Aha! Parenting Blog

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What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew

I'm honored to have written the foreword for this great new book on raising kids and teens with ADHD, by Dr. Sharon Saline. What is most moving about this book, and most helpful to parents, are the voices of the many ADHD children and teenagers themselves who fill these pages.

Parenting any child is hard. But parenting a child with an ADHD brain is the kind of hard that can make you want to throw yourself on the floor and join your child in his or her tantrum.

And truth be told, it doesn’t get easier as kids hit the preteen and teen years -- it gets harder. That’s because you won’t be there to keep them on track when your son needs to keep his locker organized and remember to turn in his homework, or your daughter scrambles to get herself to each class on time while navigating complicated peer dramas. ADHD brains develop a bit more slowly, and school gets more pressured for young people every day.

If you’re wondering how to teach your child or teen the executive function skills that are essential to their success as they become more independent in school and in life, then this empowering book is for you. Dr. Sharon Saline has worked with children and teens with ADHD for more than 25 years, and convincingly demonstrates that they have one essential ally, one irreplaceable tool as they move through their preteen and teen years and into adulthood: You.

From teaching executive function skills to modeling emotional self-regulation, you the parent are your child’s most important teacher. Think of this book as your roadmap. In it, you’ll find clear routes to becoming the parent -- the capable, kind, helpful parent -- that your child or teen needs YOU to be, so your child can become their own personal best.

Above all, Dr. Saline offers concrete, practical tools for building the relationship that both you and your child want and deserve. Her ‘five C’s --self-control, compassion, collaboration, consistency, and celebration -- add up to a program that supports parents, while helping kids develop the skills they need to thrive.

Dr. Saline knows full well how challenging family life can be when ADHD is on the scene. She brings uncommon clarity and an open heart to difficult topics like the shame that child and parent alike often feel as they struggle together with the challenges of ADHD. But she also helps us celebrate the strengths – the energy, the imagination and the fun – of kids with ADHD. Reading this book reminds parents that other families have successfully grappled with ADHD, and helped their children develop the hard-won skills to handle adult life.

Dr. Saline’s secret power, and your secret weapon, are the same: listening. If you really listen to your child and see the world through his or her eyes, if your child feels seen and heard by you, you can build a relationship of love and compassion that will see you both through the hard times.

You will not always find it easy to be the parent of a child with an ADHD brain. You will sometimes despair, wondering “how will my child turn out?” Fortunately, you’ll see in this book, and hear in these young people’s voices, that they will turn out to be themselves and more, and that their struggles are immeasurably helped when they see you intervening at school on their behalf, sitting with them when they hurt, supporting them through academics and chores, and believing in them even when they don’t believe in themselves.

The harder the struggle, the sweeter the victory. Dr. Saline’s relationship-based model gives you the practical wisdom to create that sweet, supportive relationship with your child that gives your child the skills they need to thrive. You’ll each grow as the lessons and insights in the book become part of your everyday lives. And what does any child, or parent, desire more than that?

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