Hello, hello, welcome to another episode of the ADHD Families podcast. I'm so excited to have you here. Now today's episode, I'm gonna be talking about something that is really close to my heart and it might be a little bit triggering for some people. So I just wanted to give that warning now. It's not one of my usual happy topics. It's something that I think needs to be talked about. And I hope I don't get too ranty about it, to be honest. I'm gonna be talking about shaming parents, the shame that we feel for our kids' behavioral challenges when they have ADHD. Maybe it's even shaming ourselves, that inner critic in our head, or even the shame that the beautiful family members with ADHD feel about their own struggles. So I wanted to start off today's episode by talking about the first incident. where I felt shame that I can remember in my parenting journey of raising three boys that have ADHD and ODD and things. So Xavier was really young. I think he might have only been about maybe like three and a half, nearly four. And, you know, we knew some he was struggling. We knew some things were up and we knew that chances of him having ADHD were very, very high. But he hadn't had a diagnosis at this point. And we went to like an indoor sport. organized event and from the moment that we were in there I could see that Xavier was struggling in this environment. It was raining outside, there was a lot going on sensorily, there was a lot of kids, a lot of sound and he just wasn't coping in this environment. I was trying to help him but of course I wasn't an ADHD coach then, I didn't have the skills to be able to give him what he needed but he was not coping in this environment and he started hitting other kids. And of course I was correcting him and trying to steer him in other directions and see if I could change what was happening. But he was seeking a reaction from the kids. It was his way of communicating, I'm not coping in this environment. And he was hitting other kids. And what happened is the facilitator of this event said to me in front of everyone, He's being aggressive, you guys need to go. And kicked us out of class. And I took it and I started walking back to the car and Zaby was confused about why we were leaving, he didn't wanna go and I had tears streaming down my face because I felt shame. Shame because I couldn't get my child to stop hitting people. Shame because I could see Zevi was struggling, but I didn't have the tools to assist him. Shame because she'd called me out in front of everyone instead of pulling me aside. And I felt the eyes on me from all the other parents. Like, oh, she, you know, her child's aggressive, whatever. And now, of course, knowing what I know, I would have advocated for him better in that instance. But at that time, I felt deep. deep shame and it actually changed how I parented him slightly. I stopped taking him out to things like that for a while. I really lost a lot of my confidence because I thought that I couldn't control his behavior. Completely the wrong thing to think of. But I thought that we were somehow broken in that instance. And we. felt like we needed to isolate ourselves and recover a little bit from that incidence. And I'm sure that you guys have had similar experiences where you have felt shame or maybe shame for not being your parenting style or shame because you couldn't assist your child with their behavioral challenges. Maybe someone else has made you feel ashamed for your child's struggles. And I often, when I work with parents, parents of kids with ADHD, I kind of feel like it can be death by a thousand cuts in the way that everyone has lots of little bits of negative feedback. And it's often well-meaning in the way that you go to school and the teacher pulls you aside and goes, he hasn't had a great day today. He's been struggling with this or she's been struggling with this. And that's like a little cut. Right. And then you go to after school sport. you know, he's not been able to focus, I can't get him to do what you need to do. That's another little cut. And then you go to a family function, you know, you can see that your child is, is, you know, a little bit more elevated than everyone else and you're getting those judgy looks and that's another little cut, you know, and it can be death by a thousand cuts, all those little cuts add up and parents often end up feeling very isolated and alone in their parenting journey. And that is why at the functional family, creating that supportive network and that beautiful, kind Facebook group that we have that support parents of kids with ADHD was so important to me. Now, if you haven't joined it already, please join it. It's called the ADHD and Families Group, Dash the Functional Family. It's on Facebook. Everyone is welcome to join it. And it's a great place where you can give and receive support. from parents going through the same journey as you. And that's why that bit, that community piece was super important for me because back in the early days, I felt so alone in this journey. And I'm sure you guys would have felt the same way. You get lots of those little judgments, little comments, and you end up feeling isolated. And perhaps it isn't even external. Perhaps it's just judging ourselves and shaming ourselves. When we use language like, he should be able to do that. or why can't she just do that? Those sorts of statements in our head, those inner frustrations, where we're not acknowledging our, we're trying to think of leveling them up against their peers. But the truth of the matter is that people with ADHD have about a 30% lag time in developmental maturity. So we're comparing them against people that are 30% in front. of our kids or people with ADHD. They all get there in the end, right? They all get there, but we are constantly putting them in positions where people are in front of them all the time in terms of behavioral challenges, maturity and things. And we are trying to get them to be able to fit in against people that are a little bit in front. And so when we give them the grace, and we know that about the developmental lag time, we can be a little bit more compassionate and treat them with that beautiful Ross Green saying of that kids do well if they can, right? And if they're not doing well in a situation, and side note, if you haven't watched in my blog on thefunctionalfamily.com, the interview with Dr. Ross Green's head trainer, I really encourage you to go, I'll put the links in the show note, to go and watch that because it's a great... interview and it talks about Ross Green's philosophy about that. He's a really famous author who wrote The Explosive Child and works with kids with behavioral challenges. I love his work. So his theory is kids do well if they can and if they're not doing well in a situation they just don't have the skills yet. What we have is a skill developmental delay. So if they're not coping in a situation like Xavier wasn't coping in that sporting environment He just doesn't have the skills yet. And when you view it like that, you can take some of the shame out of it. And what we love to do with the functional family through our programs and coaching and all that sort of stuff is focus and change our shift from the why, the shoulds and why can't they, to actually focus on giving our kids the skills. And it's not always gonna be pretty, right? It's not always gonna be easy. But when you have that mind shift, set shift, to thinking, okay, they just don't have the skills yet. What can I do to help them develop those skills? It's very powerful to shift that perspective from always being in deficit to be thinking, okay, what can we do to upskill them? What can we do to help them cope in this situation or for next time? So I wanted to have a little chat about, I also wanted to give you this quote from Dr. Ross Green, which I think you will love. I'm gonna preface it by telling you a story. beautiful girlfriend of mine who was telling me at a party that she secretly thought that she was an amazing parent because she had these two little girls first and they didn't have any challenge, like didn't have behavioral challenges. And she used to go to coffee shops and they used to sit and color in and be those kids that just drank their Babacino really quietly and it was all very civilized. And she'd see from time to time other kids come into this coffee shop and they would be you know, a little bit more hyperactive, climbing on their chairs and things. And she would secretly think, oh, I'm an amazing parent because look at my kids, my kids are so great. And she was telling me this as she was laughing. But then she had a boy, the next one, a boy, it doesn't matter whether it's a boy or a girl, but she had a boy with ADHD, the next child. And she realized, she said to me, I realized that it had nothing to do with my parenting styles, that I wasn't as awesome a parent. as I thought I was because when I took the little boy to the coffee shop, he was everywhere. Was knocking things over, very hyperactive, climbing the walls and she realized all of a sudden that it had nothing to do with her parenting style and she actually, the kids are just different. Kids are born with different, they're able to cope with different things. They're just born with different personalities and different characters and different challenges. And I thought that was a funny story to tell me because she actually came to that realization that it wasn't anything to do with her, even though she had thought with her first two children that she was amazing. So I wanted to read you this quote because I feel like it would resonate with you. It's parents of behaviorally challenged kids get much more blame than they deserve for their kids' difficulties. Just as parents of well-behaved kids get much more credit than they deserve for their kids' positive attributes. How true is that? We like to take credit for the things that come easily to our kids. You know, perhaps, you know, for say, for instance, some of my boys, it's sport. We like to take credit for those, right? But we don't always like to take, you know, we don't always like to feel, you know, when they are struggling with things, we get a lot of... Yeah, it's an interesting thing to think about. We don't like to feel that, you know, we shouldn't feel the responsibility for the good things they do, and we shouldn't feel the responsibility for the things that they're struggling with. It's just all information that we have to help our kids work on. So I wanted to talk about that. And I also wanted to talk about what my strategies are for when people say, weird things to me about my kids. And it's happened a lot over the years. You know, I have a very approachable face. I joke about this with my best friend all the time. I have a very approachable face. People often feel like they can come up and tell me things, right? She has a resting bitch face. And so no one comes and tells her things in supermarkets. They leave her alone. And I often wonder what life would be like if I had more of a resting bitch face. But anyway, I'm stuck with this face. It's very approachable. And often like, you know, like the old guy in the supermarket wants to come and tell me things about like back in my day, kids didn't do that or whatever. And, you know, there's little comments that people say in passing. And when I'm sure you guys have had incidences like that, when people say comments to you about your kids' behavior or, you know, about ADHD, lots of people have strong opinions. I've never come across another neurological difference or. condition where people have such strong opinions about it. Often it's misinformed opinions. I know that there was a study done recently about what is on TikTok about ADHD and 50% of it was actually incorrect. So people feel it's one of those topics that people feel like they can talk about. Perhaps they have strong opinions about medication. Perhaps they have strong opinions about whether ADHD is real or not. I can't believe people still have that opinion, but whatever. So people say things to you. I'd love to hear what comments you have received over the years. But I was thinking about what, you know, putting some thought into what you would like to say back to some of those comments, because you have a choice. And sometimes I like to call it out and say things like, that's an odd thing to say to me, if people say something to me that I don't agree with or that it's not welcome. not welcome feedback, so I'll call it out a little bit in a nice way. Other times when people have strong opinions about ADHD or my kids behavior or something they're struggling with, I just let it hang in the air really awkwardly. I don't say anything. I just let it sit there. Because sometimes when people say things that are not kind, the best thing you can do is say nothing and just keep looking at them and let it let them feel the awkwardness of what they've just said. Don't rush in to make them feel better about what they just said. Just let it hang. I do my best work under awkwardness actually. So let them feel that awkwardness. And also the other option you have, if you feel like it could benefit you, especially if it's someone who you have to come across time in and time again, is that you can use it as an opportunity to have a chat to know about ABHD. Perhaps you can... educate them about what your child is struggling with and get them on side. You know, perhaps they just need a little bit of guidance and a little bit more information to have an educated opinion about ADHD. So you've got a few options and I always think it's good to having a few in your tool belt, right? So you can decide if that is worth, you know, having a response to when people say comments to you. So I'd love to know a little bit about what you guys have faced. And I know it's a bit of a darker topic today, talking about shame. And we should touch on, a lot of it isn't external. A lot of it is the shame, the dialogue that goes on in our head that we perhaps are saying to ourselves in those instances where we can see that our child is struggling or the person with ADHD is not coping in that situation or perhaps acting in a way that we find triggering. A lot of it is our own dialogue and what we want to do with that information and what we want to do is it productive? Does it serve us? Does it help our kids? Does it help us? Does it make us feel less stressed? Chances are probably not, right? So we've got to change that dialogue in ourselves as well and you know how I did that over the years and through you know all the work that I've done in ADHD over the years, the best weapon that you can have to combat some of that internal dialogue is just educating yourself about ADHD. Because the more you know, the more you know, right? Like when you know better, you do better, right? So I love that I get to help people understand a bit more about ADHD. Because once we know so much about it, we can feel confident in our strategies and confident in how we assist people with ADHD and our parenting styles. And when you are confident, in your parenting styles and how you handle situations. It might not look pretty from the outside, right? But if you are confident within that you're doing the best you can for your child and for your family and for yourself and helping them cope, then there's a thing where you can just let things roll off you a little bit because you are confident and you have the information and you know that you are doing the best you can in that situation. And I love that I get to help. parents and people, individuals with ADHD as well, feel confident within themselves and with their strategies for managing ADHD and having a happy, productive, fun, functional life with ADHD. And it absolutely is possible, right? There's going to be challenges. It's not going to always look pretty, but there is, you know, it should be a beautiful, exciting, fun life with ADHD. It is not always a deficit. Um, it is definitely not always a disorder and, uh, you know, sometimes I feel like the, the misinformed opinions and comments and things can really taint some people's experiences of ADHD. And it doesn't have to be, uh, you know, we don't have to focus on the negatives all the time. And part of that is combating it with. with having that internal confidence that we know that we are doing the best and knowing that we have strategies in our tool belt to handle this these things when they come. And I'd love to just segue a little bit now to talk about something that I have coming up that I'm super excited to share with you. On the 6th of June I am hosting a free easier ADHD challenge. And I'm so excited. I really want you to join us. It's at www.thefunctionalfamily.com backslash challenge. And for four days, I'm going to be hosting free training sessions. They're at one o'clock Sydney time. They go for 40 minutes. So the idea is it's at lunch break time. Hopefully you can join us. If you can't join us live, it's not a problem. They are recorded. Of course, I would love you to attend live because of body doubling. and know that people get such better results when they attend these things live. And to try and motivate you to attend live, I'm gonna be giving away prizes, workbooks, it's a Sharon Bonanza of free training. And the reason that I'm doing this challenge is I really wanna share with you some key components, four days worth or four 40 minute sessions worth of training to have an easier, happier life with ADHD and just impart some of that. knowledge and help you feel confident with your strategies for managing it and having a beautiful easy life with ADHD because we know it's possible right and I would love for you to join us. As I said it's going to be lots of fun we're going to be giving away prizes we're going to have workbooks templates it's going to be the biggest thing that we have ever done at the functional family it's going to be I just can't wait to connect with you guys in this way. So if you haven't registered yet, I'll put the link in the show notes, please register. And when we're talking about this shame element, I know it's a bit darker today than my normal topics, but I really wanted to share it because I want you to know that we all go through, we all experience some of this shame and shaming. So if you have an event that you would like to share with us, maybe someone said something, you've coped with it really well. Maybe it changed. you know, maybe it shifted something in you. Maybe you resonated with this topic. I would love to hear from you. I always want to connect with this beautiful community because you guys have a voice. You guys are important. You guys are doing incredible things for your beautiful family members that have ADHD and perhaps yourself with ADHD. So feel free always to reach out at hello at thefunctionalfamily.com. I would love to hear from you and until next time. Have a great day.