What Does ADHD Coaching Do That I Can’t Do Myself?

by Yafa Crane Luria

 

Why ADHD Coaching?

 

The advantages of ADHD Coaching are often underestimated because of ADHD’s complexity & variety. We may not understand what coaching is, how it differs from therapy, and how it can possibly make life better when we have been struggling for so long. If books, classes, therapy, and online support don’t help, what can ADHD coaching possibly do?

ADHD evolves

While books and classes will help us parent younger kids or give us a solid introduction to this often worrying diagnosis, ADHD evolves. (Notice I didn’t say “it gets worse.”) ADHD symptoms increase as children are asked to perform according to the conventional structures of schooling. Also symptoms can increase as frustration sets in. You will have more trouble parenting your child as his or her self-esteem decreases because of the public’s misunderstanding. In other words, when not treated, ADHD’s gifts are buried by an increase in negativity or resistance and a feeling of incompetence.

Every person with ADHD should have a TREATMENT PLAN, not just a treatment. I liken treatment plans to safety nets. If you simply give a child medication, that’s a safety net with one rope. Likewise, some ropes aren’t made with the strongest of fibers. Reading books is a rope but it’s not a strong rope. For example, it’s good to read about Diabetes when you’re diagnosed, but it’s a minor (if reassuring and educational) part of a treatment plan. It adds insight but not action. The more action we take, as parents, the greater the number of strong ropes in our child’s safety net.

An ADHD coach is part of a “treatment team.” That team can include a therapist for the child who has emotional issues such as anxiety or depression, therapists for the parents (for their own anxiety or depression, or for marriage challenges), teachers and the school counselor, and a Naturopath or M.D.

ADHD in families

Parenting can bring up all kinds of personal issues – we are reminded how we were or weren’t parented. We tend to parent exactly like our parents or exactly opposite to how our parents raised us. Without parent training or coaching, our brain defaults to the parenting model we know best – the one we grew up with. We either stick to it religiously or we rebel against it.

And what about the child with ADHD whose behavior or unmanaged emotions are cramping everyone’s style and creating resentment within the family? He/She may, in turn, resent the family who may treat him/her like “the outsider” or the “disordered one.” And, not surprisingly, there may be academic or learning struggles, communication glitches, and behavioral conflicts, all informed and altered by the ADHD. (I’m a Positive Discipline trainer and even that doesn’t meet the needs of ADHD kids without some alterations).

What can ADHD coaching do for these kids and families?

What I offer individuals and families is a sounding board, a support system, and a tool kit of strategies. There’s no way someone can do that for themselves – not even me! I can’t imagine having big dreams + ADHD, but not having a coach. All people with big dreams – with or without ADHD – very often have a coach or an advisor helping them.

First of all, if we have ADHD ourselves, it is challenging to sort through our own thoughts to get to the right solution. One of the things about ADHD is that we hear EVERY POSSIBLE solution, good AND bad. That makes it hard to discern the right one. Also, we’re partial observers at best. A coach is impartial and has years of experience behind her to help make your decisions or next steps so much easier.

Second, parenting carries with it an uncomfortable amount of guilt and shame that we’d rather not face. It’s very hard to wade through that swamp on our own. It’s just so painful. Then, too, making decisions based on the fear of looking bad or the fear of “doing it wrong” isn’t the best formula for successful parenting. In our quest to be confident parents, we may overlook our needs for help, guidance, encouragement, and a new skill set.

A great coach has vast experience, personal integrity, a compassionate heart, a practical mind, and a whole barrel full of tools, tips, techniques, tricks, strategies, and suggestions. Even ADHD coaches have ADHD coaches!!! And they hire ADHD coaches for their ADHD kids – they don’t try to coach their own family members!  What I can do with my coach is triple what I do on my own.

ADHD Coaching should help kids “grow into” their ADHD

I was once speaking to a group of parents and one of the moms asked me, “Do they ever grow out of their ADHD?” In that moment I realized that my job as an ADHD coach is to help kids GROW INTO their ADHD, not out of it.

Kids with ADHD have big spirits and little bodies. Mentally, what’s going on is tremendous but their effectiveness in the world is limited by their age and emotional maturity. So the “clothes” an ADHD child wears don’t fit and they need help growing into their big spirits given that until they hit adulthood, they have limitations.

This odd pairing of a big spirit with a young age creates confusion for kids and parents alike and the tendency is to aim for big leaps and big changes so that we can meld spirit and age more quickly. The problem is that most ADHD kids can’t handle big changes, all at once.

As an ADHD coach, my job is to come alongside a family and advocate for them. Sometimes I’m advocating at the school and sometimes I’m advocating within the family, focusing my efforts on family harmony and increased mutual respect. I help parents and kids learn how to take incremental but steady steps towards integrating that big spirit and that rather undeveloped emotional filter. Further, my coaching is completely skills-based. What I do is teach parents to be coaches for their kids at the same time that I’m coaching the kids themselves. And having the help of an adult who is not their parent AND who has ADHD very often softens a child’s resistance.

Then too, raising an ADHD child often requires making changes in the family and since parents are the leaders and the “agents of change” in a family, I include them (and sometimes grandparents and siblings as well) in the ADHD coaching. In fact, progress is much more dependent on the parents’ involvement than on that of the children.

Where does a parent start?

For those who want an introduction to ADHD Coaching, I recommend an introductory sessionWe do a bit of education and skills training on topics such as:

  • School success
  • Emotional regulation/management
  • Executive functions
  • Behavior, and
  • Having a teen with ADHD

It’s also a chance to see if we’re a good fit, if you’re considering further coaching for your family.

Summary:

*

  • ADHD evolves and needs an expert to train, monitor, and create and sustain momentum as changes occur.
  • ADHD coaches are trained specifically to work with the ADHD child and his/her family.
  • ADHD coaches can help kids integrate their big spirits with their young or late-blooming emotional development.
  • Change needs to be incremental despite our desire to have our kids maturity levels match their big brains.
  • ADHD coaches teach skills.

What else would you like to know about ADHD Coaching? What features would you love to have if you were creating a coaching package for your family?

Just scroll down to share your ideas in the comments section below.

xo, Yafa

Copyright 2017 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved

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What troubles you about parenting an ADHD child or teen?

Let’s talk! No judgment, no salesy come-on. However you WILL receive a good deal of TLC and a slew of strategies. You can say anything. You can cry. You can swear. Your confidentiality is guaranteed, and I promise to listen and give you hope and relief. (You might even find yourself spontaneously doing a happy dance).

“Thank you Yafa. You’ve given me incredibly helpful tools! It was really a pleasure to speak with you. I’ll be back in touch in the coming weeks.” Stella R, Portland, OR.

“I really appreciate that I could be vulnerable and you didn’t shoot me down. I feel comfortable with you and your humor brightened the call.” Danielle A, Bellingham, WA.

“I talked with you a year ago, Yafa, and your voice is always in my head, guiding me. I just wanted to email and thank you.” April W, Queensland, Australia

“Thank you for your encouraging, enlightening suggestions.” Jill E, Seattle, WA.

Thank you for ‘being there’ to share your wealth of knowledge and personal experience with us who are ‘floundering’ and ‘lost in the forest’ when it comes to ‘dealing with special and difficult circumstances’. Gratefully yours, Rochelle H, Alberta, Canada xox ((((BIG HUGS)))

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Braden Bills December 29, 2016 at

I want to make sure that my son is successful. He just has ADHD, and he has a hard time managing it. It’s nice to know that there are people who can help him out! I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.

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Yafa Luria/Margit Crane January 4, 2017 at

Absolutely, Braden! Happy to help!

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