Dr. Dawn Brown is here to share her expertise on ADHD parenting. As a double board certified psychiatrist, she works with ADHD parents and children, and also has ADHD herself!
So whether you have kids of your own, are considering having children, or just want to learn more about ADHD and parenting in general, this episode of our ADHD Decoded Podcast is packed with helpful information.
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Featured Expert: Dr Dawn Brown
To learn more about Dr. Dawn, visit her website: drdawnpsychmd.com
Welcome to the ADHD Decoded Podcast, your roadmap to understanding the ADHD brain. Here we offer you brain hacks to inspire and empower you to take charge of your life. Whether you are recently diagnosed, have been coping for years, think you might have ADHD or wanting to learn more about the ADHD brain in general, then this podcast is for you.
In this episode, we’re decoding parenting. Whether you have kids of your own or getting close to the point in your life where you want to have kids. Or maybe you’re 20 somethings single pringle like myself and don’t have any kids yet. No matter what stage of life that you’re in, this episode is packed with helpful hacks to become the boss of ADHD parenting.
Our special guest for this episode is Dr. Dawn brown known as the MD with ADHD. Dr. Dawn Kamilah Brown is a double board-certified child adolescent and adult psychiatrist with two private practice locations in Texas. Dr. Dawn is an internationally recognized ADHD expert and coach, a keynote speaker, a number one two-time bestselling author, producer and host of the Live with Dr. Dawn Show.
Podcaster from ADHD to amaze-ability and the creator of the private Facebook community ADHD Supermoms where she helps empower equipped and uplift women who parent and children with ADHD. Learn more about Dr. Dawn at her website drsitemd.com.
Okay. Wow. Dr. Dawn, could you be more accomplished and you have ADHD. I am floored. Dear listeners, I’m so delighted to introduce to you guys the dynamic Dr. Dawn Brown. So, hi, Dr. Dawn. Thank you so much for joining us on this episode of ADHD Decoded.
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Hello, Amanda. Wow. Thank you so much for the invitation. I am so excited to be here.
We’re so lucky to have you with us today. So, we’re going to dive right into this episode. First question is on the topic of parenting a child with ADHD, how can a parent help their child to help themselves? This is a question that we’ve gotten from a few of our listeners. So, in other words, how can a parent empower their child with ADHD?
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Amanda, I think that’s a very good question. And I actually work with my supermoms on this very topic. What I usually recommend is first, empower the child. You want to praise your child for their efforts, the work they put into the task, their skills, their strengths.
When ADHD comes into the realm, if it’s managed properly and optimally, then that will likely lead to additional praise, right? Creativity, task production, enhanced abilities to be accomplished. But when it isn’t, it can cause an opposite rift between a child and his mother as well as inner conflicts with the child themselves.
So. typically, children can feel a decreased sense into self-worth, self-esteem. They can basically feel very frustrated and even become irritable. And we all know that when those emotions show up, sometimes they’re not well received or sometimes we get in trouble for expressing them. Also, in a child who has ADHD, it is all the way to 70% percent chance that a parent may have ADHD.
So, let’s say in certain cases, if mom has ADHD, it’s then important for mom to consider her own management first. I always say you want to be a mirror for what you want your child to learn and see. Parenting can be challenging, it’s not easy. So, there’s not one right way to go about helping your child or parent, your child to help themselves.
You want to meet your child where they are, you know your child the best. You want to create a team for your child that consists of teachers, maybe an ADHD coach, a community that’s going to assist your child and position them to win. And so, I would start with those things first. And you’ll learn along the way what works and what doesn’t but give yourself grace.
Okay, next question. Can you talk about dealing with the guilt and shame that parents experience with their child who has ADHD?
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Oh, yes. When I work with my supermoms, they expressed a lot of this guilt and shame that you speak of. When you produce something powerful like a child, what you’re producing is a part of you. It’s an extension of you. You’re responsible for that person, right?
And so, it’s natural to understand that moms particularly and fathers of course, parents in general want to see their children succeed. They want to see their children win. They want to see their children accomplish. They want to see their children successful.
And when there’s a condition that often accompanies that child’s lifestyle in their journey and they’re not necessarily functioning optimally or they’re not meeting the expectations that others have for them, that can be very frustrating. That could feel guilt and shame like did I do something to cause this for my child?
Is it my fault that I have this condition, and now my child has it. And I will say for ADHD particularly and any other mental health conditions, there is a genetic predisposition for most mental conditions. And there’s nothing you could have done differently or live different way in order to prevent most of these conditions.
And ADHD is one of them. ADHD is a very common condition. As I stated before, research tells us that I’ve seen some research studies show 30% to 50% chance and others may be up all the way up to 70%. So, that’s why I say there’s a range, a high range that if a parent has ADHD that their child may have ADHD.
But we have to let go of guilt and shame. And so, we work through it. We identify what it is. We understand where it comes from. We manage it. And we no longer allow it to be a barrier between our child receiving the help that they need and us well.
And so, that’s why I work with my supermoms group on. We first deal with these emotions that them themselves maybe living with and dealing with for years. Because sometimes these emotions can prevent things from happening. Things from their child succeeding and getting the help that they need.
And after we deal with that, it just opens the door very wide for opportunity to take place, opportunity for the child to receive the help that they need. Opportunity for moms and parents to understand that this is not their fault. And also, opportunities for the greater good, for them to maybe receive help and to share their stories with others.
Yeah. I feel a lot of times I’ve come across a lot of different parents who have a child with ADHD and that shaming guilt is totally there. And it’s there from a very young age and I find that more commonly with parents who have a boy because it’s stereotypically, the boy shows their symptoms earlier on and they’re more visible.
Whereas girls can internalize their symptoms a bit more which we’ve talked about in other episodes on our podcast. But yeah, I think one of the keys to success with having a child with ADHD is affirming what they’re doing right always.
That should always be your go to is affirming what their child is doing, right? I mean, it’s just incredibly powerful what parents can say to their child to reverse those limiting beliefs.
Dr. Dawn Brown:
I completely agree with you, Amanda. I completely agree with you. And I think it’s also important because we as a parent, and I’m not a parent. I’m a godmother. But I do recognize [crosstalk 00:10:09].
In some way.
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Yes, a little bit in some way. Then, I find that the kids I see, I’m not their parent. But I do feel I’m somewhat of a caregiver. I’m a part of your team, if you will. And one of the things that we talked about, that talked about with my parents and grandparents that I see are aunts or other caregivers that they may not necessarily have a biological connection with the child that they’re raising who with ADHD.
I tell them they listen. You can do what you can, right. And the other thing is your child or this beautiful child that you’re raising, they’re going to look to you. And the things that you tell them, they’re going to be planted as seeds in their lives. Those are the things you’re going to revert back to.
So, if someone else tells them anything different, it is very important that they can actually in their mind already know without even effort of thinking about it that they are beautiful, they’re bright, they’re intelligent. They can succeed. Or, and speak on their strengths, right?
And so, it’s important for us to commend our children. It’s important for us to acknowledge your strengths. And it’s important for us to recognize what they can do because those are the seeds that are planted firmly in their minds and their being.
And they act out on those things. And so, whenever they’re faced with a situation or challenge that they feel that they can’t conquer, accomplish it, that hopefully those thoughts and those feelings will resurface and come back and motivate them to go through with whatever they’re trying to achieve. So, it’s so important.
Yes, absolutely. Okay. So, Dr. Dawn, what would you recommend parents do if their child cannot wind down at night?
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Oh, yes, I love this question. Yeah, I get it all the time, right? Because I think about my own ADHD. And that’s where when I do ADHD coaching with my patients especially my kiddos, I actually look to my ADHD for answers for this question that I constantly received from parents all the time.
Having ADHD, I want to first address this that usually at night is when we’re very creative and we’re probably the most active. Whether we’re on medicine management or not. You’ll find that a lot of people with ADHD have difficulties with sleep initiation, so that’s going to sleep.
Some with sleep maintenance, that’s the ability to stay asleep. And so, our minds are just created little differently. And so, what we have to do is we have to understand how our minds are created so we can address behavioral techniques or in some cases medicines that can assist us with sleep.
Now, I don’t start off with medicine management as a psychiatrist for kids. I actually try to avoid medicines when I can. But we’re talking about medications around sleep or just winding down like you’re saying, okay. I definitely recommend behavioral management techniques, they’re 100% effective.
You just got to find the right one for your child, the right ones, if you will. You want to have a list just in case one or two don’t work. So, one of the common things that I write in my book The ADHD Lifestyle Series, I have a chapter on meditation.
Oh, my goodness. And when I mentioned that parents are just like, their eyes both wide open, their mouths dropped wide down and they’re like, “Meditation for our seven-year-old?” I’m like, “Yes, meditation for a seven-year-old.”
Do it with them.
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Right. Because when we see advertisements or we just think about meditation, some of us or many of us common had not thought about meditation for kids. But guess what? Meditation for kids works. You hear me parents? It works.
Don’t underestimate it.
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Don’t underestimate it, Amanda. You’re exactly right. And so, there’s not one way to meditate. And I think that’s where the challenge starts is, we’ll talk about how can I get my son to meditate? How can you get them to sit still while you’re telling me they’re winding down and all this?
Well, one way is to get them in their comfort zone. We have something called tapping. So, this is commonly seen in class. You may use a pencil, they tap. But tapping is a certain behavior that allows us to be in one with our environment. It reminds us where we are, it reminds us that we’re in the moment, if you will.
And so, meditation does the same. So, some of my kids may have a pencil while there or something of an object where they can tap while they’re working into their meditation time. Maybe a dark space like a closet for example that where light doesn’t interfere with the moment.
You want to make sure it’s quiet. So, that’s why I use the example of a closet. And you want to make sure that you have some type of music in the background. Some music without words. You can find a lot of these things on YouTube even ways to meditate with a six or seven-year-old on YouTube as well.
And so, what they do is they just concentrate and focus on a particular thought because usually when we have ADHD, we’re trying to wind down. We have so many thoughts going on at once. Our heart is probably accelerated. We’re just really coming down from our day.
And so, it’s hard to catch up with our body and our mind, right? And so, we want to do things that will allow us to do that. So, meditation is one way. You can find ways on YouTube and there are certain apps out there as well. Another is exercise.
Make sure that your child has some exercise routines, I would say in the early afternoons. You don’t want them exercising about an hour and a half before bedtime because that actually may cause them not to want to sleep because they’re still hype.
But if you work an exercise routine in the early afternoons of their days, hey, that really works. I also find that art, creative arts, painting, drawing, coloring, those things can also help. It works on the right side of the brain, our creative side that actually allows us to really relax and become creative in our ways.
And so, anything arts or music related, playing the instrument really helped me out like the violin. And so, that really helped me as well and to help with my focus. When I didn’t know I had ADHD and it also has helped with a lot of my kiddos that I see who may play an instrument but their medicine is worn off in the early afternoons.
And so, having these types of behaviors as examples can be helpful. And my final thing, it goes along with exercise is karate. Oh, my goodness. I mentioned in my book. I think I spent whole two pages on it, Amanda. Karate is the best form of exercise for kids with ADHD.
It teaches discipline. There’s a reward system level. Kids who are having problems with finding friendships, guess what, they focus on the art of karate friendships come along. They are working towards something, right? They feel empowered.
So, it gives them a sense of power, self-confidence, self-worth. I mean, those are just a few things. It’s heart-healthy. A lot of things karate can provide. So, that’s my one go-tos when I mentioned something or natural form of exercise that kids can take advantage of with ADHD, they found to be beneficial. Excuse me. They can definitely try karate.
Okay. I’m wondering if you would endorse many dance parties before bed to help kids get their energy out because I remember when I was a kid and I would have sleepover parties. My friends and I would have dance parties before we go to bed. So, then, it was time for bed, we’re all exhausted and we got all of our kinks out before bed. Do you endorse that. Or, do you think that would rile kids out more?
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Oh, no. So, and listen, I love to party and I love your idea of mini parties before bed. I think it’s a fascinating idea. And I’m glad you asked because it’s a great question. And you’re right. Some kids who may actually do these types of behaviors, it may not affect their sleep or their ability to go to sleep and that’s where you meet your kids where they are.
So, if it doesn’t affect their ability, you want to incorporate it at that time. But if it does, you want to just be mindful of that too. The type of exercise I’m talking about is probably exercise more than 30 minutes at a time. That type of exercise is going to get neurotransmitters going in their brain.
So, it will get their heart pumping, the oxygen going straight to the brain to create a sense of a wakefulness. And so, that’s what we want to avoid. Those mini parties the 10-minute ones, or less and dancing to music and vibing and doing all these, jumping on the bed all these things which I feel is very fun and exciting. I mean, I’m a big kid, Amanda. You can definitely recommend that right before bed. Yes.
Oh, that’s so fun. I’ll put that in my backpack if I’m blessed to be a mom someday.
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Oh, yes. Me too.
And then, one more thing you mentioned meditation. And I mean, I’ve always struggled with winding down before bed. And yeah, one thing I’ve done recently, I’m a Catholic. And so, there’s this thing called Ignatian Spirituality. It’s the spirituality developed by, his name is St. Ignatius.
And basically, before bed, he recommends doing an examination of conscience. And I’m thinking if this is a parent’s jam and it’s their family’s jam, if they’re open to it, it’s really simple. You look back at your day and you think about all the ways that you were blessed that day.
And then, after that, you look back at your day and see where did you fall short and how can you improve for the next day? I find that that really comes my brain down and just another option to throw out there to see if that would work for your family or kids. Okay.
Dr. Dawn Brown:
I love it.
Next question. What do you recommend to parents who take care have their own needs?
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Oh, yeah. So, that’s a question that’s less asked, believe it or not, right?
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Yes. Because I think the thought behind it and I don’t think I know because I’ve asked actual parents because I want to know and that’s why I started my supermoms group. The thought behind me asking if I were a parent need to ask a provider, how can I take care of my own kids before I asked them about how can I help my kid, that thought is selfish for them, right?
And that’s where that guilt and that shame comes from too. And so, I less likely get that question. And so, my supermoms group is formed to address their needs. Yeah, we may talk about your kids and I have no problem doing that. But it’s all about moms. It’s all about self-care and making sure that you have girlfriend’s night.
What are you doing to better yourself? How are you relaxing? What’s your mealtime regimen like, right? And so, that is so important. So, yes. I think it’s a great question. I should have a script for it. So, with moms or even fathers, listen, Fellas, I’m not forgetting you dads. I promise you, I’m not and I’ve recommended this too but spa always helps. Right?
That actually perfectly segues into my next question for you. So, you have this amazing work with your ADHD super mom. So, what about our dads? We can’t forget about the super dads that are out there, right?
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Yes, we cannot. So, spa, listen, the dads are like, “Oh, my gosh Dr. Brown, I wish I knew about this years ago.” I’m like, “Yes, your human.”
Get a massage.
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Yes. Get a massage, get a pedicure, get a manicure. You don’t have to get them polished if you don’t want to, right? I mean, it’s just really about self-care, right? So, there’s such a thing for guy, so spa. I also recommend taking a mental wellness day.
So, this is for parents in general, Amanda for moms and dads, grandparents too. Take a mental wellness day from everything and everyone, okay? Everything and everyone. So, that’s your sick day. Instead of a sick day, you should have a mental wellness day. All right?
You can also binge on Netflix in your PJs all day. Relive that kid inside of you. It’s okay to be all day your PJs and do something that’s fun and doesn’t require a lot of effort and thoughts behind it. So, if that’s watching a movie, that’s playing games.
I mean, I had a father the other day who was playing old school Nintendo and he loved it for a day. And he was overjoyed because you’re allowing yourself to refuel. You have to take care of your needs first before you can take care of who depends on you.
Turn off that phone for at least 24 hours, you can do it even as a parent. Because what you do is you prepared beforehand, who’s going to be responsible if your child needs you or if emergencies come up but you can actually do it. I have some parents last week who went on staycation in New York City.
And they had the time of their lives while their children are with their grandparents. So, that was amazing for them. And there will always be something to do, so you can wait, it can wait. Enjoy your free time. So, always remember that when you’re trying to plan these things.
Plan a me time getaway. So, this time you leave the fellas behind guys or fathers and the girls behind ladies, it’s okay. You’ll be fine. It’s all about you and get to know you again during this getaway time. Again, okay, with yourself. And for those who need to start with one step at a time, tell the family that you will have one hour of me time at least three times a week to start. Okay?
Post this message on your door with you behind it. So, even if it’s at home that you have no idea how to start this me time regimen, go ahead and start in your own bedroom. For example, put a sign on the door and have your hour of me time.
Go shopping, eat at a nice restaurant, get dressed up for yourself, go out in a date. Now, be careful of COVID, of course. So, you may not necessarily want to do that now but it’s something that I usually recommend. And guess what, even with COVID you can do the same thing now.
Why not doing get dressed up and you and yourself and your honey have a date. That’s okay. Taking care of yourself. Do something that you’ve always been wanting to do for years. I mean, parents are doing that right now. It’s going different avenues of business.
They’re coming up with different hobbies and even restructuring their habits but they just didn’t have time to do that before. And my final recommendation is so, start off by completing at least maybe through these things I mentioned and repeat every month.
And pretend I’m giving you a prescription. This is a virtual prescription for you, parents. I’m writing this, okay? You want to plan at least three selfish moments, I’m dispensing once every three days and refills repeat every month, that is your virtual prescription. And you let everyone know that you got your virtual prescription from Dr. Dawn.
I’m going to give that to my parents now. Thank you very much.
Dr. Dawn Brown:
That’s great advice, Dr. Dawn. Okay, next question. So, for all of the 80-shey women listeners, can you discuss how they can navigate gender expectations? Because typically and traditionally speaking, the women have to juggle the cooking, the cleaning and other duties of keeping the household and generally just keeping it all together.
And then, adding on either working full time or part time because according to catalyst.org, 57% of women participate in the labor force. So, this is of course, also factored into us women keeping it all together and doing it all. So, Dr. Dawn, help us navigate this paradigm.
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Yeah. So, I talked about this this week. I was a part of share the medical mic with other women. And the key to this question, honestly, Amanda, when I think about it is effective communication, right? We have to be effective communicators with other people because it first starts with us.
So, for my women out there, effective communication between two or more persons within the attendant message is successfully delivered, received and understood. That’s how you’re effective with your communication, okay? It’s not one way, it’s not expectations. It’s not nonverbal because I think sometimes those things get in the way where we’re not vocalizing with intent how people can help us.
Especially, we have a lot to juggle. So, in other words, the communication is said to be effective when all the parties, the sender and receiver in the communication room, we assign similar meanings to the message and we listen carefully to what all have been said and make the sender feel heard and understood, okay?
So, oftentimes, we don’t consider ourselves in third person but if this where to be true, I believe we would be more intentional, better to understand and successful with accomplishing the task we want, not the ones we need to. So, for any domestic matters, effective communicating with your intent to make sure that you and the other person that you’re communicating with understand your message by listening and allowing them to speak it back to you and then to understand or acknowledge it, that’s where it starts.
Does that make sense? That’s where it starts. So, give you an example, let’s say what’s for dinner, you’re asked. And let’s say you’re a woman who runs a business, two businesses. You have three kids. You’re just doing the laundry. And then, someone comes up to you and ask you, “What’s for dinner?”
Hopefully, at that point, you’ve already prepared dinner or you’ve already talked about communicating to whoever’s going to help you with dinner being prepared. And so, that way you can get other people involved. And so, if you have kids that are old enough to cook dinner, you want to respond, maybe assign this responsibility every first Sunday.
Or, excuse me, every Sunday of that week. You’re already planning the week out, who’s responsible for dinner that week, who is going to cook what, who’s going to set the table, who’s going to wash the dishes. But everything will be in a chore list on the refrigerator posted for that particular person.
Children, husband, wife, partner, whomever, okay? So, that’s how you can prepare is communicating that message and prepare early. Use organization with your communication. That also is something that you want to tell your kids who can help you with certain things of putting it together. So, if you’re cleaning five of your kid’s rooms for example, that Amanda, I think you express cleaning, cooking and other duties, right, at the household.
And those kids could really help clean for themselves. Guess what? Give them no more than three to five steps and use organization to help them with that task, so structure timeframe. And don’t forget to praise them when they’re done, right?
And so, it doesn’t fall on you. Hopefully, these are some examples of being prepared and effectively communicating your message with intent can really help you juggle all that is on your plate. I know you probably weren’t expecting that response because I don’t think we often talk about communicating as an answer.
I think if women, we come into this world and for some of us it’s expected that we juggle all these things especially if we’re working. Now, what’s the expectation that if you are working then you had these chores at home for some communities.
For other women, it’s expected that they organize all the family events or have these term responsibilities but it’s not communicated. It’s an expectation. So, I’ve had some questions like this before but you really brought it to fruition for me or made it in the forefront. I think that when you mentioned, I think you said 56%, 57% of women-
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Yes. I mean, how can women be responsible for all these tasks if they’re not delegating some of these tasks in an organized manner to the people that they’re doing the task for or they can help them fulfill the task. So, we’re putting on this earth to more children and for men help, right? But we’re also pulling this place on this earth to help delegate just any other human being. And so, women, we just have to make sure that we do that.
So, you’re saying, listeners, Dr. Dawn is saying communication is key and we need to delegate, okay? Next question.
Dr. Dawn Brown:
I summed it up.
Yeah. Dr. Dawn, can you talk about ADHD adults who are wanting to have a child. They’re probably wondering or have thought at some point, will I be able to handle it? How will pregnancy impact my ADHD in overall mental health? How do we make this big life decision with confidence? Can you just talk a little bit more about that?
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Wow, yes. So, first, being a parent in my mind, I imagine is one of the best blessings on Earth. And although rewarding, it’s a lot of hard work. And I’m speaking as a godparent. I’m speaking as I said, a parent or a caregiver for those who kids that I see.
First, think about what motivates you to want to be a parent? Can we start there? Let’s think about what motivates us to want to be a parent? Will it fulfill you? Will it enhance you? How do you feel about letting some of things in your life go or be modified?
Can you afford financially? Can you afford time-wise being a parent? Do you have the mental capacity? Self-evaluate, if this is something you want to do and are ready to do first? And the reason why I say that, Amanda, the notion behind this is not to come in a way where I’m not a parent.
So, how dare I ask these questions first, right? But when I’m bringing these questions in the forefront because one, these questions are not often explored. Secondly, again, for many women, they feel it’s their mission, their job to be a parent but they never really thought about if that’s what they really want.
And so, when they start to think about these things, some of them realize it’s not something they really want. And the other is that, sometimes age or jobs or whatever gets in the way of wanting them to be a parent when they want to be a parent.
And so, having these types of questions in the forefront will better prepare you, right? So, evaluate how your life is organized now, okay? So, after all of that said and done, I think your questions about ADHD adults and how being an adult. So, again, ADHD runs in families, okay?
And ADHD may likely be a part of the family unit. So, if you have ADHD mom or dad, again, there’s anywhere 30% to 70% chance that your child may have ADHD. Learn about the condition all that you can learn about it. Ask questions with your providers, make sure that you are joining with groups, mental health groups.
I have a group online for moms ADHD. I have so many resources that talk about ADHD including a blog, a podcast. You want to know about the condition. The other thing is that ADHD it doesn’t wear the same mask with everyone. Everyone’s ADHD is different at different times of their lives actually.
So, just know that it’s not generalized. This is a condition that commonly affects three areas that your attention or your ability to have sustained focus, the degree of hyperactivity and that’s not just physical but also mental. And then, I also like to plan impulsivity, well, it’s it is a part of the diagnostic tool, or a characteristic feature but impulse control.
And how I look impulse control is a kid running on a street before looking both ways or cutting people in line. Or, even as adults, cutting people off not when your turn. And again, there’s some notions behind that. For adults, I don’t want to forget what I’m going to say. So, I’m so sorry, I got to cut you off. So, I can say it because I’m going to forget it.
Those are the three big categories. So, when you start to understand ADHD and you understand how to manage it, even being a parent and want to be a parent, potentially having a child with ADHD, there’s no guarantees that you will or won’t.
But potentially having a child with ADHD, you’re going to feel at ease because you’ve identified all these questions and you’ll be prepared for when your child is born. So, that’s what I have with that. Let me tell you something, ADHD is the most common condition children adolescence, okay?
So, there are so many people that have it and are not aware. I told you I think 8.1 point 8.2 million adults in it. And I think that figure raised to 10 million in something I read recently but majority adults are not aware. And when you think about Simone Biles, when you think about Michael Phelps, these individuals Justin Timberlake have ADHD.
They’ve been vocal about their ADHD. And so, ADHD is not a condition where it will change your life’s course of what you want. It should never get in the way of you wanting to be a parent. ADHD is a very manageable condition and I find it to be amaze ability once you know how to manage it.
Drop the mic, Dr. Dawn. Okay. Also, you mentioned your ADHD mom supergroup few times now. And I just want to say we’ll link that in our show notes. If you listeners are interested in joining that group because it sounds awesome. I want to be an ADHD supermom, hello.
Oh, my gosh. Okay. One last question. So, for ADHD parents who are from diverse or minority backgrounds, what are additional challenges to be mindful of and recommendations for how to navigate?
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Yes, this is a very good question. Wow. I’m so happy you brought this up, Amanda. This is a question that I personally dealt with because I am an African-American female, right? And so, my ADHD wasn’t diagnosed until I was 31 years old. And that does not mean that my background being a minority or being black had anything to do with it.
But it has a lot to do with having a conversation with my parents and particularly my father because my mom passed away 13 years ago, so I was diagnosed after my mom passed. What were things about me that you see and trying to because I’m trying to understand why this wasn’t caught early enough, right?
So, I’m just trying to get some information from him. And he was saying that, “Well, listen your schedule was organized, your mom was on it. You are your mother,” what you’re doing now on your plate, your mom was the same way.
And it’s an interesting thing is that when you come from a family that you are open about talking about mental health issues but some minority families and I’m not want to stereotype here, we’ve had a history of exploring medical possibilities, treatments management that we just don’t trust because of how we’ve been used per se.
How we’ve been maltreated. And especially, being African-American, I can talk about the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. I mean, this is where my people were infected with syphilis and they had treatment but they wanted to see the symptoms of what this syphilis could cause.
And so, I mean, if you think about it that’s horrific, right? And for generations and generations, I mean, this type of ideology about not trusting the medical community in a certain degree has remained. Especially, when you’re trying to “change my mind,” “change how I feel.”
So, when we’re dealing with brain conditions, it’s even more stigma that’s around this topic. What I would say for those of ADHD parents who are from minority backgrounds, let me tell you something. When you’re told that your child looks, they have ADHD because you’re running around in class, they can’t stand in their seat.
Listen to what people tell you. If a person says they look like they have ADHD, that’s just not good enough. You want to make sure that the kids are evaluated. And really, that’s for any background. When I talk about minorities however, then there’s many studies on this, Amanda.
There has been a degree of trauma, a traumatic situation that often mask those kids with who’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. So, if you can imagine if a child who comes from a traumatic background, they’re going to school, they’re not doing their work.
They’re hyper vigilant. If someone says something to them, they have a very poor frustration tolerance about it because they can’t show it at home because it’s traumatic. So, they show it in a place where they feel they can. These types of kids may get into trouble and that’s just one of many examples.
And so, behavior is often misidentified as a child having ADHD and that’s where misdiagnosis can happen. So, you definitely want to make sure that if ADHD is there that it is appropriately properly and safely evaluated for first before we make assumptions just because a child looks like they have clinical criteria of ADHD and may meet them.
We want to make sure they get to the proper guidance of a medical provider or those who are medically trained to evaluate this condition to secure that this is something that they have. And I find that in many families on minority backgrounds.
This is a struggle that they’ve been dealing with is that for some of them they’re told back so they never go to the doctor because of how they’re told that and also their own internal guilt and shame about it. For others, they’re recommended that they get assistance but they’re not dealing with their own diagnosis as well because they’re still dealing with the medical realm and how they don’t trust it.
And you always don’t want to leave with a pessimistic situation because I’m a very hopeful person. So, some of the ways to overcome this, Amanda is to really be, if you are a parent, be open with your doctor about how you feel. If they can’t receive it, you need to just find another doctor.
If you’re a part of your story is, I just don’t trust white people. Or, you’re Hispanic, I don’t trust black people, whatever it is. If that’s your situation or your case, be open about it. Let them know that this is why I’m now seeking help because of my own things that are going on within me.
And so, I want to make sure that you are aware of that so that you can approach this in a way that is very sensitive to how I feel, sensitive to my situation. And that way, it won’t get in the way for me to receive the best type of treatment and management that I can receive for me or my child.
So, when a parent is open about it, it really allows that therapeutic, a relationship to develop in alliance to become strong. The other thing is providers. And my providers out there who may be parents or just providing services.
You also want to be as open as the parents are. You want to be culturally competent. If there’s a cultural situation or religious belief that may impact your ability to manage, you want to be open about that, right? You want to be forthcoming.
You don’t want to place your own values or morals and obligations, religious obligations onto someone. You want to understand. You want to listen to what their story is so that you can provide the best type of management that they’re comfortable with that can be beneficial for them.
It’s all about listening. It really is, Amanda. We have to listen to one another. And listening is a gift. It’s not easy. It’s a gift. And I think that being a psychiatrist I’ve honed in on that gift, on those skills. And I’ve even looked for ways to enhance that gift that I have of listening.
But I have to remind myself and I have to practice it every single day. It’s important especially with ADHD, it’s important for me to listen. And so, that’s for the providers. That’s for those who are parents who are trying things out for the first time.
Listen so that you can make informed decisions about your child’s management. Listen to the information that’s given. Ask questions when you have questions. And again, if you’re not getting your needs met, you may have to find someone different.
But also know that our appointments can be very brief. It may not allow the questions to be answered. So, just make sure that you schedule ahead of time, there goes that plan. Make sure you schedule ahead of time how you are able to have those questions answered with your provider.
So, hopefully that is helpful in navigating how to deal with these challenges especially if a parent has a child with ADHD. Because I find that that is the number one if not a part of the reason why kids are not being seen or why they’re still struggling or why they’re not being seen by the right person or why the parents are having a hard time in dealing with the condition within itself.
Well, thank you so much for sharing all of that, Dr. Dawn. What you’re saying about listening, I echo that to 200%. My mom always says we have two ears and one mouth, so what should be what should we be using more of? Yeah. So-
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Can I borrow that from your mom? I think that is a very powerful and powerful portable way to express how important listening is. I love that how your mom put that into words. I think it’s very portable. Yes.
Yeah, I definitely use that. I say that everywhere because I mean, I think it could solve a lot of our world’s problems if we all listen to each other more. Well, Dr. Dawn, I just want to-
Dr. Dawn Brown:
And Amanda, one more thing, and I’m so sorry.
Oh, go ahead.
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Yes, I apologize. This is my last statement which I think we’re dealing within a lot of our world. Thanks, Amanda, for bringing that up. Listening leads to being empathetic. And I think one thing that is being tested right now or even be challenged, question. Is our level or degree of empathy for one another? Talking about disabilities or where the world recognizes disabilities, talk about socioeconomical backgrounds, maybe racial themes.
I mean, whatever the situation, we have to become more empathetic as a society. And part of that is listening and understanding. So, sorry about that, Amanda. You triggered my memory when you said that. And that’s something I definitely want to include it somewhere in today’s message.
Oh, don’t apologize. I think that’s a message that quite frankly, we can’t really hear enough. So, thank you for sharing that. And so, with that said, I just want to thank you so much for taking your time out of your day to be on this episode with us on ADHD Decoded. You really just hit home some really amazing ADHD brain hacks. So, I just want to thank you very much for your time and your expertise.
Dr. Dawn Brown:
Well, thank you, Amanda. I appreciate this opportunity for being on the platform. It goes both ways. When we come together, we’re stronger together. And hopefully, we can learn in the process but also help others. So, thank you so much for having me as a guest, I really do appreciate the opportunity.
To recap this episode, we want to make sure that you’re going to take away these three main points. Number one, empower your child with ADHD by praising them for their good efforts, their skills and their strengths. To quote Dr. Dawn, you want to be a mirror for what you want your child to learn and to see.
Meet your child with where they’re at and give them a team like a coach, teacher and community that will do nothing but uplift and support your child. Number two, get your child to calm down before bed by trying these five different behavioral management techniques.
First, try meditating as a family before bed. Trust us it works, just try it. Second, try playing music or a guided meditation or use the white noise of a fan to calm down your child before bed. Third, have your child exercise no later than in the early afternoon.
Fourth, try having your child do art before bed whether it’d be painting or drawing, this can be really relaxing. And fifth, have them try karate. These are just a few things that kids can do before bed to wind down. Of course, there are so many other things out there to try that we didn’t mention.
We need to be effective communicators and delegators. This especially goes out to all of the working ADHD parents who are trying to juggle everything. Vocalize with intent how people around you can help you out. Make sure both parties involved in a communication.
Understand the message that’s being sent as well as allowing them to speak it back to you to make sure they understand or acknowledge it. Think about what you can do to delegate certain tasks to make you feel lighter. Maybe this means assigning a different family member to do the dishes every day.
Ask yourself in what areas around the house could you use a little bit more help with and then delegate. And a bonus, parents give yourself a mental wellness day once per month as prescribed by Dr. Dawn. You deserve it.
Thank you for tuning in to ADHD Decoded, a podcast by the Kaleidoscope Society.
Are you a parent with ADHD? Any new insights from this episode? Let us know in the comments below!