Getting homework assignments done can be a huge struggle for kids with ADHD. It is important as homework problems are often a reason kids with ADHD fail in school. However, with some planning, you can help make homework less of a struggle for both you and your child. .… READ MORE
Note: Kelsey Peterson was the student that inspired the creation of the Edge Foundation. You can find other tips and ideas about how to be successful in college with ADHD with our Free Guide: College Success and ADHD.
What is self-control? I have been struggling with self-control lately. I feel like I always know what’s best but there is an inner child in me telling me to do what feels good in the moment! I went to Starbucks last week because I was running late and missed breakfast. I knew that I should order the oatmeal because it was healthy and it would keep me full longer – but the lemon bread looked so good. I caved (to myself) and got the lemon bread, but regretted it an hour later when I was starving. That inner voice that was so strong it “made” me order the lemon bread when I knew the oatmeal was a better choice.
We all have a voice inside us, some people call it our “inner child.” This voice tells us what we want to hear. It can be hard to resist, and easy to give in. Everyone has a different inner child who throws inner tantrums for different reasons. For example, I also struggle with being late in part because my inner child tells me “I can stay in bed for five more minutes.” Self-control comes from you knowing what is best for yourself and doing it. I just wish it wasn’t so hard!
When I was a kid, home with my parents, I was allowed to be a child inside and out because I knew my parents were there and helped make decisions for me. My parents always had my best interest at heart when making decisions for me and I trusted them to make the right ones.
When I went to college and I was away from home I had to learn how to be my own parent. Now it’s my time as an adult to start being my own inner parent and take care of myself. It’s often not fun making the right choice in the moment of temptation, but I am always happier afterwards if I do. Here are some simple hints that helped me master my self control.
I start by identifying what I’m struggle with. For example, I am struggling with working out. I want to work out five days a week but I keep messing up.
I figure out why this important to me in the long term. I want to work out every morning because I want to be healthy and look good.
I think about how this fits with my long-term goals. I find it helps to think about my long-term goals because as a kind of reality check for myself. When I find my inner child telling me, “you could go to the gym or you could sleep one more hour”, my inner parent will tell me “I am going to the gym right now because I know I will if I do I will be prepared for the half marathon next summer”. My long-term goal reminds me why I care about something and how it’s really the best choice.
I use my coach to help stay on track. Tell your coach about your long-term goals and what you need from him/her to help you achieve it. For me just telling my coach helps because then I feel accountable. Also my coach helps me with short term check points to help me reach my long-term goal. My coach checks in with me weekly to see if I have met my weekly goal of working out five times a week. If I have met my goal then I get a “prize”. I get to treat myself by sleeping in on Sunday and going to brunch with my friends and having a mimosa, If I missed a day during the week then I have to get out of bed early, go to the gym and skip brunch. This is motivation during the week because I hate working out on Sunday and I love brunch!
I challenge you!
Pick something that you struggle with, maybe it’s getting your homework done early instead of waiting till the last minute, or not spending hours on Facebook. Whatever it is that you find your inner child pulling you towards when you know its not what’s best for you that is where you need to master your self-control.
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Edge Foundation Blog > 6 ways to motivate your ADHD teen
You think ADHD coaching would be good for daughter to try but she doesn’t want to have anything to do with your suggestions.
You aren’t alone. It can be an uphill battle to get a teen or college student to try out something that their parent recommends. And coaching won’t help if your child is unwilling to partner with a coach. So what is a parent to do?
- Don’t force! A coach should never be a punishment for a student who is not performing.
- Motivate, not dictate. If a student is indifferent about something, parental pressure will often prejudice and polarize them.
- Understand the benefits. Read our testimonials, check out the research that proves ADHD coaching is a highly effective intervention, watch a video to understand the process and benefits sufficiently so that you can motivate and encourage your child.
- Talk to a coach. Many coaches specialize in working with parents to convince their child to participate in coaching.
- Eye on the prize. As parents it’s easy to get caught up in what WE want for our kids and forget it is THEIR life. Help your son think about his goals and explain a coach will work with him to reach them.
- Try a Free Session. Encourage your student to find out herself. Right now Edge is offering the first coaching session for free. (Offer expires 10/15/13). Remember, you can’t sign your child up for coaching — they have to be willing to try it. But you can encourage them to at least give it a try!
We asked our coaches for advice to share with parents of new college students. Here are 6 ideas every parent of a new college student with ADHD should know.
- Maturity Levels: Teenagers and young adults have a chronological age, an intellectual age, and a social maturity age. These three are rarely the same. With ADHD teens, often their intellectual age is years ahead of their chronological age, with the social maturity age three to five years, or more, behind the chronological age. It takes longer for these delightful and creative folks to reach a balanced level of social maturity. Remember the greatest gifts you can give your teen are unconditional love, understanding and patience.
- Staying Healthy: Support your child in establishing healthy habits away from home. For example, you may want to let her know that you would prefer she get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, even it means less study time. Or you would rather she exercise every day than get straight A’s. Ask her what might get in the way of sleep or exercise, and come up with some strategies to protect those part of her life. Sleep and exercise will do more than anything else can to keep your daughter (or son) happy, healthy and wise.
- Communicate: Set up guidelines for regular check-ins by text, phone, Skype or Facetime. Be clear about the kinds of things you want to hear about in advance (e.g., how classes are going, grades, new friends, roommates, sleep, eating, etc.). And be prepared to share news about things the college student wants to know (how the family cat is doing, what’s happening back at home, etc.). If college students are forthcoming about the things that parents want to know, it builds a relationship of trust, keeps the college student accountable to parents (and vice versa), and everyone can relax a lot more!
- Crisis Counseling: When your child calls you with a minor crisis, start by asking her what she thinks she should do. Let her find her own way. Remind yourself that when she calls expressing sadness, worry, loneliness & homesickness, it is often cured by the first friend who knocks on the door. This is the time for your student to make their own choices and figure out how to bounce back from their own mistakes. Remember, parents are often still worried long after the child has gotten over it.
- Success Measures: College success should not be assessed solely by an academic grade. Is your young adult developing self advocacy skills? Self awareness? Initiative? Connections? Look at everything she is learning, not just the grades she produces.
- Student Services: Encourage student to connect with student services and take advantage of all of their services! They may need assistance in figuring out how to supply the proof they qualify for services. Guide them, but don’t do it for them.
- Prepare for grieving. Your child’s initial departure may be surprisingly harder for you than you thought it would be. Your emotions may feel similar to when he marched off with her class on first day of kindergarten. The first couple of weeks can be a big adjustment for you. Make sure you have others parents who are in the same boat to commiserate with over beverage or a meal.
>>Parents: Do you have any advice you’d give to other parents of new college students? We’d love to hear what has been helpful to you.
The power of positive thinking
Focusing on our problems is normal: Everyone tends to focus on problems. It’s probably evolutionary in nature-we evolved in a dangerous world where being able to notice threats was key to survival. Therefore, negative, troublesome, threatening things tend to capture our attention like nothing else. Yet narrow and negative thinking can lead to stress and depression, which can lower performance and reduce connectedness, both in relationships and in thoughts.
The power of positive thinking: A broad and positive focus helps you identify more resources and make more connections. Positivity-feeling good-helps creativity, perseverance, confidence, competence, and even longevity. It is tempting to feel that health, wellness, and financial success are what contribute to happiness, but it turns out that happiness predicts these things, not the other way around.
In further studies of positivity and negativity, it turns out there is an ideal ratio between the two. The ideal ratio of positivity to negativity is between 3:1 and 11:1. In other words at least 3 positive thoughts to each negative one. In this range, people have the resources to change, grow, and bounce back from adversity. They feel both supported and challenged, which develops resourcefulness and creativity. Business teams operating in this ideal zone have the highest profitability, customer satisfaction, and performance reviews.
Too much of a bad thing: People who live in an environment where the positivity to negativity ratio is below 3:1 languish. They don’t have enough resources and inspiration to pick themselves up out of the muck and see all the things that are available to them. Unlike the more positive folks, they are on a downward spiral. Sadly, it is estimated that 80% of people fall into this category.
Turn up the positive volume!
Notice, remember, articulate and savor what is already there. Practice noticing the good stuff, because there is plenty of it around. From the aroma of that first cup of coffee in the morning (even if we made a mess making it), to the parting “Bye! I love you. Have a nice day!” (even if we had to say it several times because we kept forgetting things as we tried to get out the door), to the great coaching session where both feel pumped by the end, there’s a lot to notice and feel positive about. Notice, too, how we contributed to the good stuff, notice how we are actively creating the positive experiences. Then allow yourself to feel empowered to improve your life and develop your resourcefulness and creativity!
Comorbid is often a term you’ll hear used in association with ADHD. The first time you hear it said about you you may feel worried. After all, the word morbid is often associated with death, right?
Don’t worry! Comorbid is a relatively new medical term that came into usage in 1981. Mirriam-Webster defines comorbid as “existing simultaneously with and usually independently of another medical condition,” Dictionary.com has a slightly different definition, “of medical conditions present simultaneously in a patient.” Translate that into plain speak: one condition(s) that comes along with another.
So when you hear “comorbid” used in association with ADHD it always means other conditions that you also may have if you have ADHD. Take for example a person who has depression and ADHD. Their doctor might say the person has ADHD with comorbid depression.
What are comorbid conditions commonly associated with ADHD?
It’s important to understand comorbid conditions because researchers believe that as many as 60% of people with ADHD have comorbid conditions. Why is that number so high? Unfortunately while scientists know which conditions are most frequently associated with ADHD, they are still learning why some conditions are more likely to occur together.
Common comorbid conditions include:
- Disruptive behavior disorders (conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder)
- Learning disabilities
- Anxiety (see the 4 most common anxiety disorders associated with ADHD)
- Substance abuse disorder
Because comorbid conditions are so common within the ADHD population, it is important that you ask your doctor to look at you as a whole patient, not just someone with ADHD, when he or she is developing a treatment plan. We also encourage you to include an Edge coach in that treatment plan.
At the Edge Foundation we have coaches who specialize in working with a broad range of conditions that come along with ADHD. Because our coaches work by phone, you have access to a nationwide bench of coaches, one of whom will closely match your needs.
Do you have a term you’d like to learn more about? Please let us know in the comments, below.
Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) ADHD Long-term Outcomes: Comorbidity, Secondary Conditions, and Health Risk Behaviors