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At the Qualtrics conference in March 2019, Oprah stated that the secret to her success was setting realistic intentions. The thought behind behind setting intentions for the day, is that before you do anything else you decided the intention, or goal, that you want for the day. By setting intentions for the day allows you to have a mind-shift and to have the energy to focus on the day as everything you have to do is now seen through that intention.

The power of intention is that it gives you control over the day. Instead of waking up and picking up your phone and instantly feeling like a failure because your life doesn’t look like another’s, you’re able to tell the world what you expect from it rather than the other way around. It’s a simple thing, but it allows you set boundaries and practice self-care which leads to confident living. 

As an ADHD parent it can feel overwhelming to think about setting realistic intentions for the day as it’s one more things we have to do. This simple exercise can actually help you deal with all the pressures you face. It gives you a “game plan” of sorts and helps you mentally prepare for everything that is on your plate. When you feel rejuvenated you’re able to handle the day more effectively. It’s when we’re tired and overwhelmed that everything seems so much worse as we don’t have the energy to handle it. Taking time for yourself is important and does not make you a bad parent (even if you feel like it does).

Successful parents are those who have found a way to balance their self-care with what their child needs.

Setting intentions is a lot like the behavior skill of Preventive Teaching. Preventive Teaching is all about preparing your child for what they may encounter by setting realistic expectations for their behavior.  

We want you to try setting daily intentions for one week. These intentions don’t have to be large or take up a ton of time. In fact, it can be as simple as, “How do I want to feel at the end of the day and what do I need to do in the day to feel that way.” So, if at the end of the day you want to feel calm, then you’ll need to add small activities (away from your phone) to your day that allow you to feel that way. It may be taking a bath, eating a favorite treat, going for a walk, having lunch with a friend, or taking a small nap.

We can’t stress it enough. There is power in setting daily intentions. Trust us when we say that doing this small thing can have a huge impact on the relationships you have.

The expert on your child, even though you may not believe it, is you. You have spent more time with your child than any professional has, and you have seen them when they’re sick, when they’re happy, when they’re sad. You have memories and connections with them that are very unique, and so your ability to help shape that behavior is powerful.

This is episode 23. 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.

Hey, everybody. How are you doing? I hope everybody’s doing well. Today is a great day. It’s actually really sunny outside. The birds are singing. I mean, everything is like super nice. The trees look great. A lot of leaves there. I need to mow my lawn, which is one of those tasks that, you know, just never seems to end. However, everything is going really, really well, and that’s a good thing. It’s a really good thing. Hopefully, everybody’s doing well out there.

Today, one of the things that I wanted to address is something that I learned during a conference. I attended this Qualtrics conference here in Salt Lake City, and they had some great speakers there. In fact, this last year, they had Oprah was there, you know, giving counsel. They had just … Lin Manuel Miranda of Hamilton Broadway fame was there the year before. Anyways, these are large conferences. And the conference is meant for tech, people in the technology field, and Smarter Parenting is kind of in that field, because we are online and we want to reach as many people as possible, and so we attended the conference, and it was really a great conference.

But what I found really interesting is that the conference didn’t talk a lot about tech, at least in the sessions that I attended, but more about wellbeing and your ability to be okay, and your overall sense of wellness in helping to reach out and to touch other people. And it got me thinking about this idea of setting an intention, right? Setting an intention.

One of the things that was discussed, both the year before and this year by Oprah was in setting your intention early. And you can hear a lot of talks about setting your intention early, but the general idea is that in the morning, before you check your phone, which is usually what most people do or shutting off the alarm or scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, before you even touch your device, you actually … Sit in bed and you tell yourself what the intention is for the day, right? Now, that sounds kind of hokey and corny in a way, but I mean, think about it. As soon as you wake up, refrain from doing what you normally do and just set a goal for yourself. Okay? What is my intention for the day? What do I intend to do today? What do I intend to be able to … What can I accomplish today?

And then you define it, and you be as descriptive as you possibly can during that discussion with yourself. After you do that, take a breath, you know, and so you have focus, and then you can do the other things you want to do. Now, some of these people say don’t even check your phone until after breakfast. Like, don’t even look at it. Take a shower, get everything ready. And then look at your phone.

Now, the logic behind it, and I think it’s brilliant, is that when you do it that way, you are actually setting the tone for the rest of your day, but you’re also telling yourself what is the day going to entail, rather than when you check your phone. Your phone actually will tell you what the world expects from you, not what you expect from the world. So it’s kind of this mind shift and this different ability to set boundaries on what exactly you can do throughout your day.

Rather than waiting for the world to dictate this is what you need to do, you have 50 emails. You need to respond to this. Work wants you to do this. You missed four calls from so-and-so. Instead of doing all of that, you are actually saying, “Okay, today, this is what I want to do. I want to get up. I want to tape record some podcasts.” Tape record … That’s a really old word. Anyways … You all know what I’m talking about, right? Okay.

I want to do these things. This is my intention for the day. And then when you go back to your phone later to check messages and things like that, you actually will see all of that through the lens of the intention that you have set for yourself. Right? It’s a brilliant concept. I mean, really, really, brilliant.

And actually, they’re not the first people to apply this in their lives. However, when they were talking about how they structure their day, it really made an impact on me, because I tend to be a person who is, wakes up and just feels like overwhelmed as soon as I wake up. Like there’s just a lot of things that I feel like I need to do and that I have to do, and that I plan to do, and then by mid-day when I haven’t done even half of what I thought I should be doing, I get overwhelmed. So I tried this concept. I absolutely tried this concept, and it’s powerful.

It actually helped transform the way that I am able to deal with the pressures of everything that I have at work, with home, with church, with everything. You know, family, extended family, because I actually am in charge every day of what it is that I feel like I can do. And what I find is that I’m more realistic with what I can do and I allow myself more forgiveness over time for what I didn’t do, even though I plan to do it. Because the next day, I can set the intention for the day. Right?

It’s great. I would highly recommend it. So this is what you do. I’m going to just go over it really quick because I think it’s important for you to know what it is before you check your phone, as soon as you wake up in the morning, you just set an intention for the day. It doesn’t have to be a big one, and it doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to be a list of things, but what you’re doing is you’re having a conversation to yourself, and you say, “Okay, what do I intend for the day, and how do I intend to feel for the day?” Right?

After you do that, go and brush your teeth, take a shower, change, get ready. Have that time for yourself disconnected from the world. Now this is going to be really hard for a lot of people out there, because you’re instinctually … And I think in a lot of ways, a lot of people have this habit of just picking up their phone and seeing what’s there, but don’t do that. Take the time, group yourself, set some intentions for yourself, do this, and then after you’ve had breakfast or when you are at a time when you can look at what the world needs from you, then you can address those things, right?

This can also include after you do your prayer, if you’re a prayerful person, you pray in the morning. You know, take that time, so that early part of the day is a great time for you to set your intention. Now, you’re probably wondering, “Why are we talking about this?” Because this is an ADHD podcast, and we’re talking about ADHD issues, especially with parents and working with children. Largely because if your battery is low and you’re feeling overwhelmed at the beginning of the day and your fuse is short, then your ability to function and function effectively is greatly diminished.

It’s greatly diminished, right? If you’re running on less than half a tank, and you actually are not able to feel like you can have some contribution to the day that’s meaningful, then what you’re doing is you’re running around and you are actually creating an environment that’s more chaotic. Now, it’s more chaotic in your mind because you are running around trying to get everything done. Now, here’s the thing: a lot of people are like, “I can’t do that. That just takes too much time. How dare you? You know, I can’t do that.” You can do that. It’s a choice. It really is a choice. You need to make a choice.

So just make the choice to do it for one week, and I will tell you, your whole mind shift will switch to a point where you will feel more proactive and more successful in everything that you are doing. It’s worked for me. Hey, it works for Oprah, right? I mean, come on, it’s Oprah. So set your intention for the day. Now, that’s actually a skill. What I just described to you as setting your intention is a skill, and the skill that it’s related to on the Smarter Parenting website is called Preventive Teaching. And if you jump over there, you’re going to see what preventive teaching is like. There’s a video. It shows a parent explaining what it is, and then gives you some examples of how to use preventive teaching.

But what Preventive Teaching is is it helps you anticipate what is going to happen and then create a reality around it that is something that is useful for you, right? So Preventive Teaching, for example, one of the examples in the video includes a mother with a young child, and they’re going to go into the store, and the child has some issues, you know, wanting toys and was asking for this and for that. And needing attention, okay? So the mom actually teaches her son what the expectation is, and then they practice it together. Right?

Now, in the setting intention part with Oprah, they don’t have that practicing part in it, but I’m going to tell you, implementing a practicing part in there is super helpful, right? So how I did it with me, as far as setting the intention for the day, it was setting the intention, and then writing the intention down so I could look at it and I could keep track of it. So it wasn’t looking at my phone or keeping it on my phone. It actually had to be a piece of paper. Largely because when you are using a phone, you can be distracted by a million things on the phone, games or, you know, social media or notifications. So having a piece of paper that, it’s just stable, it doesn’t change. You write it down. You just keep it there, and then I would plan out my day and how it would work. Right? Super great, super great.

Anyways, so that’s the practice part of it, but using Preventive Teaching actually with your children helps you help them set intentions for the day or for the time period that you need them to. You’re actually teaching them what to expect and how to behave and this whole idea of what Oprah was talking about … And it wasn’t only Oprah, in fact. There was another speaker the year before who had talked about using the same skill. I can’t remember who she was, but she’s some famous lady, you know, who has a busy schedule because she runs multiple businesses. And yet, this is how she functions. She actually sets intentions for her day before she even checks what work wants from her. Largely to help her focus on what she can do, because we’re only given a certain amount of time, right? During the day.

So keep that in mind when you are waking up in the morning, to set an intention for yourself but also jump over to the Smarter Parenting website, and use the skill of Preventive Teaching, because that can help your child learn the same skill in a new way, and by implementing it with you, your child is going to create a memory, a connection to the expectation that’s more positive and more uplifting and will help reinforce the relationship that you have with your child.

Now, you don’t have to use anything that’s huge. In fact, we recommend you start with something small and then build on that with Preventive Teaching. However, you can decide what you think is best for your child, and you can take the lead in what it is you want to help them develop and in how to set that expectation for whatever issue may arise. Now, some parents have used really small things like, okay, this is what I want you to do in the morning. This is our morning routine, and so they’ve broken it down to four or five things that the child needs to do, and they’ve practiced it, and that is the routine. It just helps them, and then it builds off of that.

And then some parents are setting larger goals that include school and what they’re going to do in school, using the skill of preventive teaching to help them establish what the expectation is in school. So you can decide, you know. You kind of play around with them and see how it best works for you and your child, because again, your child is very unique, and in fact, the expert on your child, even though you may not believe it, is you. You have spent more time with your child than any professional has, and you have seen them when they’re sick, when they’re happy, when they’re sad. You have memories and connections with them that are very unique, and so your ability to help shape that behavior is powerful. It is super, super powerful. If you just learn how to tweak your interactions with your child by using some skills, some very proven skills from the Teaching-Family Model, which is what we use on the Smarter Parenting website.

So even though you may feel like I have no idea who this child is, this child has morphed into somebody I don’t know, the reality is you’ve been there along the way, and you do know enough that you are still the expert on your child. And in fact, most experts will tell you, you are the expert on your child, and I’m just here to provide you with tools to help you along the way. So one thing I do want to do is challenge you, though. I want to challenge you for this week. Challenge you for this week to set your own intention every morning. I want you to be relaxed and say, “This is what I’m going to do. This is how I’m going to feel today.” And then approach your day, right? You’re preparing for battle every day, but if you set your own intention, then you’ll start to look at your day through that lens, and everything will be a lot more focused and clear for you, okay?

So, yeah, that’s, thank you, Oprah, and everybody else who spoke at the Qualtrics conference. I thought it was super amazing to see just how important it is that self care is at the forefront of what we need to do in order to be successful and to be effective in any type of work that we do. And so self-care, self-care, self-care needs to be something that we constantly talk about and that we evaluate. I’m not saying that we abandon all the kids and say, “Let’s move to the Bahamas and spend a week there.” That’s a vacation, and that’s part of self-care, but daily self-care, self-maintenance is an essential part of being an effective parent, so you need to gauge what you can do and what you cannot do.

For those parents who are feeling completely overwhelmed, just start with this small task of setting your intention every morning, it’s free. You can do it in the morning. It doesn’t take long. You don’t have to spend five minutes setting your intention. Just wake up and say, “Okay, what’s my intention for today, and what do I want to feel at the end of the day?” That’s it. And then you’re done.

Okay? So that’s my challenge for you. I would love to hear from you on how this challenge went, right? So set the intention and I would love to hear actually how it’s changed you and things that you’ve learned along the way. And specifically, I would love to learn how you’re using preventive teaching in your interaction with your children or your child to help them also set their intention for the day. Or for the week or for their life, right? So that’s it for me for this week. I am so grateful for the generosity of people who have donated to help Smarter Parenting become a reality. If you feel so inclined, please jump over to the Smarter Parenting website, leave a donation.

We will welcome that. We are happy to receive that, in order to continue on this podcast. If this has been helpful or useful for you, please share it. And we would love to get a good review on wherever podcasts are being heard, wherever you’re hearing your podcast. Just so people can find us, that’s it. That’s always been a goal of ours is to reach out to as many parents as we possibly can, because we want to help as many parents as we possibly can. So that’s it for me. I hope you have a good one, and I will see you later. Bye!

Resources discussed in this podcast

Oprah simple secret to success

Behavior Skill: Preventive Teaching

Episode #11: What is the Teaching-Family Model?

Siope Kinikini

ADHD parenting coach Siope Lee Kinikini, LCMHC, is a mental health professional who has worked with hundreds of ADHD families. As someone with ADHD, he knows what your child is going through and is able to help you understand what they need. He is married and has a wonderful teenage daughter.

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