#41: How I coach parents of kids with ADHD

by | Nov 11, 2019 | ADHD, ADHD Podcasts, Podcasts

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ADHD parenting coach, Siope Kinikini, is often asked how he coaches parents and families. In episode 41, he walks through what an ADHD Parenting Coaching session looks like using the five elements of the Teaching-Family Model.

The five elements of the Teaching-Family Model are: What, where, how, when and

Many parents ask, “What do I do” but that question is too open to be useful. The first element, “What skills am I going to use?” allows parents to start looking specifically at issues and find solutions.

Element two is, “Where am I teaching this?” A parent needs to look at where in their schedule would teaching be most effective. It also means looking at where is my child’s understanding and teaching to that to create success.

Element three is, “How do I teach?” The behavior skills on Smarter Parenting answer how as they have specific steps that outline how parents should respond. These steps take out the guess-work and help parents focus on repairing relationships.

Element four is, “When do I know if they understand?” It will take some time, which is why Role-playing or practicing is vital to help them learn new behaviors. You’ll know they understand what you’re teaching when they’re able to do it multiple times on their own.

Lastly, element five is “The Why.” Why are we so passionate about helping families? We want to strengthen families and show parents how to raise kids that can navigate the world around them.

The behavior skills taught on Smarter Parenting helps parents accomplish these five elements. Which, in turn, reduces stress and anger and improves communication and relationships.

Sometimes we all need a parenting friend to help us. If you need some individualized help, we would love to help with ADHD Parenting Coaching. Where we will go into details with the problems your family is facing and determine an individual course of action that will allow you to get the outcomes you want. We want all parents to be able to take advantage of the opportunity to be coached and offer free 15-minute mini-session.

Episode Transcript

This is episode 41. Let’s get started.

Smarter Parenting welcomes you to our podcast series, The Parenting Coach for ADHD. Here to heal and elevate lives is your parenting coach, Siope Kinikini.

Hello again, my friends. I hope everybody is doing well. I am super grateful to be here. Actually, today we have a lot to cover, and this information is going to be so helpful to so many parents because I am actually going to go and remove the curtain so you can see the magic that happens behind making positive changes with your child. Much like the Wizard of Oz. We’re going to just remove the curtain. And I’m sharing this all for you for free because obviously, we want you to be successful. My intention is to help you understand how I use the Teaching-Family Model in helping parents find lasting changes for their children.

I’m going to explain to you the process by which parents can become effective on their own, not needing other people to help them navigate and work through the changes that your child is obviously going to make as they grow older. That sounds like a tall order, right? We reach out to professionals because we don’t know what to do. What I am giving you actually are the tools to be able to do that on your own. That’s the intention.

By the end of this podcast, you should have a fairly good grasp on how I would approach you in coaching a parent through making the changes. Remember, my background is in helping families of all economic backgrounds in different cultures find effective ways to deal with their children for the time that I’m working with them, but more importantly after I’m gone. This success is in having the parents know exactly what they need to do.

Again, setting this intention, it’s a tall order. I know. And it probably seems like how is he going to be able to do this? That actually is a challenge that I am happily accepting right now because I think that you will benefit so much from what I’m about to share with you and the effectiveness of the Teaching-Family Model in that coaching process. I use The Model itself to guide everything that I do. The Model itself actually provides all of the elements, and that’s what I call them. All of these elements that you put into place. Parents can actually just come in, and regardless of the behavior that they experience, they know what to do. Which is usually the biggest issue.

I’m starting off this story with a family that I worked with. It’s a single mother. Her name was Olivia, and I’ve changed the name for obvious reasons. She was in her 30s. They were referred to me by the court system, ready to remove her eldest son. She had other children, but she was a single mom, and we were dealing with her oldest child, who at the time was around 14-years-old. His name was Michael. Again, name is changed for safety.

Olivia and Michael had this on and off again contentious relationship. She actually had Michael when she was still a teenager. And so the father, Michael’s father was not in the picture. He was born, and she raised him on her own. She had some family help. But she had worked graveyards in order to be there during the day for her child, and she would try and sleep during the day. And then tried to go to school, and that actually was delayed because of scheduling and how to make that work. I just want to give a shout out to single parents out there that the task is monumental. I felt something for her, largely because of what she was faced in doing and how much she was expending in energy in loving this child and then having this child argue with her and be contentious.

Anyways, we have Olivia and we have Michael. I went into the home. Michael’s biggest issue, and this is the issue that he had with everyone, is he just struggled with authority. Anytime somebody gave him something to do, for example, when Olivia would give him something to do, he would just not follow instructions. This was the biggest issue that we needed to deal with because it’s a core issue. It’s one of those fundamental skills that children all need to learn, is to Follow Instructions. He was a teenager at the time that this intervention took place. I came in and I observed them for a week, their interactions and how they worked through things. It was an interesting thing to watch because she would ask him to do even simple tasks and he would just blow it off like it wasn’t a big deal.

I talked to Olivia after this first week of observation. She says something that’s very typical of all parents when they are frustrated and they are confronted with behaviors they just feel ill-equipped to work through. The question is this, “What do I do? What do I do?” I don’t know about you, but that is the most common question I get when I’m working with parents who have children with behavioral issues. “What do I do?” It’s number one. The very first question that everybody asks. That gives you a context into the story of how we’re going to structure this, but I wanted to share their story so you can understand better how I use the Teaching-Family Model to help empower her to become independent in dealing with negative behaviors with her child.

I have to backtrack because I’m going to be using some terms that I need to define so you can understand what I’m talking about. I’m going to be referring to skills. When I say skills, skills are the techniques and the interventions that have been outlined by the Teaching-Family Model. You can find those on the Smarter Parenting website. I’m going to name a few of those just so you are aware of what they are when you jump over to the Smarter Parenting website. Skills, when I mention skills, what I’m talking about are skills like Observe and Describe. The ABC’s of Behavior. Role-playing. Following Instructions. That’s a skill. Effective Communication. Correcting behaviors. Effective praise. Decision Making. All of those are skills, and these skills are outlined. They actually give parents the words that they need to do and the steps they need to follow in order to interact with their child.

One of the best compliments I think I’ve ever heard from a parent in using these skills is that they were so grateful that it was step-by-step because they could follow steps. Instead of letting their emotions run wild and dealing with their behavior, they could just say, “Okay, I’m going to do step one, step two, step three, step four of this skill. It actually gave them the words that they needed to use as well. There wasn’t any guessing there.”

These skills obviously come from the Teaching-Family Model. The Teaching-Family Model is an amazing, amazing Model. Been here since the 1960s. Over $20 million was put into discovering how to interact with children with negative behaviors and how to shape and change those behaviors into positive behaviors. Really well-grounded research and funded here. When I refer to skills, and we’re going to be talking about the skills when we’re talking about Olivia and Michael, that’s what I’m referring to. I’m going to give her some skills that she can use in interacting with her child.

Now that you understand what I’m talking about when I say skills, let’s go back to the story of Olivia and of Michael. Michael was really, really defiant to his mom, super defiant. He would just either talk back or he would just completely ignore her. When I met with Olivia at the end of the first week, and we started talking about what was happening and what needed to change, she again approached me with the question, “What do I do?”

If I, as a coach, are working with somebody with that question, what I immediately recognize is that they’re working from a general space of hopelessness because that question in and of itself is so broad and so open. It doesn’t allow any type of focus or direction. “What do I do” is like what do I do? What do you do? You can go get coffee. You can watch a movie. You can go get a tub of ice cream. It wasn’t very directive.

When I coach a person, when I’m coaching a parent, we immediately change that question. We change that question to the first element of the Teaching-Family Model, which is, “What skill do I teach?” Think about it. You have two questions here. “What do I do?” on one hand, really broad, really open. And then, “What skill do I teach?” What skill do I teach actually focuses us on, we have a behavior, what am I going to teach in order to shift that behavior so it becomes what I need it to become so my child can change that behavior.

When we’re dealing with Olivia, we changed it. It’s no longer, “What do I do?” It is, “What skill do I teach in order to address it?” Once we can figure out what skill is needed in order to address the behavior, that actually is more than half the battle because once we’re targeted into addressing it, and we know which one will be the most beneficial for her son, Michael, that actually gives her power. It gives her the ability to move forward in helping Michael change his behavior.

I cannot reiterate just how powerful that is. So many people, so many parents, the first question is, “What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?” What do I do is just too broad. For me, I say, “What skill do I teach?” After I observe the behavior, “What skill do I teach?” Now when I coach, that’s what I do. I started coaching yesterday, a woman in California, and I thought it was fascinating because that was exactly the first question she had. “What do I do?” I said, “Okay, you’ve described the behavior. The question now is what skill do I teach to address that behavior?” Super powerful, right? “Can you feel it? Can you feel the power behind asking the right question?”

That’s the first element. You have to determine what skill you are going to use. We decided to focus on Following Instructions. Very simple skill Following Instruction. He needed to learn to follow instructions appropriately. Luckily on the Smarter Parenting website, there is the skill of Following Instructions. It has a video. It explains the steps that you need to follow. You gave her the verb, the words that she needed to use in order to implement the skill. We watched and worked through the skill of Following Instructions to help her know exactly what she needed to do and how she needed to do it. 

After you figure out the what skill are you going to teach, you need to ask, “Where in my schedule. Where in our time. Where in our lives am I going to teach this?” This isn’t a physical location. This is determining where in our lives is the best time to teach this. I bring this up because if you decide you are going to teach right after a tantrum or say in a full tantrum, that actually may be the wrong skill to be teaching because you’re dealing with a tantrum. And that’s a different behavior so you should be asking, “What skill do I need to teach for the tantrum?” You have to evaluate where in our lives is the best time to teach this skill?

We’ve asked the question of, “What skill to teach.” Now we’re going to ask, “Where in our lives am I going to teach this? Am I going to teach this at night when my child is calm, at a neutral time? Am I going to be confronted and do it right immediately?” That you need to figure out where mentally your child is in order to accept what you’re teaching them.

For Olivia and for Michael, we decided to do that in the evening in their schedules because that’s when everything started to calm down. Morning was chaotic because Michael wouldn’t wake up and go to school. That was another issue that he was struggling with. When she would go into his room to wake him up to go to school, he would be like. It just started off the day in a bad way. We decided to teach the skill in the evening before bed in preparation for the next day. “Where?” We determined where in our lives we’re going to implement this, and it would be optimal for him to accept it.

After we did that, we focused on “How are we going to teach this? How are you going to teach this?” Smarter Parenting has games and activities that are obviously helpful in teaching some of these skills. This also refers to, “How am I going to teach this to be sure that I include all of the positive interactions or the positive focus that we need while I’m teaching?” This includes making good eye contact. Having a nice voice. Speaking calmly. Making it as clear as possible. Will she need a chart or something for him to follow along? Is it better to show him a video to help him understand the skill of Following Instructions? These are things that you have to consider. “How am I going to teach this in order to help my child better implement these changes?”

The next question is, “When? When will I know that this stuck? When will I know that they got it and they understand it?” The “When will I know,” is better than a general question because it’s very specific. “When will I know that they understand what I’m teaching them?” The way that you will understand that they got it and they can do it is actually through Role-playing. Most of the skills, almost all of the skills on the Smarter Parenting website have an element of Role-playing. The reason that Role-playing is so important is it helps your child do it physically. It cements the behavior with what they’re thinking, and it gives them really this feeling of how to do it.

Think of professional athletes. We’ve used this example before, professional athletes, musicians, anyone who does anything professionally. It requires a certain amount of practice, Role-play. That’s exactly what you’re doing.

For us, we had to be sure that he could Follow Instructions when we taught it to him at least three times. Then, what we did is we doubled that. We would Role-play it, him Following Instructions three times in a neutral time. We did this with Michael in the evening. Then we prepared him and said, “Okay, we’re going to do this again, but I’m not going to tell you. I’m going to ask you to do something later on. You’re not going to know what it is. It’s going to be at a random time, and I’m going to see if you can retain that and do exactly what we’ve practiced.”

Of course, as a teenager, he thought it was hokey and weird. What we found though is when we set up that expectation for later on to practice it, he was able to do it. He was able to do it because something clicked in his head because he had already practiced it over and over and over again that he’s like, “Oh yeah, okay, I’ll do that.” It was take out the garbage. She said, “Hey, can you take out the garbage?” He said, “Okay.” He went and took the garbage out and he came back and he’s like, “Is there anything else?” She just praised him for that. She’s like, “Thank you for doing that.” He’s like, “Oh, it wasn’t a big deal.” She’s like, “Well, you Followed Instructions. That’s exactly what we’ve been practicing.” For him, he’s like, “Oh, I guess I did.”

That helped to build a relationship, which leads into the last element of how I coach the Teaching-Family Model, which is “the why.” The why is the relationship. The building of a strong relationship over time. Your interactions with your children will help your child grow in positive and healthy ways. It will also help you retain your sanity when you’re dealing with difficult situations.

When we focus everything on these five elements. What skill are we going to teach? When in our schedule is the best time to do this? How am I going to teach this? When do I know this skill works and sticks with them through Role-playing? Finally, the relationship of why. Why are we doing all this? For the relationship. When you put all of those combined together, it actually creates this environment where parents are free to interact and to teach to their children in positive ways that in the long-term will be beneficial.

I’ve been using this Model with my own child. My child now is 15-years-old, and she’s had her ups and downs and her struggles like any teenager. She’s seeking independence and she’s trying to figure out who she is. What I have found over the course of this time because really, honestly, 15, she’s going to be 16, this has been the hardest year for me as a parent and for her as a teenager in dealing with some of the behaviors that have popped up. What I have found is that because we have always focused on the Teaching-Family Model, these five elements, and because the relationship is strong, we are able to overcome a lot of the issues that her peers and their parents are struggling with.

The relationship has allowed us to grow together. It has allowed me to observe her as a growing child into adulthood and be okay with it and understand that she has all the tools. She has the skills that I taught her as a child to be successful. There’s a certain comfort that comes with that and a certain peace that comes with that for me as a father, because really one day she will be on her own, and my feedback, my comments to her, my thoughts and what I want for her will be secondary to what she wants and what she needs. It’s a role switch that needs to happen. I feel like our relationship has actually moved in a direction where this allows us both to maintain a very close and very cemented and firm relationship despite all the issues that have come up.

I had a mentor once who taught me sometimes. Who said this because he was talking to therapists in general and talking to people who work with children and to parents. It was at a conference. He says sometimes it’s better to focus on the relationship than the problem because if you fix the relationship, the problems tend to fix themselves. Pretty profound. The Teaching-Family Model integrates all of these elements in there to give parents this power. These tools that they can use.

If I am coaching, if I were to come in to coach you with issues that you may have with your child, this is exactly what I would do. We would observe the behavior that needs to addressed. Instead of asking the question of, “What do I do?” we would ask the question, “What skill do I teach?” We would narrow it down. We would ask, “When in our lives is the best time to teach this? When in our schedule is the best time to teach this?” Then, I would focus on, “How will I teach this?” It would be how do I engage with my child in a positive way so they can learn this. Then, “When will I know that it sticks?” I’ll know when it sticks when they’re able to do it. Role-play it with me multiple times on their own and successfully do it and then test them afterwards. Finally, the focus on “Why?” Why this is all important? It’s because we want relationships to last. We want strong relationships to last.

That’s it. I’ve removed the curtain. You’ve been able to look behind and see how a coaching session would happen. I invite you to take this. Adopt this. Use this as a method that you can use with your own child. You can do this on your own. There’s no magic to it other than some very specific guidelines to help you figure out how to help your own child.

Of course, we’re here to help you. If you need individual coaching through this process, I’m here. We have a group of people who are happy to reach out and to help. Just sign-up for coaching on the Smarter Parenting website. We’d be happy to guide you along this process and to build that relationship with you and your child. A positive relationship with you and your child.

It’s such a beautiful Model. The Teaching-Family Model is just so beautiful in the way that it helps to maintain and retain positive relationships with families. Our whole goal is that families stay together. That they are mutually beneficial for everyone involved and that there is this feeling of respect and love that continues to grow within the families. There you go.

I do need to give a shout out though to the people that help sponsor Smarter Parenting and specifically this podcast and blog. We need to give a shout out to the Utah Youth Village. That’s where we’re located. Smarter Parenting is located in Utah. The Utah Youth Village is our founding agency, and they have been working with children since the 1960s. Over 50 years, helping children specifically in this area of Utah. They’ve helped all kinds of children. Children who don’t have a home. Group home. People who are in foster care. Children who are in foster care. And people who have been referred to the court. They’ve worked with a wide range of families. We want to give our appreciation to them, to the Utah Youth Village for their support and providing this now to people outside of Utah and also to the rest of the world.

Also, another shout out to Alpine Academy, which helps us pay the bills so we can provide this information to you for free. We will continue to work through this.

You’re probably wondering what happened to Olivia and Michael. Michael learned how to Follow Instructions from his mom, but something magical happened once he learned that skill. He actually learned to Follow Instructions with other authority figures. Which was super helpful for him. I want you to think of how many times you need to Follow Instructions in your lifetime. You need to Follow Instructions when you have a job. You need to Follow Instructions when you are collaborating with other people. It’s endless how important that skill is of Following Instructions. Had she not intervened and taught him this particular skill, Michael probably would have gone on to work but would have had multiple jobs because he couldn’t stand his boss telling him what to do. He would have been argumentative. Who knows what type of relationships he would have had with other people?

I’m married. My wife, she asks me to do things and I do them. I follow her instructions. It’s just one of those common things that most adults say, “Yeah, that’s an adult thing you need to learn.” The kids don’t automatically know and sometimes you have to teach it.

Anyways, they ended up being well and successful. Last I heard, Michael. I actually ran into Michael at Burger King, and he was working there, and he was surprised. He had a child too. That was actually cool because he’s like, “Yeah, I have a child. I still remember what you taught me.” He seemed to be doing well overall. Hopefully, we’ve made changes in Michael, and now with Michael’s children, and continue the change through the generations to come.

I have said so much. Holy cow, I feel like I’ve just talked myself to death. This actually is such a powerful approach in the coaching process, and I’m super happy to share it with you. We’re going to continue to go through these elements of the Teaching-Family Model and talk about the skills of the Teaching-Family Model.

Because I think when you start to understand the power behind each of these skills, you’re going to really see how you can implement this in your own life to help your own child. I’ve worked with children who have had multiple issues, ADHD. How do we teach? Again teaching a skill like Following Instructions to a child with ADHD or teaching any skill to a child with ADHD, that’s where a lot of the how. “How am I going to teach this? How am I going to engage? Where? Where is this interaction going to happen in our time of day? When is my child most calm?” Then, the Role-playing.

Really it all fits in. It fits into any issue that your child may be struggling with. If you take this and you use it as a guideline to help guide you through how you’re going to teach to the behaviors, negative behaviors that your child may have, you’re going to find success. You’re going to find the success that you need. It’s worked for hundreds of families. It continues to work with families that are receiving this information. We want you to be successful too.

That’s it for me. I hope you have a wonderful day. Look for some future podcasts as we delve deeper into this approach in coaching. If you need individual coaching, sign-up for the coaching. There’s 15-minutes for free. You’ll fill out a form and it gives us some guidelines. We’ll actually just go through the questions and I can help guide you on what skills are best for you to teach. All right.

Take care and I will talk to you again later. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it. If this has been helpful, give us a five-star rating in Apple iTunes and also share it with friends that you feel may benefit from what we have to share. All right. See you. Bye.

Resources discussed in this episode

Video: The history of the Teaching-Family Model helping families

Episode 11: What is the Teaching-Family Model

Episode 26: Relationships–the Why of the Teaching-Family Model

Episode 41: When do I need ADHD Parenting Coaching?

The Teaching-Family Model

Our Teaching-Family Model Family

The Teaching-Family Association

Behavior skills of the Teaching-Family Model

Behavior skill: Following Instructions

Behavior skill: Role-playing

Free 15-minute ADHD coaching mini-session

Utah Youth Village

Alpine Academy


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Specific DiagnosisADHD#41: How I coach parents of kids with ADHD