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

“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
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 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
“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.
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
ADD can be an overwhelming condition that affects every facet of life….from personal relationships and careers to the mundane. Over the years I’ve worked very hard to educate myself on my condition, believing that through sheer will and determination I could navigate life’s extra ADD challenges. This proved to be a stressful exercise while only producing mixed results. So with my life in disarray it was my great fortune to find Twila Gates. You will not meet a more understanding and compassionate individual with the talent, know-how and desire to see you succeed. Partnering with her produced measureable gains with every goal we set out to achieve. She helped me lift the burden of frustration which had accumulated over a lifetime with strategies tailored to my specific needs. I will always appreciate that she helped me develop the tools to overcome those challenges as well as embrace the positive aspects of ADD as a gift. Twila is an absolute gem and you will count yourself among the fortunate if you have the opportunity to work with her.
Jonathan P.
"What have I accomplished through coaching? A better question is what haven't I accomplished through coaching! To state it briefly, I have accomplished a Ph.D., salary raises of $60,000 over 6 years, 4 promotions, respected positions in Fortune 500 companies, and my own business. I have also accomplished a home-life balance, a positive focus on more structure in my parenting, and a greater sense of peace and direction in both my personal and professional lives. "Thank You" does not say it. "Bless you" comes closer."
Jeane F., PhD., Manager of Organizational Effectiveness
"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.
"This note comes to say how much I appreciated your support and wisdom as my coach. You were an awesome aspect of my life. I'm not sure what this year has coming ... but whatever it is I am excited and looking forward to "it" ! All in all, I'm looking for good things to happen this year and I still recognize this past year as my "MIRACLE" Year because God provided immensely but most of all with help from him and others like you, Twila – I survived !!! "
Janice M.