people who can embrace your differences and who accept you for who you are and for what you are not.
  3. Determine what ADHD traits aren’t going so well for you and your loved ones and consider what could change. Even though you want others to accept you, you also want to live in harmony with others. This may mean you’ll need to modify some of your behavior to reduce the negative challenges of ADHD.   See complete article.


Parents, with or without ADHD themselves, are often bewildered by their child’s behavior and feel helpless to help. Traditional ways to “discipline’ and “train up your child” use methods that just plain do not work with ADHD. They don’t address their child’s needs or the way their brain’s work. Attempts at strict parenting often backfire and cause pain and estrangement for the whole family. Understanding the ADHD mind, learning to parent with empathy without taking their behavior personally, and keeping communication open is a real challenge.

I like what Kristen Mae says about her family’s journey in If Your Child Was Just Diagnosed with ADHD, Here’s What I Want You to Know  “These days, ADHD is just another cog in the machinery of our lives. It’s a part of Lucas, a frustration, and an endearment at the same time. We are old pros at modifying our lives to accommodate ADHD, and we are not afraid…”

ADD freeSources - Bring Understanding of ADHD into the Light

Bring understanding of ADHD into the light.

So this is what I want to tell parents of a child with a new ADHD diagnosis: It gets better.”

The website won’t allow linking to their article. To read it in its entirety, copy and paste:




Yes, with help, you can learn to recognize those situations where ADHD symptoms are most likely to occur.  Maybe even get your kids up, ready and out the door to school on time without yelling or crying. Transitions, or moving from one activity to another are often a challenge that leads to family upheaval, angry and upset parents and children.

To help with transitions, 5 simple positive parenting techniques using the anagram, S.M.I.L.E.  are detailed in The Power of Positive Transitions by Melissa Fahrney.

S-Smile and take deep, slow breaths.

M- Meet them where they are.

I-Incorporate Fun!

L-Let them lead-both in the moment and in planning the transition. Ask, don’t tell.

E-Energy. If you’re smiling and breathing, you’ve started tapping into your heart energy.

To read more, copy and paste:


For a more on children and great parenting tips, see these short videos form new Vlogger ADHD Mama, AKA, Laura Von Poirier II.

Brain Development in your ADHers  3-minutes  What’s going on in there and better ways to react in disconcerting situations. Understand that many of their actions and reactions reflect a delay in Executive functions or Self-regulation skills more like those of a child 30% younger.


For more parenting tips, try these 6-steps based on understanding and compassion to Help Your ADHDer with their Big Emotions (and take responsibility for their actions.)  6-minutes


Goodbye for now. Hope you’ve found useful information, new strategies, and some comfort here,


Joan Jager

ADD freeSources

(House and Family Image courtesy of Kookkai_nak/




Parent Training Providers

Understanding ADHD and learning effective Parenting strategiesUnderstanding ADHD, Executive Function delays, emotional and sensory overwhelm, as well as behavior therapy techniques – International ADHD non-profit – Listen to a few podcasts for free Parent training – Managing mornings and Transitioning to adulthood. Parent to Parent Training Programs – Online group Training program – 8 sessions for $200 to $20 for non-members – Content and Objectives PDF


ImpactADD | Helping Parents Help Kids – with Elaine Taylor-Klaus and Diane Dempster et al. Offer Parent coaching – Group or private coaching, online programs, and a great blog. See their store for prices and to purchase their book: Parenting ADHD Now: Easy Intervention Strategies to Empower Kids with ADHD

Parent coaching with PTS Coaching – Cindy Goldrich – Individual or group training – Good blog. Workshops in New York City area. See her book – 8 Keys to Parenting Children with ADHD

Check out the many resources at Blocked to Brilliant with Yafa Crane Luria. Individual coaching also available with pricing varies according to support offered. Yafa also has a great blog – Book: How to Train Your Parents in 6 Days  Yafa can be reached at her website:

 Celebrate Calm with Kirk Martin and son – Understanding difficult children with effective parenting and teaching techniques Podcasts CDs and Workbooks also available.

Parenting ADHD and Autism Penny Williams, aka, the ADHD Momma, guides and mentors parents raising kids with ADHD and/or autism. Weekly podcasts. She’s the award-winning author of three books on parenting ADHD — Boy Without InstructionsWhat to Expect When Parenting Children with ADHD, and The Insider’s Guide to ADHD Penny offers a few FREE or inexpensive email courses, an Online Parent training course or private sessions.

Nurture and Thrive – Blog and Private Facebook group with Ashley Soderlund Ph.D. Understanding how young children deal with stress and emotion


Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Modified on Canva




ADHD: Acceptance and feeling worthy. Own your story.

Be aware of how ADHD affects you. Know that you are worthy to seek help and get the best treatment available.April 2108 Newsletter Greeting


“How well have you accepted your ADHD or that your child has Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder? Do you doubt the diagnosis or feel helpless in the face of the many challenges in your personal or family life?

ADHD is NO ONE’S fault, but once you know about it, it is your RESPONSIBILITY. You and/or your child deserve to handle everyday life without undue stress and strain. Why? Because you are WORTH it.

None of us are NORMAL. It doesn’t exist. All of us are somehow DIFFERENT. An article reporting on a Yale University study claims that all traits exist somewhere along a spectrum, “…Nobody is Normal. This complicates matters for medical professionals, but a moderate to high degree of impairment determines whether the criteria for a diagnosis is met. Since an evaluation for ADHD requires that impairment be present in two or more settings, some type of intervention is indicated and could be of great value. Choosing to medicate and/or develop an ADHD friendly environment and a “bag of strategies and tricks” helps to “level the playing field.”  Get to know your strengths, the ways that ADHD impacts your life, and develop a few ways to DO something about it!

I began to think about the power of self-acceptance and feeling worthy after watching “Take your Pills” on NetFlix. Once again, the ADHD community has come under attack by the popular media. The latest volley is in the guise of a documentary.

Jessica McCabe of the How to ADD YouTube channel reviews this attack and expresses her feelings well. “Controversy sells, and the media knows it. So a lot of what we see, read, and hear about ADHD and ADHD treatment either misrepresents the facts or is flat-out meant to scare us.” Jessica offers a more balanced perspective with science-backed information on ADHD, the value of medication and other strategies proven effective for treating ADHD. You’ll find her video near the end of the newsletter.

I was confused and disturbed by comments made by a few people interviewed for the program. Although most were diagnosed with ADHD, many didn’t really “own” their ADHD or take it seriously.  Even while indicating a positive response to medication, some seemed to feel like they were somehow cheating by using it, and further, resented needing any intervention at all. Like too many of us with the disorder, they also questioned the necessity of dealing with their ADHD, believing that they SHOULD be able to do it all on their own by “just focusing” and “powering through.”

So many of us just don’t know enough to name the unique ways our own ADHD is expressed. We also don’t realize or track the benefits of medication or other strategies to create better coping skills. For help with this, see Response to Treatment Rating Scales on this site. 

WHY do we have such denial? We struggle to accept help and develop twisted stories about ourselves.  I feel this re-written history lies in not accepting ourselves, misunderstanding what ADHD is and is not, and not feeling that we are “worthy” of asking for help or support.

Happily, some people in the documentary accept their ADHD and appreciated the benefits of being appropriately medicated. Like those of us actively addressing their symptoms, they also talk about using proven treatments like basic self-care, coaching, therapy, and other ways to bolster executive functions and control their emotions. Realizing what “turned on” their interest-driven nervous system, they felt better able to cope with their weakness and harness the power of their strengths and values. You’ll find a number of tools to help with this in Self Advocacy for ADHD: Know yourself.

But, “so many of us feel unworthy. We feel that we’re not good enough, we don’t fit in, and we don’t matter. We’re overly self-critical, fixating on our flaws and failures. We think we need to be perfect and successful in order to have value.” ~ Sharon Martin, LCSW. This feeling is not specific to ADHD by any means. It is a universal plague on most of humankind. Martin writes about dealing with these destructive feelings in 5 Ways We Compromise Our Self-Worth and How to Rebuild It.  

When you believe in your own worth and are willing to seek outside intervention to improve your life, ADHD need not be a barrier to success. You CAN find greater happiness in your life through knowledge, true acceptance of the disorder, and practicing empathy in how we speak and behave towards your child or self and seeking help. Don’t try to do it all alone!

ADHD Living has a wonderful article on the importance of outside support.  “If ADHD is your challenge, support is a must. ADHD is a major mental health concern that can greatly impact your life and the lives of others around you. It deserves a certain level of time and attention paid to it.” According to Dr. Ned Hallowell, M.D., connection with others reinforces our feelings of worth and reassures us that we are NOT alone. People who care about our well-being can provide invaluable advice. I was lucky enough to have an ADHD support group in my own town, but you can find lots of ideas for finding support here. Other means of support are ADHD coaches and Coaching groups.

Feelings of unworthiness and non-acceptance of yourself confuse the issue of treatment and compound the problems inherent in ADHD’s impact on our lives. I found four new articles this month that expand on this theme. They offer valuable help for anyone interested in looking at ADHD in a new light and in learning about adjustments they can take to improve their mental health.  My thanks to these three writers who have so graciously shared their work.

I started to be real about my ADHD. I needed help.Liz Lewis of A Dose of Healthy Distraction provided 5 Lies I Tell Myself about Having ADHD. I’m sure you’ll recognize many of these rationalizations from your own story.

Ann Doyle has just begun to write about ADHD in Small Town Wife.  You’ll find some great tips in her Parenting ADHD: 7 Steps for the Newly Diagnosed.

Freya Cheffers of Never a Dull Moment – Life and ADHD on Facebook shares two articles this month. Both offer a refreshing view of ADHD, outlining many positives of people with ADHD without ignoring their very real challenges in a neurotypical world. According to the author of the aforementioned study from Yale on no one REALLY being “normal,”  “There’s a level of variability in every one of our behaviors,” and “no behavior is solely negative or solely positive. There are potential benefits for both, depending on the context you’re placed in.”

You CAN reassure your kids that they have a bright future. “ Just because you don’t do school that well does not mean you’re going to have a bad time for the rest of your life.”Freya lists a number of positives about ADHD in 10 Things I Love about People with ADHD. See if you agree with her opinion.

When Cheya’s son asked her about what kind of future he could expect, she shared her own story. She attributed her own experiences and accomplishments DIRECTLY to thinking and acting in ways that suited her NATURAL ways of learning and being.  See Mum, Do You Think I have a Bleak Future?  to listen in on this reassuring conversation.



We have one short video this month on validation and Jessica’s review of “Take your Pills” mentioned earlier. I link to another 1-minute video from ADDitudeMag and also include a 2 ½-minute classic just for fun.

Finding Happiness in Neurodiversity with Shawn Smith, Me.D., CCC, founder and consultant of Don’t dis-my-ability. (One-minute preview.)

“We often feel that validation comes from people liking us. But that’s not true…It comes from within. You’re not going to gain acceptance from other people because that means you’re trying to be something that you are not.” * For the complete interview and transcription, the podcast is on Different

Why I’m Upset at Netflix’s New Documentary “Take Your Pills   (9 ½ minutes) with Jessica McCabe of the YouTube channel How to ADHD

Your Unique ADHD Brain Chemistry – Produced by ADDitudeMag, this is a 1-minute video on the ADHD interest driven nervous system, as proposed by Dr. William Dodson.

Sh*t  no one with ADHD says 2 ½-minutes) from TotallyADD
This tongue-in-cheek video was unfairly flagged for bad language, so take the time watch it to help keep it on YouTube. (Editor’s note: After 20 years of working on my foibles, these situations no longer apply to me – at least not very often.)

I’ll close with a mantra from Sharon Stone to help rebuild your feelings of self-worth.
“My self-worth doesn’t depend on being liked or being perfect. I can choose to accept myself and live knowing I’m just as worthy as everyone else. We’re all different, of course, but there doesn’t have to be any judgment or comparison.
Today I will rebuild my self-worth by… “

Thanks for your attention. If you find help or reassurance here, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Joan Jager

(Image courtesy of adamr/ Modified on



PARENTING THE CHILD WITH ADHD: Mum, Do You Think I Have a Bleak Future?


You CAN reassure your kids that they have a bright future. “ Just because you don’t do school that well does not mean you’re going to have a bad time for the rest of your life.”Guest post by Freya Cheffers from
Never a Dull Moment – Life and ADHD


In the car this morning, my son Jasper, who has ADHD, said to me, “Mum, do you think I have a bleak future ahead?”

I took a deep breath, pushed my emotions aside and said this to my boy, “Honey you have the brightest, shiniest future ahead. Just because you don’t do school that well does not mean you’re going to have a bad time for the rest of your life. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.”

He then asked, “How do you know?”

I answered, “Because I was a lot like you at school. I found classes so boring. I couldn’t understand what the teacher was saying. I never got A’s and was always in trouble. I even hated art class! Because I couldn’t learn art the way they taught it to me!

Jas listened, a surprised look on his face. I continued while I had his attention.

As soon as I left school I didn’t look back. I went to TAFE (Australia’s Vocational and Training Schools) and did a course in hospitality. TAFE was so fun, so much better than school, and there I met my best friend Tam who I moved to Sydney with. We worked in restaurants and met people from all over the world, danced with new friends on beaches in Bondi at moonlight and became inspired to see more of the world. I saved up enough money and left Australia and went traveling through Asia on my own! Imagine that! I was 19!!! Tam went to Israel and Egypt. We met up in London, worked, partied and traveled more countries together.

I came home and became a chef. I started my own catering business, I ran restaurants.

I learned to paint and had 2 near sellout exhibitions with friends. I hated art at school but loved learning by painting with friends and looking through art books for inspiration.

I’ve opened shops, gone into fashion design, imported from Morocco and lived in Bali.

And my biggest achievement, I created you and your little brother!

I have my ADHD to thank for most of that and not once have I ever looked back and thought about school.”

Jas asked, “How come you have your ADHD to thank?

I responded, “I just know because I do life differently to others that are considered ‘normal’. My impulsivity leads me into new adventures. I learn kinesthetically and have a creative brain. I think outside of the box – just like you do. All of this, plus a large amount of excitable energy, has helped me be who I am today, even though I didn’t fit into the school system.

So to answer your question – you have a very bright future ahead, full of fun and adventure. No matter if you go college, TAFE, get a trade or a degree, or take some time out to go travelling. Life is one big adventure and you just have to find things you enjoy doing along the way, get good at those things, try new things, give everything and anything a go and you’ll be absolutely ok! Doesn’t that sound exciting?”

Jasper agreed, and said, “I definitely want to go traveling mum!” And I said, “You will for sure, just find work that helps you to travel!”

And I could see him thinking about his shiny future ahead, and I had a feeling that he had a feeling, everything is going to be ok.


About the author: Freya Cheffers lives in Cowaramup, Western Australia. She writes about her family and ADHD on her Facebook page, Never a Dull Moment – Life with ADHD. I follow her posts with interest.

Originally published at

Found on

(Image courtesy of dan/ Modified on


ADHD in the Family

February 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to February,

In the Northwest, we’ve been luckier than others around the country this winter.  Although it’s been wet, our mild winter is already yielding to spring.  I’m already enjoying the hours of light lengthen each day and watching crocuses and other early bulbs emerge.

Hope good weather arrives soon for you as well. ***(View newsletter online:

ADHD affects everyone in the family. Here’s helpADHD in the Family: Working Together for Peace, Love, and Understanding

ADHD impacts everyone in the Family.  Understanding the complexity of ADHD and developing strategies for your home and personal life are important steps to coming to accept and deal with challenges. This month, I have a mix of articles for both parents and adults. The first celebrates keeping peace in the family and love alive in your relationship.  Next is an extensive article I’ve been working on detailing the new perspectives on ADHD.  If you prefer videos to reading, I’ve included a few short ones further expand on the topic. The final articles offer ideas you can tailor to fit your own needs, like using music to keep on task and decluttering your home and/or office. Hope you find some “treasures” this month.


"Being a member of a family with ADHD can be exhausting, nerve-wracking and absolutely frustrating. And I think what I found most frustrating is that I thought I had no control over anything. Once I learned that there were some things I could do to make life with ADHD better for all of us, the building process began and the frustration diminished."How I Fixed my ADHD Husband by ADHD coach Linda Walker

“What I found most frustrating is that I thought I had no control over anything.” “Once I learned that there were some things I could do to make life with ADHD better for all of us, the building process began and the frustration diminished.” (Note: Duane Gordon is the current President of ADHD for Adults)  






ADHD Grows Up:

New Perspectives on ADHD  by Joan Jager

Attention problems, Hyperactivity and Distraction symptoms for diagnosis in childhood are just the tip of the iceberg. Many aspects of ADHD, especially in adults, are now better defined as developmentally delayed Executive functions and poor emotional control. Coexisting conditions or comorbidities further compound the issue. This realization has been slowly changing how we understand ADHD and its expression throughout the lifespan(Includes a number of videos for further information. )

The Benefits of Music Therapy for Kids with ADHD by Charles Carpenter

Music helps with many challenges of kids with ADHD. Studying music can teach listening skills, patience and the ability to pick up on cues. Music can not only get one’s brain moving, but it also helps with psychical coordination.

18-5-minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering your Mess8 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering your Mess by Leo Babauta

Out of clutter comes simplicity.  Baby steps are important. Start with just five minutes. Sure, five minutes will barely make a dent in your mountain, but it’s a start. Celebrate!


Take care of yourself and each other,

Joan Jager

ADD  – On Pinterest and Facebook


Photo credits:

Newsletter Title: (Photo courtesy of pakorn/FreeDigitalPhoto Facebook) Modified on Canva 

Crocuses (Photo courtesy of kookai_nak/

How I Fixed my Husband (Linda Walker with her husband Duane Gordon from Modified on Canva

ADHD Grows Up (Photo downloaded from Facebook – Credit unknown)

Music Theory for Kids with ADHD (Photo courtesy of Debspoon/

18 Five-Minute De-cluttering Tips (Photo by Idea go/