Do you remember the day you entered through those double swinging doors filled with so many different feelings... happiness, apprehension (maybe even downright fear), joy, confusion, etc.? It was the day your sweet "Bundle of Joy" entered into your life. This was the beginning of something BIG: Parenthood!

Many parents are not fully prepared for parenthood, and there are no exceptions for parents with ADHD. Frequently they find that their children are impacted by ADHD as well. As you can imagine, this stage of life, Parenthood, can be both wonderful and chaotic.

To decrease the chaos many proven systems and strategies are available for both parents and children. Most of these systems require structure, a much needed element for both the ADHD parent and child. The problem is that many parents have difficulty setting up and maintaining the very systems that can help them.Often the creativity experienced by many with ADHD can be both helpful and sometimes not so helpful. In fact, creativity may interfere with one of the main ingredients to successful implementation of parent/child systems and that is "consistency." Systems come and go as the parent finds new systems that may seem better in some way. In reality this usually causes more difficulty than sticking with a system that is "average" in its effectiveness. So, how can you use that creativity, during this stage of life, to your advantage and still maintain the consistency? Here are some ideas to get you moving toward "consistency + creativity" with your parenting:

  1. Start very early with children in developing responsible healthy habits:
    • Children as young as 3-4 years of age are very capable of learning simple responsibilities of getting themselves dressed, brushing teeth, combing hair, putting toys away, etc.
    • Be Creative: When developing a system use pictures or other visuals to identify what the child is to do each morning/evening.
    • Be Consistent: Stick with the same set of responsibilities until the child has developed an actual habit (at least 6 kidchartweeks)
    • Be Consistent: Offer immediate rewards for their success
    • Be Creative: offer stickers on their chart or maybe have a treasure box with small items they can pick from like a hair ribbon, or a penny, or...
  2. Be supportive, yet firm with continued learning/responsibilities:
    • Be Consistent: As your child grows, increase their level of responsibility by reviewing their progress every three months.
    • Be Creative: Find new ways of rewarding as the child grows by moving to a mixture of immediate and delayed rewards, then transition them to only delayed rewards.
  3. Be willing to allow your child to fail. This can be a very difficult challenge for parents and especially so for AD/HD parents who may have experienced varying degrees of failure in their lives:
    • Be Consistent: Let the child learn and don't rush in to "fix it" for them. It's better that they learn now, with your support, than later when it may have significant impact on their young adulthood.
    • Be Creative: Find ways to support your child while fostering independence during these difficult learning times.
  4. Recognize that you too, just like your child, will not "do it perfectly" during this stage of life and that is okay. Be willing to ask for help when you need it. Find a parenting support group, get counseling or hire an ADHD coach:
    • Be Consistent: Keep practicing and learning..... it will pay off in the end.
    • Be Creative: Find ways to support yourself when things are difficult and know that your experience will continue to unfold in many good ways.

Parenthood can be a very rewarding stage of life. Using both consistency and creativity with structured systems will lessen the chaos of the ADHD household and offer your child the opportunity to establish life skills and habits that will be essential as they mature into healthy and responsible adults. Starting as early as possible is important to the process, yet it is never too late to implement effective systems for your child's growth and development.



ADDA Focus Newsletter
Authored by Twila Gates, RN, IMC, Senior Certified AD/HD Coach.
An article for parenting children with ADD/ADHD.

ADHD Coaching: What Our Clients Are Saying

"When I started working with my coach, Twila, I was looking for a coach because I was extremely frustrated by several things: my boss, lack of planning, disorganization, impatience... etc. Most of the goals I had initially (e.g. being calm, less angry, submitting expense reports, paying bills, starting to plan my day/week...) I accomplished in the first 6-9 months of coaching. Twila was excellent at helping me develop systems that worked for me.I appreciated that she was relatively available when I was having a hard issue with my boss. I developed an excellent relationship and friendship with my boss (who at the start I was saying I would never work for).Coaching has helped with the following:1. Keeps me focused on achieving my goal2. Provides supportive accountability (I had great experience at sliding by... without anyone noticing)3. Over time, Twila could help spot repeated cycles/behaviors I was not as aware of4. Ongoing encouragement... which I needed5. Helped me develop ways of "naturally" doing many of the mundane tasks I had avoided.6. My base salary has increased by 30%7. My work hours have decreased by 30%8. Return on investment (ROI) is approximately 525%9. My performance appraisal no longer says: "I should be more patient... or that I should not be frustrated by others." :-)I also enjoyed/enjoy the "coaching" time and found that just having the call would start calming/relaxing me.Twila has worked with me to allow me to keep and exploit the traits I like about ADHD (i.e. energy- some may call hyperactivity, ability to pay attention to several things at once, and handle urgent tasks) while changing the traits that frustrate me (and often others)." Kathrin
Kathrin K
Twila is a super coach -- attentive, caring, organized and skillful. I worked with Twila for several years and gained the much needed skills to handle numerous drises that I was experiencing after a divorce and in establishing myself in a career. Twila is nonjudgmental, very easy to talk to and insightful. One of the important life skills that I gained from our sessions was learning the difference between discernment and judgment and how to employ these insights in interpersonal relationships. If you are in transition and trying to figure out a new path, Twila will be a tremendous resource and personal advocate.
Sabrina - New York
“Coaching has been a true life changer & saver for me. Most likely the results are going to be different for everyone, as dictated by different situations. For me, this has not only helped my career and college goals become enjoyable and achievable, but it has almost essentially helped me to combine all of the important things in my life much more efficiently, so that I have been able to pretty much save the severe degradation of my marriage. ADD/ADHD has, without knowing that it even existed, been an absolute key product of absolute upheaval and chaos in my life. Since I’ve been getting help from Twila, I’m truly realizing what I’ve been missing most all of my life. Needless to say, I would highly encourage you to consider life coaching if it has been recommended, or you think it might possibly be helpful for you. So far so good for me.”
Glen H.
"Before I worked with Twila I was feeling like life was pretty chaotic. I didn't seem to have a grip on things and I felt like my communication skills were poor. "I wasn't doing a good job of letting co-workers and my partner know what I needed from them. I seemed to be working under a general state of overwhelm. I have worked with Twila for a couple years. For me this has been time and money WELL SPENT. I am much more organized, thoughts and life. Before I couldn't see past the chaos but now I seem to be able to step back from things and see the real issues. I have been able to identify key areas needing attention in my life. I have made a lot of healthy improvements. This was something I didn't seem to be able to do on my own. I have improved my communication skills, personal and professional, and relationships are better. My partner said he has seen a great change in me all for the better. He has seen me grow and better myself and this has encouraged him to do some of his own work. Twila seems genuinely interested in my success as a person."
Kelly J., Washington

If you have come to a point in your life where you deeply desire to make adjustments in your thinking, habits, processes and/or performance, but feel stuck, Twila can provide tools, training, coaching and accountability necessary to get going and to achieve long term change.
Karl B
"I discovered Twila two years ago during the most difficult time of my life. She has been instrumental in assisting me in creating systems and order in my life during a time when I felt completely lost after my husband left and sought full custody of our son. I am not sure how I would have navigated that past few years without Twila there by my side. She is an incredibly talented and intuitive coach, and I highly recommend her. Twila is very gifted in being able to quickly understand "where you are" and where you need support and/or structure. She will take a tailored approach to assisting you where you need help - whether it is regarding the structure of your day/planning and follow through, or how to make certain aspects of your life run smoothly, or understanding your personality type and how to work with it rather than against it. She is able to help you learn how to gain and maintain focus - which is a true blessing if you have ADHD. She is able to help you with how to create and maintain an orderly environment. She is able to help you in defining your values and living life with purpose. She is able to help you with how to effectively organize, plan and manage projects. She will gently help you see where you need help...which can often be in areas you never even knew you needed help! I honestly feel like I cannot do Twila justice with my inadequate attempt to describe what she has done for me. Twila has been instrumental in my life changing for the better in so many ways."
Wendy K.
“I’m doing really well. My business continues to flourish. One of my goals when I came to you was to make $90,000... Well, this year I made $113,000. I find that amazing. And I owe so much of my success to you, Twila. I have enough work lined up for next year to make that much again, but work 240 hours less! Now that’s even more amazing!
Kelly C.
“My new house is coming along well. It should be ready by spring... When I move into the new home, my life has progressed in a way that will fit the new home, sort of like a snail growing and needing a new shell... Yes, I now have a full and well-rounded social life!”
Patricia T., Florida
"I have always felt like I take two steps forward and four back. Having a coach helps me to keep the steps I take and more. The last two years has been life changing financially, physically and mentally. I look forward to my calls. I can never thank Twila enough for her support and encouragement."
Lori S., Arizona
"When I first contacted Twila the "overwhelm" factor in my life was so debilitating that I was unable to perform functions as basic as paying my bills on time. I didn't have a job and had no money coming in. I had just decided to close the business I had been running, or stated more correctly, had been running me for almost five years. This was the fifth career in which I achieved "failure" status. My wife was feeling very insecure, which had a major effect, of course, on our family. At age 46 and just weeks away from turning 47, I was very dejected, to say the least, and sinking fast. That's when I realized I had all the symptoms of ADD, and found coaching.Twila helped me gather my thoughts, decide on the best career course to follow and smooth out relations with my wife and children. She helped me do all this within the span of a few months. I secured a job in which I was able to employ my strengths and achieve harmony and satisfaction for the first time in my life. Within less than two years, my salary has increased more than 50%, I am valued and respected at work, my wife feels much more secure and I am back on track with my family. I have a system for keeping my overwhelm factor in check and am improving my efficiency through use of tools for ADHD. Thank you for helping me find my life."
Alan T.