GOOD BYE…

Hi all,
Two years ago I published my first post on this blog. Since then I have experienced many changes in my family , and probably you too .
While I have been writing , I have discovered some wonderful people , amazing and wonderful stories , and I’m glad because learning and knowing are my personal drivers to enjoy life. I can only think of positive things as a result of these few articles I wrote .

Now it is time for me to turn the page and start a new project, more related to my professional background. This blog has been a way of throwing to the universe all that I had in my stomach related to the ADHD world. And I am very pleased to see that over those two past years, many pages and blogs like mine emerged from people who wanted to share their particular experiences and projects. This is one of the benefits of social media, in my opinion. We help each other, we listen / read, we rely.

I have seen that many of the associations related to ADHD have evolved a lot in terms of activities and support to affected families . And I have known mothers who, like me, have started to contribute in some way to make this disorder more bearable. I tip my hat. And it makes me very happy to know that I was included in all of this.

Last month I attended the seventh congress that the foundation ‘What really matters’ organized in Madrid. Its mission is to share values with high school students through testimonies of people with very interesting life experiences. There were four exceptional speakers ( Lucia Lantero , Irene Villa, Maria Belon , and Emmanuel Kelly) . As I listened to them talk about their lives , the challenges they had to face and the strategies they had developed to overcome them, I kept the visual image of the Tsunami that hit Maria’s life (her real story was reproduced in the movie ‘The Impossible’, having Naomi Watts playing her role). She kept saying that we all have in our lives our individual tsunamis and that it is only up to us to decide how to live (and survive) them.
ADHD , like many other disorders / diseases, is our tsunami : it comes without warning , and while it seems that we’re drowning , anxiety , suffocation and pain arise . We do not control anything. How many times have we been tempted, as parents, to say ‘I can’t do more ‘?
Many. But fortunately something inside arises instantly thinking ‘YES you can, just a little bit more’. That’s how I realized that big changes are done little by little. We are all involved in making the society aware that ADHD exists, is real, and affects virtually everyone. We need general acceptance and adaptation necessary for our children (and us) to live with the disorder without so many barriers.

I thank you for your support. And do not hesitate to contact me if you need it.
A huge hug.

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COMPASSION

Hi all,

Today I would like to talk about compassion. Let me start with a question ( I hope that a  powerful one… , we saw what that meant in the previous post ) : do we really understand and care about people who are in the same situation as us (in this case , parents of a child with ADHD ) or do we tend to think that our case is the ONE which merits attention above all others?

This is a question that I have asked myself many times because, honestly, when ADHD appears in your life it really catches you off guard and  you think you’re going to endure more than anyone ( and , later, when the calm comes over you, you realize that you lived with ADHD for many years , because , most likely , you also have it) .

One day, attending a conference, I  listened to a mother who said: ‘I have 6 children , 3 with ADHD and one with Down’ . I still remember that moment : it was like a flash, like a whip! I thought; ‘ but how can I be thinking only about myself? ‘

That phrase was the one which triggered me to  to write on this blog. My main goal was to make many of you feel like I really understood or comprehend what you are going through.. Because I realized that I really care, and that I sympathize with the sorrows of others,  with people I do not even  know.

I have felt very alone; this has, on several occasions, made my worries even more dramatic.. . Many times I thought no one understood me and cared for me. I would have very much appreciated a helping hand at this time.. Eventually I found a way to lend myself a hand; and that was in writing and publishing . I haven´t  much time for more, but it’s my two cents and I felt good doing it .

I would encourage you to “open up” with parents who are in our situation and have just arrived in this hectic world . To share experiences that to us may now seem un-important   but are very illustrative for them. Let’s listen to them carefully and strive to understand their reality. I have discovered many things acting like this ( new associations , new techniques, wonderful people, dedicated experts … ) . At the end of the day, this is our daily life and we should take care of it !

Thank you!

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Keep CALM

Dear all,

Today I want to talk about the need for us parents (and our kids too) to keep quiet in front of the too often occurring behaviors of our dear children who have ADHD. It happens to me sometimes I have a this “mechanism” that makes me react too quickly (and of course, not in the best way). So let me propose a challenge: would we be able to move from the world of responses in which we live in, ie: (this is not the way to do it…this is going to hurt you but…this is not possible… I already know this …), it´s quite depressing indeed, to the world of the questions that help us explore further?

In coaching we call these questions powerful questions because they often have the following characteristics: they are action-oriented;  they direct the mind to the future;  they wonder what for,  and how, but not why; are goal-oriented and mainly contain powerful assumptions; specifically  that OUR CHILDREN ARE VALUABLE AND CAN GET WHATEVER THY WISH TO.

In case it is not clear, the intention with which we should ask, must be positive, with love and respect.

I´ll give you a few examples so you can practice from now on, but feel free to formulate those you consider more appropriate in terms of situations, people, relationships … everything that moves in his world, for it to expand, and facilitates flourishing possibilities:

1. – What do you think of what you just saw? What would you have done?

2.-  What do you need to have your room tidy for? (Hm! This question, remember, loving tone … the challenge here is to find the right time, right?)

3.-  What other ways would you propose to get along better with your brothers?

4.-  How will you feel when you’ll see that you succeeded? (Passing an exam, finish reading a book, finishing the dishes …)

5.- What other plans would you suggest to do on Sunday?

6.- What is the hardest part of all this for you?

7.- What worries you the most?

8.- What confuses you the most?

9. –What have you gotten clearer from all of this?

As you can see, these questions are open (closed ones are only those to which one can  answer with a YES or a NO), they bring the opportunity to engage in an open dialogue with our children. If we succeed, we will be able to understand what moves them, their way of thinking, and this, over time will help us remain calm. Not that we agree, not that we feel the uncontrollable desire to throw things and shout to settle any matter. In fact, we are building people and this requires calm and confidence.

Let us offer them receptive silence so they can tell us the complete story. Help them empty all they have inside. What for? To practice verbalizing what happens to them. This will help them in their maturation, in creating their points of reference, and to have a better knowledge about themselves.

It is essential that when listening, we resist the terrible need to propose the ‘correct answer’. Bridle our impulses, we are with them FOR them.

How do you want to start? What sort of subject do you feel the need to be addressed? How will you feel when your child begins to share with you for real?

I wish you all a happy day!!

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By the way…THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!

Hi all,

Already in the middle of the summer. I hope you’re all enjoying it!!
I know that for some of you my comment this month on values might take you by surprise. I know that some of you already practice them but I would just like to share it with you as it comes from my heart.
In this post I want to talk about gratitude. Warm gratitude. Let me explain:

Being parents of children with ADHD,  we have probably not yet realized that we have forgotten to do the things that we previously used to do regularly and naturally.

Our discussions within our diverse environments, such as in school (where we had ‘conversations’ with the teacher, counselor, tutor, principal, secretary…), family (I´m referring to the extended one such as; the understanding sister in law, the super positive cousin and the others saying that you’re not educating your child in a right way), friends (who are no longer inviting you to join them in their family plans and you still do not understand very well why), neighbors (with their own concerns), people from the health community … well, these conversations were not the best we had, right?. I particularly feel small before these many misunderstandings and the rejections of so many.

I’ve spent several years, speaking with many people who live with or know of someone in one way or another associated with ADHD. And between us we help each other, and magnificently. In addition, there were many others who supported me, had a gesture, smiled at me looking into my eyes, listened without saying a word. I remember them from time to time, but I do not remember if I thanked them. And I think I need to. I can not go back to the past for 15 years and find them all, but this is a small tribute to those of you who did not hesitate to make me understand ‘I’M WITH YOU’: the kind waiter at the restaurant cleaning the table for the third time when the little boy has made a mess of it; the mother in consultation who offered me a diaper because I’ve left everything at home; the school bus driver who waited so many times for a youngster who was not in his best form; the teacher who skipped the school protocol to tell me that my child was suffering and that something had to be done; the crazy neighbor saying that she’d spent a lovely afternoon with him and her own children, that afternoon that I allowed myself a break; the basketball coach who looks at me in a compassionate way but nonetheless ensures me that I can keep taking him to the training sessions at anytime; the swimming teacher telling me ‘your son is a fabulous kid, don’t worry’, and I worried because in 99% of the cases, he uses all sorts of excuses for not going to these practice sessions; the teenager saying goodbye and adding: ‘he is very cute’ and suddenly you are at a loss for words.( Of course I know that my son is a terrific person!! but you´re not really expecting such a reaction from anyone.)

Let’s not forget that in closing times for companies, there are gestures of help and support, barely noticable because we are so immersed in the vortex of the rush and the pressure of things. But in the end, I think we have to look back and be grateful.
Being grateful is to be thankful for the special things that come our way. And that’s the key for me: to realize that which others do for us are special things. And I’m happy when I thank someone because I feel that I am in tune with that person, and I like that and it makes me feel more optimistic.

So let’s identify those people who give us what we do not expect. We should not hesitate to thank them. They deserve it. We deserve it.

Happy summer to all and by the way…thanks for following me!

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Do you accept me? … OF COURSE! I LOVE YOU!

In one of my last group coaching sessions, we had a great debate about the meaning of the word ACCEPTANCE. I, as coach, had introduced the distinction between ACCEPTANCE and TOLERANCE and this caused a strong discussion. Working in an environment where some 50 nationalities coexist is conducive to diverse subjects: political, religious or social …

Later at home, and because of the comments that arose, I began to analyze my relationship with my children, and in particular the one with ADHD. You know, these kids that take us out of the box in microseconds; who often propose things or have ideas seemingly nonsensical and meaningless, who disrupt our schedules ruthlessly, who often do not listen and do not obey … we end up defending them with tooth and nail because they are our children, and because we love them.

For now, I will say that according to the Royal Academy of Spanish Language: TO ACCEPT is ‘to approve, for good’, and TO TOLERATE is ‘to allow something that is not lawful’. I would like to ask you to observe yourself for, let’s say a week, and to identify how often you use those two words. It is important to be aware of how we live with these two words because they have very different connotations.

When I tolerate, I’m being lenient with you, I’m doing you a favor. Because I really think it’s me who is right and I decide that I will tolerate your opinion or your behavior. And besides, I’m able to put my limits of tolerance. But acceptance is another matter.

When I accept you, THERE ARE NO LIMITS. My opinions are not above yours, I identify and recognize you as someone other than me, and I can have a relationship with you with respect and equality.

If you transfer this to the world of leadership, I think the more experience and self-leadership a person has, the easier it will be to live in the world of acceptance.

And what about us, parents of ADHD children? What will you decide? Live and establish a relationship of tolerance or acceptance? I want to live with acceptance but it’s pretty hard for me. And these are the tricks I’ve seen that work to move from tolerance to acceptance in my relationships with the people I love.

The first is about being flexible to allow time to distinguish what is important from what is not. Sometimes I can react too quickly, but remaining flexible. I can recognize where I have to invest my energies. The second is about practicing patience. This virtue can identify the differences we have with others; live with them and end up accepting them. Flexibility and patience have helped me: at home I realized that I used the two words a lot but only in a negative way! ‘It is unacceptable not to follow through with what you just promised’ and / or we do not tolerate the mess in this house’.

And that was the inspiration that drove me to change.

The word ACCEPTANCE seems wonderful to me. Lately I find it even inspiring. It drives me to move from the world of answers (negative in their majority) to the world of  questions (What is happening to make him react like this? Is this so important for him? What can I do to help him?) And suddenly, new possibilities open new paths for him and for me. But best of all: I feel my heart swells and I’m happy.

I encourage you to watch yourself and decide what you want to do. And let’s not forget something very important: how do we look at ourselves? Do we accept ourselves? Are we aware of our own resources at our disposal and do we move through the world with authenticity?

Have a nice week-end!

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Are you crazy? NOOOOOOOOOOOO, I’m just happy!!

Dear friends,

We´re almost at the end of the school year. What can I say? For me, it´s been pretty rough. It´s a time when a lot of different feelings, thoughts and emotions come together in my heart and in my mind. I become an emotional merry-go-round. We, as parents of ADHD kids, know all too well that this is a particularly tough time for them as well as for us. It´s hard on them because they will again have to face the anxiety of taking exams; consequently foreshadowing failure and trying to delay pushing the panic button once again. For them, all of this brings to mind the uncertainty of their future plans: (summer equals having to study in order to re-take exams in September)… And for us, of course, there are many different reasons, which I really don´t need to mention right now… right?

How can we remain calm in a situation such as this?  My proposal is that we go for the JOY alternative.  I´ll explain why.:

JOY is a virtue; a value which gives us wings. In our happier moments, our inner strength is on a surge; our minds are more responsive and our comprehension is clearer. We feel more aware and able to face what is happening around us and it allows us to navigate in our sphere of influence.

Joy is not fun. Fun has to do with what is happening on the outside; joy comes from the inside. We are able to identity when we are happy because we feel we are doing what is right. Do we know when our child is happy?  If we take a moment to “look inside” and discover that we feel happy, whatever job or task can become a positive experience. Happiness is the feeling inside which makes us capable of “getting back up” in difficult situations, even though we feel sad… We should take a moment and analyze this aspect. When our children are happy it´s probably because they feel that “everything is ok” but I really don´t think they are capable of consciously defining that they “are” indeed happy. However, we, as adults, have to decide whether we truly want to be happy and take a moment to search deep inside of ourselves and when we find it, we have to help it flourish so that it may help us in our day to day.

I have to stress (once again) the importance of being role models for our children; but this time it´s for the following reason: without happiness (the one on the inside), all our feelings are determined by what happens to us on the outside. What I mean is, at times we may feel  absent or distracted; we project this on others around us in the form of pain or pleasure and it is caused by what happens on the outside. Without happiness, the fun stops. Without happiness, our feelings of sadness become deeper and deeper.

Just because we are happy doesn´t mean that bad things and good things stop happening to us.  But, if we are really happy deep inside, we are able to remain calm and carry on. When good things happen to us, we are happy and our feelings of happiness last longer. When we are hurt, we naturally feel sad. If we are able to resort to our happiness, the feelings of sadness will become less and less recurrent. They will begin to just come and go.

I could just go on and on about the theory of happiness…but concluding on a personal note, I would have to say, that for me, JOY is key. If something bad should happen to me, I wouldn´t want to become so stuck in all of those negative feelings (maybe the intelligent ones, but nonetheless negative….ha ha) that I wasn´t able learn something from the experience.

If we think on our children, it would be a good idea to focus on those moments that we see them at their happiest; by talking to them and helping them see (in different ways, of course, according to their age) the difference happiness is reflected in their body language, in their use of verbal language ( happy words: these they should use more often) and on the power that their happiness can have on those around them. This can be a useful tool in their development and a breath of fresh air for their self-esteem together with family gatherings.

Let’s live JOY!

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It seems that we do not belong to the same family…..

We are already in April… I¨m hoping that spring will bring us new energy to continue our journey as parents of our very special children.
(I have just returned from a few days rest in the mountains; it gave me the opportunity to have some quiet time.. and I always come back very optimistic).
I would like to share with you something which I have been thinking about for a while: Unity: the family, with friends, with colleagues .. Yes, quite simply, Unity.
I perceive that it is the source which empowers us; not only because we, as human beings, need to feel like we belong to some group or tribe (as Ken Robinson describes it in his book ‘The Element’) but that it makes us feel supported, understood and that we are part of something. It also serves as the spring board from which we can “jump” into new experiences.
First of all I think that feeling part of the Unity requires that you value the people closest to us; although we will never fully comprehend why they think as they think, or know what they know. If we make a musical analogy, it´s like  two instruments as diverse as one string and one keyboard showing compliance, respecting each other’s paces, silences, and leads. All of this requires long practice sessions …
When I feel integrated into the unit, I strive to achieve harmony. The first result will be living in peace. Through the power of the unit we can resolve conflicts, and / or discover new ideas or solutions that meets the needs of all.
Are we talking about peace, harmony, silence? This is completely incompatible with the ADHD world. This is what most of you will think and ocasionally so do I.
But I propose that we see it from another angle. If there is no Unity in a family, the first reason is often times because we parents feel too different from our children and this scares us. How easy is it then to hurt each other (especially if our child is defiant); how very easy is it to make them feel (even if this is not our deepest will) that we don’t care about them. I have heard this complaint many times.
The truth is that differences should not hurt. When a family or a group is truly united, its members are not mirror images of other; on the contrary, they are all different and yet they  understand and support each other.

How do we,( as parents of children with a disorder which is hard to see, to understand, to accompany) ensure that we are connected and united with our children? Is it really necessary? I assure you that it is; and a lot. We, as ‘family leaders’, must create spaces where our children are fully developed and help them to understand that they are an integral part of the unit, and that the Unity is the most important platform of their lives and ours as well. Yeah, well, but I’m not a leader! (I just give orders at home, that’s all). No! I disagree.
I am convinced that the unity; the union in the family begins by having a complete and total image of it. And it’s up to us to visualize it and make it happen. So let’s start first by understanding that we are all leaders. I would like you to see this video; ( it takes less than 7 minutes).

And now let’s think:
– How can I produce the most effective impact in my loved ones?
– How can I cover my emotional needs when I speak to them? Is this valid? I identify myself many times in the need to feel valued, and sometimes this not a good guide …
– How do I make them understand that the battle I´m fighting is for them?
– Do I know what for?
– Do I know how to express it?
– Do I acknowledge them as being different?
– What is the background music I want in my relationship? What silences do I have to respect? What new rhythms do I have to learn?

Oops! That’s too complicated! Yes, but what a great feeling when, after a while, our spouse, our children, sit with us and tell us, ‘You know, that day when you said … / or did … I realized that … and wanted to tell you. It was very important to me ‘.

That’s when we see that our efforts and our goals were worth all the pain in the world.

Let’s go for it!

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