457@2x.jpg

Parenting, Anxiety, and COVID at Home with Dr. Sharon Saline

As we move into the winter months, the wake of the pandemic always just ahead of us, Dr. Sharon Saline is here to talk about ADHD Parenting under stress, particularly when COVID comes home.

Episode Hosts: ,

Subscribe to Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you find your favorite podcasts!

Support The ADHD Podcast and get great perks by becoming a Patron • Learn More and Join Now!

Dr. Sharon Saline has focused her work on ADHD, anxiety, learning differences and mental health challenges and their impact on school and family dynamics for over 30 years. She’s channeled this experience and expertise into her book, What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew: Working Together to Empower Kids for Success in School and Life. She recently published The ADHD Solution Deck: 50 Strategies to Help Kids Learn, Reduce Stress & Improve Family Connections.

As we move into the winter months, the wake of the pandemic always just ahead of us, Dr. Saline is here to talk about ADHD Parenting under stress, particularly when COVID comes home.

Links & Notes


Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright:
Hello everybody. Welcome to Taking Control, the ADHD Podcast on True Story FM. I’m Pete Wright, and I’m here with Nikki Kinzer. Hello Nikki.

Nikki Kinzer:
Hello everyone. Hi Pete.

Pete Wright:
You feeling good?

Nikki Kinzer:
I’m feeling great.

Pete Wright:
Happy almost Thanksgiving, or if it’s next week, Happy last week Thanksgiving.

Nikki Kinzer:
Happy Post Thanksgiving.

Pete Wright:
Exactly.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s right.

Pete Wright:
The time is doing what it’s doing over the holidays but we’re very excited to be here, and thank you all for joining us. We’ve got a terrific conversation today with somebody for whom we have a great fandom, so I’m very excited to talk to our guest. We’re going to be talking about the stress of parenting, ADHD parenting, the stress of just living through the times through which we live, Pete gestures broadly, and we’re going to be doing it with our fantastic guest today.

Pete Wright:
Before we do that, head over to takecontroladhd.com to get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website, or subscribe to the mailing list, and we’ll send you an email with the latest episode each week. You can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook @takecontroladhd.

Pete Wright:
If this show has ever touched you, or helped you make a change in your life for the better, if you’ve found that you understand your relationship with ADHD in a new way, we invite you to consider supporting the show directly through Patreon. Patreon is listener supported podcasting. For a few dollars a month, you can help guarantee we continue to grow the show, add new features, and invest more heavily in our community. Visit patreon.com/theadhdpodcast to learn more.

Pete Wright:
Dr. Sharon Saline has focused her work on ADHD, anxiety, learning differences, and mental health challenges and their impact on school and family dynamics for over 30 years. She’s channeled this experience and expertise into her book, What Your Child Wishes You Knew, Working Together to Empower Kids for Success in School and Life. She recently published The ADHD Solution Deck, 50 Strategies to Help Kids Learn, Reduce Stress, and Improve Family Connections.

Pete Wright:
As we move into the winter months, the wake of the pandemic is always just ahead of us. Thrilled to have Dr. Saline here to talk about ADHD parenting under stress, particularly when COVID comes home. Sharon Saline, welcome to the ADHD Podcast.

Sharon Saline:
Thank you for that beautiful introduction Pete, and hello Nikki. It is wonderful to be here. I’m really excited to hang out with you. I just have one correction, that my book title is called What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew.

Pete Wright:
You know what, it’s ADHD.

Sharon Saline:
It’s just kind of relevant to the topic.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s right.

Pete Wright:
It’s literally written right there in my notes, and I … It’s selective words, I guess, this morning. I apologize, but thanks for that correction.

Sharon Saline:
It works. It works.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, thank you so much for being here, and both Pete and I are parents of children with ADHD. Teenagers, which I have a lot of questions about, I’m sure, as we will get into the conversation. The first thing I wanted to ask you that I’m really curious about is we have kind of pre-COVID. We think about pre-COVID, and we think about ADHD, and the stress that parents had before COVID. Then, now we’re looking at being in the middle of this pandemic, and we have new stresses, different stresses. I’m curious how and what you are seeing different now than maybe before we were in the [crosstalk 00:03:59].

Pete Wright:
The before times?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah exactly.

Sharon Saline:
Can I remember those times?

Nikki Kinzer:
I know, it really is. It is.

Sharon Saline:
I think I’m just going to say let’s just move from March forward. What happened in March was crisis management. We were all living under something we didn’t understand, and we were crisis parenting. I was telling Nikki and Pete before we started that my youngest child, she turned 22 recently, so she was 21 when this started. Junior in college. My oldest is 26, and for her, my daughter who’s 22 now, the loss of a college and the college experience was so traumatic and profound in a way.

Sharon Saline:
Having to move back home, which was absolutely the last place she ever wants to live. Not because I’m a bad parent.

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh no, I get it. Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Correcting for the record.

Sharon Saline:
I am her parent, and so for parents of school aged children, you are all, we were all because she’s older, but she’s still school aged. We were all flying by the seat of our pants. What do we do? How do we keep safe? What does it mean? There was sort of a novelty to online school. It was a little exciting. That has totally worn off. Online school now, and even hybrid school, people don’t exactly know how to do it. If you send your kids to an independent school, your children may well be attending school because they have the means and space to make accommodations.

Sharon Saline:
Public schools are doing the best they can. It depends, of course, where you live, but some schools are hybrid. Some schools are fully remote, and some schools are in person. All of those different configurations affect parents of kids who are alternative learners very differently. I would say that the number one thing that we are all dealing with is anxiety.

Sharon Saline:
Increasing levels of anxiety in every way, and depression. Either low levels of just unhappiness and when those low levels combine with helplessness, and a lack of hope about when things are going to change, and this is specifically for kids who have ADHD, they’re very much in the present. It’s a now, not now brain. Seeing that some time in the future we’ll be able to go back to school is absolutely meaningless because the now is what is consuming them every day.

Sharon Saline:
That’s just true for kids in general in certain ways because as kids age, they begin to understand the future, neurotypical kids, but right now, for many kids, we’re seeing regressions in their behavior. More anger, lack of ability to think about the future, disappointment when they look into the future. If you’re a senior and if you have a senior in high school, and you’re a parent, college, what to expect. Is it actually going to be college? Will it be a gap year? We don’t know. There’s so much uncertainty that we’re standing in, and that just fuels anxiety.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes, absolutely.

Pete Wright:
It’s interesting on that point. I’m watching my kids, and particularly my younger one, and both my kids are diagnosed. I’ve got one who’s doing her freshman year in high school, or freshman year in college remote. Never had the college experience to lose, and while there’s a lot of disappointment in not going, I honestly think it’s been easier for us than others. Like you and your case where the kids had it, and then had to come home, snatching defeat.

Sharon Saline:
Then lost it.

Pete Wright:
Right, from the jaws of victory. It’s interesting watching my son. To sort of set the table on my concept and workshop in here, we have this entire educational culture that in some way, shape, or another is trying to learn to do a new thing. It’s not sending kids to school where their teachers are teaching them to do a new thing. The teachers don’t know how to do this either yet.

Pete Wright:
They’ve got growing facility, and technology is coming along now that it’s been as many months as it has, but my sense is that my son, observing the chaos in the classroom of everybody learning together, has been increasingly disconnected as a result of those ADHD behaviors. It is easier for him to let the distractions in than it has ever been before. I have been putting that on the sort of the back of the ADHD behavior set, recognizing that it’s hard for everyone at some level to stay focused. Are you seeing that sort of construct as well?

Sharon Saline:
Absolutely. Yes. How old is your son?

Pete Wright:
He is a freshman in high school, so 14.

Sharon Saline:
He’s a freshman in high school, so they’re four years apart.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Sharon Saline:
My kids are also four years apart. Yes, of course. I’m seeing many teenagers in particular, who had adapted to a certain level of services with school, or a certain routine in how they paid attention, and how they were able to attend to school work and classes in person, struggling with the shift. They’re struggling with the shift because the normal signals and dynamic that would help them get through a class period, social cues like everybody’s doing their work. “Okay, I better sit here, and nobody else is looking all around or talking. I have to continue to refocus, or I missed something that she said. Hey what was that?”

Sharon Saline:
You can’t really do those things online, and so it’s not only isolating, but the way that your child has learned to adapt, to focus, to refocus, he’s lost those opportunities.

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s interesting because I have an 18-year-old senior, and I have a 15-year-old freshman, and my son, who’s the senior, does not have ADHD, but does have anxiety, and my daughter has both and depression, and what we noticed in our household is after March, especially in the summer when they found out that they weren’t going to be going back to school, for my daughter, the depression just got worse, and worse, and worse. Isolation got worse, and self-confidence got lower, and I think that part of it too was her friendships weren’t being tended to because you don’t have that social peace.

Nikki Kinzer:
With her, I don’t think it was her ADHD that really got in the way, it was the depression and anxiety that got worse. I’ll tell you something about my son that really surprises me, and just really gives me a lot of compassion to other families. He was a 4.0 student. He was driven. He had great grades all the way until his senior year. Then, this last semester, the lack of accountability of not having to be in school, and being able to just wake up five minutes before class, and turn on the computer, it was awful. It was a huge challenge. He barely passed.

Nikki Kinzer:
I think about the kids who were having trouble in school, and how that must affect them. I don’t know where the question is here, but I guess as a parent, it’s stressful. You worry about them. You wonder … I don’t know.

Pete Wright:
I’ve got a question related to exactly that, which is we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and hearing about all the things that our kids have lost through this, and so my question is, is there a way to compensate in some even small fashion for these things that they’ve lost? How do we meet some of those needs, those behavior needs, those social needs, those reading the room needs in the spirit of healthy ADHD, in keeping our ADHD brains healthy and thriving in this context?

Sharon Saline:
Those are two very interesting and different points, and to your point, Nikki, what I want to say is there have been many sort of driven, high-functioning academic kids who have struggled because the things that fed them in school are absent. Online school, with the exception of some kids who are on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, or really have so much social anxiety that actually not going to school is a relief, for most kids missing school is huge for them.

Sharon Saline:
I think that there’s a way where you’ve sort of lost your footing, you’ve lost what was kind of helping you keep going. How do you replace that? I think that’s about setting new kinds of expectations together with your kids. In my book, What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew, I talk about the five Cs of ADHD parenting, and it’s also in my cards.

Sharon Saline:
The first, self-control, compassion, collaboration, consistency and celebration. That collaborative piece is more important now than every before because what we want to do is we want to sit down with our kids and say, “Okay, this isn’t the way that you hoped it would be, or the way you’d like it to be. How can we recalculate?” Just like our GPS says. “What are the new goals we’re going to set together?” I think that that process can be very helpful for all kinds of learners right now, particularly alternative learners.

Sharon Saline:
Maybe the goal isn’t all As. Maybe the goal is all Bs right now. I have to believe that colleges are going to take all of this into account. People are worried about college applications and where their kids are going to go to college. To me, I feel like that is a valid concern. You want your kids to go to college, but we don’t even know what college is going to look like.

Sharon Saline:
I was talking to a friend of mine whose daughter was a freshman at actually a university, and she spent a lot of time in her room. A lot of time in her room alone, and eating alone, and she can’t wait to go home because she’s like yuck, yet that’s what she knows college to be.

Pete Wright:
It’s just heartbreaking.

Sharon Saline:
It is. It is. I’m trying to find a silver lining here. I’m really trying, and I feel like the silver lining is that there is more family time. There is more time for parents to work on their attunement with their kids, basically their relationship, and finding things that you enjoy to do together. Yes, there’s too many screens. I get it, but have your kid teach you how to play their favorite video game, computer game, or pick a show that you’re going to watch together, or play a regular old board game, or come up with a list of some things you can do together.

Sharon Saline:
Maybe it’s plant herbs in a pot for the winter in your house, so you have fresh basil, or maybe it’s planning the Thanksgiving meal together, which of course, after this is aired, Thanksgiving will have passed, but Christmas and Hanukkah are coming, Kwanza, so plan your meals together. Really sit down and think about given our constraints, what actually would bring us some joy?

Nikki Kinzer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I love that. One of the things that I keep thinking myself, and try to relate to my family too is this will pass. This is not going to be forever. We kind of make the joke about what the history books are going to say, and how you can talk to your children about, “Oh, I lived through that. I remember that very clearly.”

Sharon Saline:
Exactly.

Nikki Kinzer:
Trying to take it day by day and being optimistic. There was a handout that you have and I am so curious to know about it. It says, “You can’t stop anxiety. You change your relationship with it.” Please tell us about that.

Sharon Saline:
I would be happy to offer that as a downloadable to your subscribers.

Nikki Kinzer:
That would be great.

Sharon Saline:
If you’d like me to do that, and we can talk offline about it. The thing about anxiety is, anxiety is a shape-shifter, so you’re anxious about one thing, you figure out what to do about that one thing, and boom, you’re anxious about something else. Do you ever see this with your kids?

Pete Wright:
Whack a mole.

Nikki Kinzer:
I see it with my kids.

Pete Wright:
And myself.

Nikki Kinzer:
And myself.

Sharon Saline:
Exactly like Whack a mole. “I’ve got this. Yep, there’s another one.” The things is we have to look at the process of anxiety, not the content. The content will continue to change. It’s how you respond to your anxiety, and how you talk to your worries that actually makes a difference.

Sharon Saline:
This idea that we’re going to pay attention to the process not the content is critical because one of the things that happens with kids is they come to you. They want you to reassure them. They want you to fix what they’re anxious about. You have your own limits. You can’t make things go away. You can’t protect them from life. Life has its challenges, its rewards. It has its joys, and it also has its disappointments.

Sharon Saline:
A lot of anxiety is about the false alarm of avoiding disappointment. I don’t want to be disappointed. We don’t want you to be disappointed. You’re sad. It’s not that I think that kids should be disappointed 24/7, but if I ask you Nikki, or you Pete, what was something challenging for you growing up that you had to overcome, what would you say?

Nikki Kinzer:
Definitely, the social aspects of it, I think. Caring so much about what other people think, and where you fit in, and what group you kind of want to be in. For me, I didn’t want to be part of the popular group. I wanted to be something different, more individual, but even in that, that was hard.

Sharon Saline:
How about you Pete?

Pete Wright:
For me, it was absolutely, yeah and so much of it is colored by my ADHD diagnosis, so you ask that question, the first thing that pops into my head is living through undiagnosed ADHD through middle school and high school, and having nobody understand what was going on in my head. Just completely missing it. As a result, to Nikki’s point, I found myself taking, like separating from others, going toward activities and sports that gave me more time to be alone because I didn’t feel like I could live up to anything else.

Sharon Saline:
Right, and that makes me feel sad, parenthetically, and …

Pete Wright:
I’m okay now. I really am fine.

Sharon Saline:
Okay, so here’s the thing. I was bullied when I was in sixth grade. We moved to a new town, and I was bullied really badly actually. People put worms in my lunch. They spit on me.

Pete Wright:
Oh goodness.

Sharon Saline:
Just because I was just as smart as Benji, who turned out to be a total jerk, and it was horrible. Would I wish that on my children? No. Did that impact me in some way? Yes it did. What it taught me was a lot of empathy. It taught me that I don’t need to be one of the popular kids because my beautiful teacher, Mr. [Talenoff 00:21:30], wherever you are, if you’re still alive, he helped me. He put me in a group of three girls. We all had our seats, our little desks together, and they became my friends.

Sharon Saline:
That really always helped me in the future when I didn’t know people, or I felt uncomfortable. It was like, “Who are my friends? Let me focus on that.” This is a long-winded answer to say that our goal when dealing with anxiety is to build resilience. Resilience is the antidote to anxiety. The way we’re going to build resilience is not through reassurance, even though that’s what we want to do.

Sharon Saline:
We want our kids say, “I’m afraid to go to school. I don’t want to go to school.” We want to say, “Oh, don’t worry. It’ll be fine.” That actually makes anxiety worse.

Nikki Kinzer:
It sure does.

Sharon Saline:
We want to say is, “Of course you’re worried about going to this new middle school this year. You’ve never done that before. It’s natural to worry in that situation. Let’s think of some things you could say to kids that might help you feel better, or you could say to yourself.”

Sharon Saline:
Learning to be able to talk to ourselves, to talk ourselves down from the ceiling when we’re anxious, to know what we need to say when we’re walking into a new work situation, or a new social situation where we don’t now anybody like, “Okay, I’m a little nervous. That’s good. That means I’m alive. I’m feeling some energy. I’m going to tell myself that I have something to offer because I know I do.”

Sharon Saline:
That’s the reassurance we want to teach our kids. Self-reassurance. That actually leads to resilience because you can’t be around your kids all the time to tell them things are going to be okay. The first thing is they have to learn how to talk to themselves, and the second thing is they have to actually basically tolerate disappointment. They have to strengthen that disappointment muscle because it’s being able to say, “Okay, I’m going to try this. It might work out. It might not work out, but I know that I’ll be okay because I’ve been okay before.”

Sharon Saline:
The following thing in my long-winded answer here is that anxiety gives us amnesia for our previous successes. We can’t remember when we succeeded or what we did well, or what was that thing I said that time that was so good? We want to be able to help our kids identify those kinds of successes. Put a big Post It on your refrigerator with some of those, so they can refer back to it, or maybe have a wall of small Post Its of little successes that they can accumulate each week, and at the end of the week, you could take them down, they could see what’s gone well. These all help us reduce the power of anxiety.

Nikki Kinzer:
I’m going to have to re-listen to that.

Pete Wright:
Right.

Nikki Kinzer:
That is so helpful because I can tell you, just living with anxiety myself, I couldn’t sleep very well last night because I had a really bad night of sleep, and the first thing my …

Sharon Saline:
Sorry.

Nikki Kinzer:
The first thing my husband asked, who does not live with anxiety, said, “So what were you worried about? What were you thinking about?” “I don’t know, everything, anything. That I couldn’t sleep. That I couldn’t sleep, I had this interview, that I have a full schedule. I have to do Thanksgiving. I mean everything.” It’s like you can’t really name it, and then having somebody … He didn’t say this because he knows me well enough not to say this, but I could see where you could easily say to somebody like a child, “You’ll be okay. Don’t worry about it. It’s a new day. You’ll be fine.”

Nikki Kinzer:
Like you said, it doesn’t help, but I love how you recognize the resilience, that it’s okay to feel this way. It’s okay to be upset that this isn’t going my way. Then, having that talk with myself that, “Well, I can take a nap if I need to, or I’ll probably get a really good night’s sleep tonight because I’ll be tired.” It switches the script for sure.

Sharon Saline:
Absolutely. When that voice says, “You can’t sleep. You can’t fall asleep.” I have 10-year-olds telling me they have these voices. The thing that they have to … What are we going to say to that voice? What are some actions you could do? Do you have inside timer? Can you do a meditation? Is there a book near your bedside that you could read to distract yourself because anxiety doesn’t want you to be distracted. Anxiety wants you to actually bend to the powerful negative statements it’s saying.

Pete Wright:
I think this ties right into your first C, and I wonder if you could reflect more about it in this context? Learning to manage your own feelings so that you can act effectively for, and in your parlance, some teacher ADHD child, but for so many of our listeners, adults who are living with ADHD as well, learning to manage their own feelings so that they can act effectively, full stop, in a state of stress and duress. How does this apply for you?

Sharon Saline:
Well, that’s a really good question Pete, and I think they are absolutely tied because what they’re tied by are triggers. Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night, and your trigger, like Nikki was saying … I mean Nikki, I can call you at 5:00 AM anytime, or maybe two nights ago. For sure not last night because I had that [inaudible 00:27:23] I’m so tired.

Sharon Saline:
We want to identify the triggers. The thing is anxiety has some often predictable triggers. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, if you haven’t had time during the course of a day, to deal with a problem, it will come visit you in the evening for some people. That also goes with how we’re going to manage ourselves when we’re awake and conscious, and we have big feelings.

Sharon Saline:
What we want to do is to identify what the triggers are, and how we’re going to identify that is maybe by content, but primarily through our physiological response. What are the signs in our bodies that we’re heading toward that cliff where we’re going to drop off, and say things, and act in ways we don’t really want to. We can help kids do this too.

Sharon Saline:
Does your stomach tighten? Do you get shortness of breath? Does your head start to hurt? Are you clenching your jaw? What are some of the signs that something’s going on for you? You may not know what that something is, but if we know what to do about those body signs, that will help. What we want to do, when we notice that we’re revving up, or someone else is revving up, that we want to slow things down. That’s how we start to exert self-control.

Sharon Saline:
We want to have a list of things that we can do to help us calm down. Maybe we want to wash our hands, or splash our face with water. Maybe there’s a couple of songs on our playlist that really help us get centered.

Pete Wright:
It’s like the inverse trigger. You’re pre-programming.

Sharon Saline:
Exactly. Exactly. Maybe I’m just going to go outside, and walk up and down my driveway so I can get some fresh air. What are these things? Maybe I just want to sit down with my dog, and pet my dog, and tell him that I love him, and that he knows exactly what’s going on for me. We want to identify those triggers, and we want to have a calm down time, a calm down plan.

Sharon Saline:
We want to have a few different options because if you’re at the grocery store, and you’re suddenly in a panic about something, you’re not going to be able to lie down on the floor with your dog. What are you going to do in that moment? What are you going to say to yourself? Do you need to just leave your cart by the door, and go outside, take some deep breaths? What are your options?

Nikki Kinzer:
What’s the 50 strategies? Don’t tell me what all 50 strategies are. We’d be here all day. This ADHD Solution Deck, I’m really curious about what that is.

Pete Wright:
I was looking at this. This published in March of this year. Is that incredible? Talk about a silver lining. Is that just good timing?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, no kidding.

Sharon Saline:
This deck is my silver lining.

Pete Wright:
There you go.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Sharon Saline:
What I love about this deck is that it’s a different way of getting information, particularly for people with ADHD who may not read that book that is really great, but they just may not get to it, or they’ll read one part of it. This card deck, you can either work your way through the five Cs, like one card at a time. I’m just going to do self-control.

Sharon Saline:
Then I’m going to do celebration, or you can just say, “I’m stressed out. I’m very angry at my child. I can’t remember why I like them. I’m going to pick a compassion card because maybe I need a little more compassion.” This compassion card says, “Nurture non-academic talents.” Each card has a quote from a child, a challenge and a tool so that you could use that.

Sharon Saline:
That is a little hint of what’s here, or let’s say your child has not been really able to follow through and do things that you would like to do. We’re going to focus on celebration because the positivity ratio, according to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, and our colleague, should be three positives for every negative. Most of the people I talk to who parent kids with ADHD, or have ADHD themselves, have told me that is not the ratio that they live with.

Sharon Saline:
A ratio is probably maybe one positive for 10 negatives every day, or sometimes people say 20, and actually one, a set of kids I talked to in a high school in California, one said to me that it was one to 30. I said, “Wow, why?” She said, “Because it’s the things that other people say to me, and the things I say to myself.”

Nikki Kinzer:
Myself, yeah.

Pete Wright:
Yep. Yep, 100%.

Sharon Saline:
You need a celebration card because you’re in a negative spiral. Review the day to accentuate the good stuff. “Before I go to sleep,” my age 13 says, “dad comes in and we go over my day. He asks me for three goods in my day, and then tells me his. We’ve been doing this since third grade. It’s our private, special thing.”

Pete Wright:
Wow.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s nice.

Pete Wright:
I love that.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Sharon Saline:
These are just tools that you can use right away.

Nikki Kinzer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I love that. I love that it’s not in the book form, because even with somebody who doesn’t have ADHD, it’s really difficult to go through a book that is all about ADHD, and it’s not very ADHD friendly to read in the first place, and I skip around, and move around. I love this.

Sharon Saline:
I know. There are a lot of books that way that are super helpful, but they’re so dense. I hope that my book isn’t like that for people. That’s part of why I put kids stories, real stories in there, because I think that breaks up the like, “Here’s what you should do when this happens. Here’s what you should do when that happens.”

Pete Wright:
I really love the whole conceit of it because it’s sort of the same reason why I podcast. I just love the idea of just how close we are to each other when I’m speaking, and it’s through headphones, and there’s a sort of intimacy there, and I really find myself falling for this idea of learning through your cards because of that sort of intimacy of just there’s this one thing. I just want you to think about this one thing, this one bit of compassion, this one way to relate to your child, this incredibly special human being in a way that is more nurturing, more intimate than you could find flipping through another book.

Sharon Saline:
Absolutely. You could do that one celebration card for three months. You could start the ritual. That’s something I wanted to say about playing with anxiety. Routines are very helpful at diminishing anxiety, and I think that’s one of the reasons kids have struggled so much with online school is they’ve lost their routine. If we think about ourselves as adults, I wake up, I brush my teeth, I go to the bathroom, I exercise. I’m lucky I have a little exercise machine in my basement. My bike is on a trainer. I go down there and I watch Schitt’s Creek because I love this show, or whatever.

Sharon Saline:
I also just finished a great movie, a documentary about Quincy Jones. Fantastic. Then, I come up. I take my shower, and then I get dressed, and then I’m ready to start my day. That’s my routine. When I don’t do those things, I feel all like discombobulated, and it’s not because I have OCD. It’s just that my routine grounds me. I think that we have to really create routines with our kids right now that makes sense to them, and what they need.

Pete Wright:
Any interest in doing a … I guess I should ask you, what is your thought on adults using the deck for themselves, not necessarily relating with kids? Talk to us about how they can sort of off-label use the deck.

Sharon Saline:
Well, it’s really interesting because I have some young adults, emerging adults, who use this deck for themselves, and so I think what you’re saying is where’s my card deck?

Pete Wright:
That’s exactly what [crosstalk 00:35:53].

Sharon Saline:
I want my adult card deck.

Pete Wright:
Let me just say, “I want my adult card deck, Sharon.”

Sharon Saline:
I think that’s a really good idea, and I’ll talk to them about it. In the meantime, you can do this absolutely because for example, this card says, “Teaching verbal impulse control with WAIT now. ID age 12 says, ”Sometimes I interrupt too much. I speak out. More at home than with my friends or at school. I can rein it in if I need to." What’s the challenge? The challenge is blurting things out, which causes difficulties at home, or at work, or with peers. This is at school but …

Pete Wright:
Let’s just take a minute, dear listener, as an adult and think about yourself with ADHD, and wonder when is the last time you blurted something out? I can think of a lot for me just right now. Just in the last 24 hours. Great, that seems useful.

Sharon Saline:
What we want to use is what I call WAIT now. Why am I talking now? Why am I talking now?

Pete Wright:
It took me a second to come back around to the fact that it was an acronym, and now it is so beautiful, WAIT now. Why am I talking now? I’m going to use that everywhere.

Sharon Saline:
Exactly.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes.

Sharon Saline:
We want to reflect, and we can reflect mid sentence like if we’re saying something, and people are looking at us a little bit skewed, we can be like, “I think I’m going to stop talking now.”

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Sharon Saline:
This is a good thing for us, and it helps us build social confidence.

Pete Wright:
I go back …

Nikki Kinzer:
And it’s reading a room too. I think that’s also a big part of it because I do a lot of group coaching, and I can tell because sometimes I do have to kind of step in, and re-guide the conversation, but I think having that conversation with them at the beginning of these cues, and why am I talking now, it’s beautiful because I think they really do start to kind of think, “Okay, what are other people, how are they responding to me? Are they looking away? Are they still paying attention? What’s happening?”

Pete Wright:
Read the room.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah. Yeah. That’s interesting.

Pete Wright:
This is wonderful stuff, Sharon. Where have you been all our lives? Seriously, why has it taken [crosstalk 00:38:07].

Sharon Saline:
I’m so happy to be here now.

Pete Wright:
You’re great.

Sharon Saline:
Happy to come back anytime, and talk about motivation, which is my second favorite topic.

Pete Wright:
Outstanding.

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh boy. We’ll have you back on that one because that’s a hot topic for sure.

Pete Wright:
We’re going to talk about late onset propulsion with Sharon Saline. I can’t wait. We’ve talked about the book and the plug. Give us one thing, one thing you would like everybody to take away from our conversation today. One key learning.

Sharon Saline:
What I would like everybody to take away from this conversation is that we are all doing the best we can with the tools we have available to us in any given moment, so that’s the compassion piece of the five Cs. We want to be compassionate towards ourselves, and our kids. When kids are dysregulated, when they’re losing it, it’s because they’re overwhelmed, and they don’t have the coping skills to meet the overwhelm.

Sharon Saline:
That’s true for ourselves as adults. When we’re overwhelmed, when we lose it, it’s because we don’t have, we can’t access the coping skills or the resources we need in that moment. These are tense times. These are uncertain times, and what I’d like you to do first and foremost is be kind to yourself. Be kind to yourself.

Pete Wright:
Perfect. Perfect way to wrap this up.

Nikki Kinzer:
Thank you so much for being here. It was such a pleasure.

Sharon Saline:
So great to be here and meet you. I love talking with you guys, and just listening to your questions, and your insights, and your honesty about your lives. It’s very touching for me. Thank you.

Pete Wright:
Consider this the first of many. We’d love to have you back.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s right.

Pete Wright:
Thank you everybody for downloading and listening to this show. We so appreciate you. Thank you for your time, and your attention. Don’t forget, if you have something to contribute to the conversation, head over to the Show Talk Channel, and our Discord server, and you can join us right there by becoming a supporting member at the deluxe level. Patreon.com/theadhdpodcast. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer and Dr. Sharon Saline, I’m Pete Wright. We’ll see you right back here next week on Taking Control, The ADHD Podcast.

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.