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Tips on how to cope, organize for a parent who has ADHD

Setting daily or weekly goals can help parents

Setting daily or weekly goals can help parents with ADHD, says psychiatrist and author Edward Hallowell. Photo Credit: Depositphotos / Andrey Popov

Q. What if it’s not my child who has ADHD, but me, the mother? How can I keep my family life organized when I struggle to organize myself?

A. “You’re the perfect candidate for coaching, someone to help you develop systems because it’s very hard for you to do it on your own,” says Edward Hallowell, a child and adult psychiatrist and author who runs the Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Manhattan. Hallowell addressed this question from a parent at a recent workshop at the Waldorf School in Garden City called “Stress, Screens and ADHD: How to Thrive, Not Just Survive.”

ADHD coaches work with children or adults, either on the phone or in person, says Hallowell, who has ADHD himself. He recommends coaches use a model he outlines as “HOPE.”

The H is for Hello — making sure the coach-ee is ready with pen and paper to focus on the conversation and make notes. The O is for objectives: He recommends choosing three objectives for the day or the week. “That forces you to prioritize.” The daily objectives might be to do the laundry, go grocery shopping and pick your child up from school. The P is for plan. “You can’t just say, ‘I’ve got it covered.’ To someone who doesn’t have ADHD it sounds moronic, but for someone with ADHD this is where the devil is in the details. They’re constantly pulled away from the sequence of events that gets things done.” And E is for encouragement. “Particularly the moms are very hard on themselves,” Hallowell says. “They’re ashamed.”

Coaching, which aims to instill good habits, starts at about $100 a session, says Cindy Goldrich, a Melville-based licensed ADHD coach. For more information on ADHD, visit lipac.org, chadd.org or drhallowell.com.

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