Thrive As A Parent

As you take care of your kids, your partner, your job, your home, your family members, is there something you’re forgetting about? Oh, yeah - you! The parents’ role is powerfully important, but we often lose sight of that. What do you need to be the parent you want to be? Thriving as a parent is about focusing on yourself as well as your kids - and it will ensure your ADD/ADHD child the best shot at success.

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The Healthy Way to Handle Mistakes

Written by Diane Dempster. Posted in Emotionality-and-Impulsivity, expert-articles, Impact-on-Parents
on 2014-04-16


Penicillin. Potato chips. The Slinky. Scotch Gard. The Pacemaker. Fireworks. Post-its.

What if there were no mistakes? I’m not saying that everything happens for some big-picture “lesson” (that’s another post), or that we should like everything that happens. But what if everything that happens is just an experience? What if we have the ability to choose whether to see it as desirable or something that we would prefer not to repeat? Would that help to let go when things don’t go quite the way we planned?

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What Don Knotts Can Teach Us About Communication

Written by Elaine Taylor-Klaus. Posted in Impact-on-Parents, Life-Logistics, tips-tricks
on 2014-04-15


I remember Don Knotts drawing on a courtroom chalkboard during an episode of Mayberry RFD: Ass|U|Me. “When you assume,” he said, “You make an ass out of you and me.”

Who says there’s nothing to learn from television! Think about how often you take action based on what you assume about a situation, when really you don’t know for sure. This can trigger a cycle of miscommunication that can spiral out of control and interfere with our relationships.

Say your child has been in trouble at school because she has forgotten her homework. You only find out because her teacher calls you. “But, Mom, I didn’t want you to get mad.” (Which is exactly what you are because she didn’t tell you!) She made an assumption about your response, and that prevented open communication.

The best way to teach your kids to stop making assumptions is to stop making assumptions yourself! It’s not easy but it’s definitely a pattern you can change. Make the distinction between what you know and what you think you know. That difference can make a huge difference!

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What Einstein Got Wrong and Lily Tomlin Got Right

Written by Elaine Taylor-Klaus. Posted in expert-articles, Impact-on-Parents, Life-Logistics
on 2014-04-09


“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” -Lily Tomlin

Over the last few weeks, Diane and I have been running ourselves ragged – not exactly walking the talk, if you know what I mean. Sometimes circumstances take control of our calendar, and we choose to roll with it… for a while. The catch is to be conscious that we are making that choice and to rein things in before they get out of control.

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The Best Teammates Have Trust and Gratitude

Written by Elaine Taylor-Klaus. Posted in School-Challenges, tips-tricks
on 2014-04-08


A teacher in my kids’ school spoke out, recently, about the relationship between teachers and parents. He phrased it so beautifully that I asked if I could share it with all of you.

Thanks to the incomparable Greg Changnon for his words of wisdom:

The relationship between parent and teacher can be a difficult one. Both are members of a team that is guiding the student through the education experience. And sometimes, of course, teammates can squabble, disagreeing over the right play or the most effective strategy. The best sort of teammate is the one who trusts the other completely, who remains grateful for the other’s participation and influence.

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Failing Forward: Make Every Mistake a New One

Written by Elaine Taylor-Klaus. Posted in expert-articles, Impact-on-Parents, Life-Logistics
on 2014-04-02


I sat in the school auditorium, surrounded by about 300 other parents. I was there to absorb the wisdom of a parenting author I highly respect, teaching us about the importance of letting go, of letting our kids make mistakes. It is a message I believe in quite strongly.

I figured I knew a lot about the topic, given that my child – about 12 years old at the time — was an EXPERT at making mistakes. So it never occurred to me that I would be so shaken by the talk being given that evening.

As I sat and listened to the author’s stories, and her answers to what seemed like simple questions from other parents, I began to shake my head. The tears started welling up. “She just doesn’t understand,” I thought. “It’s just not that simple to let this kid fail. She fails all the time, don’t you understand? Her self-esteem is on the line!”

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Find a Phrase

Written by Diane Dempster. Posted in Emotionality-and-Impulsivity, Relationship, tips-tricks
on 2014-03-25


Find a phrase, like a mantra, that helps you love your children even when their behavior is unlovable or annoying. A phrase that helps you want to support your kids even when their behavior makes you want to throw up your hands in disgust! It’s not something that you say out loud – it’s just a private reminder from you to yourself.

Here are some examples:

  • “Oh, she doesn’t know how, I can help her with that.”

  • “Clearly he forgot – drat that working memory – let me remind him.”

  • “I wonder what distracted her – let me get her back on track.”

What’s important about this phrase is that it speaks to you, ties you into your compassion for the challenges your child is facing, and helps you offer re-direction in a way that is respectful and encouraging, rather than punitive and critical.
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Targeting Behaviors for Change: Take the Two-Week Challenge

Written by Tracey Powell. Posted in Emotionality-and-Impulsivity, guest-experts
on 2014-03-10


As a coach and therapist I thought I knew all about the power of “attending and ignoring,” the topic of a positive parenting seminar I attended last fall.  Just as I started to tune out, the instructor offered an example of how to use “attending and ignoring” to eliminate whining behavior in our kids.  My attention perked up. 

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Clarifying Values

Written by Elaine Taylor-Klaus. Posted in expert-articles, Life-Logistics, Relationship
on 2014-02-26


Our Values are who we are at our core, they’re what we stand for, what gives our life meaning. They offer a lens, a framework for looking at our selves and the choices we make in our lives.

I often like to say that if you were on a deserted island, your values are those things that would still be important to you. For example, I have a value around community and connection. It’s critically important to me. If I were deserted on an island, I would find a way to organize the fish, or the shells, or something so that I would feel like I am a part of something larger than myself. Connection gives my life meaning. It is a deeply held value of mine.

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Why Do They Do That?!? How Understanding Our Kids’ Brains Makes Us Better Parents

Written by Dr. Karin Varblow. Posted in Emotionality-and-Impulsivity, guest-experts, Relationship
on 2014-02-24

Dr. Varblow

Despite the fact that scientists’ understanding of ADHD has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 1-2 decades, this condition remains an enigma to most of us. In the day-to-day struggle, we parents still find ourselves asking the same questions repeatedly: 

•“What were you thinking?” 
•“Why did you do that?” 
•“Why isn’t this done yet?”   

But with all the new science, isn’t there a way to help parents of children with ADHD get through the day?

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Ready, ACTION, Set! Teaching Self Control One Structure at a Time

Written by Diane Dempster. Posted in Emotionality-and-Impulsivity, expert-articles, Life-Logistics
on 2014-02-19


You walk into your favorite coffee shop for a cup – black, no cream, no sugar. You’re trying to rein in your calorie intake. But then you spot them. Fresh, warm chocolate chip cookies. The aroma is wafting towards you, enticing with its promise of comfort. But no! You turn your eyes away. You check your email. You look at the person in front of you in line and make up a story about her to pass the time. You do everything you can think of to resist temptation, get your coffee (ok, just a little cream), and leave. Congratulations! Your executive functions have helped you use self control.

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Working on Your Child’s Working Memory: Use Systems and Structures

Written by ImpactADHD. Posted in expert-articles, Life-Logistics, Organization
on 2014-02-12


Working memory is our internal Post-it note, the place where we hold information temporarily before we take action or move it to long-term storage. It’s where we put phone numbers before we can dial them; it’s where we keep our ideas while having a conversation, and numbers when doing mental arithmetic.

Working memory is also where kids and adults with ADHD experience significant challenge. If your child knows every line of Toy Story or X-Men but can’t remember where he put his baseball glove a minute ago, you are not alone! This is a very common, and often frustrating, issue for ADHD families. How can systems and structures help?

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5 Tips to Make Life Easier for Yourself as an ADHD Parent

Written by Diane Dempster. Posted in expert-articles, Life-Logistics, Organization
on 2014-02-05


Some tasks, like driving, become automatic when we master them. When you’re 16, every turn of the wheel requires conscious thought (or should!). Once you learn, you go on autopilot unless something jars you – a car in the wrong lane, a dog running into the road, a police cruiser in your rearview mirror when you’re going 60mph in a 50mph zone.

Well, parenting is not an automatic task! We can’t go on autopilot, especially when our kids have ADHD. Something is always jarring us – a meltdown, a bad report card, a 10-minute worksheet that turns into an evening-long struggle. We always have to be “on,” and it’s exhausting. How can we give ourselves a break?

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Setting Reasonable Expectations

Written by Diane Dempster. Posted in Relationship, tips-tricks
on 2014-01-28

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As parents, we all have dreams for our children – visions of what they will do, be, and accomplish in life. Our dreams are based on our hopes – and there is nothing wrong with that! Our expectations, on the other hand, should be firmly grounded in reality. When setting guidelines for your child, whether for chores, homework, or behavior, ask yourself two important questions:

  • What can my child do now?
  • How can I challenge her to get to the next level?

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Overcoming Grief Starts with 3 Steps

Written by Anne Keeton. Posted in Emotionality-and-Impulsivity, guest-experts, Impact-on-Parents
on 2014-01-27

Your relationship with your child began long before pregnancy or adoption: you envisioned what it would be like, you dreamed and you planned, imagining a healthy, smiling child who can easily navigate any challenges life may present. You didn’t imagine a child with special needs.

As a parent of a child with special needs, whether ADHD or something else, it is natural to have conflicting feelings about it. These feelings are normal. You might feel optimism and pride on the one hand, but you might also feel frustration, confusion, and even guilt on the other.

In fact, conflicting feelings about a change in our expectations and plans is the very definition of grief.

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Teach Your Kids to Stop Asking Questions

Written by Elaine Taylor-Klaus. Posted in Emotionality-and-Impulsivity, Life-Logistics, tips-tricks
on 2014-01-24


Sounds crazy, right? I mean, we’re always telling our kids that there are no stupid questions, and they should ask for help. And that’s true — most of the time.

But sometimes, our kids’ questions (and ours) are not born of curiosity. They are coming from anxiety. Usually, it’s one of two scenarios:

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Inspiring Innovation Podcast

Written by Elaine Taylor-Klaus. Posted in expert-articles, Impact-on-Parents, Life-Logistics
on 2014-01-20


Inspiring Innovation, a blog by Meron Bareket created to inspire worldwide entrepreneurs to follow their dreams, learn from the experts, and turn ideas into reality, was kind enough to collaborate with me and conduct an interview about my journey with ADHD. 

In episode 42 of the Inspiring Innovation Podcast, Meron conducts questions that allow me to open up and share my honest experiences. I begin to discuss how I went through the first ten years of raising my children with undiagnosed ADHD, along with the hardships that followed and surrounded our everyday life. As the conversation progresses, I continue to take a glimpse at the emotions inside the Taylor-Klaus home, and the answers I sought out in order to find balance and harmony for my loved ones and the place we like to call home.

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Preparing ADHD Youth for Independence, One Transition at a Time

Written by Kricket Harrison. Posted in guest-experts, Life-Logistics, School-Challenges
on 2014-01-20

kricket harrison

As an ADHD parent, you probably spend a lot of time and energy mastering the art of  ‘helping your ADHD child survive school.’ As parents, we do everything we can to help our children get through each school year, right? But then what?  Are they ready for the next step? 

What are you doing to help your child or teen master the skills necessary to transition out of elementary school, middle school, high school or college – and ultimately enter the workforce?  Are you empowering your child or teen to develop the necessary skills? 

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Stop Interruptions for Good!

Written by Elaine Taylor-Klaus. Posted in Emotionality-and-Impulsivity, tips-tricks
on 2014-01-17


ADHDer’s are ALWAYS interrupting people. It’s an extremely common, albeit annoying, symptom of ADHD. There are many things coming into play at the same time – impulsiveness, difficulty with working memory, boredom, enthusiasm, quick-thinking (rightly or wrongly anticipating what the other person is going to say).

So what’s the parent (or spouse) of a child with ADHD to do? We don’t want to be correcting them ALL the time, but we want to finish a sentence!

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The Best Parenting Paycheck – Ever

Written by Elaine Taylor-Klaus. Posted in expert-articles, Impact-on-Parents
on 2014-01-15


My 12 year old son gave me a gift this morning before school – the best parenting paycheck, ever! It was unsolicited, and came from the heart. He said, simply, “thanks, Mom, for everything you do for us. I’m not just kissing up. Really, thanks.” 

Yeah, I know, right?! Wow.

Now my son is no Eddie Haskel, and he’s not a particularly earnest kid. He’s generally witty, a bit sarcastic, and a straight-talker. So it’s not like he’s given to frequent bouts of gratitude, or anything – though I will admit that he’s an affectionate kid, still comfortable with snuggling at bedtime and holding my hand on occasion (shocking, I know!).

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Getting Organized: Getting the Right Support for You!

Written by Andrea Sharb. Posted in guest-experts, Organization
on 2014-01-13

January is Get Organized Month! 

If your family struggles with ADHD, there’s a good chance you’re also struggling with disorganization.  Your disorganization might show up as piles of papers, cluttered rooms, losing things, running late, forgetting tasks, or never getting around to what’s most important.  However disorganization shows up for you, you might want to find support to help you understand it, work through it and get past it. 

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4 Tips to Introduce an ADHD Child to Systems and Structures

Written by Diane Dempster. Posted in Emotionality-and-Impulsivity, expert-articles, Life-Logistics
on 2014-01-08

Systems and structures help us tame the chaos of life with ADHD, bringing order to our homes and more confidence and happiness to our lives. Easier said than done, isn’t it? For systems and structures to work, you have to put them in place! That can be tricky, especially when children are older. Whether we’re talking about morning checklists, a hand gesture to delay attention-seeking behaviors, or code words to facilitate communication, how do you do it? How do you increase the likelihood that systems will be used and effective in helping the whole family cope with ADHD’s challenges?

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Getting a Good Breakfast on the Go

Written by Elaine Taylor-Klaus. Posted in Life-Logistics, tips-tricks
on 2013-12-31

Breakfast starts our metabolic clock and gives us the energy and clarity to conquer the world – or at least make it to work on time. To make sure you get vital nutrients on busy mornings:

•  When you’re preparing your kids’ lunches, make an extra sandwich. Eat in the car or at work, as you’re easing into your email.

•  Drink your breakfast. You don’t have to give up that first cup of coffee, but instead of reaching for a second, try a shake or smoothie. There are a variety of products on the market that offer protein, calcium, fruits, and veggies for on-the-go nutrition. 

•  Make your own protein shakes using soy or whey. Look online for recipes and make a week’s-worth every Sunday night. 

Boosting your metabolism, jumpstarting your brain, and maybe even tightening your belt a notch – that’s worth a few minutes of your time every day! 

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5 ADD-Friendly Ways to Get Organized in 2014

Written by Judith Kolberg. Posted in guest-experts, Organization
on 2013-12-30

judith kolberg

In some ways, things are not much different in 2014 than in 2013. A parent with ADHD still needs support and encouragement, especially since the chances remain great that they will have a child with ADHD. A child with ADHD still needs parents who can create a home and school experience that readies them for a less-than-ADD-friendly society. The diagnostic criteria have changed a bit, but the ADHD hallmark symptoms still reign in one variety or another: inattention/distractibility and hyperactivity/impulsivity. And these symptoms collide with many aspects of what we call “getting organized,” a mega-skill central to living a life of quality in modern America.

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Get a Massage – You’re Worth It!

Written by Diane Dempster. Posted in Impact-on-Parents, Life-Logistics, tips-tricks
on 2013-12-24

You don’t have time. You don’t have the money. You shouldn’t splurge. Recognize this voice? It tries to convince you that massage is a frivolous indulgence. And it usually wins. It has conquered me once or twice, or a thousand times. But this year, I chose not to listen. I found an online deal that was too hard to pass up – and, for once, I didn’t say no! I purchased 12 massages, one per month. Why? Because I deserve it.

 Massage inspires those of us for whom “touch” is a primary language. It detoxifies, rejuvenates, and refreshes the body – the ultimate act of self-care. Try your own online deal, visit a day spa, spend an hour in the massage chair at the mall, or bribe your child for a few minutes of soft, loving pressure on your shoulders. Think about how you can incorporate massage into your life. You deserve it.

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The Divide and Conquer Routine

Written by Dr. Thomas W. Phelan. Posted in guest-experts, Life-Logistics
on 2013-12-23


When they get married, most moms and dads—especially moms—have a certain idea of what they hope their family life will be like. Often they imagine pleasant scenes of family togetherness. The children will play and enjoy one another. Mom and dad will get a kick out of the kids’ activities, and take pleasure in one another’s reactions. They will feel family unity, warmth and joy. 

Then, along came ADHD. These little bits of imagined interpersonal heaven did not seem to materialize as often as expected. The brief patches that did occur were often marred by anticipatory anxiety, or shattered by angry explosions.

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Eat (Protein for) Breakfast

Written by Elaine Taylor-Klaus. Posted in Emotionality-and-Impulsivity, Life-Logistics, tips-tricks
on 2013-12-17

About 31 million of us skip breakfast – and 31 million of us need to break this habit! Mornings are hectic, and time is a luxury that is scarce, especially in ADHD families. But Mom was right: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Turns out science agrees. The brain needs energy to operate effectively. If you’re not a “morning person,” consider fueling appropriately and see what changes for you!  Your body needs those nutrients, too: if you go 16 hours (say from 8PM until lunch) without food, you go into starvation mode. Your metabolism shifts; you burn fewer calories and start to store fat at a higher rate. Breakfast is the only meal you should eat, even if you’re not hungry. Your body – and mind – will thank you. More than likely, so will your family. Much like our kids, hungry parents tend to be grumpy parents!

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Empowering Success

Written by Diane Dempster. Posted in Relationship, tips-tricks
on 2013-12-13

“Believing in people before they have proved themselves is the key to motivating people to reach their potential.” -John C. Maxwell

The hardest time to “prove” yourself is when you have doubt, when you’re not really sure if you can. It’s difficult to see the possibilities – either for ourselves or our families. On the flip side, nothing is more confidence-inspiring than certainty. When I’m sure that my child can tackle a new hurdle, it’s contagious. She is able to see that possibility too, for herself, and in herself. The truth is, while it’s important for all of us to believe in ourselves, it helps — a LOT — for someone else to believe in us as well! If you want to Empower Success in your family, start by believing its possible, and sharing that belief. Success will follow — just as certainly as your certainty that its possible!


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Act As If

Written by Diane Dempster. Posted in Relationship, tips-tricks
on 2013-12-10


We all want to be a calm and confident parent, but we don’t always feel that way. Life’s busy-ness, combined with our kids’ erratic behaviors, can make us feel ready to pop. 

So here’s the tip: Act As If. Act as if you’re calm and easy-going. Act as if there’s plenty of time to get it all done. Act as if this wacky, erratic child of yours is going to grow up to be an amazing adult! You’ll be surprised at how that simple shift in approach can open up new possibilities.

Still not convinced? Look at it this way. Act As If is a positive spin on “fake it ‘til you make it.”

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5 Tips for Having Embarrassing Conversations with Your Kids

Written by Diane Dempster. Posted in expert-articles, Life-Logistics, Relationship
on 2013-12-04


After the stunning death of Cory Monteith, an US magazine article quoted a source, which said, “He was not a typical addict…He was the nicest, sweetest guy.” What a dangerous, dangerous statement. There is no such thing as a “typical” addict. The truth is, our kids, no matter how sweet and nice and talented and special they are, can end up on that path. That’s the reality, one that is even more frightening for parents of high-risk ADHD kids. Cory Monteith’s death is heartbreaking – and it is a wakeup call that it’s time for parents to start talking.

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Eat Little Bits of Protein, More Often

Written by Diane Dempster. Posted in Impact-on-Parents, Life-Logistics, tips-tricks
on 2013-12-03


Protein is an essential building block of health. There are at least two reasons why eating protein is an effective self-care tip: 

    • It builds muscle. As a parent, you need all the strength you can get! It’s like the steel reinforcements in a building; you want to make sure your support structure is secure.
    • It’s a long-lasting energy source. A piece of fruit may keep you going for an hour. A serving of protein can power your body, and mind, for 3-4 hours.

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    A Step by Step Way to Advocate for your Child with ADHD

    Written by Phillip Anderton. Posted in guest-experts, Life-Logistics, Relationship
    on 2013-12-02

    ADHD is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders[1], and we know that it runs in families. It is, they say, as inheritable as height[2] [3].  It stands to reason, therefore, that if a young person with ADHD struggles to communicate, then the parents have probably had a lifetime of similar struggles.

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    Parenting a Daughter with ADHD: Fostering Independence and Self-Esteem in the Early Years

    Written by Patricia Quinn. Posted in Emotionality-and-Impulsivity, guest-experts, Life-Logistics
    on 2013-11-25


    The issues faced by girls with ADHD are clearly very different from those of typical elementary school-aged boys with the disorder. In order to help a girl with ADHD, it is critical to understand these issues. The key to successful outcomes is often found in the understanding and support girls receive at home. To better understand your daughter, and to learn what you can do to help her thrive despite her ADHD, read on.

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    ADHD Diagnosis: The Good, The Bad, and The Parent’s Role

    Written by Dr. Hallowell. Posted in Emotionality-and-Impulsivity, guest-experts, Life-Logistics
    on 2013-11-11


    The Benefits of ADHD

    All 3 of my children have ADHD. When they were diagnosed, my reaction was not typical. Because I’m an expert in the field and I have ADHD myself, I was actually excited. I know that ADHD is as much a marker of talent as it is a potential problem, and I know the problems can be taken care of.  

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    Five Ways to Get Your Kids (or Anyone) to Do What You Ask

    Written by Diane Dempster. Posted in expert-articles, Life-Logistics
    on 2013-11-06

    It should be really simple: I ask you to do something, and you do it! But with ADHD kids – all kids, actually — it is more complex than that.  Ask and ye shall receive – not really! You have to work at it. Leadership experts have identified five essential elements for helping individuals accomplish goals. How can we apply these to parenting our ADHD children?

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    What Parents of ADD/ADHD Kids Should Know (About the DSM 5)

    Written by Mark Bertin. Posted in guest-experts, Life-Logistics
    on 2013-11-04

    What is the DSM 5 and why should you care? We invited Dr. Mark Bertin to try to answer this question. In this article, Dr. Bertin explains significant changes in how ADHD is classified and identified. It’s complicated, but worth taking the time to read and understand! 

    In an ongoing attempt to accurately describe diagnoses in the field of child development and psychiatry, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) was recently revised. Regarding ADHD, improved identification and understanding of its cause could go a long way to clarifying common public misperceptions. Issues such as apparent over-diagnosis in certain communities, and medication misuse, incite provocative headlines that often undermine care for people actually living with ADHD. 

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