When parents in pain reach out to ADHD Parenting Coach Siope Kinikini, he gives them the following four things to do. When we are overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next, it is so helpful to have someone give us some concrete things to do that allow us to address the problems and find solutions that work for our family.
The four things are: slow down and identify fears, focus on what we can control, build the relationship, teach the behavior skills
Parenting from a place of fear isn’t productive. It’s easy to get caught up in our fears of what may happen that they drive all our reactions. Slowing down and identify the fears we have for our child allows us to attach behavior skills. Behavior skills give us a road map and help alleviate the unknowns and our responses to them. Sometimes we get so caught up in what is happening and our fears for what may happen.
Focus on what we can control as there is a lot in parenting we can’t control. We can’t always control how our child behaves or reacts. We can’t control how others will respond to our child’s behavior. What we can control is how we act. We can control our responses and our stress level. It also may mean changing expectations or routines to better work with what we can control.
Focus on the relationship instead of your child’s negative behavior. While this may seem counter-intuitive to many parents who are struggling, what we focus on is what grows. If we only focus on their negative behavior, we actually may be making the behavior worse. Focusing on the relationship gives you a long-term focus. All skills of the Teaching-Family Model are focused on building and strengthening relationships. You can create connections by reminiscing on memories, spending time together, taking the time to listen, doing an activity they’d like to do, etc. Focusing on the relationship does not need to involve a lot of money or resources. A lot of progress can be made with simple one-on-one activities.
Teach the skills the way they should be taught. Just talking about the skills with our kids isn’t enough–we have to practice. Role-playing is a vital component in bringing about the change you want. If your child isn’t adapting a skill, increase your Role-play.
No matter what a parent is facing, this advice is relevant to parents of kids of all ages and all behavior problems.
If you are a parent in pain, we offer a free 15-minute parenting coaching mini-session. During the mini-session, you will get specific answers to your family’s problems. Don’t put off healing your family. Sign-up today. https://www.smarterparenting.com/coaching/
To learn the behavior skills on Smarter Parenting visit: https://www.smarterparenting.com/lesson/
For more information about how Smarter Parenting uses the Teaching-Family Model, visit the episode podcast page on SmarterParenting.com https://www.smarterparenting.com/adhd-parenting-podcast/
In this episode, I will be sharing four things that I tell parents, who are experiencing pain. So let’s begin. This is Episode 69. 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 everyone. How’s everybody doing? I’m doing fantastic. Things are going really, really well. I am more excited about this podcast, because this is a direct response, to some of the coaching sessions that I’ve been having with many of you who are listening to this podcast. A lot of you have signed up for the free 15-minute coaching session. And during those sessions, I’ve been able to gather a lot of information from you, about what you’re experiencing, and some of the questions that you have about using the Teaching-Family Model, and the pain that you’re experiencing in working with your children. So today is actually answering some of those concerns. I’ve noticed some patterns in the questions that many parents have, and especially the pain that many of you are feeling in trying to help your children become successful, especially when they struggle with ADHD.
Now I wanted to start off by sharing the story of two parents that I’m coaching. They’ve given me permission to share their names and some of the background information of what they’re struggling with. They’re very different families.
So we’ll start off with Eva. She has a seven-year-old son. And her seven-year-old is in school. It’s taken a while for them to come up with the diagnosis of ADHD. They’ve been monitoring it for a couple of years, and now the official diagnosis is here. He tends to lean heavily on the hyperactivity side. And in school, it’s very difficult for him to focus. He cannot keep track of information if there’s too much information, and so in order to help him along, things have to be broken down very specifically. They’re working on an educational plan for him as well in this school, and some accommodations, so he can learn and he can be successful. And yet his mother, Eva is struggling with the behavioral intervention skills that she wants to implement before moving him on and possibly using medication.
She wants to try behavioral interventions first. And then we move on to working with medication if that is absolutely necessary. As I have said in the past, of course, if you’re going to do medication, you should always use a behavioral modification program as well. And so using them in conjunction with each other, is the most effective way, in helping a child be successful. That’s Eva. The other family that I’ve been coaching is Paul. Paul is a single father, who has a 17-year-old son. And his 17-year-old son, is in the next few months, moving from being dependent, to being an adult. And that’s defined by law. At 18, Paul’s son is going to be considered an adult, and yet for Paul, he does not feel his son has the adequate skills to be independent. Like if he were left to his own devices, he would just be a mess.
According to Paul, he would not know how to function as an adult. And that’s not a criticism on the part of Paul, because Paul has been teaching him these skills. It’s just that the ADHD in his son, has made it very difficult for him to be able to focus and be successful in school or any other area. The scary thing about this scenario is that Paul’s son still has school left to do. In fact, he is behind and so he will not graduate when he’s 18 years old. He will need to do some additional work, get a GED, or do something different. Accommodations were made for Paul’s son all throughout this time, to help him with school, but it’s just one of those cases, and I’ve seen this far too often, where a child who struggles with ADHD is not yet ready for the world.
It’s sad. So we have Eva on one and dealing with a very young child, and we have Paul dealing with an older child, who’s transitioning to becoming an adult. And both of these parents have called me, we’ve discussed some of the issues and behavioral issues that we can work on, we have worked through some of the skills that are on the Smarter Parenting website. And again, these skills come from the Teaching-Family Model.
Both of these parents express some of the same questions and the same concerns. And so those are the questions and concerns that I want to address with you today. One of the questions that I get from them is, “Well, how fast is this going to be? I am in a time crunch.” So for Eva, and her seven-year-old son, she wants to see some very fast results in working through changing his behavior at school and at home.
For Paul, he feels this deadline of his child turning 18, as being something very, very important for him to be able to do, in the short amount of time that he has left. So here is the answer to that question. How fast does it take? Well, it depends. It depends on your child’s ability to implement what they’re going to be able to do, and also what you’re going to be able to do. What I do want to stress here, is that what we are teaching your children, are for long-term changes. These are for long-term changes. We’re not looking for short fixes. If you want something instant, if you want something from a microwave, then you’re going to have to settle for something like Ramen Noodles. Well, that’s not what the Teaching-Family Model provides. We’re more a slow cooker. It’s going to take some time, but it’s going to last, and it’s going to be delicious, and it’s going to be fantastic.
The Teaching-Family Model and the implementation of these skills depends on the child and your ability as a parent to implement these things. My suggestion to them is, “You know what? We have to start somewhere.” Even though Eva’s son is seven years old, we have to start somewhere, and you’re going to see longterm changes throughout his life. For Paul, who feels a tighter crunch in being able to implement some of these skills, there’s a shorter amount of time he has to deal with, and yet we still have to start somewhere. We have to start now, regardless of age, it’s always more effective than waiting and looking for quick fixes. That is the answer that I have for you. The other question is that sometimes a parent will watch a skill, and in this case, Eva was watching a skill, and Paul was watching a skill and saying, “I don’t know if I agree with this part of the skill.”
Well, I get that. That’s okay. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. But what I want to stress to you, is that these skills have been tried and tested over time, from before I was even born, by professionals, by professors, by educators. They have been tried and tested by group home parents, by foster parents, by parent parents. They’d been tried and tested in schools, in different environments. These skills work, they absolutely work. So having a disagreement with the skill itself, you can have that. However, the skills that you find in the Smarter Parenting website, are highly effective. And being able to implement them the way that they’ve been created, will give you the greatest result in the end. So, implement the skills, we only have now to work with. We can look back and we can have regrets about what we should have done in the past, but that’s not going to be helpful.
And in fact, that’s one of the things that I focus on with both Eva and with Paul, is that we can always do the could have, would have, should. However, we only have right now, and that our focus needs to be focused on the things that we can do in the moment. We can focus on heartache, we can focus on regret, we can focus on the pain. But what tends to happen when we focus on those things, is that those things begin to grow, and they become overwhelming. And that’s where our feelings of overwhelm come from. We are overwhelmed because those things are just too big, and they’re difficult to deal with. Luckily, the skills on the Teaching-Family Model, are broken down into steps, so we can take steps and we can work with those steps in order to move forward.
Eva and Paul, are highly skilled parents. They’ve been using skills all along. It’s the circumstances and in dealing with their children with some of the nuances, that’s where we are going with the coaching. So when they call me and we’re working on an in Effective Praise, for example, I’m just giving them some nuanced ways to implement the Effective Praise, but we’re still teaching them the exact same skill. And in fact, if you want to learn more about how to nuance it for your own child, in your specific need, that’s what the coaching session is absolutely for. I can take you to a different level with these skills when we can coach one-on-one, which is what we’re doing with Eva and Paul. In working with Eva and Paul, there are four things that I tell them, and these are the same four things that I tell all parents, when we are coaching, and they feel overwhelmed, they feel they’re struggling, and they’re really, really in pain.
The first thing I tell them to do, is to slow down and identify their fears. By slowing down, we’re going to stop focusing on all of the noise, and we need to identify what is the fear behind everything that is happening. What is the fear that’s driving the engine for change for you? Because once we identify the fear, then we can start attaching skills to that to address the fear and to help calm all of the noise that’s happening. We need a focus point. With Eva, there were just so many behaviors that she came with when we were coaching, that it was too much. It was too big. There’s behavior here, he’s doing this, he’s doing that, he’s doing that. Let’s put the behaviors off to the side for a moment, let’s talk about your fears. “What are your fears right now Eva?” And Eva was able to articulate to me, what her fears were.
By being able to do that, we can start to address those fears. The first thing was, slowing down and identifying her fears. And the second thing that I tell parents all the time is, once we identify the fears, we’re still left with all these behaviors that they want to correct. We have to take a step back, and ask ourselves, “What can we control? What can we control in this situation?” The behaviors that your child is exhibiting in school, are things that are beyond your control because you’re not there. The things that your child is doing in the home, you have more control over those things. The control over the things that a seven-year-old child does, for example with Eva and her child, will be very different, then what Paul can control with his 17-year-old son. Very, very different things that they can control.
We have to take a step back, and look at what is going on, where we are at on this journey, and what can we control? Once we identify what we control, we can actually start using skills to address what we can control, in order to increase positive behaviors, and decrease the negative behaviors. Again, the two things. Slow down, identify your fear as a parent for your child. Once you do that, you can start selecting skills that will best address those fears. Then, you need to be able to focus on what you can control. With Paul, he was talking to me about issues that he has no control over. Once his son is gone from the home, he will have no control over that. What his son does, and what his son can do. We were discussing this and we were going back and forth.
Well, if you have no control over those things once he’s gone, what can you focus on now? And this is something that is also similar for Eva, on what she can control. She can control her responses to the way her child is behaving. She can control what she is going to say, what she’s going to do, what skills she is going to implement, in order to bring about change for her and her child. And for Paul and his child. Focus on the things that you can control. You can’t control everything. But you can control your own thoughts. Your own words that are coming out of your mouth, the way that you are going to respond. Focus on those things, and those things actually will bleed over into the behaviors that your child is exhibiting. If you’re able to find a way to control those things on your own with yourself, your child is going to be able to pick up on those things.
The third thing that I have told them, throughout is that, sometimes when our focus is too much on the problem, and I’ve mentioned this before, when we focus on the trouble, the heartache, the pain, those things tend to grow. We’re feeding that part of it, and it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. Sometimes it’s better, to step back and focus on strengthening the relationship. Sometimes it’s better to focus on relationship.
This is particularly important for Paul, because Paul’s child is now moving on. Making decisions on his own. Will have complete control of his life, when he turns 18. He can get up, he can walk out of the house. Not much can be done in keeping him there anymore. And so for Paul, the focus is on, what can we do to build a stronger relationship? Because sometimes the focus on the relationship will also help shift the child’s behavior.
This is also important for Eva, who has a young son. Focusing on the relationship, can also be a way to address some of the behaviors longterm. Remember crock-pot, we’re dealing with long-term here with Eva, and with Paul. Sometimes, being able to step back, identifying your fear, focusing on what you can control, and focusing on the relationship, will help bring about the change in the relationship that you’re looking for. Sometimes it is important to step back, focus on the relationship. The benefit of using the Teaching-Family Model, is that it is all focused on relationship. All the skills are built around strengthening a relationship. So you can choose a skill like Effective Communication, for example, and in there, built into the steps, is a way to strengthen your relationship with your child. Usually, through reflective listening, you’re able to build rapport and build a stronger relationship with your child.
Built into the system of the Teaching-Family Model, are the skills that are on the Smarter Parenting website, are ways for you to strengthen your relationship. And then the fourth thing. The fourth thing is being able to teach the skill the way that the skill should be taught. In working with Eva, and in working with Paul, there’s an aspect to the Teaching-Family Model, in all the skills, where Role-play is integrated into the way that they should be teaching these skills. In both cases, they have reported that they talk to their children about the skill, and they explained it to them, and that Role-play is a minimal part of it. Let me emphasize this to you, and I cannot emphasize this enough. Role-play, is a key ingredient. Is a key ingredient in bringing about the change that you want. You have to Role-play it.
You have to be Role-playing these things. The reason being is your child is now going to be able to retain, what you are explaining. With Eva and her son, where you have to break down the instructions and make them very simple. Role-playing is going to be paramount in helping to shape his behavior. She needs to Role-play those things with him, in order for him to get it in his brain, to get it in his body, to have himself hear it, to have himself experience it, in order for him to actually embrace it enough that it becomes a natural part of his behavior. Absolutely necessary. For Paul, it is the exact same thing. Paul needs to be able to Role-play. For a 17-year-old, Role-playing may seem more difficult. However, for Paul, what he can also be doing is Role-playing for himself.
How am I going to react when my child is behaving in a negative way, and Role-playing that with someone else, a friend? So my son yells at me and slams the door and says, “I’m leaving when I’m 18 years old.” That could be very triggering for a lot of parents. Paul can Role-play, “What am I going to do? How am I going to respond? How am I going to maintain, what I can control, which is myself when this is happening?” Very, very effective, for Paul to implement this and use this, and also for him to use it with his son. “Well, I’m going to teach you because you’re going to be an adult, what it’s like to interview for a job, so let’s Role-play that.” It’s absolutely important. I’ve heard this from other parents too that I coach, that they’ll explain the skills or sit down, and they’ll talk to them about it, but then the Role-playing part of it, they kind of brush over.
Do not brush over that part. That part is super important for you. You need to be able to do that. You need to be able to Role-play. We have talked about a lot of things today, but this is in direct response, to some of the things that I am receiving when I am coaching people, particularly with Eva and with Paul. I chose them because they are dealing with children who struggled with ADHD, who are in very different stages of their lives, and yet the information and the counsel that I’m giving the parents is absolutely the same. For parents who are in pain, here are the four things that I am telling you, you should be doing. First off, slow down and identify the fear, the fear that is driving you to want changes in your child’s life. What is the fear behind that?
Number two, focus on what you can control. You need to be able to identify what you can control, and what you cannot control. With Eva and working with the behaviors at school and at home. Eva only has the ability to control what is happening in her home. She cannot control what is happening at school. By being able to explain that to her and have her focus on that, we’ve already eliminated 50% of her worry, and her stress, and her pain.
Because we’re going to let the school deal with the behaviors at school, and she will help supplement that, but her control is over what is going to happen at her home. There will be some schools that would be like, “Well, your child is doing this.” My response to parents is, “Okay, so he’s behaving this way, what are you doing as a school to help address those behaviors, because this is what I’m doing at home to address those behaviors?” Clear cut, “What can I control?” And a lot of times with parents, it’s yourself. You can control yourself and your responses to your child’s behavior. You can control those things. You can control what skills you’re going to choose to implement to teach to your child, to address your fears about the outcome of your child’s future.
Then the third thing is that, sometimes it’s better to focus on the relationship than it is on the problem behavior. I cannot stress enough, how much I love the Teaching-Family model. That’s where we get the skills from and built into those skills, are ways for you to reinforce your positive relationship with your child. What we’re presenting to you, is a way that you can teach to your child, and still strengthen the relationship. They’re actually married together. And those things by being able to teach them skills is going to be very effective in helping you focus on the relationship and address the behaviors at the same time. So remember to do that.
Sometimes it is more important to focus on the relationship. With Paul, he had told me that, after I had told him to focus on the relationship first, and then we can start moving into some of the behavioral issues as well because he’s going to need some compliance in there. Paul mentioned to me in our last session that instead of harping on his son about what he wanted his son to do, and the behavioral issues that they were experiencing at the school, Paul decided to take him out and get a shake. Nothing really huge, but they went out, they got a milkshake. And they just spent time talking about things that his son was interested in, things that were happening at school.
His son was like, “What is going on? This feels a little fishy.” And yet after getting the milkshake, and they were just talking about random things, his son started to calm down, and started to be more open about his struggles and his own concerns about becoming 18. What he’s going to do for a living. How he’s going to create his own money. How he wants to be successful in doing certain things. Focusing on building a relationship actually will bleed into some of the concerns and the behaviors that your child may have. Take your child out to do that. One way that I found super, super effective for a lot of parents, is to go through old photos. Go through old photo albums with your child. Not sitting them down and saying, “We’re going to go through these photos.” Talk about these things, but more in a nonchalant, calm way. Have photos out, and start looking through them, and just saying, “Hey, do you remember this?” Usually, we take photos of important events and things that are very positive in our lives.
And when you can reflect back on those things, it tends to break down the walls. And that helps to build the relationship with your child. If you don’t want to go out for a milkshake, you want to do something at home, go through an old photo album. Those things are super helpful, especially baby pictures. Baby pictures for some reason, it’s like, “Hey, do you remember this?” And then you can give more context to what was happening in the picture at the time.
Super, super helpful in helping to build a relationship, and then moving into correcting the behaviors. Remember what we feed, is what’s going to grow most. If we’re feeding into all the troubles, the heartache and the pain, those things will grow. If we focus on the relationship and building skills, those things are going to grow. Let’s put our focus in where it needs to be.
Again, we’ve talked about slowing down and identifying your fears as a parent for your child, and once we identify those, we can attach skills to those. Second, we’re going to focus on what you can control. And largely that is yourself. You as a parent, you can control your responses to your child. If you feel like you cannot control your responses, you need to Role-play.
You need to Role-play. How are you going to respond to your child’s behavior? And that actually helps to decrease your anxiousness, and your frustration, and your feelings of being overwhelmed. Then we are going to evaluate, “Do I need to focus on my relationship more here and then just leave the problems off to the side, and then address the problems as my child is becoming more compliant?” You have to evaluate that.
Luckily all the skills, and I’ve mentioned this a million times already, all of the skills in the Teaching-Family Model, have a component that strengthen your relationship automatically. You can start teaching skills, to help address some of those relationship issues as well. But you can always be using a skill. And then fourth is teaching them the skills that are on the Smarter Parenting website. Teaching them skills will actually help increase their ability to function and improve their behavior.
What it does, it will also decrease your fears, it will also help you and your child learn areas where you can both control, it builds your relationship, but, when you’re teaching the skill, you need to teach the skill, the way the skill has been outlined. You need to do all of the steps and to never, never, never, never, never, never, never skip on Role-playing. You have to Role-play when it says to Role-play. And you have to make the Role-play as effective as possible, in order for it to stick. This is particularly important, for children who struggle with ADHD. You have to be able to Role-play it with them. It will not stick if you’re just lecturing to them. It won’t. You need to be able to articulate it, but you also need to Role-play it. That’s where their learning takes place. I’ve talked a lot about the Role-playing because that seems to be the part of the skill, that a lot of parents struggle with, but I cannot emphasize it enough.
The Role-play is where the magic is going to happen for your child. That’s where it’s going to click. The Role-play, integrates multiple senses for them, and the more senses we can include in changing a behavior and having them adopt a new way of being, the better off they’re going to be, and the more they’re going to be able to remember.
Think about all the senses that are involved in Role-playing, You actually have physical movement. You have eye contact, it’s visual. You have moving around which is kinesthetic. You have your brain which is operating. You have sound because you have to hear it back and forth, between you and your child. Your child and you. We’re integrating all of these senses, as many senses as we can, with children who struggle with ADHD, because by integrating multiple senses, it actually makes more sense to your child.
Now I’m talking about ADHD children, but this works across with any child. When you can integrate multiple senses into a new way of being, the more they’re likely to adopt that new way of being. Do not skip on that. And that’s one area and I’m talking to people that I have been coaching online, that they struggle with the most, but is one of the most important pieces of teaching these skills and making them work. I just want to recap. I’ve talked a lot about the Teaching-Family Model.
This is not an instant fix. However, we only have right now to work on behaviors. This is a crock-pot. We are putting in the seasoning, it’s going to take a little bit of time, it’s going to take some prep work upfront. But once you set that timer, you’re going to start to have the smells in the home, things are going to be delicious, it really is one of those things that will last a long time, and be nourishing for your child. Look at it that way. For parents who are dealing with older children, you’re going to move into the future regardless.
Starting now, is just as good as any time to helping your child improve, and helping your relationship improve. For Paul and his 17-year-old son, I have complete confidence in them, to be able to implement some of the skills now, even though his son is 17, because these skills are going to develop, and grow over time and by the time he moves on when he’s 18, at least there’s a foundation there for them to continually build on. We’re building something here. You don’t want to live in a house that was built in five minutes.
You want somebody who has taken their time, has really thought it out, who has planned things. That’s what you want, and this is what this is. The skills on the Smarter Parenting website, have been around for longer than I’ve been alive. Millions of dollars have been spent by researchers, and by practitioners, to test these out, to see if they’re effective, and they have proven time and time again, over decades that they work. They absolutely work. And this isn’t coming from me. This is coming from research, and from studies. It comes from constant, constant application, and testing, and trying, and seeing what works and putting it together. And now we’re able to provide it to you. So take advantage of it.
Again, the four things I’m recommending for parents to do when they start to feel overwhelmed, slow down, identify your fears. What are your fears, for your children in their future? Once you can identify those, you can teach to those, you can teach skills to those, to address those fears. Focus on what you can control, and in many instances that is your own response, and your own interactions with your child. Third, is relationships. Sometimes it’s better to focus on relationship, than it is to focus on problem. Whatever we feed is going to grow. So feed the relationship to help address the problem. That’s going to work. Luckily in the Teaching-Family Model, all the skills have a relationship part to it, and so you can actually teach a skill and build a relationship at the same time when you use the Teaching-Family Model. And the fourth thing is to teach the skills the way that they are outlined on the Smarter Parenting website.
Do not skip steps. Follow through with all the steps, and particularly with Role-playing. I know it’s hard, I know it’s difficult, but I have confidence that you can do it. And use the help and the resources that are available on the Smarter Parenting website to do that. There are a lot of skills on the Smarter Parenting website. My goal is to help you, use those skills effectively.
That’s what the free 15-minute Coaching Session is about. If you want to go to a deeper level, if you want to get deeper into how you can implement this for your child specifically, set up a time. That’s what the 15-minute session is for. Now it’s labeled as 15-minute session, but those of you who have called in, have probably noticed that it goes longer than 15-minutes, and that’s okay, because the 15 Minute is meant to help us be very focused in what we’re doing.
But again, I have ADHD, so things kind of get, “I have a lot of questions, because I’m interested in you, and I want to know.” And I want to best help you find solutions to your problems. So call up. We can get very, very deep, deep, deep levels, of how to use these skills and implement them, when you call in. Here in the podcast, I’m giving you general information, but let’s go deeper. Call me up, set up a time. Let’s talk. Let’s chat. Let me get to know you better, as you’ve gotten to know me, through the course of these podcasts. That’s it for me for this week.
I cannot express enough gratitude for the Utah Youth Village, for sponsoring this podcast, and also for creating Smarter Parenting, as a way of sharing this technology, this information with the world. Seriously, this is like we’re offering it up to you and it’s for free.
Isn’t that just so weird? What do you get for free these days? Hardly anything. Jump on the website to look at those, but sign up for a coaching session if you want to go deeper into these skills, and how you can use them with your child. You can use the skills. They’re all there on the website. You can begin using them right now. However, if you want me to go deeper with you, set up a time and let’s do some coaching. All right? Okay. That’s it for me. I hope you have a great one. I will talk to you soon. Thanks. All right, bye.
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