Sharon Collon (00:00.734)
Welcome to another episode of the ADHD Families podcast. I am so happy you are here. My name is Sharon Colin. I am an ADHD coach and consultant and a mom to three beautiful boys with ADHD. Today, we're going to be chatting, chatting. We're going to be chatting. We're going to be chatting about prepping conversations. So how to have prepping conversations with our children. Why?
we want to have prepping conversations and how this leads in to easing up some of the anxiety that people with ADHD often experience. Let's get to it.
Sharon Collon (00:49.07)
So I started to notice a pattern in my household whereby my kids and husband with ADHD often have or workshop potential situations in the shower. So they'll be like having pretend arguments or pretend conversations for things that they're a bit worried about in the shower or when they're otherwise occupied with other things.
And I was thinking about this and I was thinking, well, why do they why do they have these pretend arguments? Often they're things that don't eventuate. But I was looking and discussing with my husband, like, what is this? Like, are you worried that you're going to have this argument? And he's like, oh, well, just in case I do, I need to know what to say to this person. And I thought, what a cool like strategy for easing anxiety if you're worried about a situation that you're going to walk into, playing it out.
in the shower or as a conversation first or role playing, which we know is a really effective role playing scenarios with your children with ADHD is a really effective strategy. But having these fake arguments, what we call them, what a way of easing anxiety for that anxious ADHD brain. And so I was thinking about ways that I could transfer that strategy into other parenting techniques rather than pretend arguments.
rather changing them to prepping conversations, helping my children prep for situations that perhaps they're a little bit worried about. So that is a prepping conversation. So a prepping conversation is just an opportunity before you walk into a scenario that you think that your child might struggle with or something that perhaps they've indicated to you that they're a bit worried about.
spending a little bit of time asking about how it's going to look, how it's going to feel, what they're worried about, what you can do to ease up some of that anxiety, what are you going to do if, encouraging them to really think about what they're walking into and take a moment, slow it down enough to actually think about what's going to happen if, what it's going to be like in there and picture themselves in that scenario.
Sharon Collon (03:07.182)
So it's kind of like role playing, but without the effort. That's what I'm putting prepping conversations into. So where and when should we do prepping conversations? I definitely think the when piece is really important. We don't do it on the way into whatever it is. Like we don't do it on the walk in. So say if you are going to flip out, there's trampoline centers. We don't have a prepping conversation.
as we're walking to the door. We do it well before. I tend to do it, you know, like maybe the day before or a couple of days before. And I'm doing these prepping conversations, not just for negative things or things that I think they're gonna struggle with, but for positive things as well. It's kind of like a casual fun chat. You know, like, what would you do? What would you spend your money on if you won the lottery? That in itself is a prepping conversation. I want my kids to think about different outcomes. So it might...
go something like, you know, if we're going to flip out, and I know it's going to be quite noisy and I'm anticipating that they might struggle a little bit in the car, once we've gotten over that transition friction, because you guys know from listening to this podcast, the car is a very intense time for my family. So once we've gotten over that transition and they're quite calm sitting in the car, I might do something like, hey, hey guys, I know we're going to flip out on Saturday. You know, like what do you think it's going to sound like?
What do you think you're going to do? Which bits are you looking forward to? That anticipation piece is really important. ADHD brain loves a bit of anticipation. What do you think you're going to do if you can't see your mom? What do you think you're going to do if you get thirsty? Like, I'm just asking. It just sounds like mindless chatter, but what I'm doing is I'm getting them to picture what it's going to be like inside flip out, what it's going to sound like. I'm getting them to spend a bit of time putting themselves in that scenario.
So that you definitely don't do it in the heat of the moment or when things are emotionally charged. We don't have prepping conversations. These are the nice chilled out casual conversations. And we definitely don't do it at the door. These are things that we do. We don't want to increase anxiety as we're walking into the event. And with the aim is to get them to picture the scenario and also to think it through and play out certain scenarios in their mind or throughout the conversation. So that when they walk in there, they've already got...
Sharon Collon (05:30.89)
a little bit of a plan for how it's gonna go. And we've thrown multiple scenarios in there. Now, often the ADHD brain is a little bit worried about how they like often try and control scenarios so that they can control how they look. We see that in games with kids all the time. They wanna be, perhaps your child wants to be the leader because they're worried. They're worried about how they're gonna look. They're worried about how they perceive things. And so they come in with almost like a controlling vibe to
make sure that they look okay. So this is just a different way of helping them picture and have a little bit of a plan without that controlling piece. And why should we do prepping conversations? I think it's really important to do it for the positive things and the negatives. It's more a curious kind of coaching technique, a little bit different to the predictable problems thing that we've done before. This is more like a casual conversation, like what would you do if, you know, like what would you do if you couldn't see mom?
And you know, like, would you go to the desk and ask the lady? Would you find a representative and talk to them? You know, what would you do if you're thirsty? You know, like these are just mindless little chats, but with a goal to getting them to picture. So if those things do happen, they've already got a plan. They've spent the time, they've slowed down enough to think about what they're gonna do. So they don't have, in the heat of the moment, they might be a little bit stressed, but it's not the same spike that they would have experienced if they're not prepared for the situation.
So that is why we should do we're trying to alleviate stress and also just get them to forward plan. We're using that executive function muscle of forward planning and getting them to think about what it's going to be like. Because say if your child is going to a birthday party and they like to blow out the candles and the birthday girl or boy, it's not their birthday and the birthday boy is going to blow out the candles and you anticipate that's going to be a friction point.
always good to have a discussion about it because in the heat of the moment when they're there watching their friend blow out the birthday candle they might not be able to control their emotion. Now of course they might not be able to anyway but it definitely works out better if you've had this prepping conversation and what do you do if, what do you do if, let's say another example is everyone in my family is pretty average at waiting in lines, it's something that we all
Sharon Collon (07:53.002)
So having a prepping conversation with your child like something like, hey, I know we're going to services New South Wales and they have massive lines. So, I mean, side note, I would never take my kids in there unless there's something severely, severely gone wrong with my planning. But say, for example, we're waiting in line there. I'd be like, hey, I know we're going to walk into something and we're going to have this line. It could be a big wait. What can we do to make this easier for everybody? And they might say something like, look at photos on your phone. But absolutely, like, I can do that.
you know, what are you going to do if you get thirsty there? What are we going to do if you need to go to the bathroom? Just come up with workshop ideas. And all we're doing is getting them to think about what they're walking into. Because when they walk in there and they start to get stressed or they get flooded, it's really hard to come up with a reasonable plan at that moment. And that moment, they've kind of only got access to fight or flight. So I'm trying to do that before they get into fight or flight.
So I really hope that you can see the benefit of having these casual prepping conversations. We don't want it to be a big deal. We're just asking, what if? What would you do if? I wonder what I would do, you know, having these conversations about different scenarios to try and give our kids the tools and also encourage forward planning and also problem solve for things that they anticipate because
The world has a few spiky edges for our beautiful ADHD folk. And I want them to think about it before they walk into a situation that might be a little bit stressful. But don't forget to do this for the positives as well. Like we're going to someone's birthday party. Like you always love hanging out with these guys. You know, like it's going to be so nice to think, what do you think, what sort of cake do you think they're going to have? Like, you know, do you think they're going to have music on? Like what sort of music do you think they're going to play? Like these are just positive prepping conversations to get.
their head into what they're about to walk into. So I hope that is helpful, and I would encourage you to experiment with it. See if you can have some prepping conversations with your beautiful family, and see if your family are like mine and have those pretend arguments in the shower, which is where this strategy came from. Such a cool strategy takes almost no time.
Sharon Collon (10:12.986)
and takes almost no effort because it is a casual conversation, but I think it teaches so much and it's a nice positive strategy to try it with your beautiful ADHDers and family.