Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The ADHD Teen and Adult Guide to Finding Lost Items!

The ADHD Teen and Adult Guide to Finding Lost Items!

There are several things you need to do before looking.  If you are in a hurry these will really frustrate you but preparation is essential;

First, try to relax.  Of all the things in the world you can do, this is probably not your best thing.  But controlling anxiety is key because anxiety and ADHD together are unbearable and you will likely be insufferable.  Hopefully, your family knows you well and is supportive. Still calming yourself can prevent foolish insults, and barbs and damaging relations that may already be strained. Here are a few quick and easy shortcuts:

A) 4/4 Breathing. This is a 4 second breath inhale through your nose and a 4 second exhale out your mouth.  Repeat 30 times.  Okay
 you may lose count but a bunch of times not just a few.  Focus on everywhere the air touches the inside of your body.  Later, sessions with a therapist on relaxation exercises can help you get to a calm place faster.

B)  Relaxation Place 10, Try to recall the feeling of being someplace where you remember being really calm.  Thinks of 10 sensory details (that means sights, sounds smells, tastes) that remind you of that place.

 C) Do 5 -10 push-ups if steps A and B are too aggravating or go for a run. Sometimes you gotta burn off adrenaline before you can relax.  

Second, Accept that you are going to be late.  That means, communicate to someone what is happening so they can adapt their plans.  If you feel overly embarrassed repeat the relaxation steps above and avoid stinky thinking (3 below). The alternative is going without.  If it’s the keys you may need to ask for a ride, take the bus, call a cab or walk.

Third, Avoiding stinky thinking. Decide not to beat yourself up for being disorganized and losing things.  Avoid words like stupid and dumb and worse.  Those are not nice words to say to anyone even yourself.  Later you can figure out how to apologize to people for being late.  Now is not the time for that. Now is the time to start looking.

         The Search
A)    Retracing your Steps: An oldy but a goody, try retracing your steps from the last time you saw or remember having the lost item.  I know, I know, that’s boring advice and you have already done it.  But you will probably need to repeat this to fill in missing details and annoyingly someone else can probably help you think about details, if you let them instead of shouting “I know that” at everything they say.

B)    Check the common areas;
1. Under & In couches and chairs. 
2.Refrigerator (Lol, I know it’s silly, but you would be surprised how often having hands full leads to misplacing things, especially keys and wallets).
3.Pants pockets
4. Floor of cars that you have been in since you lost it.
5. Jackets, coats and vests (Someone might be wearing still them, no idea why but they might.)
6. Spouse or family member’s pockets or purses.  (Try to remember that they aren’t deliberately hiding it from you. They may be in the habit of picking up after you. Be respectful about asking before getting in other people's stuff).
7. Under the bed and blankets and in the sheets. (It happens!)

C)     Clean it till you find it. No luck yet? OK, this is a rule of thumb that usually works. Start doing laundry, folding clothes and sorting out drawers and piles.  These areas of disorganization are often trouble spots for ADHD and become collection spots.  Clean bed rooms cars, garages, TV Rooms, Rec Rooms.  If you get bored with this go back to retracing the steps as often as necessary.

D)    Some phones have search functions built in to their programming.  Use the computer to look this up,  if you have set this up already.  Some key rings also have gps search functions. If you don't have this done already, write a note to yourself to do this in the future. Put the note someplace visible and where you are effective at getting things done..., (okay. give it to a family member to help you with later.)

E)     Hope for a turn up!  Sometimes, things turn up unexpectedly.  You may be stuck waiting and hoping. Do something else for a while. “Stay Calm and Don’t Blink” (I had to get in a Dr. Who reference didn’t I?) Sometimes getting your mind off it allows your unconscious to work on a solution.  Don’t try this until you have tried the other options at least 1 time.

F)     Repeat A-D as often as necessary or say goodbye to lost item. Saying goodbye can be expensive so try to stay organized a little longer next time. Beating yourself up doesn’t help. Developing rituals to place your keys, wallets, phones a single place in each room can help. We can talk about routines to prevent losing things at a later time. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Summer’s Last Coronation

The nearly melodic ringing,
        of wooden chimes,
chimes worn and tattered,
by past Winter’s grinds.

By the fire I linger,
buttoning coat and collar
enjoying the moment
watching ashes, spark and shower.

Observing the coronation,
of a nearby tree,
upturned leaves shimmer,
while Summer bends knee.

The tree is anointed,
a rising crown of white,
at the sun’s recession,
shines Summer’s last light.

The walnut grenades thunder
off of; roof , chair and ground,
burrowing divots into earth,
by squirrels to be found.

This night will not be quiet.
The chimes will not hang still,
for it is a breezy wind blowing,
heralding a noisy chill.

A wind that warns with its ringing,
  “Leaves, let go and fall,
your Summer’s reign is o’er,
it is time for Winter's Ball.”

“Yield to the equinox,
look for warmth from within.
Seal all doors and windows,
this cold…, may never end.”

The chimes are just a clanking bother now.
Dead embers lay black.
A turn up of my collar and rising
        It is time and season to go back.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Starting School with Serenity!

Back to Class!

The books are bought and the bags are loaded.  Labor day looms, while corn tassels still bloom and yet school has already begun.  I wonder who is ready?  The school doesn't seem quite ready. I spoke with a counselor the other day and 400 some new students were still trying to get a schedule.  The counselor I spoke with seemed a bit frazzled.   Well, I'm sure other parents are frazzled as well.

There is plenty of reason to worry about lots of things.  How will your child do this year?  Will he or she get the right teachers, the right classes or the right medication?  Will they find the way to the right classrooms and will they get along with their peers?  Parents can make themselves crazy thinking of all the things that will go wrong.  It is important to remember that old maxim, "you can only control what you do!"  So do what you can, review the rules with your kids, make sure they get to bed on time, check on homework each night and if anything comes up try and talk with your child and the teacher without getting into blaming and shaming.

The school will be sending things home for you to sign.  Try not to take the things they send home personally.  Some of them will appear to treat parents like they are idiots. You probably already know that your kids are responsible for their own homework but the school will remind you of that.  You probably know that they are responsible to get their homework in on time but they will tell you that anyway.  They have to do this to make sure that later if there is a question they can say, "we informed you of this at the beginning of the year."

There is a lesson here.  Start off the year with a clarity of expectations.  Remind your kids of the things they already know.  Don't take anything for granted. Later when your child turns in homework late you can take the phone away and not be arguing with them about whether they knew the rules or not.  It is always better to start of strict and ease up on the rules and expectations than it is to try to tighten them up later.

Control what is yours to control and seek serenity in accepting the things you cannot control.

Have a great school year!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Weeding out the problems

Growing a garden provides 'plenty' for your home.  If you grow a garden you can occasionally find it overrun with weeds.  This usually happens if the mosquitoes are bad, you've been on vacation, or it has been exceptionally humid.  This year the weather has been pleasant and I have managed to keep up nicely.

Kid's on the other can get out of control for any number of reasons. Maybe you've been distracted by work or just tuning out while they play too many video games.  Sometimes its because of relationship discord and splitting with your partner.  Sometimes its negative peer influence.  That can creep into your home like cockleburrs into your garden.  Once its infested it is tough to root out. Whatever the reason your kids are acting up they can get to that point where the rules aren't working anymore.  Like your garden it can be overwhelming trying to get back to parenting again.

When I am reclaiming my garden. I can say "I'm gonna go clean that garden top to bottom," the reality is that energy doesn't last long.  Usually, I do better if I pick a section and just work a little bit. Maybe the buttonweed needs to get cleaned out of the beans. Once, I am started it usually goes fairly well and I do a little bit more than I planned.  The main thing is that I have gotten started. The hard part of weeding is pulling the weeds and making sure you don't pull the plant with it.  If you try to work to fast or grab too many weeds at once you end up damaging your plants.

It's the same with kids.  Pick a behavior and focus on that.  Try to eliminate all the negative behaviors at once and you will end up making the kid feel like you just want to get rid of them.

Like weeding you still want to nourish the plant and cherish the produce.
I'll let you finish the metaphor.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

If you are worried about Summer Camp!

Time for Summer Camp.

You may have spent March, April and May trying to figure out what your kids will do this summer.  By now they may be signed up for a plethora of camps.  Band camp, scout camp, church camp are just a few camps that parents send their kids to for the summer. You can spend a lot of time watching the weather channel trying to figure out what is the best chance to send him or her for camp.  Will the pollen count be too high or will it rain non stop?  Who is the best counselor to put them in with? How many can's of bug spray will they need.? The list of worries goes on and on.

Congratulations! If  you found yourself worrying about all these things and more, then you are probably a pretty good parent.  That being said, stop it!  Just stop, OK?  Let us simplify things just a bit.  Start with the basics.

1) It's almost July.  If they don' go to camp they will end up spending the next two months playing video games and probably getting grumpier and grumpier.  Then, if they haven't already, they will drown you in a chorus of "I'm bored."  So they need camp (If you aren't sending them to camp please check out the column from last year on "Fun Free Activities")
2) Most camps now have websites and can give you a list of what to bring and not to bring.
3) You can't control the weather.  If the weather service is predicting a 'torrential hurricaines, downpours and flash flooding' all week long you can go ahead and cancel and eat the loss of deposit.  Otherwise, pack some rain gear, a couple of good books an extra set of batteries and hope for the best.  Any competant camp counselor will be able to find fun safe activities to keep them busy on a rainy week... expect them to come home and tell you about playing wink em or murder (it's a game not a crime!)
4) Water bottles and sun lotion are good and gameboys, i pads and other electronic gizmos are bad! (unless, you sent them to gaming camp...occasionally confirmation camps do something like this to try to engage the kids....I know, but you gotta do what you gotta do!)
5) Don't send snacks unless you send for everybody in the entire camp.  Why people choose to ignore this is beyond me. It has got to be some sort of Maslow-ian security issue that hasn't been resolved by the parent.
6) If you are worried about missing them write them a letter in advance so they can get it the  second day of camp.

There is a ton more advice but the biggest is this.  If you have confidence that they can handle camp that gives them confidence that they can.  If you are anxious and fearful, that will make them anxious and fearful.  So reach for  your bag of self reassuring statements and remind yourself that you have given them the tools they need to make friends and handle new situations.  If you haven't, camp is a good place to start.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Medication Holiday's for the ADHD Child???

Parents often ask about summer vacation and stopping medication during the summer.  That question is always tricky.  I recently saw a statistic (sorry, I cannot remember where, I will keep looking and update when I find it.) that indicated that ADHD kids who go on medication holidays have a high rate of emergency room visits due to burns. That is always the concern with medication holidays.  Impulsive kids need to be monitored when they are off their medication.  They need to be monitored more closely than other kids particularly in the summer.  The medication is not just there to make them behave in the classroom.  It is there to help them keep their bodies under control.  Yes, the medication does have concerning side effects and it is nice when we can give them a break but the summer is full of danger and lets face it, you want to let them run without yelling at them constantly.  So if you and your Doctor decide to give them a medication holiday, make sure you increasing the structure and monitoring when you do.

Medication Holidays for the ADHD child
We desire to let them be
We want to let them run
We want to set them free.
To let their body's grow
To give their hearts a rest.
The years been long and hard
and they probably did do their best.

Just remember that the disorder isn't gone
because the books are put away.
The impulses still run rampant
and it's a long summer day.

It is not just fire,
that fascinates the child
and lurks and lures his whims.
A summer without supervision
can become quite grim.

It is firecrackers and older kids
whom he must impress.
It is  bicycles and the neighborhood teen
that drive just a little too fast..
It is all the fun you've ever thought of
and all the fun you didn't.
when you were just a child.
Now that is what I call risk!

So take some time to consider
all the pro's and con's.
Take the time to reconnoiter
What's beyond the closest pond.

Enjoy the heat of summer
Enjoy the rest from school
Enjoy the confidence of supervision
and rest when summers through.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Spring Fever

Spring fever can make fools of anyone. Don't let it make a fool of you as a parent.

I was driving to the high school the other  day and passed the car wash.  I watched a father vacuuming his car, oblivious to his 4 year old daughter playing in the street gutter on Hwy 14.  I stopped at Hy Vee on the way home.  When I came out of the store I watched a family cross the parking lot.  They must have come out the wrong door.  They cut through the parked cars and across 4 lanes... in progression; father, mother,  aunt, oldest kid, middle kid and a full car lane later came the youngest, maybe age 6.  No one thought to hold his hand and not one of them looked back to see if he was okay.  It made me sad.

Please, grandparents and aunts and uncles and parents, please teach your kids three things in parking lots. First, teach them to hold hands. Second,  teach them to look at the car windows and see the steering wheel and if anyone is behind it.  Third, teach them about back up lights. While you are at it, teach them to jump stop at corners and intersections or whenever they cross the yellow line.  Teach them to look both ways before crossing a street. Then check to see if they actually do it.  Don't just turn them loose but teach, monitor,  reteach and consequence, repeat. If they can't do it on their own, don't let them.