Do you suspect your child has ADHD? Don't miss today's show with Dr. Tamara Rosier. She is the author of “Your Brain’s Not Broken: Strategies for Navigating Your Emotions and Life with ADHD.” She runs the ADHD Center of West Michigan and is president of the ADHD Coaches Organization.
In this episode, we cover:
Parenting Challenges with Raising a Child with ADHD:
Looking for the Positives of ADHD
Tips for parents raising a child with ADHD.
This podcast is produced by www.CreatingaFamily.org. We are a national non-profit with the mission to strengthen and inspire adoptive, foster & kinship parents and the professionals who support them. Creating a Family brings you the following trauma-informed, expert-based content:
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Please pardon any errors, this is an automated transcript.
Dawn Davenport 0:00
Welcome, everyone to Creating a Family talk about foster adoptive and kinship care. I'm Dawn Davenport. I am the host of this show, and the director of the nonprofit creating a family thought for today we're going to be talking about raising a child with ADHD to a successful and healthy adulthood. We will be talking with Dr. Tamara Rosier. She has her doctorate in teaching and learning. She is the author of your brain's not broken strategies for navigating your emotions in life with ADHD. And she runs the ADHD center of West Michigan, and she is the president of the ADHD coaches organization. I want to remind everybody that this show is part of our Back to School series. This is the third of the shows that we have done. So if you didn't listen to the show last week, which was on understanding and navigating that special education in the IEP and 504 process. And then the one before that two weeks ago was preparing your transracial adoptee for college. So make sure that you check those out as well. We've got lots of resources in the back to school series that we are doing, you can find all of them at creating a family.org/back to school. We've got shows we've got tip sheets, we've got articles, blogs, we've got a lot of information there. It is evidence based trauma informed and it is terrific. Have to creating a family got born slash home and we're back to school. Thanks. Welcome, Dr. rosier to creating a family. Hey, it's
Unknown Speaker 1:40
great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Dawn Davenport 1:42
A number of my children have been diagnosed with ADHD. So this is this is hitting pretty darn close to home. So I am thankful to be talking with you. All right, just for our audience. We're going to organize this discussion today. And four parts. And we will end with tips we always try when relevant to end with tips for parents, because it really kind of synthesizes all of the information into a way that parents can understand. So our four parts are going to be understanding ADHD, treating ADHD, and then some of the parenting challenges with raising a child with ADHD, and then looking for some of the positives with a diagnosis of ADHD. All right, so let's start part one, understanding ADHD. Let's begin there. What is ADHD?
Speaker 2 2:37
Yeah, well, you know, it's so interesting. ADHD is so misunderstood across our population. And so the first thing I would really want your listeners to understand, is ADHD is a neurological difference. Which means we process information differently. And if we keep it there, we really start to understand what ADHD is, in is not in so let me I'm just going to nerd out just for a quick second. For your listeners, I promise I won't go deep. Okay. But if your listeners tap their forehead, right behind where they're tapping, that's called the prefrontal cortex. And the prefrontal cortex is the place where executive functions happen. I think Halliwell calls it like having a conductor. I call it having a butler in your head in my book I refer to having a butler. And this Butler is nice and calm. And it says, Tamra, it's time to leave for work now. And I say good job, Butler. And I leave. And you guessed it, those of us with ADHD, we don't have that comb, Butler to think ahead to plan instead. Now if your listeners kind of tap around their ear, put their fingers around the ear. This is approximately where the Olympics Center is located. And the Olympic center is very, very active. Those of us with ADHD, and our overactive limbic Center, this is where fight flight or freeze comes in. And so you're going to see those of us with ADHD, kind of acting out a fight or flight or freeze. It's interesting, because my neurotypical daughter, the daughter without ADHD is home from college this summer. And she's a delightful person, and she works for the ADHD center. And there's times I'll go and I just startled. She's like, Oh my gosh, like, Oh, I forgot to change the laundry. And see she doesn't have ADHD, so she doesn't rely on her limbic system to tell her to change the laundry and startles. Instead, she's nice and calm. And her Butler who is working just fine, by the way, goes in about 10 minutes, I'll change your laundry. And so frequently, she's like, Oh, I think you're overreacting. Well, I'm not overreacting, I'm behaving in a predictable manner consistent with my neurological condition. And so you're going to see children with ADHD have kind of a twitchy nervous system. And sometimes parents will go, Well, my child's very inflexible. Yeah, because their nervous system gets flustered. He's like, Okay, I'm gonna pause there. Okay, so I didn't nerd out too badly. But it's a neurological difference. And so for the parents who want to teach their kids executive functions, unless you're going to medicate, and we'll get to that discussion in a moment. We run low with executive function skills. And I really want parents to understand I'm an adult with ADHD. If you follow me around, even though I have a PhD, and I run a business, blah, blah, blah, my whole bio, if you follow me around, I look more like Lucille Ball than Dr. rosier a lot of times.
Dawn Davenport 6:00
So what are some of the symptoms of ADHD? That are the most troublesome? You mentioned? Executive functions? Yeah. So you've mentioned some but but are there others that parents should be on the lookout for?
Speaker 2 6:16
Yeah, so we put a lot of, you know, parents go, Well, can you focus in the problem of ADHD folks isn't that we can't focus. The problem is we focus on too many things at once. And what happens is, I might be sitting in a classroom in third grade, trying to listen to the teacher, but I'm hearing the lights buzz in Oh, there's a fly right by that window. That's very interesting, too. And my seat kind of doesn't feel right on my bum. And all this other informations coming in. That's what ADHD is. And so I try not to take a symptom approach. Because as we're going to talk about in a few minutes, trauma in ADHD can look very similar. And so a lot of times the symptoms are very similar. Remember, there's two types of ADHD actually three because there's a combination. There's inattentive, and inattentive. ADHD, your brain kind of goes away from reality for a second it goes back and plays Legos by itself for a little bit. That's inattentive, ADHD. And then we're very familiar with the hyperactive ADHD because those are the naughty boys running around in preschool. Right? Kind of
Dawn Davenport 7:38
preschool. School, High School.
Speaker 2 7:42
Yes, it's still into adulthood. So we're used to the hyperactive part. But there's also the inattentive. And then there's people like me who have combination. And that's also incredibly common in adults. So I do have the hyperactivity, I do want to expend my energy. But I'm also very careless with details. And the Hallmark I see with children with ADHD is short term memory issues. Where they literally will forget, I can't tell you how many pairs of socks, love Jack jackets, you name it, and my kids lost them. It wasn't because they're careless. It's an ADHD thing. We literally put something down is like we're lacking object permanence. It just disappears from us.
Dawn Davenport 8:34
So the children that we primarily work with or adoptive Foster, and children in kinship care. Are these kids more prone to ADHD? And then perhaps a subset of that question would be most of our kids have experienced trauma? Not all, but many of our kids have experienced trauma? So how do we tell if our kids symptoms behaviors are ADHD are caused by the trauma that they've experienced? So let's start with our foster adoptive and kinship kids more prone to ADHD.
Speaker 2 9:08
So let's start with the kinship. Because ADHD is highly hereditary. If you have a father who has ADHD, that child has about 80% likelihood of having ADHD him or herself 80. So that's a lot. If you have a mother, it goes down to like 50% 50 to 60. So because if it's a kinship, let's say the child is with grandparents already. And guess what, that family member may also have ADHD. In which case, let's look at this as good news. Somehow, you've been managing life with ADHD. So you become that child's guide I have I have an ADHD brain too. And let's figure out how to work it together. In the case, and this is what I see frequently in my office. Because I see adoptive parents who just love this kid so much. I'm thinking of one kid in particular, I can't tell you this kid is such a gem. He's just a lovely, brilliant kid. Oh, wait, he has emotional dysregulation, which is a hallmark of ADHD. And he was adopted when he was three months. And so what the parents have been working through is, well, they don't have emotional dysregulation issues. They don't have short term memory or working memory issues. They're looking at this beautiful child that they love with their life. So what do we do with this little guy, right. And I've had the fortune of working with this person for seven years, he'll stop for a little bit hit a growth spurt combat. And I've had the opportunity to watch him grow up. And something I've been working with the parents about is learning about ADHD. So the problem with this situation is sometimes well meaning foster or adoptive parents want to fix the ADHD child. And I'm begging you not to fix it. But to try to help the child understand how his or her brain works. And in order to do that, you need to figure out how he works.
Dawn Davenport 11:21
So how do we know if our child's behavior is different? How do we tease out trauma because trauma can mimic many of the symptoms?
Speaker 2 11:29
Absolutely. And the short answer is you don't you let a professional do that. And even professionals will have a difficult time teasing it out. One of the easiest ways is if a stimulant works for your child is probably ADHD stimulants work, Tom Brown guesses for about 80% of the ADHD population. Say you have to medicate a child. I am saying though is stimulus do work. You have a good idea,
Dawn Davenport 12:02
then stimulants would not necessarily be effective for a child whose behaviors and symptoms are only caused. Yes, but you could also have an overlap between trauma and ADHD. Yeah,
Speaker 2 12:13
well, this is the complication. Those of us with ADHD are more susceptible to trauma, because of how our brains function. Remember that prefrontal cortex, those of you that have the prefrontal cortex working reliably, that's also protection from trauma. And so if you don't have that reliable part of your brain working fully inconsistently, in your limbic systems, constantly reacting, that nervous system finds trauma easier. And so it's a very complicated thing. I always suggest we work with trauma first than ADHD. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. Always trauma first, please don't try to help your child organize, if they're working through trauma, right, because they're still in fight or flight. And you're saying, let's organize your sock drawer. And they're like, We don't care about that sock drawer right now. Right. And so you know, it's the order of operations. When it comes to parenting. We work with the trauma first.
Dawn Davenport 13:20
Here's a shout out to all of our parent trainers or people who run support groups. We have got a resource for you. It is our interactive training, and support curriculum for foster adoptive and kinship families. If you've ever struggled with getting people to attend your trainings are come to your support groups are if you are in the doldrums of trying to find a topic, or simply don't have the time to pull together a good quality high quality training. This is what this curriculum is for. We have a library of 25 curriculum. Each curriculum comes with a video and facilitator guide, handout, additional resources and if needed, we also have a certificate of attendance. It is all there for you. It takes very little time to run a high quality group. You can find this resource at parent support groups.org. That's where you can get all of this information. You can also go to the creating a family.org website, hover over the horizontal menu, the word training and click on Support Group curriculum. Check it out. Okay, so let's move on to part two. you've alluded to it treating ADHD. So let's start by talking about early diagnosing and intervention. Let's talk about the importance of getting an early diagnosis.
Speaker 2 14:48
So research has changed on this. I have three biological kids. Two of them have ADHD donated from me. The RE Search back when they were young, they're in their late 20s. Now was you just let them develop, you give them a good home life, you don't really need to medicate unless they're having problems. And so that's what I did. I would do it differently now. So here's what I would do differently. I would get them diagnosed early. Because now there's beginning evidence. sparkley recommends this Russell Barkley, he recommends early diagnosis. And treatment leads to better outcomes, eventually. And remember, ADHD kids, we have a higher risk of mortality. From the time we're born, we take more risk, we don't adequately judge the risk of an event, when they get to teenagers, promiscuous sex is always on the table, risky driving behaviors. So it's actually the research on this is ADHD folks tend to live 13 years less than their cohort and their neurotypical cohort. And I say that shocking thing. Because if you are a parent of an ADHD child, this is not just their a dingbat and can't remember their homework from school, this is actually a risky thing to have. In treatment, early treatment, we find gives more blood flow to the prefrontal cortex. Remember that magic Butler area? Research is showing that if we start to treat early, then they have more access to their prefrontal cortex.
Dawn Davenport 16:39
And when you say treat, I mean, the question that always comes up for parents is to medicate or not. So let's talk about that. And then I'll ask you about the different types of medications. But what's the current research show? As far as you've mentioned, the efficacy was 80%, which is really kind of a startling statistic, isn't it?
Speaker 2 17:00
Right? Yeah. So, you know, there's still a stigma around treating. And I think it's still is kind of there from the 1980s. In the 1980s, we weren't good at treating ADHD. I remember, I had children in the 90s. And so I was still kind of in that timeframe thinking, I'm not going to medicate my kids, have them be like zombies, like the kids I used to see in school, right. But that's not really true. We've come a long way. And that was that was Ritalin. Ritalin was the first generation. And now we're on fourth and fifth generations, we're getting much better at treating ADHD. So it's very important that if you expect a child to get their homework from school, that you give them access to their prefrontal cortex to do that. In other words, if you want a certain behavior, then you have to allow them the equipment to do it. It would be like sending a kid in class going look at the board at the farthest class. And they can't see it. Going No, no, no, I'm not going to give you glasses to do it. You learn to see it. Just learn to see it. If you tried
Dawn Davenport 18:12
hard enough, you would be Yeah, so
Speaker 2 18:15
many times have we damaged children, including myself by saying, Well, if you just worked a little bit harder? If so, I think we have to kind of get over this. Medication is evil. Stimulants do work. That is just the truth. We have time release stimulants. Now, we have a stimulant that you could take at nighttime and by we, you know I'm not representing Big Pharma. But we as the ADHD folks, yeah, we have a stimulant you can take at nighttime, it sits in your stomach, and you wake up medicate it. My oldest stepdaughter is on it. And it's like she wakes up wearing glasses like the rest of us are kind of fumbling and Christmas morning, we're bumping into walls fumbling to do things, she just wakes up. She's just normal. And so that's a great medication to be on. So we've come a long way in releasing it at appropriate doses, so that we have the appropriate dopamine regulation throughout the day. That is the great part. So there are different kinds of medications. The biggest group are stimulants. And I'm not going to go into a lot of detail but stimulants tend to be the low hanging fruit that any doctor is going to go after first. I personally like the time release for children, because the short acting gives too big of a boost. And then it's like they drop off the cliff. And that's where you get the afternoon which witching hour, the kids crash. And they come home from school from being good all day, their medications out of their system and they're like there's Turn into these horrible creatures. And you're like, wow, I really miss my child right now. So I tend to like time release for that reason.
Dawn Davenport 20:08
Is it common that parents will need to do some experimenting, not them, but with their doctor, obviously, that the the first line, Adderall are concerned it is not effective and that they will need to experiment with different art do most kids take the two that are the predominant?
Speaker 2 20:27
So, you know, doctors usually will start with Adderall or Concerta. I tend not to like Adderall much. This is just personal. But if you want to cut a piece of bread, it's like using an axe. Sure you cut the bread, but what have you done to the bread now like it's made, very conservative, because of time release is more like a knife. And I say that because children are very sensitive to the release system. By the way, we're speaking like a parent who's been through this, I always explain to children and to parents, that it's going to take a time to find the right medication, and the right dose. And so for children who wear glasses, I always say, remember when you were at the eye doctor, and he kept going, which one's better this one or this one, you know, and you had to raise your hand like this side is better, this side is better. And if they don't wear glasses that you know, use other metaphors, but it is a exercise and trial
Dawn Davenport 21:28
and error, and likely changes as the child ages as well, because their body size changes and their hormones and everything else is changing.
Speaker 2 21:36
Yeah, actually hormones. So ADHD meds aren't titrated to weight or size of the child. But hormones do affect how our medications work. And in fact, there's sidenote, there's a lot of research coming out about women in ADHD, and how right before their menstrual cycles are at issue. Men simply aren't working, which is great news for females, right. As they're experiencing menstrual syndrome.
Dawn Davenport 22:04
Yeah, yeah. Bad planning.
Speaker 2 22:07
Yeah. But keep keep that in mind for your female teenagers who have ADHD.
Dawn Davenport 22:12
Okay. And another question that we often will get is the idea of a medication, holiday and medication break, that we won't do medication on the weekends, or we'll take off this summer, that type of thing. What's her research indicate about the wisdom of taking a break?
Speaker 2 22:31
Yeah, I understand the logic behind taking a break. You're trying to give the liver a break, and kind of reset it. My clients who swear by their marijuana use will take tea breaks for the same reason, right? Because they built up a tolerance, tea tea, meaning THC. That is the same logic. The problem with this is the logic doesn't hold if you expect the child to manage their moods, and to get something done, because that prefrontal cortex tells us what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. So if you're going to have expectations for your child, to not have erratic moods, and know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, the medication is necessary. And I'm speaking to you as an adult who is medicated. And before I take meds I was just like, What do I do for a living? I'm going to take meds I'm like, Okay, so I'm going to do these next activities. If I'm an adult saying this, think how children's brains who aren't as metacognitive are feeling. So if parents expect certain behaviors from their child that look more neurotypical, then taking holidays is not good logic. Okay.
Dawn Davenport 23:57
I know you're listening to this podcast, but have you subscribed to this podcast, or followed it depending on what platform you're listening to. We're on all the major platforms. It really helps us if you subscribe or follow to us. And it helps you because it gives you access to our extensive archive of shows, including a lot of shows on school issues, which is in keeping with the back to school campaign. We've been doing this show for almost 16 years haven't helped us. And we have a huge archive. And most of it is evergreen material just as relevant today as it was when we recorded it. So please follow our subscribe to the creating a family.org podcast. So now we're going to go into part three, which is really the heart of this which is the parenting challenges and rewards we should add with raising a child with ADHD. So I think it always helps we find just across the board One of the problems in parenting is our expectations. If we go in with a certain expectation, and that expectation is not met, then we're fighting our own issues, our own disappointment, our own surprises, as opposed to parenting the child that we have. So let's talk about the the idea of managing our expectations.
Speaker 2 25:21
I just love how you framed it. You're an experienced parent who talks to parents, because it really is about expectations. If you have an ADHD kiddo, you're going to notice they're incredibly sensitive. And so one, one minute, they can be gigantic jerks to you, and see the meanest thing possible. Right? And then later, you'll see incredible remorse. And they'll be like, I am so sorry, I didn't mean that you weren't a good Bob, because they're just trying to be mean to you. Right? In that moment. And you'll see that sensitivity, and it's going to be confusing. So we first want to adjust our expectations around emotional management. I work with a lot of parents. And they say, Well, I'd like for him not to do this behavior. And I say, Well, cool story. But that's an unrealistic expectation. The realistic expectation is helping them fix it once they've messed up. Because they're so young. Now. I'm pretty good at emotional management. I'm 55 years old. I shouldn't be right. But your kiddos are still learning this vital skill. And remember, they're running three years, behind their neurotypical counterparts. Is that is that for emotional development, it's mostly emotional, it could be social. And it's definitely executive function. Hmm. Meaning organization. So if you have a 14 year old, they're going to organize the room like an 11 year old. And I hear parents all the time, say, she's 14, she should be able to do this. Oops, there's that expectation. Let's back it down to the more reasonable one, have an 11 year old. And then parents will say, but she's so smart. Why can't she do this? Well, it's because she's smart, maybe like a 16 year old. But emotionally, or organizationally, executive function wise, she's still more like an 11 year old. And that's what the expectations are about, right? We always want to focus on seeing the child we have, like you said,
Dawn Davenport 27:34
and stop comparing our kids and ourselves, for that matter, to other parents. And it's tempting, because you see other parents who say, Okay, time to pick up and their kids pick up and are their kids come home with the school assignment. And actually, you're able to sit down and within a reasonable period of time, complete it, and then go out and have fun and do other things. And you're still sitting there inside feeling trapped. Because you can't leave because if you leave, a child won't focus. And you can't help but compare yourself.
Speaker 2 28:08
Yes, that's exactly it. So, you know, it's funny, I joke with the parents that I meet. I don't know why parenting books exist for neurotypical kids. Because it's so easy. You say Go brush your teeth, and they go do it. Right. You say Go brush your teeth to an ADHD kid and they hear go feed your, your little dragon in your room. And so you'll see them feeding crickets to their bearded dragon. And you're like, I asked you to brush your teeth, buddy. And they're like, Oh, you did? It. Parents want to flip their lids? Because the kid is like clueless, right?
Dawn Davenport 28:47
Because he was walking to brush his teeth. And he saw the bearded dragon. And he thought, Oh, the bearded dragon needs to be fed. So then he went and did that. And while he was in there, he started playing with the bearded dragon at the same time. Yes, exactly.
Speaker 2 29:01
Yeah. See, you are a parent talking from experience. You are not a novice, my friend because you're like, Oh, I know this kid already. Or then you get into the kid who lies about brushing his teeth. Because ADHD people, I'm just going to tell you, for some reason, we don't like brushing your teeth. We think it's a waste of time. It's not interesting. Some of us have sensory issues. A lot of ADHD folks have sensory issues. I don't like it. So they'll actually go into the bathroom, run their toothbrush under the water, go yell, I brush my teeth. And so then the parents like, Let me smell your breath. And of course, the kids breath stinks. They're like you didn't brush your teeth. And then the parents like, now you're lying to me about something so stupid. I can only think this is a character issue. And now it gets confusing is this is this kid of a big fat liar? Or has a sensory issue where he or she's avoiding so In that case, I really recommend to parents, let's start problem solving. And so in that case, I would say, all right, buddy, we have a problem. I say, Go brush your teeth, you go run your toothbrush under water, and pretend you did. So how can we solve this problem? In any ADHD kids worth their salt will go to stop asking me to brush my teeth. And you're like, Well, I can't do that, because I really like that you have to, and we have to keep them. And we we really like having fresh breath. And so there's a lot of reasons why we need this. So let's try to find another way. And a couple of kids, you know, will kind of enter into that problem solving. Some will be reluctant. But if the parent can see in the problem solving mind going, okay, the problem we have to solve here is how do we get your teeth brushed? I was coaching a parent and one parent came back and said, No, the child did. He looked at me and said, you know, if you were standing next to me, I'd probably do it. And the parents like, I don't want to see index tool. But you know what, that's what it's going to take to get his teeth brush. And it works. But together, they solve the problem. And so screaming instead of yelling, so like, now you can't go to the park. You didn't brush your teeth. What we're saying is, let's solve this together. Mm hmm.
Dawn Davenport 31:23
Another issue that parents well that people with ADHD struggle with, and as a result their parents struggle with and that is impulsivity self control. That is example you said the child was going to brush his teeth had every intention of brushing his teeth, but saw a bearded dragon. All of a sudden he was off into it just you know, impulsively went there. And some of the physical issues you talked about children taking risk is also just impulsivity. You know, we have heard that girls with ADHD are more likely and boys are more likely to impregnate a girl. Girls are more likely to get pregnant. That's an impulsivity. Often there may be other issues, but it's Oh, strongly influenced by hormones. Yeah, well, hormones, but also just the not the stopping and saying, oh, wait a minute, I'm not on birth control or wait a minute, he doesn't have a condom or whatever. So all the thinking, you know, the act before we think things that happen? Our kids impulsively shouting out answers at school are, you know, punching the kid next to them or tickling, you know, or pulling them doing something? A lot of those are just impulsivity issues. They can drive you up the wall. So yeah, that is definitely a parenting challenge. So what's a parent to do?
Speaker 2 32:40
Well, let me tell you, no one's going to like this answer. And I don't like this answer either. We really can't solve impulsivity in the brain until we medicate. So for parents who don't want to medicate their child, we can't solve our impulsivity. What we do then is we try to fix the problems they cost. But let me tell you, like you just brought up the stakes are high, are they driving sex, you name it, I mean, drinking drugs, the stakes are high. And so just dealing with younger children. The problem is if you keep correcting their impulsivity, they don't have the prefrontal cortex to go Oh, hold up, because that's what our butler would do if it were online. But if they're Butler's offline, they don't have that impulsivity. I work with a lot of adults. Once their medication just stops working, they eat everything in the house. impulsivity, right? So adults still deal with this issue. We can't solve for impulsivity. And I know no one likes this answer. And I'm really sorry, folks. Please keep listening to the end. I swear I'm not crazy. But that's not the problem to solve for unless we do want to use medication. Again, I work with too many people across the lifespan. And I see how impulsivity affects people. What you can do though, is teach children to be good problem solvers. Because what happens is when you say okay, now the impulsivity caused a problem, how are we going to fix it? And they have to work backwards. A lot of times that will help them change their thinking. So what I recommend is, let's say impulsivity causes me to break something. Okay, I was just moving around fast. And I broke something. Instead of say, Aren't you broke something? Now manage you sit down and go, Okay. Here's how I see this. The impulsivity caused you to jump on the couch. And because of that, you broke the lamp. That's the problem. So what should have happened? I should have jumped on the couch. That's the childhood sorry. Yeah, you're right. So how are we going to fix the lamp now? Like what are we going to do to fix this situation? For not guilting the child or trying to get them to analyze a situation. Again, this isn't a fast thing. Also addicting behaviors. That's another risk of impulsiveness, right? Like video gaming, screen time, is highly addictive for ADHD folks. So we want to try to teach them to be problem solvers where the problems their behaviors create. And it when you do that you're giving them power over themselves. Hmm.
Dawn Davenport 35:30
You bring up video games, but it could be other things such as we're with one of mine, it was reading reading a book, but she could hyper focus. Why can our children seem to be focusing for three hours on something they're interested in? And yet finishing a 10 minute homework assignment can take
Speaker 2 35:49
five hours in crying and kicking and screaming? Yes.
Dawn Davenport 35:53
Right. And oftentimes, you having to be present to kind of keep refocusing on refocusing them,
Speaker 2 35:59
right. So unfortunately, it's because we have a nervous system that is based on interest. So whatever captures our interest increases the dopamine in our prefrontal cortex, and we're like, cool, we can focus on this. Bill Dotson writes a lot about the interest based nervous system. It is not a character issue. I hear a lot of parents like, well, he can focus, you know, eight hours on a game, but can't do this.
Dawn Davenport 36:27
If he wants to. He can focus. Yes, exactly, exactly.
Speaker 2 36:30
So we need to be careful not to make it a judgment. This is a neurological difference. And I need to train my nervous system. And I think it's a lot easier to train with medication, I'm not pushing it. I am parents who don't choose to medicate. But we have to change expectations when we do, right, which is fine. But hyper fixation, by the way, there's hyper focus and hyper fixation. hyper focus is this magical flow period where you're like, Whoa, and you're just getting into it. I'm working on my next book right now. It's just beautiful when I can hit this is called flowstate. Hyper fixation is when I know I've had to go the bathroom for four hours laughs still playing this video game. That's a hyper fixation. It's like I can't throw away. There's nothing magical about it. It's like, I'm chained to this. And you'll see a lot of your kids being hyper fixated.
Dawn Davenport 37:29
Right, both. You know, we often say to parents, don't sweat the small stuff. How does that apply? When there's so much small stuff like that, that we're not doing? So? How does it apply to parenting kids with
Speaker 2 37:40
ADHD? Well, first of all, you know, just to your listeners, if you're parenting a kid with ADHD, Godspeed, my friend, I know that we are exhausting to raise the neurotypical kids or easier, it's exhausting. Because ADHD folks, I write about this a lot in my book, Your brains have broken, ADHD kids and adults were bad at the easy stuff. So parents are just like, seriously, I laid it right on the counter for you to take and you forgot? Like, how does it How is this not on purpose? How are you not stupid? I know your listeners wouldn't say that. But parents are really like, baffled. Like, are you willfully doing this? And so when everything seems like small stuff, it does become the big stuff. And so I really tried to redirect parents think about creating the problem solver. Okay, this caused a problem, what are some ways we can solve it? And they're not going to be good problem solvers. They're just gonna want to go, can we just forget this happened? And I'll try harder. And you're like, No, kiddo, I believe you're trying as hard as you can. So let's work together to find a solution that will work for you. And if that solution doesn't work, guess what? We'll keep trying. So the small stuff is what drives parents crazy. Because you told me about your experience. You know this to be true. I mean, how many pairs of mittens, right? Goodness, I just worked with parents this morning, who they're like, Oh, my goodness, temper. I'm so tired of finding our electronics in the toilet. Like literally, like, Oops, Dad, I dropped your phone while I was using the bathroom.
Dawn Davenport 39:27
Yeah. Or I have the phone in my back pocket. And when I use the bathroom that fell out. Yes. This is my third phone. And I've done that too. Because forgetting not to put the phone in my back pocket, right? Yeah. Oh, good. A solution to that might be stitching up. The back pockets could be a solution to that problem.
Speaker 2 39:48
But the thing is, don't do it to the child. Work with a child.
Dawn Davenport 39:52
Have him him or her we have to be careful not to just keep using the him pronoun, because
Speaker 2 39:57
females have ADHD. Yes. Exactly, yeah, really at the same rate as males.
Dawn Davenport 40:03
Right. And we don't often it's interesting, but that stereotypical ADHD we think of as a hyperactive boy. So I'm glad you, I'm glad you mentioned that. Hey guys, let me stop here. Did you know about our free courses that we offer? These are courses in our Online Education Center, we're offering it to you for no charge thanks to the support of the chalky Family Foundation. You can find these courses at Bitly slash JBf support, check it out and tell a friend. Okay, now I want to move to part four. Because I think that's looking for some of the positives of an ADHD, you know, ADHD. But let me ask you this question. It seems to me that we as a society or as the medical profession is moving to understand that ADHD is not a disorder as much as it is a trait. How do you feel about that?
Speaker 2 40:59
Yeah, I feel very strongly about this. Because ADHD is a neurological difference. Difference. However, I don't believe ADHD is a gift. There's a whole group of people that go ADHD is a gift. It's my superpower. You know what, it might be a superpower on a different planet. But here on planet Earth, in this year, guess what? It's not because our lives revolve around executive function. And we're not good at it. So let's get off the it's a gift trade because I've got to work harder to appear normal. And that's exhausting. All the kiddos who are going to school, they are just trying to live normal for most of the day, and they come home and they're exhausted. Now, the one strength that and I write about this in my book associated with ADHD, is divergent thinking
Dawn Davenport 41:55
with divergent thinking include being able to think out of the box coming up with new ideas that thinks divergent
Speaker 2 42:01
thinking, yes. Okay. So convergent thinking though, is turning in your homework. Convergent thinking is most K 12 map. Convergent thinking are answering test questions. essays are usually divergent, depending on how the teacher is teaching, so school is even set up to work on your convergent thinking. And so it's even frustrating because the gift we have isn't even being celebrated in most situations. Which is why I keep hitting the problem solver. Because that's divergent thinking, hey, let's figure out ways to solve this. And that divergent thinkers like, yes, let's figure out the ways to solve this. And they can think of crazy ways to solve it. You're like, Okay, that's a good option. I don't think that's realistic for us right now. What's another option? Do you see you're kind of touching their divergent thinking? So divergent thinking, and I talk about this a lot with my high school clients. You know, in college, your divergent thinking could just look genius to a professor. But your high school teachers, most of them just don't want to know it right now. Most of them are convergent thinkers who just want you to turn in your darn homework. They want you to follow suit. And it's frustrating for you and I know it. Let's figure out a way to get you through this convergent maze. For you to get to college. By the way, these are kids who have expressed that they want to go to college, so that you can express your divergent thinking. I just had someone come back, he just finished his freshman year university. And he came back he goes, You are right. I look really smart. Because I'll answer professor's question. And the professor's like I didn't even teach that yet. It's because divergent thinkers put things together effortlessly. Everything's connected to a divergent thinker.
Dawn Davenport 44:08
And thinking in terms of transitioning into adulthood, and what career is divergent thinking and there are so many, that divergent thinking is really a benefit. Guys, I know you've heard me say it before, but this show would not happen without the support of our partners who are agencies and other organizations that believe in our mission. We are so indebted to these organizations. One such organization is children's house International. They are a Hague accredited international adoption agency currently placing children from 14 countries. They work with families throughout the US. They also provide consulting for international surrogacy for those of you who would like to grow your family in that manner. All right, now let's move To the TIPS section, which is what I think a lot of people look forward to, let's talk about some of the tips for raising a child with ADHD.
Speaker 2 45:12
Yeah. So let's go back to that prefrontal cortex where you tap to your head. And remember, that kid doesn't have great access to his or her prefrontal cortex, even medicated, just because of developmental issues. It's not reliable. And let's just remember where you tap around your ear. That's the limbic system, the limbic system needs to know that it's safe. And so the best thing you can do as your parent, as a parent of an ADHD child, is to constantly convey safety. You're safe with me. You can't make me not love you. I love you, sweetie. I love you period. You won't lose me right now. Now for foster parents, I know that you can create safety, that this is your harbor right now. You are safe Miss Harbor. And so the number one tip is convey safety. Talk about safety. A lot of the children, especially parents who are fostering older children, those children may not have known safety. And let me tell you, their brain is set up for that. If you're fostering older children, they're going to fight you for that. They're gonna go You're not safe. No one has been safe. And you're just going to have to be steady, go. What you are. And I will assure it, and you hear the calmness, because the ADHD brain especially, they'll do the fight flight or a piece. Right, freeze or appease, they'll kind of this can't be true. The ADHD brain wants safety. So that's the number one tip. Now parents are like, okay, but that's still not helping me get out of the house in the morning. Right? But we can't we can't miss that big thing. So something I do, especially with adoptive and foster children, is I set up predictability. And here's what this looks like for ADHD people. I don't create the structure. I talk about the structure. So at dinner, or right before bed, I say, All right, let's talk about the morning. Let's just walk through it together. First, you're going to do this. By the way, ADHD people tend to work well with buckets. In other words, if you want a child to put on clothing, their younger school age, put it all like in a basket and say, put everything out in this basket and turn it upside down. Right? Well, we're going to rehearse it with a child. Okay, then you're going to come downstairs? What are we going to eat for breakfast? What are we going to eat, you know, in, we just rehearsed the entire thing. Again, I talked about this in my book, not as a parenting strategy, but as a coping strategy for those of us with ADHD. Rehearsal is so important. It doesn't happen in the prefrontal cortex. It happens right behind it, the dmn, which really works for those of us with ADHD. So rehearse everything. I used to still use rehearsal with my high schoolers, we'd be getting home late from a basketball game that one of the children played it. And we're like, alright, it's 830. What do we all have to do to get in bed on time? I'm going to start and so I would do this, like, first I have to do this, then I have to do this. And I would walk through it, then I'd go to the next oldest, okay, how are you going to get into that? And I, they'd rehearse it, and then the next one. And it's funny, because the three year old at the time, I didn't ask her. And she'd say, what about me? What about me, and then she would rehearse it in her three year old. And it was it was delightful. But she learned how to rehearse. So that is a key concept. For ADHD folks,
Dawn Davenport 49:06
one of the things that we found very helpful it ties into setting predictability is following consistent routines. And I found that for me as a parent that I had been a little more fly by the seat of my pants, and my kids with ADHD, really, that did not work with I needed to have routines and predictability. And the funny thing is that I found that I thrived under it as well. But certainly, I think that my kids, so we going to bed, we did the same things in the same order. And in the morning, same thing, same order. And coming home from school, that was a little more of it actually was a challenge because we couldn't do the same things because, yeah, there would be a different activity or I had to stop and run an errand or whatever. So that was a stressful time. Also we were
Speaker 2 50:00
all more tired. Yeah. So if we're going to do it, like, let's say, the child comes home, and you pick up the child, then you're like, Okay, so normally we do this, we're going to bury this. Now, we're going to stop at the grocery store, that I have to stop at the post office, and then you're gonna get a snack. And then we'll actually I'd always have a snack in the car when I picked up my kids, because you don't want an ADHD hungry kid, they turn into
Dawn Davenport 50:29
that, which is snack should be focused on protein, and not just carbohydrate,
Speaker 2 50:34
protein and healthy fats. So you're exactly right there. But you start rehearsing it. You rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, because even in good structure, by the way, ADHD kids do thrive in structure. But they'll forget, there is a structure. And sometimes you're like, God, kid, we've been doing this for three years. And they act like you just invented this. And so if you just keep going, Okay, this is the pattern, here is the pattern, you're going to tell the brain that even though there's no executive function, kind of following this, you're gonna go yeah, this is the pattern, I'm going to follow the flow. It also gives ADHD children a sense of, I know what's next. A lot of ADHD kids will develop anxiety. And you see a lot of anxiety in children with ADHD. And this will help address that. Here's what's coming next.
Dawn Davenport 51:30
And for younger children, a visual chart of routines is very helpful. Some older kids would resent any form of ritual and others, but others, don't they checklist. And then as they get older, having them create the checklist.
Speaker 2 51:46
Well, I even say, create it with a child always agree with a parent I just worked with this morning, it's summer. He has three kids at home. And they're all in grade school. Well, once the youngest is three, she's like, What do I do? I'm like, each morning, let's make up a schedule for each of the kids. And we have like color blocks that represent their schedule. And so you know, you're gonna say, All right, everyone needs to put this block in, because this is when we're running to the store together. So this blocks taken, when do you want to do chores, if we build it together? Because especially adoptive in foster children, think about how little control depending on their circumstances that they've had. And so when we can give the brain a sense of autonomy and control, you're feeding that brain in really good ways. And so going back to the problem solver, like, Hey, how can we solve this together? Right, how can we build this together? And then they take pride, and I built the schedule, I built this checklist. And if they're old enough to play, most video games are old enough to build their checklist.
Dawn Davenport 53:03
Yeah, because it's just not like, especially with a very young child. It's not as if you're not there with them. While right doing it. So you can give pointers
Speaker 2 53:12
and you can go what's next? What's next on the list? And they go, Oh, look at it. Yeah.
Dawn Davenport 53:19
In many ways, it's much easier with the younger ones. I agree. Oh, much, much, much. Thank you so much, Dr. Tamar Rozier, for being with us today to talk about raising a child with ADHD. I appreciate it.
Speaker 2 53:33
Oh, thank you so much. I appreciate you just you having this show. You know, I know that your listeners really count on you. So thank you for your experience.
Dawn Davenport 53:44
Yes, hard earned experience on this. Yes.
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