So You Don’t Think There Is Such A Thing As ADHD….

English: Symptoms of ADHD described by the lit...

English: Symptoms of ADHD described by the literature (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a great article to pass on to anyone who doesn’t believe that there is such a thing as ADHD.  Written by someone who has it from their own perspective rather than from the outside looking in.  Pass it on to any of your non-believing friends.

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-man/2012/10/you-say-theres-no-such-thing-as-adhd/

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Teamwork at its Finest: Lessons Learned from Teens

Every now and then you get a chance to witness teamwork operating at its finest.  Usually this is found in sophisticated work environments or in places where adults have known one another for a long period of time.  I however have found it at a high school with a group of seniors who have come from a variety of backgrounds with enormous variations in economic and social status.

As a group, there is nothing special that stands out among them as evident in their number of 29 with the majority of them being males.  With the exception of a few, they are not the most intelligent, athletic or popular class.  Their personal interests are varied from medical school to marines, from marine biology to hunting, from football to dance, and from art to engineering.  Yet they get along with surprising contentment for their differences.  How?  There are three observations as to how they have accomplished this task.

Servant leadership.  One of the most striking features of this group is their ability to transfer leadership from one to another depending on the circumstances.  On the football field, one senior is the leader, in the classroom another senior is the leader, and when planning the social functions yet another senior is the leader.  The overall attitude of the group is to serve one another by serving the interests of the entire group instead of an individual.  Thus they are more willing to accept alternative leaders from within their class and work together by pooling from each person’s strengths instead of competing for center stage.

Respect for each other.  To be sure, there are times when there is tension in the group and one person feels disrespected by another, there may even be an occasional disagreement.  But when there is a disagreement, instead of taking sides, the group tends to encourage each one to come back to the group and not allow the disagreement to destroy the unity.  This in turn allows an individual to admit their faults, feel accepted and more importantly prevents them from “losing face” in front of their peers.  In the end, all is forgiven and respect for each other is willingly returned.

Focus on the group.  The above two observations occur when all the members of the group understand the value in preserving a group and creating a teamwork environment.  Strangely enough, the desire for teamwork was not accomplished by taking personality assessments or listening to a speaker, instead the desire grew by witnessing how a lack of teamwork affects the individuals of a group.  As a result, by seeing what they did not want to become, they were motivated to move past the petty circumstantial issues and focus more on what is best for the group as a whole.

So who is this exceptional group of young individuals who have managed to learn significant life lessons about teamwork?  They are the graduating seniors at a private Christian school in Florida and without exception they are all extraordinary students not just for their individual accomplishments but also for their group mentality.  Isn’t it nice to hear about the positive impact of a group of teens can make in their culture instead of the negative impact of so many others?

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Managing ADD/ADHD: Where are my keys?

Quite possibly my favorite trait of an ADD/ADHD person is their ability to misplace so many important things in a variety of places.  One would surmise that as time goes on, the number of places that their sun glasses, cell phone, wallet, homework or keys would land would be limited or at the very least consistent with previous locations but this is not the case.  Rather, those with an advantage of ADD/ADHD seem to have an unlimited number of new and creative locations for their most basic and most frequently used items.

Not only is the location of the keys creative, but at the moment of initial placement, it is also logical and systematic.  The difficulty lies in remembering the logic of the location instead of the actual location because the logic of the location is the right key needed to solve the end mystery.  This key concept can then be transferred to other traits of difficulty for those blessed with ADD/ADHD.

Bigger than life dreams.  Spend a little time asking a person with ADD/ADHD about their dreams for the future and you are likely to become almost intoxicated by their passion.  They seem to have an ability to see past the mundane to the larger picture and have no fear of inserting themselves at the center.  This ability can cause difficulty when they are so distracted by the future that they minimize the importance of doing the smaller tasks to reach the future.  For instance, a person who wants to attend Princeton University (big picture) needs to get good grades (medium picture) and their homework needs to be completed (smaller picture).  By applying the logic of achieving the larger picture to measurable medium and smaller pictures, the larger picture becomes more realistic to achieve.

Danger while driving.  Have you ever gotten into the passenger’s side of a car only to find yourself more frightened by the driver’s driving then going upside down and backwards on a roller coaster at 60 M.P.H.?  Not that every ADD/ADHD person is a dangerous driver, but they do tend to take a few more risks and are prone to become more distracted by their cell phone, other drivers, radio, and even just talking.  Amazingly, their quick reflexes and ability to think fast are precisely what makes them a better than average driver but that still does not minimize the anxiety you feel in the passenger’s seat.  Again, logic is your new best friend as you survey the car for any potential distractions and then systematically reduce the number.  Also, engaging an ADD/ADHD person in a conversation that they are passionate about will help them to better focus on their driving and as a side benefit, they sometimes slow down.

Non-stop channel surfing.  Once you surrender the TV remote to a person with ADD/ADHD you are not likely to get it back without a fight.  After all, there may be a better program on then the one already being watched and commercials are designed for channel surfing.  Just when you believe that they have decided on one station, wait a few more minutes and it will change again.  This constant checking of better stations plays out in other areas of their lives with the constant changing of passionate and almost obsessive interests from one to another.  Once again, logic can help as you gently and carefully display the already abandoned interests and inquire if selling of some of the old interests can help to fund the new interests.

Managing ADD/ADHD behavior is more effectively done if you spend a little time trying to find the logic in their thinking before you respond to help.  More importantly however is for you not to help unless they ask for your help as many with ADD/ADHD value their independence and would prefer to look for their keys by themselves even if they are grumbling about the keys being lost.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Parenting the tough stuff

 

 

If the small stuff like bad test grades, periodic fights with siblings, friendships that come and go, or occasional defiance with food does not faze you as a parent, the tough stuff will.  Sometimes it is a gradual progression, sometimes it comes in waves, and sometimes it hits you all at once.  Whatever the method, the tough stuff of parenting can catch you off guard and leave you questioning yourself, your family and your child.

Perhaps you are dealing with a child who has uncontrollable anger with outbursts so intense that they say hateful things, are uncharacteristically mean, threaten to harm themselves or others, or physically take their anger out on others.  Perhaps you are dealing with a child who stays out all night, comes home acting differently, has questionable friends, lies frequently or displays other signs of potential substance abuse.  Perhaps you are dealing with a child who has withdrawn from most social engagements, has no desire to be with any friends, whose grades are slipping, spend most of their time sleeping or has no interest in things they enjoyed before.  Or perhaps you are dealing with a child who threatens to commit suicide, has marks on their arms and legs indicating cutting, has lost extreme amounts of weight, or seems to do things to gain excessive amounts of attention.  Whichever situation you are dealing with, this is the tough stuff.  So what do you do?

 Don’t deny.  A common philosophy is to blame yourself for your child’s behavior.  This is encouraged in psychology with Freudian beliefs, in society where to admit your child has a problem means that there is something wrong with you, and in our own internal thoughts when we rather blame ourselves than to be honest with the situation.  While your child’s behavior is at some point their responsibility and choice and not yours, there is something to be said for a little self-reflection.  What is your child’s behavior telling you?  Are they acting angry because you are suppressing anger?  Are they demanding attention because they don’t feel loved?  Are they withdrawing because they have been hurt by someone they trusted?  Be honest with the situation and listen to the clues from your child’s behavior.

Deal with yourself first.  Remember the instructions on an airplane, put your own mask first and then help your child.  If your teenage child’s two year old temper tantrum is because they feel overwhelmed with all of the expectations placed on them, then look at the expectations that you have placed unnecessarily on them.  More importantly, look at why those expectations have been placed.  Are you placing expectations on your child that were placed on you?  How do you feel about that?  Or are you placing expectations that are inconsistent with your child’s talents and abilities just because others do the same to you?  Again, be honest with yourself and see your child’s behavior as a reflection of the things you need to address that perhaps you have not addressed.

Do get help.  More often than not, parents bring in their child to therapy to deal with their behavior but do not go to therapy to deal with their own behavior.  It is so much easier to point the finger at your child and drag them into therapy instead of the dealing with your own issues.  Therapy is most effective when the entire family admits that there is a problem and each person deals with their own issues separately and together.  Your child will do far better in therapy when they see you doing better because of therapy.  Be the example that your child needs and get help for your issues.

Many parents will admit that they need help parenting but few will actually take the first step of getting help.  Even fewer will go into therapy for themselves before they send their child however; this is the best method for healing.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.