One of the basic wishes most parents share is that their children get along, play, and interact well with others. For children who instead struggle with their peers, the earlier interventions start, the earlier they can catch up. Since both ADHD and autism impact relationships, sorting out the ‘why’ often guides what to do next.
Addressing ADHD requires perseverance, flexibility, responsiveness, and an ability to find moments of joy and success during challenging times. All of that is much harder to sustain when you’re mentally swamped by anger, fear, or exhaustion. With mindfulness, you promote your own resilience and well-being not only for your own sake, but because your child will benefit.
The concept of ‘mindfulness’ often congers up images of relaxation, stillness, or acting in some idealistic, staid way. There’s an assumption that it means being always calm, serene and in control. Because of this, it is occasionally portrayed as a set up for personal failure. Yet, that perspective misses the point of mindfulness in the first place.
Fifteen minutes in the barber chair today, and the television news shows me a shooting and tornados and an accident at a local nuclear plant. I want to take action and make a statement when there is something to be done, and I hope others watching do the same - in many ways our world depends on it. But it's an awful lot to take in all at once.
Technology can provide organization, efficiency, and entertainment, but it can also distract, disorganize, and disorient. In spite of how it often feels, technology at its best aims to make life simpler. Instead of promoting distraction, it can help develop clarity and awareness in our lives. So here are some ways to cultivate mindfulness through technology.
Even if someone with ADHD is not overweight, executive function may impact healthy eating. And poor eating habits do not only affect nutrition. Difficulty with planning, distractibility, and time management frequently have a domino effect.
How much of our parenting time do we spend taking children to ball games, dropping them, and then waiting for the action to begin? And then once the so-called action begins, how much actually happens? The answers, at least until children get older, are an awful lot and not much. It’s all fun and games and bonding together, except when it isn’t.
Choosing to break the self-perpetuating cycle of stress by paying attention to what it feels like to breathe allows the brain to settle. Since most of us don’t know a Crash Davis, we have to break ourselves out. Taking a moment to attend carries great benefit and does not require anything as extreme as eyelid breathing.
Everyone experiences stress in some way or another, and people in caretaking roles do in particular. Our communities rely on individuals who choose these paths, and yet no one has the capacity to indefinitely give. So as a care taker, taking care of yourself is essential to sustaining your own well-being. Only then can you be at your best when interacting with others.
You’re building a home and a family — one with ADHD in the mix. The sheer volume of information and misinformation about ADHD can compromise your designs and make your house seem built of straw more than bricks. But it needn’t be this way. Reinforce the foundation, build upwards to address the rest of ADHD, and your home can be as solid as every other one on the block.
Practical, evidence-based information for parents and professionals.
Mark Bertin, M.D.,is a developmental behavioral pediatrician, an assistant professor of pediatrics at New York Medical College, and the author of The Family ADHD Solution and Mindful Parenting for ADHD.