We all come into parenting with a lot of preconceived notions of how things should be. We read traditional advice from experts or inspirational quotes about the life-changing gift of parenthood. But early on, when it comes to raising a child with ADHD, not many people have a lot of familiarity with Executive Function.
Executive Function is basically the part of the brain that’s responsible for self-management. It’s the part of the brain responsible for organization, planning and keeping track of the big picture. “Kind of like the conductor of an orchestra,” explains Guest Expert Dr. Bertin.
Early on this podcast, Dr. Bertin tells the story of a woman he was working with who found change by simply becoming aware of what poor Executive Function meant for her child. Whether it’s struggling with impulse control, forgetfulness or organization, the practical solutions become much easier once you see things with a sense of clarity -- or what Dr. Bertin refers to as seeing ADHD through the lens of Executive Function.
Similarly, here at ImpactParents we teach parents to ask the question, “Is it naughty or neurological?” Essentially it’s the strategy of subtracting three to five years from your child’s age and recognizing that, neurologically, that’s where their behavior is at any given moment -- and to try giving them the benefit of the doubt.
It’s not that awareness is necessarily going to fix anything specifically, but it’s definitely the first step in changing any relationship with your complex kid. “It’s about trying to catch yourself when you’re caught up in reactivity, stress and all those places you’re pushed into as parents, and just trying to see things more clearly,” says Dr. Bertin. When you have that clarity, the practical solutions become much easier.
In this podcast, Elaine and Dr. Bertin discuss mindfulness and how it relates to understanding Executive Function, as well as the “modern science of back-to-the-basics parenting.” Be sure to tune in and learn how to problem-solve when ADHD makes it difficult to do the basics. After all, life gets simpler when you understand how children develop independence and self-management skills.
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