Conscious Parenting….

So, I’ve been stewing about a constellation of things lately…possible sea changes around here, fine tuning, redirecting, and so on.  And, happily, this Friday and Saturday I will be here at the terrific Empowered To Connect Conference.  I went last year and it was amazing.  So good. I’m due for a refresher on it all…and I’m excited to go this weekend!

Today, I saw this video.  Not the same source at all, but another fantastic source for thoughts on connection and attachment and adhd and intentional parenting, of smalls and teens and everyone in between.  Gabor Mate has written a few of my favorite parenting resource books: Scattered (about ADHD) and Hold Onto Your Kids.  He is a thoughtful, credentialed, excellent researcher, therapist and source for information.

If you’re interested in intentional parenting, check this out, below.  It’s a great advance prep to get my brain in gear for the conference this weekend too.  It’s worth your time and attention.  It’s all about Conscious Parenting.  Look….

 

h/t to Hattie Heaton 

Top three books about ADHD

Whew, so the week got away from me! We’ve had a fair lot of kid fallout this week, mostly with one dis-regulated, stressed out teen.  So, the posting took a back seat to dealing with all that.  However, I’m here now and so I want to post this quickly.

On this post, here, I wrote about ADHD for the first time in my blog.  I wrote specifically about the stigma attached to the label.  I did not write about all the many layers to ADHD and the different aspects that go hand in hand with consideration of it: the diagnosing of it, the approaches to it, how it works in school and the family and life in general.  You see, if I was going to address all my thoughts on all those things, I’d have to write a book!  But,  happily for you all, there are many, many books out there already.  Great resources abound! Not so great ones do too…so read wisely.  But, do read.  Do the homework.  ADHD is worth a little effort.  Whether you live with it yourself or love one who does, it helps so much to learn a bit about it.  It makes it just a little easier to understand; and that understanding, every drop of it, is critical to overall quality of life.

To that end, I’m listing MY top three resource books on ADHD.  This is MY personal list, my choices.  There is NO official list, anywhere, of the best of the best of these.  Believe me, I’ve looked. I’m a consumate researcher, perhaps even a compulsive one.  That urge to research and find out all that I can about anything I’m dealing with is perhaps my own control freak urge…but it works for me.  Thus, I now have a mini library on quite a few topics.  ADHD has been a topic of research in our library for eight years.  I’ve read many many theories and help books.  I’ve even seen shifts in the theories.  All told, it’s an overwhelming crop of resources.  Check for yourself, google it.

So, for what it’s worth, these three books, below, are (IMHO) the best sources for getting a handle on ADHD: the good and the difficult, the whole bag.  They have a breadth and an easy to understand way of explaining what ADHD is and why; but they don’t talk down to you or oversimplify either.  They have a good scope – addressing ways that help and ways that hinder.  No one has the time to read everything, facing that flood of information can instantly stop many in their tracks.  So, for me, these three books are the top three, most helpful books I’ve read over eight years of dealing with ADHD in my family.

Check ’em out (and if you click on the picture it will take you to Amazon):

This book, ADHD, Living without Brakes, is a great concise overview of ADHD.  It explains the behavior(s) of those with ADHD in an easy to grasp and remember kind of way.  This book gives a great overview that pulls lots of research together and goes over it simply.  It’s sort of the best primer on ADHD that I’ve found.  It’s positive but not preachy; it’s realistic but not a stigmatized downer.  It’s pricey for it’s size, but it packs a worthwhile punch in information.  It’s sort of ADHD 101.  (Also good for handing out to teachers and/or family members who cannot figure out why your kid does what he/she does).

Next:

This book, Scattered, by Gabor Mate kind of took me by surprise.  A good friend had recommended it and I’d kind of stalled her on reading it.  I was busy, I didn’t think it really was going to be anything I hadn’t read before, etc etc.  Then she mentioned that the author also co-wrote this book, (which I also HIGHLY recommend for parenting kids as they grow, especially into teens, most excellent).  So, with that, I figured it was worth a look.

Turns out, it was SO much worth that look that I ordered two more copies of it, gave one to my son’s teacher and also ordered it on audio download so my husband could listen to it in the car. Yeah.  That good.  And kind of radical in that this was an approach that jived up with my recent sea changes in parenting.  This book goes into the physiological underpinnings of ADHD, in depth, but then it pulls out and explains (from the author’s first hand experience of having ADHD  himself) the hows and why’s of many behaviors and also gives real suggestions on how to work to address the child/adult as a whole  person with this way of functioning.  Meaning, if you can understand some of the whys underlying the behaviors, it’s easier and more targeted to get to either working with them or through them; conversely it’s an eye opener to appreciate some of the remarkable traits common to ADHD as well.  Instead of trying to parse out only the tough symptoms and treat each one, it takes the bigger view of what’s underneath and why.  Because that, the source, is where a more comprehensive approach needs to start.

And, yup, a good part of it comes down to attachment.  Go figure.  Not in every aspect.  But in  more than has been discussed before.  Which then leads me to my next book, one of my top parenting books, ever:

This book, The Connected Child,  is one of the best parenting books I’ve got.  And I’ve got  a LOT of great parenting books.  It is most commonly known, I believe, in adoption circles, and in the land of therapeutic parenting.  Who knew that it also applied to ADHD?  Well, it doesn’t list ADHD as it’s topic.  So don’t be all confused if you get the book and look in the index for ADHD…  But, if you have a child with ADHD, this book can make a huge difference in your understanding of that child.  Whether biological or adopted, this book can help you connect to your child.  Sounds simple…simplistic even?  Au contraire!  Not at all, and it is an intentional way of parenting that can do wonders for any child, biological, adopted, with needs or not.  So, this is not officially an ADHD book.  But it totally jives up w/ Mate’s book, Scattered, above, and it so IS an ADHD book.  In fact, the two rather function as a set, in a way, they complement each other…particularly as applied to living with ADHD.  So it’s on my short list.

Last note: None of these books advocate or oppose any one way of working with ADHD.  There is no ONE approach to dealing with it.  It is a complex thing, goods and toughs,  and takes a multi-layered approach.  And, {now stepping up on my own personal soapbox} anyone who says it’s “this way or the highway“?  Run, don’t walk, from that.  There is no one way to address this.  No magic bullet.  It’s an individual approach to dealing with things that need some help.  Some things work, some don’t.  In fact, it’s moving target…because things change.  So, best to read as much as you can so you’re informed and know options and some whys and hows.  Information is always better.  Try the books!

Stupidity of stigmas

Stigmas.  Let’s talk about them.

You see, I have one basic thought about them: they are stupid.  Mostly, I think they are rooted in ignorance.  But, they launch all sorts of badness, from minor irritation to downright evil.  {And, as it’s lent, lets not forget the correlating word: stigmata.  Think there’s  a whole bunch to say about that? Oh, yeah.  But that’s  whole ‘nother post.}

I’ll try hard to keep this mostly short;  you’re welcome.  I have multiple kids with multiple issues and/or needs.  And if you want to get on your high horse,  yes, we all have special needs.  Ya da, ya da.  I’m not getting quite that philosophical here, however.  I’m gonna keep this post focused to the stigma of labels.  We all know the damage of labels on kids and people, in general.  Well, yes.  Of course.  But, what I also want to note is that those labels can be a tremendous help and marker of real issues.  Real issues that warrant some attention and caring…not only knee jerk reactions or attitudes.

Let me be more specific, as this is SUCH a big topic.  Let’s look at ADHD.  Oh yeah.  That one.  The label diagnosis that makes some folks scoff, look down their nose, and say, “Well, its nothing that a good spanking won’t fix, if  you ask me.”  Happily, I didn’t.  Ask you, that is.  It’s also a label that some will say enables them to let their kids run wild, be bad and don’t you dare call them out for it, because, you know, “Poor Johnny has ADHD, he can’t help it.”  Well, sometimes, he can’t.  But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to learn to live with the consequences of  his behavior and work mightily to learn how to live in this world with the standard boundaries and rules that are in place.

But so too, those “labels,” by which I mean, the actual terms themselves…they are informative. They inform ME why my kid might respond a certain way; different from another of my kids.  They inform me to some of the behavioral challenges: what we need to work on, work with, work around.  Instead of resenting my kid for acting out or having a  hard time staying still when needed, or whatever (because yes, sometimes I do/have, I am that petty) I can remember that there is real cause underneath some of the behaviors.  Not to totally excuse them a la “Johnny” above, but rather to understand what we are working with.  I get to see them with a more informed eye.  That’s what labels and terms can do; if only we stop putting a stigma on basic information.

We must say the term(s) without a whisper.

If our kid has ADHD, then we need to be able to say it without  having to whisper it.  It’s the elephant in the room.  Why not treat it as a matter of course?  I live in the south.  Shockingly enough to me, sometimes I’ll still hear a whispered, “He’s black….”  SIGGGHHHHH.  Yuh.  And? So?  I hear it with ADHD too.  “She has ADHD….” Why do we have to whisper facts?  It’s stupid.  It’s unfair. It’s a stigma.

He has ADHD.  He is black.  He is white.  She has brown hair.  She has ADHD.  He was adopted.  She is Korean, African, Hispanic.

Stop the whispering.

Now, don’t flame me.  I’m not saying we have to preface every encounter with slinging our kids business, or anyone’s, out before us.  Discretion is a lovely thing.  But as soon you have to whisper it….it’s now a stigma.

If you can say it out loud, without pause and whisper, you send a powerful message to the listener but also to your kid.  Yeah, she has ADHD.  And, she has brown hair, too.  We all DO have needs, and quirks and I could make a case that many if not most of us have some form of dis-ability.  Not that I’m saying we have to shout our foibles or lay ourselves bare to scrutiny at all times…or do so for our kids.  But I’m saying that we all have ‘stuff.’ And we do ourselves, our kids, and our society a huge disservice if we grab that ‘stuff’ and use it as an excuse to be or do less than we are able. We also do our kids, our culture, a huge disservice if we keep whispering about facts.  If we  continue to stigmatize basic diagnoses, or facts, like ADHD, then we kind of cripple our kids.  We make them less-than.

These kids (and adults) are so not “less-than.”  In fact, in some ways they are ‘more-than.”  Their brains fire faster and make connections that most can’t even begin to reach.  They just do so in leaps, fast and sometimes furious, and then they move on to the next distraction/interest while the rest of us are still catching up.  I’m not saying it’s an easy thing.  ADHD is a complex layered issue; requiring complex layered multiple approaches to deal with it.

I’ve got more to say in other posts. I’ve not talked about it for years. Maybe not ever. It’s time.  I’ve got books to list and thoughts to process.  Because I have two kids with ADHD.  It’s real.  It’s hard and it’s also got it’s own goods.  But it’s not just that they “need a good whoopin” or that “we aren’t good enough parents” or that “they are just problem kids.”  They are not stupid, far from it.  The stigma.  It’s stupid. It’s asinine.

No more whispering.  They have ADHD.  They are great kids. They have ADHD.  I love them.

*Fail on the short post thing.  As ever.  Surely you’re not surprised.*

After the Rage

When one of your kids has a big ol’ blowout rage -an out of control, can’t really reach them and you have to wait it out and keep them safe kind of rage – the aftermath is it’s own entity.  The exhausted sentinels of the mama heart and the synapses that have whirred themselves into a lather trying to process and evaluate in the charged moment and assist are just flopped down into a heap of……restless tired tangle.

And I only write this because it’s easy to think that it’s only all perfect in any given family.  And the nature of blogging is that we only want to put our best type forward, isn’t it?  I’m vain, you bet.  But, I also know that what I treasure about blogging is that I can and  have connected with so many who say, “Hey, me too! I ‘get’ that!”  And just knowing that others are out there who do understand…well, it’s always a help and a hope.

Because parenting is hard.  It’s not for sissies.  And parenting kids who have issues…well it feels really hard some days.  Whether it’s attachment or adhd or cognitive or development delays or just hormones  or teen stuff some days…..those buggery issues can just throw a wrench into the best laid intentions or desires.

So, you moms out there who are or have been in the trenches?  I get it.  Today, I’m there with you.  Our family is far from the model family and this blog is a real blog of real life not a plastic fabrication. Today I tripped into and am climbing out of that muddy restless tired spot.  I’m thankful for the helping hand of dear friends and watching the dust settle; motes flickering by me in the steel grey sky of this rainy day.

Three o’clock will come and I’m back on duty and need to be able to be present – body mind and heart – to help hang on to those small slippery hearts and  hands.  I say a whispered prayer that they can be calm enough again to be pulled into my lap for awhile and we can breath each other in and feel our hearts beating close together.