Coach Carlene

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Do you define success by “you having to do it all yourself”?

Imagine feeling peaceful, experiencing a deep feeling of well-being – my definition of success. How I get there is merely a strategy.

If you’re never feeling successful in your days, it’s time to start doing something different.

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Are you your own worst bully?

Pay attention to the negative chatter in your head. Would you talk to a friend or your child that way? No?!

You deserve the same respect.

Yes. You. Do.

Next time you feel beat up notice who is throwing the punches.

If it’s you, it’s time to start building some self-love into your days.

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Here’s a peek inside the mind of a teenage boy who isn’t just living with ADHD but FLOURISHING!

Take ADHD, spin it, toss it around, and catch it from the point of view of the true experts – those living with it, like Nathan.

And, this essay Nathan wrote, earned him a big, well deserved “A”!

Congratulations and Kudos to you Nathan for writing this and letting me post it.

Nathan wants other teens to know it can be different, if they want it to be.

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Are you a good multi-tasker?

Think you are awesome at your work because you’re doing two things at once? Nope.

You just make yourself look bad. Or worse – stand to disappoint others and yourself.

We think multitasking is good or, at best, necessary, to help us be “productive” and get as much done as possible. Multitasking makes us feel very busy, like we’ve been productive. So why are so many of us strangely panicked at the sight of our scantly completed to-do lists?

Because multitasking is a constant interruption – a constant distraction.

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There is no such thing as an unselfish gift. Have you noticed that “feel good jolt” you get when someone accepts a gift from you with excitement and energy? Unless you’re giving someone chicken pox, it’s hard to think of giving as a bad thing. And we can’t help it if it makes us feel good.

So what happens when someone gives us something and we don’t receive it with the same energy and excitement? We take that “feel good jolt” away from them.

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Who is this older gentleman feverishly taking notes, wearing a business suit at the CHADD Conference? I assumed him a physician or school administrator. WRONG! He raises his hand and asks, “How can I be there for my granddaughter to support all her interests. She has so many. I want her to know I care but it’s hard when her interests change daily.” Wow. What a lucky girl his granddaughter is to call this gentleman Grandpa.

In another session, for women with ADHD, many women stood up and shared their struggles with ADHD and what they’ve learned to do to live with more ease. Their honesty, vulnerability, and sense of humor moved me beyond words. Talking about it with each other gives us community, support and understanding. Ladies, we are all stronger when we lean on each other. I urge you to find support in your community or start your own group!

For some at the conference, they would come out of a session and say, “I thought the speaker was talking about me! He described me, my habits, my fears, my goofs, my oops, my need for speed. He even knew of my desires to do more, to do it better, to do it without reminders, to not let others down, to not let myself down. I came here for someone else I care about with ADHD and discovered my own ADHD.”

That first self-diagnosis can leave many unsettled. Not knowing how to tell others. Not wanting judgment. Not knowing what to do next.

I’m  grateful for the ADHD community of professionals who work tirelessly to reach others who could really start rocking and rolling in their lives with just a little support.

Mostly, I’m grateful for those who are already stepping up and supporting someone they love living with ADHD.

What can you do when someone shares they suspect or know they’re living with ADHD?

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Parents speak out on “what things are keeping them up at night about ADHD for their family.

  • “Will my daughter find people who can support her while she works on her social skills? Friends that can understand she can be inappropriate or come off as thoughtless. She just doesn’t have that awareness yet.
  • “Can my son learn skills he needs to take care of himself?
  • “I worry about my daughter socially more than ever. She gets bored with things…..and people very quickly.”
  • “The biggest concern I now have with my son is how to help him deal with anxiety.”
  • “I worry a lot about how my son would fit in, in the real world as an adult.”
  • “Will my daughter be able to manage on her own, get a job, hold a job, get bills paid?

Can you relate?
Worrying about how our kids will manage as adults is natural. We spend so much time worrying about algebra test scores we miss what is “missing”. Do we know our kids social intelligence score? Our kids need social muscle to achieve independence.

Those with ADHD frequently struggle with friendships. They’re often isolated and withdrawn. Some choose not to socialize. If they do, they may be rejected.

Worse, isolation and rejection may lead to other problems like depression and anxiety.

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 The most overlooked distraction is our thoughts. For those with ADHD it is often the biggest barrier to paying attention.

Efforts we make to lessen external distractions don’t work for tuning-out our own thoughts.

Music, TV, bright neon lights are distracting to most. For others, those are crucial to keeping focused. What works for the neurotypical brain does not work for the complex ADHD brain.

When you notice your kids distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds, quickly bouncing from one activity to another, or becoming bored quickly, what do you offer?

If you tell your kids, “Go study in your room where it is quiet,” you are not alone.
I did it.
I didn’t know better.

Other well-meaning parents and experts share this as an effective focusing strategy. It may be for some, but not others.

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Managing emotions is tough. For those with ADHD, self-regulation is a tremendous challenge.

Emotions, yours and your child’s, are the biggest obstacles to getting homework done.

When your kid is fired-up crying, screaming, throwing and crumpling homework, how do you react? Do you yell and threaten punishment?

Is your kid being rude, angry, hostile and disrespectful on purpose?

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You vowed this school year would be different.

You got blind-sided again when your kid became a hot mess doing homework.

You tried to help. Things got heated. You yelled. You wish you could take back the angry hurtful words.

Your kid feels like a failure at school.

You feel like a failure at parenting.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

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Are you missing something? Something important? Maybe and maybe not.

Seems our kids come home from school and either say nothing about their day or they chatter you up and down until bedtime.

It keeps parents on their toes when you got both and maybe something in between. You feel like you’re firing round after round of questions at one kid and shushing the other.

In all the after school chaos of homework, practices, carpools, dinner and if you’re really on top of things, a decent bedtime, us parents are plain ol’ worn out.

We have great intentions. We want to know what’s going on with our kiddo’s at school. We want to know if they need help.

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It’s true. The key indicator of a child becoming a successful happy adult is social intelligence, NOT academic intelligence, say some studies.

Not so shocking, we over focus on getting our kids through and less on helping them build the skills that lead to greater independence.

Interestingly, colleges have come back to our high schools with disappointing facts. Large number of freshmen college students quit after one year and some quit after only one semester.

The number one reason: Students are not ready socially or emotionally for managing their independence.

Don’t fret. There’s plenty you can do.

Set your parenting intention for this school year. Heres’ how.

First look at where you’ve spent your energy in the past.

Have you:

  • Reminded your child to do his homework?
  • Helped your child with his homework?
  • Hired a tutor for your child?
  • Set-up a 504 Plan or IEP?
  • Sent or plan to send your student to ACT & SAT prep classes?
  • Freaked out when your student brings home anything less than an “A”.
  • Only shown interest in your child when it has to do with school?

If you don’t do these things you may think your child is at risk of:

  • Failing classes.
  • Performing poorly on the ACT’s and SAT’s.
  • Not graduating high school.
  • Not going to college.
  • Never moving out.
  • Never finding a good job.

Or Have You:

  • Asked your child who he plays with on the playground at recess?
  • Discovered your child’s most stressful subject is “Lunch”?
  • Talked to the bus driver?
  • Volunteered during school hours to check out the social landscape yourself?
  • Understood what your child’s reputation is with other kids?
  • Fostered amicable relationships with the parents of your child’s friends?
  • Tapped into your child’s interests?
  • Listened with compassion and empathy, without trying to “fix it”, when your child tells you he was “left out”?
  • Learned your child is always the last one picked for teams in P.E.?
  • Built a good relationship with your child. One where you could support him through parent coaching and he would accept the support? 

If you don’t do these things your child is at increased risk of:

  • Getting bullied.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Not being able self-advocate.
  • Becoming defensive and argumentative.
  • Becoming isolated and lonely.
  • Never going to college.
  • Being co-dependent.
  • Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

Do any of these risks and fears sound familiar? You are not alone. As parents of children with ADHD, we find ourselves, more often than not, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

We work so hard trying to keep our kids organized, manage their time and help them stay focused, that we don’t recognize we’re missing a critical piece of the puzzle.

In order for our kids to take charge of their lives, the transition of life skills has to begin sooner than later. The word “transition” implies a process that occurs over time. It’s never too early to start strengthening their social muscle.

Sure, we eventually cram a course in laundry and boiling water in before sending them off to college. But what have we done to foster their social intelligence, their social independence?

The safety of home life is a perfect environment to begin flexing the social independence muscle. For many, we have managed all of our children’s academic and social responsibilities because of our own fears and the realities of their challenges.

So, how can you start strengthening your child’s social intelligence? Let your intuition and your child’s readiness, be your guide to the “what” and “when” to transition.

For younger children:

  • Start helping them build self-awareness of how they feel in certain social situations.
  • Coach them how to “spy” other’s social cues.
  • Role-play social conversations with your child.
  • Let them order their own food in a restaurant.
  • Teach them how to answer the phone and take a message.

For older kids:

  • Role-play entering and exiting conversations.
  • Have your kid order the pizza on Friday night.
  • Let your kid try discussing an issue with the teacher first. If back-up is needed, you can step in.
  • Have your kid take part in his 504 Plan or IEP meeting.
  • Role-play interviewing for a job.

Remember, anytime there is an exchange of information, it is a social interaction. Seize them as opportunities to build your child’s social intelligence and self-esteem.

What is your parenting intention for this school year? Share in comments or drop me an email at support@coachcarlene.com.