I hope you all enjoyed what seemed to me like a mini winter break! A great one and mini indeed. During this first newsletter of 2012, I want to continue sharing the learnings from CHADD. I will also use this venue to focus on the role of parenting a child who has ADHD (although it applies to parenting as a whole). Don’t miss my Final Thoughts - as I will explore the notion that as parents we are constantly sending messages to our children. Jim Taylor, a parenting expert, states that our children tend to become the messages they hear! I can hear all of us saying “that’s a big responsibility!” Yes it is and I am here to inform you that in most cases we are sending the right messages... and it’s worth noticing and creating awareness around this theme. It is not about self-judgement - it is awareness and making the best choices at the present moment. I know that can be a challenge, I am also a parent!
Looking forward to continue paying attention to the messages we send and receive! To our continued personal growth,
CHADD Conference Highlights: The Learning Continues!
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
“How can I support my son/daughter in this coaching process?” Dr. Jose Bauermeister gave a brilliant outlook that focuses on answering that question.
In a NUTSHELL:
• be proactive, empower them, allow them to learn to manage their condition and promote their strengths and skills!
• react but don't over react to the difficulties faced or mistakes made, and
• adopt a helpful parenting style not a punitive one.
Dr. Bauermeister offered some concrete points to strengthen the parent/child relationship:
1. Effective communication-- does not include a lot of interrogation. It is vital to keep a positive balance and not only offer criticism, advice or punishment. Recognize the effort the student is making.
2. Empathy -- “How would I feel if I had ADHD?”
3. Learn about ourselves as parents -- “Do we have ADHD? Are we super organized? Rigid?” If you need it, look for help and remember the analogy of the adult in the airplane needing an air mask “place one over your mouth and nose before helping others around you”. Take time for yourself.
4. Strengthen self esteem: Identify your child’s unique strengths and interests; it's ok to make mistakes, focus not only on the end result but also on the effort, recognize small achievements, discover/develop and enjoy their strengths and skills.
Tips & Resources
Many of you received ipads, ipods or iphones for the holidays. Here are some great apps to check!
IEP Checklist, Inclass, Corkulous, Do it (Tomorrow) HD, Reminder Pro, Smartr, Opus Domini, Pomodoro, TimeKeeper, Myhomework, and Penultimate.
I am now reading The Parents We Mean to Be by Richard Weissbourd.
Any ideas? Suggestions? I'm here ... contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In My Own Words... By EW
I am aware that not everyone has a coach. I am grateful to have one and I’ve found ways to motivate myself, use perspectives to get things done, and approach things in reasonable and rational ways to accomplish things more easily. I have shared my knowledge and skills with some of my friends. Today I dared them to do something that will push them into doing bigger things while holding them accountable. Holding others accountable for something they need to do but might not be motivated to do so is the biggest gift. In this meeting I was doing the most dares -- I had a coaching voice. I sound like Ana!
Coaching is not just about having someone to work with -- but it is also something I have to do. I may not have all the answers but I have the skills to move forward!
Take a moment to look back... your child as a toddler... your child as a preschooler... in elementary school...
Try to place yourself as the parent you were during those milestones... how did you feel? Were you certain that your child was ready to face the world? What message did you send your child?
In the book Your Children are Listening, Jim Taylor presents a wonderful analogy. When the child is young the parent is the principal artist painting on a canvas. Taylor asks the question, “When does the child take over and refine the work of art until s/he makes it a self portrait?” Does the parent hold the hand or lets go and allows the child to choose the colors? Does the parent step back and watch -- holding back the words... “red would have been great there” or “if you would have colored the way I told you...”
Step ahead, our children are now in High School and College, are we still painting for them? Are we slowly allowing them to choose the colors, the strokes? How does the painting look? Did she make mistakes and had to correct them?
Experts say that Middle School is the time to create the space for your child to start ‘painting by herself.’ To become by trial and error who they are meant to be. Unless you want to go to College with them (I mention this as a joke and there’s plenty of truth behind) they need to learn how to choose, how to discern their values and beliefs, how to make mistakes and rebound and how to connect with others around them.
If as parents we don’t allow them to paint on their own - what message are we communicating? That they don’t know how to? That their work is not good enough?
We are constant messaging machines. We send messages while we role-model, with the words we use, our body language -- and even through the quality of our relationship with them. Sometimes our buttons are pushed and we send messages we don’t even believe in! All along we have been sending messages to our children... If you fear you’ve been sending the wrong messages -- it’s never too late to change the story!
The question is HOW? We need to spend time defining the message we want to send. Let’s look at our values and beliefs as a good starting place. How can we prepare our children to live in a world that is mostly unforeseeable/out of their and our control?
Do you believe in your child? Words and actions need to match! Do you believe that your child will encounter success? -- is that the message you are sending?
In my practice I have found that aside from the messages our children receive they need to explore, define and own their strengths in order to move forward. Wouldn’t it be a great experiment if as parents we choose to notice the good, the strengths and find ways to communicate the message? Join me on this experiment?
Ana Isabel Sánchez
Coach ADD Life Skills, LLC
11140 Rockville Pike Suite 550-K
Rockville, MD 20852
office 301. 468.5950