What Questions To Ask About ADHD: Before, During, and After a Diagnosis
Are you wondering if your kid has ADHD? Or maybe you just received an ADHD diagnosis, or you’re currently dealing with challenges with your ADHD kid.
When I started thinking one of my kids had ADHD, it was an overwhelming and scary time – How do I know for sure? Will she feel something is wrong with her if I get her tested? Does she need to get tested, are her teachers seeing that she’s struggling in class, where do I go to get her tested, how do I find someone good, once she was diagnosed, what do I do to get her the support she needs?
Well, if you’re relating, I have a very special guest, Dr. Norrine Russell who is back on our show for the second time due to popular demand to talk about her new book, “Asking the Right Questions about ADHD Before, During, and After Your Child’s Diagnosis.”
Norrine has over 20 years of experience working in youth development and is an Executive Functioning & ADHD Expert. She is also the mother of two atypical children who have personally walked this path and gets it!
In this interview, she shares what to do step by step as you go through this process.
Scroll down to read the fully transcribed episode.
What You Will Learn:
- The importance of being your child or teen’s advocate.
- When you should get your child an evaluation.
- The questions you should ask when your teen has been diagnosed with ADHD.
- Why do you need to ask for a follow-up appointment after a diagnosis?
- What’s the difference between a school diagnosis and an outside diagnosis?
- What do parents do that gets in the way of their teen’s learning?
- The questions that shouldn’t be asked at a Doctor’s visit.
- What questions to ask when your child is diagnosed with ADHD?
- The words ADHD kids need to hear from their parents.
- How to talk to your teen about coaching or tutoring when they’re resistant.
Where To Find Dr. Russell:
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And here is the episode typed out!
Welcome to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. If some days you doubt yourself and you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve ugly cried alone in your bedroom because you felt like you were failing. Well, I just want to let you know you are not alone and you have come to the right place.
Raising tweens and teens in today’s world is not easy. And I’m on a mission to equip you to love well and to raise emotionally healthy, happy tweens and teens that thrive.
I believe that moms are heroes, and we have the power to transform our families and impact future generations. If you are looking for answers, encouragement, and becoming more of the mom and woman you want to be, welcome. I am Sheryl Gould. And I am so glad that you’re here.
SHERYL: Well, Dr. Noreen Russell, welcome back to the show. I am so happy to have you here.
DR. RUSSELL: I am so excited to be back. It was a pleasure to be here last time, you’re a great host, and we’re going to have a great conversation today.
SHERYL: We are. I have to say that I heard from so many moms and so many listeners that said how helpful the interview with you was. And they were shocked. I shared it. And then they were like, “You got to listen.” Some moms were asking some ADHD questions, and then they actually picked your podcast. They said, “you have to listen to this, you have to listen to this.” And so this is going to be such a good conversation because now your book is out: “Asking the Right Questions about ADHD Before, During, and After Your Child’s Diagnosis.”
DR. RUSSELL: Well, hopefully, they’ll find that to be just as helpful. We just want to help, and we know how it can be to have this diagnosis. And often, this diagnosis comes with another diagnosis. And it’s just so important to provide parents and caregivers. And eventually, my goal is going to be one for teachers. What can we do to really help these kids who are not lazy? They’re good kids. They have such important strengths. And we need to start looking at it from a brain perspective, not a behavioral one.
SHERYL: I love that. We’ll get to that because I think we need to talk a little bit more about that as well. But I want to say what I liked so much about your book is how easy it is to read. How you ask so many of the questions that moms are asking that I was asking all those years ago, before very many people knew anything about ADHD, working with parents whose kids are diagnosed with ADHD, and they’re terrified, they don’t know. Well, even before the diagnosis, they’re scared to get tested. So I do want you to start, though, with why you wrote the book. Let’s start there.
DR. RUSSELL: People have said to me for a long time you should write a book. I have always thought of myself, “I’m a practitioner. That’s what I do. I take the information. I can translate information. I’m really good at taking complex information and distilling it into, do you get this? Do you understand this? Or what the next action step is.”
I just really didn’t think that I had anything to say that would be worthy of writing a book. I never felt like, “oh, I need to write a book. I want to be an author.” But over the last several years of being in practice, what’s happened is we do probably four – six intakes a week, more or less, but about that. And we see 125 students right now a week at the practice. I found myself answering the same questions over and over and over again. I found myself telling parents, ask the doctor this question, ask the school this question. Ask your pediatrician this question.
And then finally, I thought to myself, I want to write this all down so that I can have this to give to parents in the practice so that they know all the questions that they shouldn’t be asking people on the team. So it wasn’t even like I thought, “Oh, I have some genius solution, or I have something to say that so personal or autobiographical.” It was like, “gosh, people are asking questions, and this is a little more common. They don’t even know that they’re supposed to be asking questions.”
And so I wrote the book to say to parents, “listen, as hard as it is, you have to be your child, your teen’s advocate. You might not want it to be that way. It might feel really hard. You might be used to just doing what the doctor says or trusting school. But it’s you. You’re the advocate.”
And so I wrote the book. And I hope that it empowers parents to be an advocate for their child or their teen’s need. So that’s why I wrote the book.
SHERYL: Yeah, I love it, and the tricky thing is it’s such a highly emotional time. And it’s so confusing. I mean, as you said, you don’t know what questions to ask. And you use such a great analogy of if you break your arm. And you go to the doctor and give that analogy because it’s really good.
DR. RUSSELL: All right, let’s say you have a kid who plays sports, and they break a bone, they have an injury on the field, let’s say they think that they’ve broken their arm, right? I don’t know about you; I don’t even know what these arm bones are called. I don’t know anything about it.
What I do know is if I was the mom of the kid who had the baseball injury, we would take him to the hospital, or they’d call an ambulance. I knew we would arrive at the emergency room. Somebody would take that kid for an x-ray, right? Nobody would ask me, “do you want an x-ray, you could have an x ray, do you want an x ray today? You could try an x ray tomorrow? Well, you could try sitting him closer to the X ray machine and see if that works.”
Right? Nobody’s asking me if I think we should have an x-ray. They’re taking him to the X-ray and getting the X-ray. If it’s more complicated, they’re getting an MRI. Nobody’s coming and asking me anything about what sort of imaging needs to happen. Then the orthopedist comes in, and they’re not asking me, “What do you want to see an orthopedist? Or do you maybe want to see a cancer specialist? Or do you maybe want to see a psychologist to talk about how you feel about the possibly broken bone?”
Nobody’s asking me any of that. The orthopedist is showing up. He or she shoves the X-ray up in mirrored light and says, “Your child has this broken bone, here’s where it is, what we’re going to do is we’re going to wrap it or we’re going to put it in a cast, or you’re going to need a cast with a sling so that it’s in mobilize, and that’s going to stay on for six weeks.”
Nobody asks you, what do you feel like having the cast on for three weeks or six weeks? Right? You don’t have to decide any of those things, right? You leave the hospital. The cast is on. You have the post-break directions. When can they get in the shower? How do you wrap it to get in the shower? What should they avoid? You have the notice for school. This kid has a broken arm, right? You might have the prescription already for physical therapy, or you might wait for the follow-up appointment to get that. At no point in the “broken arm saga” has anyone asked you to be in charge of the broken arm. Yeah, you get an ADHD diagnosis. You get this lovely report.
If you’ve seen a psychologist, you have pages and pages of things you could do that are recommendations, but it’s not a treatment plan, right? They’re recommendations. If you go to a neurologist, they’re going to rule out certain things, but they’re not going to be looking for the learning differences. That’s the other thing you have the broken bone. You’re going to the orthopedist.
ou have ADHD. You’re like. I don’t know. The neighbor went to a neurologist. This neighbor went to a psychiatrist. This neighborhood went to a clinic. This neighbor went to the pediatrician about the broken bone and the treatment of it. That’s what we could expect from ADHD because what? There are actually treatment logarithms. There are best practices for ADHD.
But I’ll bet you most parents have no idea that there are actual scientific best practices for ADHD other than, well, you could put them at the front of the room. Well, you could get a 504, and you could have a medication consultation. Sure I could. Or I could lay in bed and cry because all of you are making me feel so helpless. And at a loss as to what to do.
SHERYL: Yeah. Oh my gosh, that just s arizes it. I mean, as you were saying all of that, my stomach was churning, remembering how I felt, and you feel like everybody’s giving you a different answer or telling you.
DR. RUSSELL: What to do? They’re giving you a different answer. Yes.
SHERYL: And then I’d love how you broke it up into three different parts. So explain that you have before the diagnosis. What made you decide to talk about that?
DR. RUSSELL: Even though we wish it wasn’t like this, we know there are parents who are afraid of the diagnosis. Or there are parents who are just hearing. It could just be this year. It could just be this teacher. It could just be this school setting.
There is so much that goes on in our hearts and our souls before we make that decision to have a diagnosis. Now, for me personally, it was so abundantly clear that we had a range in case of ADHD that, thankfully, I didn’t have to make a choice.
But there is the majority of parents out there have to make a decision, do I get an evaluation? Or is this normal? And then there’s that weird thing that happens, where schools, public schools can’t really say to you, “yes, you should go get an evaluation,” because then they’re on the hook to start the IEP evaluation process.
So they talk in code. You could wait and see if he grows out of it. Or, you could ask the pediatrician. A parent isn’t trained in how to decode educator speak. You think, if you’re like I was when my kids were in school, the teacher is going to tell me if there’s a problem, right? Just the same way the teacher tells me if there’s a problem with reading, writing, or math.
That’s not the way the legal system is set up in education. So the whole first part of the book deals with before the diagnosis, should we get any valuation? Who should we go to for any valuation? Should I wait to get any valuation?
And then, of course, the big question that comes up for so many parents is, if we get a diagnosis, what does that mean? Is my kid lazy? We started there because – I’m going to be a little tongue-in-cheek. I don’t know that most parents are as blessed as we were with the fact that “oh, yeah, this is clearly ADHD. You have no choice. You are getting any evaluation.”
Most parents kind of sit there for a year, two years, six years and are like, “I don’t know.’ The nice thing is the American Academy of Pediatrics, in the 2019 white paper, is so clear. If there are signs, if there are any behaviors that look like it could be ADHD, get the evaluation done the same way you would with glasses. If you’re not sure if your kid can see, you don’t wait six years and think, “Well, maybe they’ll be fine.” You go to the eye doctor. You get the evaluation. ADHD needs to be exactly the same way. If you’re seeing symptoms where this could be ADHD, then you go get the evaluation. The science is very clear.
SHERYL: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I think that we get in our own way with our own fears. I remember when one of my kids was diagnosed, and before they were diagnosed, I’ll just be 100% transparent here. I was like, “Oh, I don’t want them, if they get diagnosed, to feel like there’s anything wrong with them.” Well, they’re already feeling that way.
It was more of my stuff. And my concerns and how this kid would feel, but actually, they felt the opposite. Now I understand. And now we’re like, “Okay, now we can figure out what might be some next steps.”
But of course, we needed your book because things would have gone a lot more smoothly. It was a process, but not to be afraid. Because just thinking they’re lazy. It’s like there’s a reason that they’re not able to succeed. There’s a reason that they’re not able to do whatever it is that they’re not able to do.
DR. RUSSELL: And what I said the practice is, we want to be able to move that boulder out of the way. Because whether or not you have done the evaluation, if the ADHD is there, it’s there. So for me, I’d rather know so that then I can know what I will do about it. As opposed to this endless “we need to try harder. We need to heap on tutors. We need to micromanage. We need to turn the whole family into kind of this child’s secretary.” That is not good for a family.
SHERYL: It ends up causing so many power struggles and fights, and arguments. When you start working with a family, and your kid comes to, and they’re getting support, do you see a big difference in the family dynamic?
DR. RUSSELL: Oh, when we see it, it’s right during intake, the moms will start to cry. And they’ll be like, “I feel like I’m finally somewhere where somebody gets it. They really, truly get it. I feel like you understand that my kid is not stupid. My kid is not lazy. My kid is not trying to be difficult.”
This just means the world to me, is they feel hope, again, they feel hope and, and then there’s this little period of about a month or so that’s hard because now you’re out. You change your password on the school portal, have your co-parent change the password, do whatever it takes, turn off the notifications, you’re done, you’re done because we work with kids in middle school through college. If you’re investing in a coach, you need to let that coach teach the student the skills that they need and give you what needs to get communicated to the medical professional because of medication first-line treatment.
So we want to give information about do we have good symptom control. But that first month is hard. Right now is hard because our southern students, like Florida and other southern states, have started school, and the moms have already started with the long text messages. “Well, Damien didn’t turn this assignment in last weekend at school. He didn’t get the syllabus signed, he doesn’t have his pencils.”
And I’m like, “Andrea. I love you. I do. And this is really hard. This is a hard transition. We’re asking you to work as hard as we’re asking your son to work. But you have to step out of it. Because that is an important part of giving the child the confidence to think, my coach will teach me how to do this. So you don’t need to send us the list of five things that didn’t get done in the first week of school. Because first of all, it doesn’t matter.
“Second, I told you this was going to be a semester-long intervention. And third, nagging doesn’t change the behavior anyway, nagging is not an empirically defined intervention for ADHD. It’s just not. So go get a pedicure, walk the dog, or volunteer at the hospital. But you don’t have to send us the list because we’ve got this.”
And this is an important part of the middle part of the book. Like when you are getting a diagnosis, ask the neurologist, ask the psychiatrist, ask the clinic, and ask the nurse practitioner what the best practices for treatment for ADHD are. Don’t take this as you could or you could do this.
We’re not in a restaurant. We don’t need a menu. You need to know as a parent. And this is, I think, the most important part of the middle of the book. What is a scientifically based treatment for ADHD? What are the pieces I need to put in place? I mean, this is a meaty part of the book. There’s a lot in here. How will ADHD get diagnosed? What other conditions often come along with ADHD?
That’s a question that we need to talk about what’s the difference between a school diagnosis and an outside diagnosis? When you’re getting the evaluation done, and asking questions, don’t let whomever it is that’s giving you the diagnosis give you 20 minutes or a half hour. Make a follow-up appointment.
If you have to say I need to bring anything in, we need to get seen again. I have further questions. But I would say out of that middle piece of the book about the during one of the most important things that people don’t know is that somewhere between 30 to 40% of kids only have ADHD, the other 60 to 70% have something else. Anxiety, depression, autism, and a learning difference ticks. And you have to ask that question.
So we’re evaluating for ADHD. And if you’re at the psychologist’s, they will do a pretty comprehensive evaluation. But you have to ask that question. What other things commonly come along with ADHD? What happens to a kid who has a learning difference? And ADHD? How do I handle that? What about the kid who has a high IQ, a low processing speed, anxiety, ADHD, and sort of a personality trait of being a little bit rigid?
Okay, well, that’s going to entail an hour or two at the doctor’s office to try to understand this is how that combination of brain wiring, right, not behaviors, take that whole word out of your vocabulary. There are no behaviors here, there are symptoms, and there’s brain wiring. What do we do with it there? And that, I think, is the essential question to ask. During the evaluation. Have we looked at everything? Is there anything else going on?
SHERYL: And that’s what I love about the book because you walk, you walk parents and caregivers, through it, on what exactly to do, because as you’re saying that it’s so easy to feel reactive when your kid is going through this, and you’re so emotional, and there’s so much going on. And you’re helping parents to be proactive, like, “Okay, this is what I’m going to do here. These are the questions.”
You break it down in these little baby steps because otherwise, it’s so overwhelming. And it’s so confusing.
And then I love what you said about getting out of the way. And moms, I’ve been there. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. It does not work. In fact, it backfires. They resist you. They don’t want to do it because you’re nagging, you’re lecturing, you’re on their back, we’re sending them a message of, “They’re not capable,” like we don’t believe in them. I’ve done all that. I know it does not work. And getting out of the way. And getting that support is so important, and knowing it’s going to be a process.
DR. RUSSELL: What does any child need? What does any human being need? They need to know they’re loved. And if we as parents every day are saying, “You’re not adequate, your work is not adequate. You haven’t tried hard enough. That is not a message at 13, 14,15 that you are loved. And I am your parent, and I will be here if you need anything.
It’s like, we’re substituting school for the most important thing, which is the relationship and the connection at a time when risk-taking goes up and when social pressures increase. We have to keep our eye on the ball here. It’s about your middle schooler, high school, or even your college student knowing that they are loved just how they are. So get the coach and get out of the way. I tell parents. I’m not kidding you. I tell parents all the time. “Go get a puppy. Go get a puppy.”
SHERYL: Don’t expect your kid to walk it. You just go out and walk that dog. You might have to walk five times a day to get out of the house and get out of the way.
DR. RUSSELL: Exactly. That’s the great thing about the puppy. It has to go to the vet. The puppy has to get fed. The puppy has to go for walks. The puppy is adorable. You can cuddle with it. The puppy loves you. Honestly, like maybe the next book is going to be “Why you should get a puppy when your kid has ADHD.”
SHERYL: There we go. I love it. It’s a bestseller, too, because we can all laugh – we need some humor in the midst of it. Well, you ask a very good question. And you’re touching on it. You ask the question, what causes ADHD? Is there something I did wrong? Or could have done differently to prevent my child from having ADHD?
Well, what would you say? Because I think that’s one of the reasons, we get in there. We feel guilty. We feel like maybe we’ve done something wrong or we’ve caused it in some way. You’re shaking your head. That’s good.
DR. RUSSELL: It’s genetic. There are other little pieces of it, but it’s genetics. You can. As co-parents, you can say, “it’s me, it’s you. It could be both of us. It could be that neither of us has it. But three out of four grandparents have it.”
Ultimately, we go through this in my family all the time about autism, like, “where did the autism gene come from? Which side of the family has autism?”
It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who has the autism gene. It doesn’t matter who has passed down the ADHD. It doesn’t matter who has the predisposition for anxiety and depression.
Why doesn’t it matter? Because you love your child. And this is how their brain is wired. And this is what you’re going to want to do about it. That’s section three of the book. What do you do after you have a diagnosis? What are the steps to take? What are the conversations to have with the school? What’s the conversation to have with your child about ADHD?
That is a pretty meaty part of the books as well. What do we do now? But one of the things we don’t do is, try to figure out why they have this. Or where did it come from? Because it doesn’t matter. It would be the same thing with a broken arm. Well, if he had just been one step further to the left, or if that ball hadn’t been quite so fast, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.
What’s evidence-based treatment? It matters. What is Parent Training and Education for ADHD? What are we supposed to know? It matters. How do we teach kids these executive functioning skills? It matters.
We have a whole section here on how you deal with middle school. How do you deal with elementary school? How do you deal with high school? Those are the things that matter. What I’m saying is that it is hard for some parents to put their own stuff away, see a therapist, or join a parent’s group. But when you’re your child’s advocate, there’s no space in that arena for your stuff about shaming and blaming and feeling bad because what you’re called to do with that moment is to be an advocate for your child, and there’s no one else that’s going to do it. And that’s why you need to know, what are the questions to ask before, during, and after?
SHERYL: Yeah, it’s so good. I think when we’re sad, when we’re scared, we tend to ask the why question. We’re looking for a place to blame or discharge that pain somewhere. And it’s just not effective. It doesn’t matter.
Instead, ask what I am going to do to support my kid. What am I going to do to love this kid well and be able to get out of the way and appreciate their strengths and help them develop those strengths, rather than focusing on what I wish was different? Why it’s no different.
DR. RUSSELL: Because that just takes us down a rabbit hole, and we can have those feelings. And that’s the place for parenting groups. That’s a place for therapy. That’s a place to find a buddy who has the same experience. But that’s not the questions to be asked at the doctor at the IEP meeting at the nurse’s office. That’s when you need information.
The beautiful thing about focusing on the scientific information is that when you get deep enough into that, what you learn is that the kids who are treated for ADHD, their outcomes are great. It’s the untreated kid with ADHD that we worry about.
But in this case, the more you learn about the science of ADHD, the better you feel about the decisions you’re making, and the better you feel about the fact that we now understand medication as first-line treatment. We now understand we have to advocate at school. We now understand that our kids might need a professional to teach them these skills.
Your ADHD kid is going to grow up to have a bright and shiny future, just like a kid without ADHD. And that’s what science tells us. And when you get to that point, then you’re like, “Ah, okay, I learned enough. I know now, because my kid is going to be okay.”
SHERYL: Yeah, I’m glad that you’re offering that hope. Because that’s what I experienced having to have my kids diagnosed, it’s like when you get that start getting those answers in that treatment, everything starts to change, and they get the support they need. And it makes a huge, huge, huge difference.
My daughter ended up she went on medication. If we don’t, their confidence suffers because they’re not able to be successful. And one of the things that the doctor said was that she didn’t have any blood flow going on under the prefrontal cortex. It wasn’t like she said, “I’m so relieved because everybody was telling me I was an underachiever and that I was capable of so much more.” And she was actually kind of mad. She’s like, “now it makes sense. So many people and teachers said, “you’re capable of so much more.” And she ended up in college. She tutored college students who had ADHD in English because she was an amazing writer. And that was just so exciting to see her thriving.
DR. RUSSELL: It’s interesting. I don’t have ADHD, but I’m on the same lines as the underachiever and feeling like you’re not achieving your potential and getting that feedback all the time. I grew up in Michigan, and the school cut-off was September 1, like it is in many places. My birthday is August 30. You can’t possibly be any younger in a class grade unless you’re August 31.
The feedback I got the entire way through school with a gifted IQ and good grades was, “She doesn’t live up to our potential. She doesn’t live up to her potential. She doesn’t live up to our potential.” I was a genius, but it didn’t make any difference. I was the youngest kid in that class. There were kids who were literally a year older than me, with September birthdays. They were living up to their potential.
But I grew up with that same message. She’s not living up to her potential, not because of ADHD, but because of age, and it feels really bad. That’s still how I think of myself. In some ways, I’m not living up to my potential.
SHERYL: Yeah, I have that too. Those limiting beliefs are so hard to shake when you’re an adult.
DR. RUSSELL: Right, so let’s avoid the whole thing.
SHERYL: You’re a Doctor. Look at this thriving business and author, and speaker. And we can still feel that way.
DR. RUSSELL: All the time. I’m like, “oh, like you’re an imposter.” I so relate to all of that, partially because I’m a woman, partially because there were other people who were higher achieving or more ambitious, but I feel like that all the time. “This isn’t really you. This is luck, or whatever.”
I just think, as parents, imagine if we consciously infused our children with the words, “you are enough, you are exactly what this world needed. You, with your ADHD, are exactly what this world needs. And your ADHD is also not going to get in the way because mom has got the book. I’m going to ask all the right questions. And we are not going to let this be an obstacle, and you and your strengths and your intelligence and your heart are enough.”
I said to my son the other day he struggles with math, and I said, “Ethan. It’s never going to matter whether you’re good at math or not. Because there are so many other things that you are amazing at that. All we have to do. Listen, you’re in seventh-grade math. We got to get through 7,8,9,10,11, maybe 12-grade math, and then you’re done. Then you can be done with math. Because your life and your gifts are not math, but you have so many of them, you’re going to do a million amazing things. So don’t beat yourself up over the math.”
And he kind of looked at me. He’s like, “But mom, you expect me to get an A.” I’m like, “I do kind of expect you to get an A because we have a tutor. And because you can do it right now. But honestly, in the end, the conversation I want you to remember having is you are enough, just the way you are.”
I think that’s the message all of our kids need to hear. But especially for our kids with ADHD, autism with ADHD, and autism, anxiety, or dyslexia, we need to look at them straight in the eye and not say you didn’t turn this in, but rather, you are enough. I love you, and you are going to be a raging success.
SHERYL: So beautiful. I just love it. And it’s focusing on their strengths, not their weaknesses. And that message that he got what a huge difference that will make in your son’s life that he’s getting that message from you. And because you’re working with, how many over the last 20 years – 1000s that you’ve seen, that’s what they really need. I know that just the listeners will feel so encouraged by that.
DR. RUSSELL: I hope so. That’s what we care about at my practice. I think it’s why we’ve grown primarily through word of mouth. We don’t do really hardly any advertising, we have very little social media, but psychiatrists recommend friends to us, and that’s how we’ve gone in 14 years from being just me to the largest student coaching practice in the country with a specialty in these complex kids who Not everyone gets them.
SHERYL: And you’re opening our eyes. So before we end, I have one more question. Because this comes up all the time with my mom in the support group that I have, their kid is resisting, getting support, they want to get them coaching, they want to get them help. You answer this question in your book. And I thought it was very good. So, could you just encourage them with what you share in the book?
DR. RUSSELL: Sure. Now, I have to think, what did I say in the book about that?
SHERYL: You would say be curious about how they feel about it.
DR. RUSSELL: Okay, so this is what I would say to a mom who’s like, “I’m ready. I’ll sign up today. But my kid doesn’t want any more help.” First, it’s empathy with the child, “I can see where you don’t want any more help. Because what help has meant for you in the past is another person to meet with after school, another person to tell you you’re not doing it right, another person to tell you to do it this way, another source of frustration.”
So first, empathy, “I get it. This might not feel like something that you want to do.” Second, let’s think for a minute, though. Is there any way that school could be easier or less stressful? Or could our relationship be better? Like, would it be worth taking a chance on coaching? If the school could be easier, less stressful? And our relationship could be better? Like, do you think that’s possible?
Then, what’s working for you right now? Does it feel good? Does how you’re managing it feel good? And they may or may not be honest with you about this because, at some point, they start to cover this .up. Because they don’t want you to know that they don’t feel good? It starts to feel too vulnerable. And then I often say to parents, use problem-solving – would you be willing to try this for a month and see what you think? I’m not asking you to love it. I’m not telling you it’s going to be the answer. I’m not going to come home and say this is the thing. You can’t scare him. But just say, I met her. She seems like she knows what she’s talking about. They see a lot of kids. Is it something you’d be willing to try for a month? That’s what I’d say.
SHERYL: Yeah, that is good. That’s so much more of a just valid start out by validating it. And then being curious and asking some good questions. And just try it. Try and see if that make helps you to feel better. And you try it. And I’ll really work hard to get off your back.
DR. RUSSELL: Well, that right there is sometimes those are the magic words. If you work with a coach, then I’m done. And there’ll be like, “Sign me up.”
SHERYL: Well, gosh, it’s always so wonderful to have you on, and so Noreen, tell them where to find you and to get your book. And, of course, I’ll share all the links for you in the show notes.
DR. RUSSELL: Yeah, for sure. So we’re easy to find. The website is https://russellcoaching.com/. The office phone number for people who like to call is 212-716-1161. We do have an Instagram https://www.instagram.com/russellcoachingllc/. But that’s more like hints and things like that.
If you’re a parent listening, and you want to know more about coaching, or you want to know more about what do I do or can I come and speak at your school, or any of that stuff, go to the website.
The book is available exclusively through Amazon. And there is both a Kindle edition and a print edition. In the Kindle edition, what we did was we made the list of questions, and PDFs, so you could take that directly to your practitioner.
This is a small book. You can fit this in your purse. You can take this to the doctor. You can read this book on your beach vacation and still get to the New York Times bestseller. It’s not a long book. We didn’t go into every detail of what ADHD is. What is neurology all about? This book is about what questions to ask. So you can be your kid’s advocate.
SHERYL: So many good resources.
DR. RUSSELL: Oh, did you notice that for every question we answer, we have a reference for more information?
SHERYL: Yeah, it’s fantastic. Well, thank you so much for coming on. And it’s a pleasure as always, and thank you that you’re doing this much-needed work to support us with ADHD kids and our kids and to support them to thrive in their lives.
DR. RUSSELL: It’s important because they say you’re only as happy as your least happy child. And so, as moms, we have to work this out. We have to figure it out. Dads are involved too.
I want to thank you for having me on. It’s always so much fun to come on and have these real authentic conversations with you about why this matters. And what does science say, and how do we deal with our own feelings about all of this, you’re really such an enjoyable host, and I want to thank you for having me on.
SHERYL: Thank you. Thank you. I loved it.