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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Raising a Child with ADHD: Tips for Parents.

Raising a Child with ADHD: Tips for Single Parents

Single parents make up an important percentage of people raising the next generation.They face a tremendous amount of challenges from time management to financial and emotional struggles. Establishing balance and order in your life can be a great weapon against becoming overwhelmed and overly exhausted. According to American Psychiatric Association five percent of American children have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD). The symptoms of course include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. For a single parent with ADHD children, establishing order is even more important.

Work/Life Balance

Of course, as The Balance suggests, one of the first components of a single parent’s life is understanding that there must be balancebetween work, home life, and personal time. Achieving and maintaining this equilibrium will not only help you mitigate stress, but it’ll keep your life organized and structured.

  • Make use of the support around you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to family members, friends, or community members to help with small things or even with advice. Being the sole care provider is difficult; ask for help watching the kids so you can have a night out (or in) knowing your children are cared for.
  • Don’t neglect your own well being. As a parent of a child, especially one that suffers from ADHD, can take its toll on your health. Parents tend to neglect themselves and focus solely on the children. However, letting your health fall behind will only worsen your problems, increase stress, and set you up for illness, depression, or anxiety.


Organization and structure is a great way to maintain this balance. Especially if you have a child with ADHD, implementing organization into your daily life and routine will only instill these customs into your child and help them in their lives as well. Begin by building systems and routinesthat are useful for you and your child.
  • Utilize schedules. Keeping a visible schedule and/or calendar in your home can be a great way to keep some structure and important reminders visible. You can also use a bulletin board for special events.
  • Categorize. Use bins or storage spaces in your house to categorize belongings. This helps you child think in categories and instills organizational skills. Redfin offers more ways to organize your home quickly and efficiently.
  • Routine. Establishing good routines can aid in Encourage children to do homework first and then reward themselves with playtime. Establish rituals before bed like showers, brushing teeth, storytime. By establishing these rituals children feel comfortable, at ease, and less stressed.
  • Plan ahead. Plan and Prepare every day. By gathering what you need for the next day every night, the morning will become far less stressful and chaotic. Pack backpacks and set out work clothes. You can even encourage your kids in helping organize their next day necessities. This will help in learning planning and time management.

Remind Yourself

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated, especially when you are out in public, have had a stressful day, or have lost sleep. It’s important to have a few things to make these instances easier to handle:

  • It’s not their fault. Remind yourself that your child can’t help this behavior in many instances and breaking out in anger might not be the most productive solution.
  • It’s not your fault. You’re doing the best you can and blaming yourself does not create solutions. Seek out local groups of other single parents or parents of children with special needs so that you will always have a friend who “gets it” a phone call away.
  • It’s not black and white. There is no kid manual that will provide step by step instructions on how to handle a child with ADHD. Some days will be better than others, some things will be triggers.
  • Don’t let it isolate you. Getting caught up with what other people think can envelop you in a cycle of negativity and pessimism. Always remember you’re doing the best you can and use your support circle. You are the only advocate your child has at home and only you know what is best for his or her personality.

Raising a child is never easy; it’s doubly hard when you are both disciplinarian and soother of hurts and broken hearts. Navigating with the often unpredictable aspects of an ADHD child can only increase the difficulty of the task at hand. It’s important not to give in to feelings of isolation and frustration, but to use the resources available, to seek help, remain organized and keep healthy in order to better handle it. Also, don’t forget, relax and have fun. Your child will grow up fast and while single parenting is stressful, enjoy them as they are, laugh when possible, teach them and learn from them because before you know it, they’ll be off to college.  

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Monday, May 14, 2018


Trichotillomania – Compulsive Hair Pulling Disorder Explained

Sarah started pulling her hair out at the age of twelve when she could no longer stand the fighting between her mother and father. She hid the bald patches with a specific hairstyle. She was afraid that people could see the bald patches despite her attempts to hide them. It was only when she was 16 that she found the courage to seek help. 

She is just one of the many people who suffer from a disorder called trichotillomania.  She didn’t know why she was pulling out the hair on her scalp, but she just couldn’t seem to stop.      

What is trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is a disorder that results in people tugging out their own hair. They pull it out by the root from their scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, beards and any other place where there is hair. 

It can begin at any age although it is most common in the teenage years. Some people pull out one strand of hair at a time, and others pull out handfuls. Resisting the urge to tear out the hair is similar to having an itch that you just have to scratch.

The more relief the behavior brings, the more it is likely to be repeated. The longer the behavior persists, the harder it becomes to resist the urge. 

Some people pull their hair out automatically and aren’t aware of their behavior. Others are more conscious of their behavior. Some people have a mixture of both automatic and focused behavior.

They are ashamed of their behavior, so they hide it from others, and it often takes place in a bathroom or a bedroom. Those who pull their hair out automatically may do it while sitting and watching TV or reading. 

The behavior often comes with specific rituals such twirling the hair before pulling it out, pulling out specific hair types or pulling it out in a specific manner. People often fiddle with their hair after pulling it out. They may roll it between their fingers or put it hair in their mouths. Some swallow it which can cause digestive problems because it creates a ball in their intestines. 

The cause of trichotillomania 

A single cause does not appear to exist. No-one knows what causes it although there appear to be many contributing factors such as emotional stress, hormonal changes, a genetic predisposition or a tendency to compulsive behavior.  

It may begin with a traumatic event that causes emotional distress.  There is some evidence that the brain’s chemical signals (neurotransmitters) are not working properly. 

The consequences 

Sufferers often feel frustrated, embarrassed, ashamed or depressed. They worry about what others think and feel that no-one will understand. They hide their behavior from others, even their family members and are self-conscious about how the behavior affects their appearance. They attempt to disguise the thinning hair or bald patches by the clothing they wear or by covering up with caps, wigs or scarves. They do not feel confident in social situations and may avoid dating and other situations where exposure is possible. They blame themselves for the fact that they cannot seem to resist the urge to pull out hair. 

Diagnosis may be delayed because the behavior is hidden and often not even family members know about it. When diagnosis comes at a late stage, the disorder is harder to treat and may have already caused much suffering in the life of the patient. 

Overcoming the problem

People who suffer from this disorder usually require help from psychologists or psychiatrists to stop. Behavioral therapy is often used when treating these patients. 
Patients learn how to identify what triggers the behavior. They learn about urges and how they fade when they do not give in to them and become stronger when they give in. They often have to keep a diary so that they can identify the situations or places when they feel the need to pull. 

They learn how to replace the harmful behavior. This may involve squeezing a stress ball or examining a drawing or handling a textured object. If the right help is given, they manage to overcome their urge to pull out their hair, and it usually grows back once they stop pulling it out.

The problem with this therapy is when the behavior is unconscious – it becomes difficult to identify the trigger. Some devices have been developed that can help to create awareness such as one which monitors hand movements and vibrates when certain critical movements are made. 

Medication may also be prescribed, but results of research seem to indicate that behavioral therapy works better than many of the drugs.  

The support of family and friends is often important in the recovery process. Being able to communicate with others about the disorder is helpful and seems to reduce the hair-pulling behavior.  


Ariel Taylor

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Anxiously ADD

It is common for people to pick on themselves. People with ADHD commonly say to themselves "Why did I do that?" "I am so stupid!" "How could I forget that?" And many more. We feel like everyone is seeing our faults, judging us, and they don't like us. Sadly most of the labels and negative perceptions we have about ourselves come from ourselves.

Why is this? Well ADD and ADHD in many cases don't come alone but they have a friend named anxiety. Many of us in fact are diagnosed with anxiety or depression first, especially women. I was 19 when I was first diagnosed with anxiety and it was only 7 1/2 years later that I was diagnosed with ADD.

Through the years I have tried to ignore my anxiety to be honest. Even when being told I had anxiety I was doubtful. Me? Anxious? Nah. One of my biggest strengths, or at least I think so, is the ability to be optimistic. In every situation I am looking for the good. Yet despite my best efforts to 'not' be anxious it has been a struggle through the years.

Yesterday in fact I gave myself another wound from picking at my skin. Instead of just picking myself apart from the inside I could see the sore from me picking at the outside too. I don't know why yesterday it suddenly hit me that I had a problem but with some searching I realized I am not alone.

So last night I nervously talked to my husband. It is embarrassing in fact to admit you struggle with anxiety but you also do something 'weird' like picking at your skin. When talking to him I realized the ways this has affected me, even more than just some unattractive marks on my face. I even pick at my feet causing myself to walk in pain for days only to do it again.

So now I begin my journey to acknowledge my anxiety and to find ways to cope and heal, from the inside and outside. I am hoping some natural steps like good food and exercise will get me to a good place but as always I know my doctor is there to help me as well. One step at a time, one day at a time. As always I think acknowledging our struggles and understanding them is the most powerful first step to coping and improving.

I will keep you updated! Do you have any tips or helpful suggestion? Pleas share! :)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Why meal time is so important

Once school gets out my day becomes crazy. Picking up kids, running to activities, homework, chores, and yes making supper! I don't look forward to making supper, I liken ADHD adults making supper to ADHD kids doing homework; it is a struggle! Finding a meal to create, wondering if I have all the ingredients, or hoping I took out the meat to defrost that morning are all stressful things. There was a couple of days in a row that we did a 'fend for yourself' kind of day where you find something easy you can make on your own which usually includes a sandwich.

 One night I told my son to "make a sandwich or if you want to wait I can make something." and excitedly he said "I'll wait!" so I went downstairs and found an easy express meal. All I had to do was boil water and drop two packages of beef stew into it and the kids loved it. The next night I made another express meal, beef stroganoff. They were singing my praises for a meal that literally took me 15 minutes. 

By night four I decided to go all out with a culinary masterpiece that took twice as long... a whole thirty minutes! It wasn't easy and this 'simple plate' meal they called it didn't seem all that 'simple' since it took six steps instead of two. I survived and we ate Garden Vegetable Lasagna. Yes it was FULL of veggies and yes all six kids really did eat it! Mom success at it's finest!

That night while putting the kids to bed my oldest daughter said "Mom, you are a good cook!" I felt doubtful since I was sure a pre-packaged express meals didn't really count as a 'home cooked meal' but her comment stayed with me that night as I thought about the difference in my kids when I did make these meals. To them it felt like a fabulous home cooked meal, it even tasted like it. Strangely enough I even felt like a good mom making these meals every night. 

Sometimes I think as parents we forget the tedious tasks in life like cooking, cleaning, and laundry really do make a difference. Our kids are happier and more calm in a clean house, they are grateful to have clean clothes to wear, and they enjoy a meal together as a family. I encourage you to bring your family around the table at night with a meal and conversation, no matter how simple it is. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Breaking Through Your Child’s ADHD with Music

Breaking Through Your Child’s ADHD with Music

According to the CDC, 6.4 million children ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If your child faces this disorder, then you are probably well aware of the various challenges it can present, but are you using every strategy available to break through?

In recent years, studies have shown the amazing benefits music therapy can have for several physical and mental ailments. Music therapy has been found to be especially effective in children and adults with ADHD. By using rhythm in music, you can help your young one overcome their ADHD and increase their levels of concentration. Here are some ways to inject more music into your child’s life.

Singing Out Instructions

For children with ADHD, it can be challenging to focus on what other people are saying. Perhaps you’ve had moments where you’ve given your child instructions only to have them fall on flat ears. It can be hard for your child to focus in on what you’re saying, especially if they are honed in on a certain activity. A way to combat this problem is by breaking up the cadence of your speech. Doing so will make your words stand out, and force your child to listen carefully to find out what you’re saying. Singing is a great way to switch up your speech’s rhythm.

Rhythm to Grab Attention

If singing isn’t your cup of tea, there are other ways you can switch up the rhythm to grab your child’s attention. Pick up a pot, pan, or any other kind of noise maker, and start tapping out a beat. Hit each time you say a syllable, or use a constant tempo to hold their attention as you address them. Try to make a game out of it so your child will enjoy your conversations and learn about the importance of concentration when listening.

Foster Productivity Through Playlists

Every home could use a bit more music. Why not set up a few speakers and play some music throughout your home? Different kinds of music can affect the mind in a variety of ways. Slow music can calm and relax, while fast music can build energy. For children with ADHD, hearing the right kind of music can put their minds “in the zone” and lead to longer periods of productivity. Classical songs, with their complex melodies and intricate rhythms, are often used by teachers to encourage concentration. Creating a playlist through a variety of songs can help shape your child’s focus.

Nurture Your Child’s Musical Creativity

Another great way to help your child learn to manage their ADHD is by encouraging their own musical mind. Nurture your child’s musicality by giving them music lessons. There are a variety of instruments available for your child to learn, but you shouldn’t just head straight for the piano or guitar. Brass and woodwind instruments add an extra dimension for helping your child’s ADHD.

Not only will they master using their fingers to play the correct notes, they will also learn to focus on managing their breathing. Instruments such as the trumpet teach breathing control, and more importantly, teach the mind and body to coordinate together. There are great online trumpet buying guides as well as shopping guides for any other kind of woodwind or brass instrument your child is interested in learning.

Parenting a child with ADHD can be a struggle. You love your child and want to give them every advantage possible growing up. Perhaps the best key to unlocking your child’s ADHD lies in music.

Photo Credit:

Charles Carpenter