(214) 532-7158  Shannon Thornton, M.A., LPC

 
 Specializing in Executive Function Difficulties, Parenting, and Family Dynamics 

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I'll Do It MY Way

Posted on April 12, 2019 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)


Would this shirt look great on your kiddo?  Do you hear Frank Sinatra in your head singing, "I Did It My..... Way"?

Then this might help.

You want to know all about her day at school.  You and your spouse ask lots of questions when she comes home because you've missed her and you want to make sure she is happy.  You're trying to stay one step ahead of drama, so you figure engaging in conversation regularly is a good thing.

Guess what?  She feels smothered when y’all ask her about details of her day. My kids are the same way. Teenagers are pulling away and need more space. If we keep asking “did u do anything wrong/get tempted to do abc” too much, it pushes them away. Try letting them come to you a little more and see what happens. It’s hard but it has worked for me.


You're trying to come up with a list of expectations so you stop arguing about every single task at hand.  Somehow, your child can twist and turn things and you never get anything resolved.  So you each make a list of what the expectations should be of the kids in the house.  Your list is logical.  His list makes you think he doesn't want any responsibility and all he wants is freedom. You want to blow your top.  He doesn't understand you!

The lists y’all made- he viewed it as a perfect world/wish list activity, knowing full well most things wouldn’t happen. He was looking for conversation to open up dialogue and compromise. His brain does better with logical explanation than hard and fast regulations.


All she wants is junk food!!!

Only have in the house what you’re ok with her eating. Her brain craves carbs and sugar bc of the ADHD. Cereal and fruit or maybe yogurt/protein shake wb good in the morning. Again we r looking for compromise. These kids are so bent on their way that it is hard. The more we insist on our way, the worse it gets.


The same goes with make up, clothes, hair, etc...THE ANSWER IS COMPROMISE


We always argue about homework and chores

Grades and chores- worst arguments in every house. Best way to handle this is to give her open expectation. Ex: if she is making good grades, it doesn’t matter what her process is as much as the goal of good grades. If doing it at school or finishing a project the night before works for her, I’d let her do it. It will make u crazy bc u (and I !!!) would be freaking out doing life how she does it. But her brain is not like ours. Chores are the same. Try telling her she needs to have abc done by a certain time of day. She will want the freedom to do it when she wants to as long as it is done by the time u set. Dishes sb done right after the meal of course but other things that dont have as much a timeline can be more flexible.

 

Trust me, it is so hard raising a kid w ADHD. I have two. I have learned through experience and years of research that nothing we do will “make” them function “our” way. I had to learn to think bigger picture. My goal was for them to make good grades, know how to take care of themselves, be great people. They do better with flexibility and clear, consistent and communicated expectation. That also includes what happens if they are unable to accomplish our expectation too. Takes lots of patience, prayer, and communication. And creates gray hair lol!!


Peace~


When They Have Meltdowns

Posted on March 17, 2019 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)



Ever wonder which version of your child will get in your car at pick-up?

Say the same thing you've always said and your child turns into a screaming banchee out of a horror film?

Actually FEEL tension in your body when you know it's time to see you child, or better yet, help them with homework?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you are not alone.  Your darling child is still in there, they're just having a meltdown.  They've flipped their lid.  They're having an out of body experience.  And they are impossible to deal with.  Here are some things that might happen in your house when said lid has flipped:

 

  • You may hear "No one umderstands me!" or "I hate my life!" or "Leave me alone!" or "I hate you/my friends/school/this house/ fill in the blank!"
  • You may hear doors slammed, loud music, or wailing and gnashing of teeth
  • There may be uncontrollable crying, screaming, lamenting, or nonsensical talk flying from your beloved's mouth with a forked tongue
  • They might start a fight with a sibling
  • They might get physically violent and smash things, put holes in walls, throw objects, or damage property
  • You may find yourself wondering if their head will spin and vomit will spew from their mouth
Unfortunately this is not uncommon.  Here's why: Emotional regulation is one of the executive functions that doesn't work at full capacity in some people with ADHD.  Imagine you have a shallow bucket of water in front of you and from the moment you wake up in the morning, every time you receive negative feedback of any kind, a ping pong ball is thrown at you and you have to keep each ball submerged under the water.  

At home, before 8:00am:
  • "Hurry up! You always make us late!"
  • "Seriously? How many times do I have to tell you to get your...?"
  • "GET. OUT. OF. BED."
  • "Is your brain attached to your body?"
Then at school:
  • "Why didn't you bring your book?  I told you to do that yesterday."
  • "Pay attention.  Are you listening?"
  • "You are so annoying, stop talking!"
  • "Dude, bring your own lunch money, I'm tired of covering for you."
Is it getting harder and harder to keep all those ping pong balls under the water?  You only have 10 fingers, remember?

Now you're home.  Finally.  And you have everything submerged...the ping pong balls, your feelings of inadequacy, embarassment, frustration, and confusion.  At any minute, you could lose your grip and all the ping pong balls go flying up and it's all over.  You have tried SO HARD ALL DAY LONG TO KEEP IT TOGETHER UNTIL YOU CAN'T ANYMORE.  So your mom or your dad or your sibling does one inconsequential thing, and you are done.  


And the ping pong balls go flying everywhere

This is what is happening to your child.  They lose control of their emotions and everything comes out.  It comes out at you, and not at school, because they know you love them and won't turn them away.  (aren't you the lucky one?)  

This is a critical point for you though.  

Here is what you can do in the moment:
  • Identify their emotion and tell them. "It looks like you had a really hard day."  "You are really mad!" "It sounds like today was rough!"
  • Give them space to cool down and offer them time alone to decompress
  • Provide affirmation you still love them. "I know you're upset.  Let's talk when you're feeling better." "It's going to be okay." 
Here is what you should NEVER do:
  • Raise your voice
  • Try to use REASON OR LOGIC.  They are not using the part of their brain that does this, and nothing you say or do can make them right now.
  • Use shame or judgement
  • Punish or threaten to take things away
  • Get too close/hit/slap
Here is what you can do after time has passed and they are calmer:
  • Remind them what feeling you saw and ask what happened today
  • Listen to what they say.  Don't offer advice or tell them what to do.  Don't interrupt.
  • Ask them how you can help
  • Talk about ways to manage their feelings next time to avoid the outburst again

I can help parents and kids through this with a toolbox of coping mechanisms created just for this type of problem.  If you or your child feel out of control or like your relationship is suffering because of it, call or email me.  I've got you.

Peace.