Archive for the ‘ADD’ category

FREE talk by Dr. Ned Hallowell Monday, 3/12/12 in Westford

March 8, 2012
"Dr. Ned Hallowell" and ADD expert, will speak on this book he wrote, "The childhood roots of adult happiness" in Westford, Mass. on March 12. he is worth hearing.

"Dr. Ned Hallowell" will share a great deal of insight about positive parenting and what parenting is all about -- slowing down and taking the time to be with children instead of constantly rushing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell is speaking in Westford next Monday night, March 12. He has written several books on ADD and ADHD. My favorite book he has written is “The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness.”I LOVED this book. I heard Dr. Hallowell speak in fall 2010 in Ayer, and he shared many good stories, insight, and advice with humility and humor.

Whether or not you have read any of his books, this talk is worth hearing. You will come away with some good ideas about how to be a better mother or father.

The Westford Parent Connection is sponsoring the free event – The Distracted Family: Overstretched, Overbooked, And About To Snap at The Westford Academy Performing Arts Center, 30 Patten Road, Westford, MA  7:00-9:00 pm.

For more information go to: or to

The benefits of a plan, structure and habits

February 14, 2011

Max, 7,  is on an IEP – special ed plan – at school and takes Ritalin. He is the epitome of a difficult child.

Since receiving coaching from me, Max’s mother reports, “We no longer have to use therapeutic holds.” We have worked together to provide a plan, structure and habits that give Max and his siblings clear expectations and related, reasonable and respectful measures when they make bad choices.

The Raising Able approach aligns with advice offered by Edward Hallowell, Ph.D. in his many outstanding books on ADD. Hallowell offers these suggestions on how to set up systems for children with ADD. Many of his suggestions come from the Raising Able playbook.

1. Make a plan, set up structures and develop habits [p. 65, “Delivered from Distraction” by Hallowell]. Start with family meetings and involve the children, tweens and teens with setting up the plan, structure and habits.

I am not a fan of charts, rewards, punishment and praise because they are difficult to maintain and set up outside  motivation. The goal is for youngsters start make better decisions and be self-motivated, versus being motivated by money and rewards. The former is harder, takes longer and lasts longer.

2. Provide immediate and related consequences. For example, when a child misbehaves at a restaurant, instead of threatening, “No Nintendo for a week unless you stop now,” say, “Either stop that now or we leave now.” Then follow through, without anger. Act, don’t yak [Sam Goldstein]. Prior to coaching, Max’s mother couldn’t take her family out in public.

Use family meetings to set up related, respectful and reasonable outcomes [Jane Nelsen, Ph.D.]. Consequences based on punishment and reward are doomed to fail.

3.  Exercise. [page 219 “Delivered from Distraction.”] Regular exercise for people of all ages has myriad mental and physical benefits. Families can have fun while exercising.

Our family fun ranged from the simple — playing SPUD in the yard after a family meeting to day-long excursions canoeing, skiing and going to the beach. The great outdoors provides a plethora of fun free activities. An additional bonus to exercising together is family bonding.

As you, can see, plans, structures and habits will benefit typical families and those where ADD is a factor. Learn more at two workshops this week I’m offering on Tuesday, Feb. 15 at Roudenbush Community Center in Westford, Mass and Thursday, Feb. 17 at Concord-Carlisle Community Education. Both start at 7 pm.

If you can train a dog, you can train a child

January 13, 2011

The worst thing about taking care of two extra dogs is the puppy, Lily.  When I remember she’s a puppy, I take time for training. It’s the same for children, toddlers, preschoolers, tweens, and teens. Adjust my expectations for their age and take time for training.

Lily had the annoying habit of rushing through an open door. The other two dogs followed her exuberance and created chaos every time the front door opened. UGH!

I took the time to train Lily.

1. I had a plan. Before I opened the door, I told her to “hold it” and used a hand signal. Dogs understand the idea, Act, don’t Yak. [Source: Dr. Sam Goldstein.]

2. When she tried to rush out the door, I used a firm voice, said “Hold it!” or “No!” quickly closed the door and brought her back to wait beside the door. This took a few repetitions. I praised her when she did it right.

3.  I followed the door routine for several days,.  Sometimes she or I forgot and I repeated step two. Lily showed her intelligence by learning quickly. I showed my intelligence by being consistent.

As you can see in “after” Lily has gained some self-control and listens to me, which carries over to other areas and establishes me as Alpha.

Training also benefits children and teenagers.

1. Anticipate difficult situations and craft a positive parenting plan. For older children, use a family meeting to talk about the problem and solutions. For younger children, act, don’t yak, before getting angry. Following this one step can eliminate about 90 percent of all conflicts with younger children.

2. When the youngster forgets the training, remind him/her and use a related-respectful-reasonable [Source: Dr. Jane Nelsen]  consequence in the moment. When the child does it right, use encouragement, not praise.

3. For best results, all adults at home consistently enforce the new training. It’s good to have an adult Alpha at home.

This week, pick one behavior issue in your home and take time for training. The younger the child, and the more consistent you are, the sooner they will learn.

Be prepared with a plan and Act don’t Yak.

“Pretty smart — for an adult.”

November 11, 2010

I LOVE the feedback the young people deliver to me — through the parents, who are being coached on the Raising Able Family Management System.

Example one: “Freddie” is 14, a freshman in high school, and has ADD. His mother often nags, chastizes, bosses around, reminds, praises, punishes and rewards him for various behaviors. She has trouble keeping track of all of the agreements and punitive measures.

When Mom wanted Freddoe to keep food scraps to a minimum in his bedroom, she got him to comply by taking away his X-box headgear. This is NOT related, respectful and reasonable. We are working on a plan for the two of them to empower him to clean up his area to prevent roaches and mice by using encouragement, expectation and teamwork. 

Freddie likes to stay up late playing video games, and his mother could not figure out how to persuade him to get more sleep. Nagging and threatening did not work.

In desperation, she followed my suggestion, which was this: “Freddie is old enough to start making decisions for himself. Let him experience the natural consequences of staying up late and feeling like mashed mud the next morning.”

“It only took him two months,” said Freddie’s mother. “I told him who suggested it, and he said, ‘She’s pretty smart — for an adult.'”

I think Freddie is “pretty smart” for a teen.

Example two:  The mother of “Emily” came to my six-week class to learn to set limits for her 7-year-old mini-tyrant. Mom started making small changes and implementing plans for chronic situations, like the bedtime routine.

When Emily resists and challenges — as is normal with a new system — her mother says, “I learned about this in my class on the Raising Able Family Management Plan.”

Emily said to her mother, “Tell her ‘That’s enough of that plan.‘”

In the long run, the Emilies and Freddies of the world, and their families, are better off with a consistent plan.

Both of Emily and Freddie are only children — which adds to the challenge. Every time their parents master one stage of development, the child has matured and moved on to something new, and the parents never get to use the knowledge again. The dynamic of two adults to one child is challenging because the child must navigate in an adult world; and three is a crowd. There are many successful “only” children.  It is just a different scenario than having two or more children.

I enjoy the youngsters’ feedback because it means the parents are managing their emotions and expectations, and using encouragement and empowerment to get the children to do what they want — the signature of a good manager.