Blog posts about ADHD and parenting.

PODCAST 33: ADHD Parents Palooza with Linda Roggli and Diane Dempster

Today, we’re talking to Linda Roggli and Diane Dempster about the ADHD Parents Palooza, which will run next week, from August 20thto the 25th.

The ADHD Parents Palooza brings together many of the most well-known experts on ADHD to talk about parenting our complex kids.  Guests include Dr. Russell Barkley, Ned Hallowell, and Jessica McCabe.

I wasn’t able to be a part of the Parents Palooza this time, but I hope to participate next year.  I’ll be in the audience with those of you who attend, though.

And if you need help implementing the things you during the Palooza, the ADHD Essentials Parenting Coaching Groups are a great place to get that support.  The next session starts in September.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • The goals of the ADHD Parent Palooza
  • The topics that will be discussed at the ADHD Parent Palooza
  • Russell Barkley, Grand-Parenting, & ADHD
  • The Guest Experts who are involved
  • Where to find the Palooza
  • How to avoid being overwhelmed by the all of the information of the Palooza
  • The value parent coaching


Guest Links


ADHD Essentials Links

PODCAST 15: ADHD Friendly Systems in the Household

Marina Darlow from Vision Framework visits us to talk about how creating systems can benefit families affected by ADHD, as well as what makes for a good system.

A systems expert, and self-proclaimed productivity geek, Marina sees her job as helping impact-driven entrepreneurs get 10-20 more productive hours a week, stop leaking money, and prevent stress-fueled breakdowns.  She works with ADHD professionals to help them develop systems to better navigate ADHD in the workplace, but was kind enough to join the pod and talk about using a systems approach into the home.

An engineer by training, Marina came to a realization a couple years ago: working for a conglomerate is not as inspiring as she wants her life work to be. The quest for inspiration led her to found Vision Framework, a company that builds small, purpose-driven businesses from the inside, helping entrepreneurs run their companies with ease by putting effective, easy-to-use, and fun (yep!) systems in place.



Marina can be found at, or at the social media links below:



She even provided some freebies!

Cheatsheet: Make a system work for the ADHD-gifted brain: 5 simple rules


PODCAST 11: Respect as the Foundation of Family with Jessica, ADHD Mom

In today’s episode, I talk to Jessica. She ahs ADHD, her husband ahs ADHD, and one of her two sons also has ADHD. Like many good ADHDers, Jessica has thrown out the rulebook for how things are “supposed to be done”, and is doing what works instead. As a family, they’ve built a foundation of mutual respect, and they address problems head on. They don’t play games, or hold grudges, and it’s clearly working for them.

We talk about ADHD at home, in school, and in sewing class. And Jessica shares stories about her dad’s lack of a filter, her own time in high school, and why little boys and living plants don’t mix.

Let me know what you think at



Show Notes:

2:12     Mom, Dad, and one of two kids all have ADHD

2:36     Typical things that get doubled up by ADHD

3:05     Understanding and patience

3:28     Disregarding social norms for division of labor

4:40     “We just kind of play to our strengths”

5:06     Consistently inconsistent

5:28     Respect as a foundation

6:35     Respecting the question “Why?”

7:50     Context helps those with ADHD do better

8:08     On pulling rank

9:18     Childhood troubles carrying over to adulthood

10:08   Receptive to a little bit of pushback

10:25   The Grown-Ups Guide to the Teenage Human -Josh Shipp

11:32   Diagnosed at 30, but childhood report cards reflect ADHD

12:20   Her dad is a HOOT!

13:03   All you can ask for from parents

13:24   Be the adult that you needed when you were a kid

13:55   Transitions, Anxiety, and Anger

15:07   Helping her kid with anxiety

16:34   Sewing anxiety (but not discord)

17:35   Spiders in the toilet

19:03   Embracing weaknesses and strengths

20:36   Consequences for last minute work

21:07   The consequence should fit the solution to the problem

22:00 Punishing for extended period of time doesn’t work

22:33   1-2-3 Magic –

24:37   How the non-ADHD kid is affected

27:03   The importance of turning toward each other

28:17   Dad’s ADHD & their relationship

30:08   Everybody needs more self awareness

30:36   People with ADHD as a minority group

31:39   ADHD and school

33:00   When Jessica was in school

34:00   Don’t tell me I can do better, tell me HOW to do better

35:43   Allergies, Medication, and being careful about science

37:30   Home/School communication

38:21   “The hurdles change every time you get the hang of it.”

38:33   On boys and dead plants

39:37   Parenting ADHD requires doing your homework, ironically

40:43   Advocating for our kids through ourselves

41:39   Why parents don’t get last names on the podcast

42:34   Sewing and kids with ADHD

43:09   The role of shame

44:03   Respect, modeling and owning mistake

44:47   If you suck at all those things…

45:10   The power of The Golden Rule

46:12   Ending Essential

PODCAST 10: Zerberts, Sensory Challenges, and Crayons in the Dryer with Eric Tivers, Parent with ADHD of a thrice-exceptional son

Today’s episode is a conversation with my friend Eric Tivers. Eric is an ADHD coach, and licensed clinical social worker. He’s the host of the ADHD reWired podcast, and runs the ADHD reWired adult coaching groups.

But in this episode, he’s talking as a dad who has ADHD, parenting a thrice-exceptional child who is gifted, and who has autism and ADHD. We discuss the challenges of transferring skills from work to home, the role sensory stimulation plays in his life, including how overwhelming it can be, and he tells the epic tale of cleaning crayons out of his dryer.


Eric can be found at

You can learn more about his coaching groups at

And the reWired podcast can be found at

Let me now what you think of today’s episode by emailing me at

As usual, I can be found at



Show Notes

2:03    Hardest job he’s ever had

3:15    Son doesn’t know why he did, Dad doesn’t know why he didn’t

3:43    Planning and being “on” as dad

3:59    Son has always needed/gotten less sleep

4:34    Transitioning is hard because Eric is “state-based”

6:05    Getting home after son is in bed

6:44    Working on shifting gears

6:54    Adulting is hard

7:10    Making a dentist appointment

7:32    “ADHD is frustrating and comical at the same time.”

7:43    “…and I’m responsible for a life!”

8:13    Eric is grateful for wife and her acceptance of his ADHD

9:09    “Acceptance grows when gratitude shows up.”

9:23    Phone calls are hard

10:29  Supportive spouses supplying strategies

11:09  Filling tires and taking Adderall

11:55  The struggle to bring successful work strategies home

12:12  Environmentally-based to-do lists

12:37 Dad needs checklists and reminders for homework, too!

13:09  On the transfer of concepts from one environment to another

14:02  Generalization of concepts

14:11 Stepping back professionally from Autism work

15:24  Uncarved pumpkins

16:04  Needing a plan at home as well as at work

16:38  On trying to remember names

17:29  How to fake it when you forget a teacher’s name

18:23  Wild wife memory skills

19:00  Eric the hippy

19:21 Never enough time

20:10  Fluff only after 8pm

21:12  “Dishwasher moments”

22:04  Wandering assumptions

22:32  Undermined at the gym

23:12  Father and son podcasts and projects

23:46  Creating space for son to “let him be him”

24:05 Potty humor

24:33 Son is linguistically gifted

26:13  On Pokemon

28:05  On wrestling and rough play

28:40  Activate Zerbert-Tron

29:21  Teaching boundaries and body respect

30:13  The power and challenge of reassuring hugs

30:55  Eric opens his parenting toolbox

31:05  The row your boat strategy

31:29  Developing cues to breathe deeply

32:36 Meet them where they are, and start with sensory needs

33:40  Teach self-regulation strategies

34:45  Give Feedback with self-esteem in mind

35:42  X-Ray blankets and dentist nerves

36:14  Family visits and sensory overwhelm

37:45  Ending Essentials

38:46  Eric’s not-so proud parenting moments

42:37  Wrap-up


PODCAST 9: Playing and Pausing with Dr. Kirsten Milliken, ADHD Parent and ADHD Expert

I had a blast talking to my friend Dr. Kirsten Milliken. We started off doing an episode for her show, Your ADHD Life, and wrapped up with this episode of ADHD Essentials. Kirsten is a psychologist, a mother (with ADHD) of two boys (one with ADHD, one without), and an ADHD coach! So there was a lot to talk about.

In today’s episode, we discuss about her journey to getting an ADHD diagnosis as an adult, her book PlayDHD, and the importance of learning how to pause when moments get heated. She also indulged me as I told her about a scavenger hunt I created for my boys that was inspired by her work.

There’s a lot in this one.  I hope you enjoy it!


Dr. Kirsten Milliken can be found at

Her book, PlayDHD, can be found here.

And you can contact her here.


Let me now what you think of today’s episode by emailing me at



Show Notes:


2:06     How Dr. Kirsten became diagnosed with ADHD

4:07     Missing signs of ADHD because you’re too close to them

5:11     The “ah-ha” moment of diagnosis

6:18     Professionals who “get” ADHD tend to have ADHD

6:49     Not all clinicians understand ADHD at a deep enough level

7:45     ADHD is a matter of degree

8:30     Does our distracted culture make it harder to prove ADHD is valid?

8:58     Yes. Unless you have a good metaphor

9:31     ADHD, asthma, and our distracted culture

11:23   Going back to Dr. Kirsten as a parent

11:38   ADHD adds a lot of fun!

12:01   Folks with ADHD can be frustrating for nonADHDers

12:52   Oftentimes strong emotions spread from mm to son, and vice versa

13:15   Wanting things to be better for our kids

14:03   The emotional challenges of ADHD

14:31   The movie “Up” gets Oliver down

14:58   “As a parent, I wanna fix that!”

15:17   Uncomfortable emotions mean you care

15:49   The challenge of being less emotionally reactive

16:04   Naming our emotions helps us control them

16:27   They’re not trying to upset us

16:56   “This is” vs. “You are”

17:04   PlayDHD

17:45   Brendan and Kirsten’s first meeting

18:28   Usibng play to help kids manage ADHD

19:18   The link between ADHD and play

20:01   What the doc means by play

21:03   Using play to help kids clean their room

23:00   Kirsten inspires Brendan’s scavenger hunt

23:53   The clues built the skills

25:05   Addressing social emotional needs with the hunt

26:41   You can use play to teach lids things

27:02   There’s a reason kids with ADHD can be class clowns.

27:16   “Just a doctor”

28:01   Coaching is the best model for treating ADHD

28:15   Coaching vs. Therapy

28:44   Therapy is about “fixing” yourself

29:19   Coaching is about where you want to go

30:41   Your ADHD Life

32:36   If you understand, you can help

32:47   Ending Essential

34:13   Managing the pause

35:58   Finding the pause after the reaction

37:41   Modeling the pause

PODCAST 6: Love Languages, Twin Gaps, and Being Married to ADHD with Sandy, Wife and Mom to ADHD

Sandy and I had a great conversation about her husband, her kids, and the way ADHD affects their family.  One aspect of this episode that I love is the symmetry of it –  the topics we discuss early on in our conversation return again at the end, allowing us to go into more depth in them the second time through.

I was impressed with Sandy’s honesty and willingess to be vulerable, as well as the clear love she has for her husband.  Being married to ADHD can be hard at times, and I appreciated her willingness to go there during her time on the show.

And she seemed to find some meaning in the thoughts and ideas that I shared.  Which is nice, since helping people is my main goal in doing this.

I hope you find meaning in this episode as well.

As usual, I can be found at

Or email me at




1:46     Always 15 minutes early or 30 minutes late

2:55     Chris’s diagnosis leads to Dad’s tears

4:06     ADHD, litigation, and the need for excitement

5:18     Last minute struggles and working in bursts

7:13     Travelling in the car together

8:32     Struggles with consistency

8:54     Feeling like she has to overcompensate for Chris’s ADHD

11:26   Three kids, and one might have ADHD

13:40   Two years old and counting in three languages

14:12   How Sandy met Chris

15:06   Married to ADHD is a mixed bag

15:47   ADHD and the gap between the twins

17:00   The kid who walks into walls

18:34   Swimming lessons and mercurial moods

20:36   W’s Everywhere

22:44   What ADHD adds

24:24   Self Medicating with Surfing

24:59   Overcompensating after hurting feelings

26:51   Empathy beats fixing

27:06   Prepping the ADHD person in advance

28:44   The biggest challenge is carrying the mental load

31:58   But it depends on the day

34:15   “Is there anything you need me to do?”

35:31   Chris addressing Sandy’s needs makes a world of difference

36:17   A strong base of love and understanding helps a lot

38:35   The 5 Love Languages

40:57   Dopamine and small vs. large efforts

43:09   ADHD is just one aspect of the relationship

44:19   Communication and problem-solving

46:10   The moralization of ADHD

46:40   Sandy reflects again on Chris’s dad’s reaction to Chris’s ADHD diagnosis

Speaking Dates for February and March 2018

I have several workshops coming up over the next two months.  I’d love to see you at one!  Please make a point say hello (and mention this post) if you can make it!


ADHD Essentials for Parents 

Sharon Public Library, Sharon, MA

Wednesday, January 31, 6pm – 7:30pm


ADHD and Executive Function in the Public Schools (Open to Massachusetts Educators)

Massachusetts Secondary Administrator’s Association, Franklin, MA

Wednesday, February 7, 8am – 3pm


ADHD Essentials  (FULL!)

Commonwealth Learning Center, Danvers, MA

Tuesday, February 13, 7pm – 9pm


Kids with ADHD in the Dentist Chair (Private Staff Development Workshop)

Children’s Dentistry of Northborough, Northborough, MA

Thursday, February 15, 11:30am – 12:30pm


Using Scavenger Hunts to Teach Kids Life Skills

Shrewsbury Public Library, Shrewsbury, MA

Tuesday, March 13, 7:00pm – 8:30pm


ADHD Essentials

Franklin SEPAC, Franklin, MA

Thursday, March 15, 7pm – 9pm


ADHD Essentials

Shrewsbury Public Library, Shrewsbury, MA

Monday, March 26, 7:00pm – 8:30pm


ADHD in High School (Private Staff Development Workshop)

Tantasqua Regoinal Vocational High School, Sturbridge, MA

Thursday, March 29, 12pm – 2pm

PODCAST 4: Routines, Giggles and Belonging with Dan and Stacy, ADHD Parents

As I spoke with Dan and Stacy, our guests for this episode, I was struck by how clearly their love for each other and their kids came across.  Dan’s thoughfulness about how ADHD affects their family of four, and Stacy’s understanding and acceptance of the struggles it presents were moving.  As was their clear support for one another, and their children.

I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed recording it.

Let me know at



Show Notes:

2:44     Child Evaluation leads to Parental Diagnosis

4:42     ADHD has always been there

8:22     Counting Down for Compliance, not Completion

8:51     Routine, Practice and Habit

12:37   Kids as “Little Recorders of Us”

14:19   Giggles in the Walls

16:25   The Value of Routines

17:07   Disrupted Routines

18:32   Relationships and Belonging

24:44   Overcoming Fear at Disneyland

35:19   Evening Routines

36:06   Love and Humility

38:36   Catching Lessons

39:04   Empathy and Marginalization

41:25   Ending Essentials


PODCAST 2: What Parents Have to Learn with Sam Gardner, Parent of a child with ADHD

Episode 2!

In this episode, I’m talking with Sam Gardner.  Sam is the mother of a daughter with ADHD.  (Even better, her daughter is in middle school!)  Sam shares the frustration, joy and adventure of being part of a family affected by ADHD.  We talk about selfcare, the importance of learning how best to manage your kid with ADHD, and the importance of recognizing growth in yourself and your child.

Thanks for listening!  I hope you enjoy it.

Let me know what you think –



Show Notes:


2:00                 How School reveals ADHD

2:40                 Why you might not be a Helicopter Parent

3:30                 Managing Teachers when you have a kid with ADHD

4:27                 School Struggles

5:17                 Letting Go and Letting the Kid Take the Lead

7:45                 The Importance of Breaking Parental habits to Help the Kid

9:21                 ADHD Outside of School

9:34                 Fearlessness and Getting Lost at Target

11:07               Disney’s “The Circle”

12:31               Social Media & Technology Challenges

17:23               Good Things ADHD Adds

20:27               The Value of Having Friends Who also have kids with ADHD

20:50               The Ripple Effect of Joining the School Play

22:05              What Parents Have to Learn

25:40               Self Care

30:05               How an Outside Perspective Helps you See Growth

34:24               On Medication

36:57               Judgment from Other Parents

39:10               Ending Essential




The Importance of self-care - ADHD and self-care

How Being Selfish Can Also Be Selfless – The Importance of Self-Care

I like most people, need to put more importance on self-care. I have a tendency to put others ahead of myself. This makes me a really good husband, a pretty good friend, a dad who has to tread carefully, and kind of a jerk to myself sometimes. It’s a trait that, quite honestly, doesn’t serve me all that well sometimes.

In my personal life, it’s not so bad. If my wife needs something, I tend to drop whatever I’m doing and try to get her what she needs. If she doesn’t need something, but is upset or stressed, I sometimes don’t know what to do with myself. So, I work hard to figure out how I can help and usually come up with something that’s effective. When my friends need something, they generally know that if it’s within my power, and family/work responsibilities allow, I’ll hook them up. Usually, this amounts to moving things (which I love doing), and listening/advising (which I literally have a Master’s Degree in).

As a parent, it’s trickier. I can do all sorts of things for my boys. I can get them a bowl of frozen mango. I can take them to the movies and help them with their homework. I can make them peanut butter sandwiches, and put away their clothes. I can do all of those things. But I really shouldn’t. Not all of them.

ADHD and Self-Care - Why you need to put yourself first!

My boys are eight. They can make their own peanut butter sandwiches, and put away their own clothes. They can do most of their homework on their own. Sure, they still need me to take them to the movies, and the frozen mango is a little tricky because the freezer is high up, and there just isn’t enough space in our kitchen for a step-stool.

But here’s the thing. Even though they can do most of those things, I still wind up doing them. Not all the time, but too often, nonetheless. And often it’s stressful for me. Because they never seem to want a sandwich when I’m doing nothing. They want it when I’m in the midst of something else – like cooking, or doing the dishes. They see me in the kitchen, it reminds them that they’re hungry, and they ask for a sandwich. (It makes sense!) And I look at them with exasperation and tell them they have to wait until I’m done because my hands are soaked or whatever.

Here’s the frustrating part – that little bit of exasperation in the moment is enough to shut down my executive functions and cause me to forget that I can just have them do it. And not asking them to do it means that I’m not empowering them to solve their own problems. They won’t always be eight. I have to prepare them now for those times in the future when they’ll be out of the house and faced with a challenge they have to solve on their own.

And that’s where self-care comes in. Some of us see self-care as selfish, but it’s a good kind of selfish. Because it sets you up to perform better going forward. Especially when you practice it consistently.

See, on those days when I’ve gotten enough sleep or exercised, or practiced my mindfulness routine, or all of the above, I’m much more likely to remember to ask the boys to make the sandwich. But when I skip those self-care steps, I tend to forget and take those little tasks on myself. And eventually, that stresses me out, which stressed my wife and kids out.

So, my self-care also cares for my family. Exercising clears my mind and makes me feel better in both body and spirit. Getting enough sleep helps me manage my emotions and stay motivated. Healthy eating improves my energy and lets me focus for longer periods of time. My mindfulness practice helps me step back and “practice the pause” when talking to people and approaching problems.

Which brings us, dear reader, to the idea of selfishness being selfless. If you’re putting yourself first, you’re also putting your friends and family first.

Your focus on self-care lets you live longer and with less stress. So, you’re with them longer, and in a healthier way both emotionally and physically. It gives you the energy to be there for them and gives you the focus to be there with them. It also lets you model healthy behaviors, which can pay off in all sorts of ways.

What are your favorite self-care activities? Which ones can you improve upon? What’s one thing you can do to take care of yourself?

As for me, I’m going to make more of an effort to exercise. I’m committing right now to walking on the treadmill each morning and going to the gym at least three times a week.

Tell me about your self-care routine, and hold me to mine at