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Parenting ADHD and Autism with Penny Williams

Being a parent challenges us in every way. Parenting an ADHD or Autistic child is even more challenging. Kids don’t come with instruction manuals and the constant struggle can make you feel frustrated, stuck and hopeless.

Today we have Penny Williams on The Dad Edge. She’s a coffee-lovin’, ADHD-obsessed momma on a mission, and she’s honored to help families on this always chaotic, often stressful, anything-but-ordinary parenting journey.

Through her podcast, award-winning books, online parent training programs, parent coaching, and mom retreats, Penny has helped thousands of families survive and thrive in the face of ADHD. Penny says the key is not to learn how to change your child, but how to change yourself.

In this episode, she teaches the mindset and parenting skills, insights, tools, and strategies, to understand your child’s behavior and help them to interact with the world in the best way possible.

This show is a revelation for all dads and moms. Empower yourself with the training you need to be the parent you child needs.

“Your kid is not giving you a hard time, he is having a hard time.”—Penny Williams

Penny Williams

A self-proclaimed “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the creator of the award-winning website, parentingadhdandautism.com, and a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine, Healthline, and other parenting and special needs publications.

“I endured a long learning curve when my son was diagnosed with ADHD,” says Williams. “I share my experiences parenting my son, Ricochet, in the hopes of shortening that painful time of trial by fire for others.” Williams says she gains strength in parenting Ricochet through a quote from Albert Einstein, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Williams’ first book, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD, is an Amazon best-seller and a USA Best Book Awards winner. Her second book, What to Expect When Parenting Children with ADHD, won the Psychology & Mental Health category of the 2015 International Book Awards.

Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD

Most books on ADHD don’t dare expose the genuine grit of the moment-by-moment peaks and valleys of this special parenthood — the gut-wrenching, crying on the bathroom floor, feeling like you’re losing your mind truth of the matter that is learning to successfully parent a child with ADHD. Boy Without Instructions changes that.

Williams shares her unfiltered thoughts and emotions during her progression through this learning curve during this harrowing ride. Right before your eyes, this initially grief-stricken momma transforms from obsessed-with-ADHD control-freak and helicopter mom to optimistic and (mostly) confident parent of a child who happens to have ADHD. Boy Without Instructions validates your grief and guilt, yet reveals that it’s truly possible to craft a (mostly) joy-filled life for your child with ADHD, yourself, and your family.

What You’ll Learn

  • Behavior looks like disrespect and opposition on the surface, but it’s really your child struggling.
  • We want our kids to reflect on us that we are a good parent, but we must address why the behavior is happening instead of the behavior itself.
  • Acknowledge that your kid’s emotions are real for them.
  • If we don’t allow our kids to be who they are, we’re not supporting them to ever discover themselves. They will feel like we don’t love them just the way they are.
  • When we decide and try to control what is good behavior, we don’t give room for anything else.
  • There is a big difference between trying to guide our kids and changing them.
  • Our kids are trying 10 times harder than we see on the surface.
  • Parents are the scaffolding on which kids grow.
  • The more we protect and try to avoid difficult situations, the more opportunities kids lose to learn how to cope. They only learn to avoid discomfort.
  • Teach them to be able to get through something uncomfortable.
  • Step back enough to let them make mistakes.
  • Set your values apart from your parenting rules.
  • Bad behavior feels personal and against us, but it’s not.
  • The difference between tantrums and meltdowns
  • Dealing with other parents’ judgement
  • Set expectations before doing something like going to the grocery store.
  • How to tune into why your kid is acting out—sensory overload, tired, hungry, struggling…
  • Use empathy instead of authority.
  • What’s the difference between parenting kids with and without ADHD? Nothing.
  • Allow natural consequences instead of punitive punishment.
  • Kids will be hyperaware if they are being treated different from their siblings. Set one parenting plan for the whole house with values and boundaries.
  • Kindness is always the right way. Everything comes from there.
  • Giving ourselves grace—We will fail. When we give ourselves permission to be human and make a mistake, we give our kids permission.
  • Working “the calm muscle”
  • You matter too. We can only do good for others when we feel good ourselves. When you feel good, the house feels good.
  • We give less to our kids when we do not practice self-care.
  • Why it’s important to have a tribe to lean on and learn from as an ADHD/autism parent

 

RELATED EPISODES:

Parenting Your ADHD Kid with Confidence Angela Pruess

Strategy Guide for Parenting ADHD Kids with Brian King


Protect your kids with the Bark App

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parenting your adhd kid

Parenting Your ADHD Kid with Confidence Angela Pruess


Parenting is always a challenge. We aren’t given a manual when our kid is born. Parents whose kids have ADHD are even more unprepared. The Dad Edge constantly receives emails from dads who are struggling with their ADHD son or daughter. Most feel frustrated and helpless. They don’t enjoy parenting, and their kids can sense that. But there is hope for ADHD parents. All we need is the right skillset.

Angela Pruess is a licensed family therapist with a background in Child Psychology, Child Development, and Play Therapy. She is the founder of Parents with Confidence and also the mother of three children, two having special needs.

Angela explains the 3 different types of ADHD and the best way to manage each one. She talks about how to create an environment that encourages emotional intelligence and a growth mindset. She also tells us how to develop and leverage our parent-child connection, understand the true motivation behind our child’s behavior, and discipline our children without emotional damage.

Empower yourself to grow emotionally resilient ADHD kids who will live their best lives!

Angela Pruess

Angela Pruess, LMFT, is a Child and Family Therapist and special needs parent on a mission to support and empower parents of behaviorally challenging kids. Over at parentswithconfidence.com, she wants to make life easier for you by decoding your child’s maddening behaviors, as well as their developmental and emotional needs. When she’s not supporting parents, or seeing kids in her private practice, she is at home being challenged (a lot) by her own three kids (and sometimes husband).

“Kids do better when they feel better.”—Angela Pruess, LMFT

What You’ll Learn

  • Parents forget to try to understand their kids. We need to know what drives them.
  • There is no quick fix for helping an ADHD child.
  • How amazingly resilient kids are. Their high-plasticity brains keep them openminded to learning about themselves.
  • How to manage emotional resentment towards your child.
  • ADHD cannot be helped. There are differences in the child’s brain structure since birth. Executive functions are limited as well as a broad range of important skills that bleed into everything.
  • Has ADHD always been around? How come we haven’t heard of it till now?
  • The outdated diagnostic criteria for ADHD.
  • The 3 different types of ADHD: Hyperactive, Inattentive, and Combined
  • Hyperactive: Physically hyper, but also impulsive, these children have a hard time stopping and thinking before the act. They show a limited ability for self-control and taking time to make best decisions.
  • Inattentive: It may look like these children are lazy and not paying attention, but there is an invisible piece. They don’t know where to start and get stuck. Parents have to be on child’s back to get things done. These are the dreamers, staring out the window. They are observant, curious.
  • Combined: These children present both aspects of ADHD. All of these children struggle with emotional control and regulating their attention.
  • How does ADHD show up besides hyperactivity and poor academic performance?
  • How to tell if your child has ADHD and is not just misbehaving.
  • Playing too much video games, not getting sleep, and too much sugar are some habits that lead to ADHD behaviors.
  • Parents expect to treat each kid the same, but they must seek to better understand each individual child’s neurobiology and personality.
  • The more you know about how each child ticks, the more you can influence your kids.
  • Use a humble, open approach instead of being authoritarian.
  • Kids put their needs out in the form of their behavior.
  • Unwanted behavior will not end until your child’s needs are met.
  • Their behavior is just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath is a huge variety of internal factors and drivers.
  • Be aware of your child’s sensory needs. Some are triggered by noises or being touched.
  • Being the “behavior police” with your ADHD child breeds disconnect and resentment.
  • How to draw the line between positive parenting and giving into bad behavior.
  • Get into the habit of thinking of the golden rule when interacting with your child. How would you want to be addressed? What would inspire you to do better?
  • ADHD kids are bright and advanced in other ways. They want to be acknowledged and respected for their gifts.
  • When children are upset, they shift into stress brain and their thinking brain goes offline.
  • How to teach your child to be aware of their emotions and help him/her be genuinely motivated to learn how to cope with their feelings.
  • All humans are wired with a negativity bias. Try to focus on the positives and achievements instead of everything your child does wrong.
  • Growth Mindset. Think of the whole picture when it comes to dealing with your ADHD child, not just right now. Instead of putting out fires, use challenging situations as a learning experience.

 

RELATED EPISODES:

Faster than Normal: Secrets of the ADHD Brain with Peter Shankman

How to Unlock ADHD Superpowers with Peter Shankman

Anxiety and Depression in Kids: A Parent’s Survival Guide with Natasha Daniels

How to Help Kids with Anxiety and Depression – Exclusive Dad Edge Alliance Q&A with Natasha Daniels

Strategy Guide for Parenting ADHD Kids with Brian King

 


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Daniel Amen

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life with Dr. Daniel Amen


We obsess over nutrition and fitness for a strong physique, but we ignore the most important organ in the body—the brain. The brain manages every function of the human body and is also in charge of our focus, mood, and ability to learn.

In this episode of The Dad Edge, America’s Most Popular Psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Amen, talks about how we can improve the lives of ourselves and our children by making the brain a priority. He tells us how to eat to optimize brain power, how to create a bedtime routine for the best sleep, and how to stop the negative thoughts and behaviors that sabotage our progress in life.

This show will transform the way you think, literally. Prepare to Change Your Brain, Change Your Life!

Get the brain right and your mind will follow.–Dr. Daniel Amen

Dr. Daniel Amen

“Dr. Amen believes that brain health is central to all health and success. His work is dedicated to helping people have better brains and better lives.

Patients love him…viewers worship him…and thousands of people say they owe their lives to Dr. Amen.

His health clinics across the country see over 4,000 patient visits each month and continue to grow. And his breakthrough public television programs on various issues of brain and mental health have aired over 80,000 times and have been watched by millions of people.

He is a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and as a pioneer in brain SPECT imaging, he introduced a whole new way of looking at the brain. His research on brain imaging was ranked #19 out of the top 100 stories in science in 2015 by Discover Magazine.

Dr. Amen is a #1 New York Times best-selling author, double board-certified psychiatrist, professor and brain health expert.”

Your brain is involved in everything you do, every decision you make, and everything you are. And when your brain works right, you work right.–Dr. Daniel Amen

What You’ll Learn

  • How Dr. Amen went from average C student to graduating medical school
  • Depression and suicide increase with inadequate sleep.
  • The brain washes itself and consolidates information from the day during sleep
  • More people die on the road from sleep deprivation than alcohol.
  • How to honor a child’s circadian rhythm
  • Using a light box to reset your kids’ circadian rhythm to wake up early
  • How ADD kids are usually night owls
  • How to create a calming routine for your kids, engaging all 5 senses with relaxation before bedtime
  • Getting your kids to fall in love with their brains
  • How gadgets keep us awake by flooding us with blue light
  • The more secure the attachment to your kids, the safer they feel and the better they sleep.
  • How to bond with your child by spending 20 minutes each day listening to your him/her without giving your opinion.
  • The best brain breakfasts
  • Why eggs are the perfect food
  • The great cholesterol myth
  • How very low levels of cholesterol are associated with mental illness
  • Finding foods you love that love you back
  • Amen’s house rule: never spend money on food that will harm the kids
  • Getting your kids to eat brain healthy foods
  • Teaching kids to read food labels
  • When blood sugar is low, blood flow to your frontal lobe is slow.
  • Healthy snacks for after school
  • Why apple juice is a bad food
  • The truth about dairy
  • How most people don’t have the enzyme to process lactose (dairy sugar)
  • Healthy Brain Diet: 70% plants 30% healthy protein and a lot of healthy fats
  • Cultures who eat the most fish have the least depression.
  • The younger you start giving children fish, the better.
  • Preparing the brain for learning
  • How to proactively get ready for class to reduce study time and increase retention
  • Studying the day’s lesson before class to ask smarter questions
  • How and why kids should make an effort to develop a good relationship with teachers
  • Why interacting in a group setting is so helpful in learning
  • How to limit distractions and reward yourself for staying focused
  • Why it’s crucial to define your life and what you want for all aspects of it
  • How to ensure your behavior fits the goals you have
  • Consistent thinking or acting over time gets you what you want.
  • Why you must base your activities around what will matter most in the future
  • The smallest, most effective thing you can do today is to ask yourself, “Is the consequence of this decision the best for my brain?”
  • Whenever you feel sad, mad, or out of control, write your feelings down and question the negative thinking.
  • Avoiding psychiatric medication when possible.
  • The power of nutritional supplements


RELATED EPISODES:

Strategy Guide for Parenting ADHD Kids with Brian King

How to Unlock ADHD Superpowers with Peter Shankman

Faster than Normal: Secrets of the ADHD Brain with Peter Shankman


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Late Bloomers

Late Bloomers: Giving Your Kids Space to Grow with Richard Karlgaard


Our society is obsessed with early achievement. We want our kids to become incredible athletes, advanced students, and high-earners. We have a tendency to compare them with their peers and if they aren’t at the same level, we worry that they won’t succeed.

Our guest is Richard Karlgaard. He’s a journalist, award-winning entrepreneur, and speaker. He is the author of bestselling book, Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement. He talks about how today’s kids are under huge pressure to perform and feel like failures if they don’t meet society’s expectations. This coincides with a 70% rise in depression and anxiety in teenagers in the past 25 years.

It’s natural for every parent to wish the best for their child’s future, but Richard Karlgaard explains how kids develop in different ways at different ages. He teaches us how to meet our kids where they are and give them space to grow. He also tells us how allowing them to find their way later in life can be an advantage to long-term achievement and happiness.

Blooming happens early or late, but it happens. When you meet that intersection of your native gifts, your deepest passions, and your sense of purpose, you can bloom.—Richard Karlgaard

Richard Karlgaard and Late Bloomers

We live in a society where kids and parents are obsessed with early achievement, from getting perfect scores on SATs to getting into Ivy League colleges to landing an amazing job at Google or Facebook—or even better, creating a start-up with the potential to be the next Google or Facebook or Uber. We see software coders become millionaires or billionaires before age thirty and feel we are failing if we are not one of them.

Late bloomers, on the other hand, are undervalued in popular culture—by educators and employers, and even unwittingly by parents. Yet the fact is, a lot of us—most of us—do not explode out of the gates in life. We have to discover our passions and talents and gifts.

That was true for author Rich Karlgaard, who had a mediocre academic career at Stanford (which he got into by a fluke) and, after graduating, worked as a dish – washer and nightwatchman before finally finding the inner motivation and drive that ultimately led him to start up a high-tech magazine in Silicon Valley, and eventually to become the publisher of Forbes magazine.

There is a scientific explanation for why so many of us bloom later in life. The executive function of our brains doesn’t mature until age twenty-five—and later for some. In fact, our brain’s capabilities peak at different ages. We actually experience multiple periods of blooming in our lives. Moreover, late bloomers enjoy hidden strengths due to taking the time to discover their way in life—strengths coveted by many employers and partners, including curiosity, insight, compassion, resilience, and wisdom.

Based on years of research, personal experience, interviews with neuroscientists, psychologists, and countless people at different stages of their careers, Late Bloomers reveals how and when we achieve our full potential—and why today’s focus on early success is so misguided, and even harmful.

What You’ll Learn

  • The emphasis on elite colleges makes schools obsessed with putting kids on a conveyor belt to early achievement
  • Teens nowadays feel like a second-rate citizen if they’re a B student.
  • Some kids would prefer to learn a skill or trade but feel inferior if they don’t go to college.
  • Neuroscience proves we bloom in multiple ways at different times throughout our lives.
  • There is a correlation between late bloomers and highly-motivated people.
  • How parents can be better at communicating that their kid’s value isn’t tied to getting into college
  • Too many parents outsource parenting their kids’ futures to educators.
  • 94% of prescriptions written for ADHD are given in the US.
  • Why parents feel so much pressure for their kids to succeed
  • How to prevent wrapping up our identity in our kids’ futures
  • How to honor your kids’ dreams
  • The fine line between pushing your kid out of their comfort zone and pushing them too far
  • Why it’s harmful when your kid feels pushed to perform
  • When you’re blooming you feel like you’re being pulled by your gifts, passion, and purpose. Not pushed.
  • What’s “repotting” and when to do it.
  • How to provide unconditional love while not acting as your kids’ best friend
  • Why the “never quit” attitude is fallible. In some cases, quitting is the smart choice.
  • Why you can outwork anybody when you’re blooming!

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Richard Karlgaard’s Links

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Faster than Normal: Secrets of the ADHD Brain with Peter Shankman

Faster than Normal: Secrets of the ADHD Brain with Peter Shankman

Today, I have an awesome return guest on to talk about ADHD and ADD. Peter Shankman’s new book, Faster Than Normal, is the number one new release on Amazon. He is back to help us uncover the secrets of ADHD and give us alternatives to medication.

This is a huge topic for our generation, being fathers, and the next generation, which is our own kids. We undoubtedly have the most medicated children in history, but whether you or your child have ADHD or not, you will get a lot out of this episode!

Peter Shankman

Peter Shankman is a spectacular example of what happens when you merge the power of pure creativity with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and a dose of adventure, and make it work to your advantage. An author, entrepreneur and corporate keynote speaker, this “worldwide connector” is recognized worldwide for radically new ways of thinking about customer service, social media, PR, marketing, advertising, and ADHD.

 

Extreme Self-medication

Peter wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until he was 30 years old. Since then, he has developed some wild ways of coping with his ADHD. They may seem crazy at first, but the logic is valid. What Peter has been told is that adults and children who have ADHD don’t produce enough of the brain chemicals that help us focus – serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline. Typically, these are replaced by medication, but Peter self-medicates … by sky diving.

Peter has over 500 jumps under his belt. When he leaps out of the airplane, his brain floods with all the chemicals he is lacking. He becomes super focused, and even when the skydive is over, its effects will last for up to hours later. He brings his laptop to the hangar, so that after the jump he can toss his parachute aside and work.  In this state, Peter says he has the mental power to hammer out 10,000 words in 30 minutes.

You’ve gotta understand yourself.

Faster Than Normal

ADHD brains move much faster than a normal brain. Peter says it’s like having a Lamborghini with bike brakes. If you don’t know how to control it, you can easily veer of the road.

He has several strategies to keep his brain in check so he can use it to his advantage. They are outlined in his new book Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD Brain. These tips are not only for people who have ADHD, but for anyone who wants 4 more hours of productivity out of their day. Here are some highlights:

  • Follow a routine – Whether it’s you or your child who has ADHD, following a routine helps keep the ADHD bran on track.
  • Eliminate choices – Choices can be distracting, even something as simple as picking out what to wear. Simplify your life so that you don’t have too many options.
  • Exercise and Nutrition ­– Peter says exercise is crucial to taming his brain. He even goes as far as sleeping in his gym clothes and keeping his bike at the end of his bed so that he doesn’t have excuses to skip his workout.
  • Nutrition is also important, especially for ADHD kids. Choose foods that nourish the brain, not sugary cereals and pop tarts. Peter recommends high-protein and healthy carbs like fruit and vegetables.

Play the tape forward. How are you going to feel if you don’t work out and eat like shit?

  • Prioritize your time – People ask Peter how he has time to write a book. He makes time. If you want to increase the value of your life, it’s not about “I don’t have the time.” You make time for your priorities.

Save your energy to focus on them.We all have the same 24 hours a day. It’s up for you to choose.

  • Know yourself – Know what you can and cannot handle. Take care of yourself. ADHD is a condition of extremes. Peter knows he can’t have just one drink. He had to quit drinking because of that. He also can’t have just one slice of pizza, so he avoids that too.

Our ADHD Kids

Society considers ADHD a negative thing. Kids feel something is wrong with them and associate taking medicine with being sick. Not only that, when children rely on medicine all their lives and are taken off as adults, they often turn to illegal drugs and alcohol to self-medicate.

  • Get a second opinion – When a doctor’s first choice is to put your child on drugs, you don’t have to listen to him. Seek out other specialists for more information.
  • Make sure they know they’re NOT broken – Explain to your child that their brain is just faster than normal, and anything faster is good.
  • Get them outside – Don’t let your kid sit in front of the TV for long periods of time. Go walk around outside for 30-40 minutes. Get in the pool. This simple act does wonders.

Peter’s Dadly Wisdom

We often go through the motions when communicating with our kids. Peter Shankman, says it’s important to dig deep.

 Ask questions – not just, “How was your day at school?”

 

RELATED EPISODES:

How to Unlock ADHD Superpowers with Peter Shankman

Strategy Guide for Parenting ADHD Kids with Brian King


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Resources

==>NEW!!<== Grab a copy of The Dad’s Edge AUDIOBOOK on iTunes or Audible

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Download a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

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Daddy Will Always Love and Protect You

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