A Conversation with 12-year-old Asher About Being a Kid with ADHD

gender nonconformity kids
 

In this special kid’s POV edition, my 12-year-old son Asher and I get real about the impact of ADHD in our world. We’ve known since Asher was five that he has ADHD, yet the learning for both him and us continues.

In our conversation, Asher shares how he felt when he first found out he had ADHD, what it means to him, and the areas of his life where it impacts him the most. I talk about my steep learning curve with understanding ADHD when I first began homeschooling Asher, and reflect on the ways in which I’m still struggling to embrace all aspects of his ADHD. We also have a frank conversation about why Asher has chosen to not take medication for ADHD and what he’s doing instead.

 

About Debbie & Asher

Debbie Reber is the founder of TiLT and the host of the TiLT Parenting Podcast. 12-year-old Asher is Debbie’s child and is regularly featured on the podcast. Find out more about Debbie and Asher by visiting the About Page.

 

Things you’ll learn from this episode

  • How it feels to have to fidget in order to focus, from a kid’s POV
  • What Asher wishes all teachers, and parents, understood about ADHD
  • Strategies Asher is currently using to help him calm his mind and focus
  • Why many kids with ADHD are too hard on themselves
  • The power and truth in the quote: “Kids would do better if they could”

 

Resources mentioned about being a kid with ADHD

 

Episode Transcript

Debbie Reber  00:00

When I first started homeschooling you, it was difficult. It was difficult because I don’t think I realized, like, I knew you had ADHD. And I knew what the strategies were. 

Asher

You didn’t really realize how hard it was. 

Debbie Reber

I didn’t realize how hard it was. And I remember…

Asher  00:16

But it was, it isn’t really hard. It’s just different.

Debbie Reber  00:19

It’s just that’s exactly right. 

Asher  00:21

Exactly. It’s not, it’s not really fair to just make a system that works for four fifths of all the people and then expect the 1/5 just to suck it up. No, you’re learning in a way that you don’t learn.

Debbie Reber  00:37

Welcome to the Tilt Parenting podcast, a podcast featuring interviews and conversations aimed at inspiring, informing and supporting parents raising differently wired kids. I’m your host Debbie Reber and today’s episode is a special kids POV episode with my 12 year old son Asher. Because one of the ways Asher is differently wired is having ADHD. And we know a lot of the members of the Tilt community are dealing with ADHD in some way. We decided to spend this half hour talking about what it’s like to have ADHD, what kids wish their teachers and their parents understood about ADHD, and share the kinds of strategies that Asher is working on to support him with the aspects of ADHD that can be challenging. But before we get to the episode, I have two quick announcements. First, Asher and I are planning a very special podcast episode for the first week of December, we’ve decided to tackle the topic of stigmas from a kid’s perspective and have a frank and open conversation about diagnoses and labels, why it’s important to let kids in on what’s going on with them, and how to talk about difference with our kids in a way that can actually positively shift the conversation in schools and communities everywhere. Asher feels super passionate about this topic, and we hope that you will not only tune in, but help us get the word out about this episode. I’ll be sharing more details in the coming weeks. My second announcement is that I’m going to be hosting a live webinar on Wednesday, December 7, where I share my best strategies for surviving the holiday break and experiencing the holiday season in a way that feels good for the whole family. This is the first time I’m doing a live event for Tilt. And I’m so excited to get to connect with some of the tilt community live. The holiday survival webinar will be limited to 100 people. So mark your calendars for December 7. And if you’re not already signed up for the Tilt email list, just go to tiltparenting.com. So you’ll get the information emailed to you as soon as it’s available. And now I’ll get on with the show. 

Debbie Reber  02:44

Hi, Asher, hello. How are you doing today? 

Asher  02:48

Okay, I’ve got a really bad cold.

Debbie Reber  02:51

Sorry. You still up for having our conversation? 

Asher  02:54

Yeah, of course. 

Debbie Reber  02:57

So we discussed that today we were going to talk about ADHD. 

Asher  03:02

Yeah. ADHD! 

Debbie Reber  03:05

That sounds like a good plan? 

Asher  03:06

Yes. 

Debbie Reber  03:07

And the reason I thought that would be good is because I know a lot of the Tilt community members, their kids have ADHD. And it’s a big part of our life. And so we’re going to just give us a little deeper peek inside of what it’s like for us and for you specifically.

Asher  03:22

Yeah, of course.

Debbie Reber  03:23

So I was curious, do you remember the first time you kind of learned about ADHD and maybe made the connection?

Asher  03:32

No, not actually. It was such a long time ago.

Debbie Reber  03:36

It was a long time ago. The way I remember…

Asher  03:39

Like three? 

Debbie Reber  03:40

I don’t think so. I don’t think we knew at three.

Asher  03:45

Yeah, it was only like five that I started to get hyper focused on things.

Debbie Reber  03:49

Well, I remember you and I laying in bed in our house in Seattle. And I was reading a book out loud. I don’t remember which book it was. But one of the characters, not the main character, but a side character, was a big part of the book. And it was mentioned that he had ADHD and you turned to me and he said, What’s ADHD? And I explained, well, it stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. And I kind of explained Oh, my gosh, sounds like I have that. Well, that’s kind of what happened. I explained it as best I could. And then you said, Do I have that?

Asher  04:22

And I was like, duh, duh DUH!!

Debbie Reber  04:26

At the time, we had recently gotten a provisional diagnosis of ADHD. Do you know what I mean when I say provisional?

Asher  04:35

It means that it only lasts for until you run out of food.

Debbie Reber  04:40

Different provision. So it was a diagnosis that they said, it’s not concrete, but we suspect this and we’ll need to check back with Asher in a few years and have more information. So when you asked me, Do I have that? I said, Yeah, well, actually, we think this is something that’s going on why Do you recognize some of yourself in this description in the book? And you’re like a Yep. Really? Sounds like me. 

Asher  05:07

Yeah. 

Debbie Reber  05:08

How would you define it then? I’m just curious, before we even get started, how would you define ADHD? Or what does ADHD mean to you? 

Asher  05:16

Mostly it means I find it hard to stay on one topic, except sometimes. And then I get ridiculously focused on it. But basically, it means it’s hard to get focused on something. But once you do, you’re ridiculously focused. The unfortunate thing is that sometimes I haven’t done the wrong things. Right. So I’m like, Okay, I’m gonna do some serious focus work on my video game. Five hours later….Yeah.

Debbie Reber  05:48

Well, what’s the other piece besides the focus? That is something that is a common trait for people…

Asher  05:54

The hyperactivity part? If, if you couldn’t already tell by the slight noises in the background, while I’m talking? I’m constantly moving.

Debbie Reber  06:02

Yes, I can attest to this. Asher is constantly moving. So in our next episode together, we’re actually going to focus specifically on labels and diagnoses. We’re going to talk about how you feel about those, and how you felt about learning about your diagnosis. But without going into too much detail right now. Could you kind of tell us in general, how you feel about the fact that you have ADHD? Like, personally, how does that impact you? Or how do you feel about it?

Asher  06:30

I’m fine with it. It just makes me feel like some of my faults or things that other people consider faults are really mine. It’s like, I’m not trying to be easily distracted. I can’t be blamed for being easily distracted. It’s all genetics’ fault.

Debbie Reber  06:52

Do you have any emotions attached to it? Like, you know, I think what you said is accurate. And it’s really good to know that this…

Asher  06:59

Well, attached to that would just be kind of relief. Right.

Debbie Reber  07:04

Right. Feeling relief, that it’s not something that you’re doing wrong, but it’s actually who you are. 

Asher  07:09

Exactly. 

Debbie Reber  07:11

At any point, like when you found… 

Asher  07:13

it’s like being mad at water for being wet. 

Debbie Reber  07:15

Right. At any point. Did you feel any other emotions? 

Asher  07:20

I was kind of? I wasn’t really surprised. 

Debbie Reber  07:24

No, I don’t think so. Either. Did you feel like any, like sadness or embarrassment or annoyance, or

Asher  07:31

Well, a little bit embarrassed because this was proof that I was different from everybody else.

Debbie Reber  07:37

And when you found that out that made you feel a little embarrassed? 

Asher  07:39

Yeah. But then it turned out to be different in a good way. Yay!

Debbie Reber  07:44

Cuz I don’t see you as someone who experiences a lot of embarrassment about who you are.

Asher  07:50

No, no, it was all inside. 

Debbie Reber  07:52

Okay, so, what would you consider your biggest challenges that you have that are related to your ADHD you mentioned a little bit earlier, but can you go into a little more detail?

Asher  08:04

Well, the biggest challenge that happened in regular boring, not fun school. No offense, it was always like this. I was fidgeting around and like, playing with my pan, click, click, click, click. And I was like, No, you need to pay attention to the lesson. Stop fidgeting right now. And I’m like, I am paying attention. Then I start fidgeting. I’m just like, paying attention, Asher and it’s like I can’t do both at once.

Debbie Reber  08:36

Were you able to say that to your teachers? I can’t do this right now?

Asher  08:39

No, I wasn’t.

Debbie Reber  08:42

So you felt it? But it wasn’t something you could articulate at the time

Asher  08:46

No. It was just like, I can either be a really good listener or a really good not fidget are.

Debbie Reber  08:55

So what does listening look like for you then?

Asher  08:57

It usually looks like me usually moving around a little bit, jiggling slightly.

Debbie Reber  09:04

You often have something in your hands. 

Asher  09:05

Yeah. 

Debbie Reber  09:06

Playing with. Are you listening intensely when you’re playing? 

Asher  09:08

Yes, definitely. actually kind of helps me listen. It’s kind of like I have something to occupy my hands while listening. I don’t have to worry about it.

Debbie Reber  09:18

Yeah. Interesting. What other challenges do you feel stem from? That you personally are working on that stem from your ADHD?

Asher  09:28

And well, I think there’s also, again, focus. As I said, it’s really hard for me to focus and it’s really hard for me to get unfocused once I’m focused. And then sometimes I get focused on the wrong thing. Yeah, and that’s, that’s really hard for me because I sometimes lose huge chunks of time, because I left something open on my computer, for example.

Debbie Reber  09:53

I want to talk about a couple things. One is I’m curious to know because, you know, we’re homeschooling now so a lot of the challenges that kids with ADHD face stem from trying to fit into a traditional school environment? So we’ve kind of eliminated that problem. But we were in that system for a couple of years. And I’m and I know lots of kids listening are in that system today. What do you wish that teachers knew about ADHD that you think that they just don’t get?

Asher  10:22

That we’re not doing this on purpose? Right? And it isn’t really a bad thing like, like, just imagine a world where everyone had HD and so it wasn’t, it’s like start fidgeting, you’re not paying attention. Right.

Debbie Reber  10:37

Jeff Rasmussen, who created the ADHD Kids Rock and we’ve shared his stuff on the Facebook page, and we’re hoping to get him on the podcast. Ooh, yeah, he created people for an interview, he created the ADHD cards, flashcards that were for teachers. And what I loved about those, it was all of these kinds of things to help teachers understand that this isn’t a choice, to be patient with us, that we’re really trying, that we need to move. 

Asher  11:09

Exactly! Like most people need to not be fidgeting. If they’re fidgeting, then they can’t pay attention. But ADHD people are the opposite. They need to be fidgeting with her attention, because they have to consciously not be hyperactive. And then that takes all of your focus on you.

Debbie Reber  11:28

Yeah. Do you remember what we did when you were in second grade? What we did to help you with your movement? 

Asher  11:34

No. 

Debbie Reber  11:35

We had something special in your chair. 

Asher  11:37

Oh, at the dinner table. 

Debbie Reber  11:39

We had one at home at the dinner table. 

Asher  11:41

I had one of those big yoga ball thing.

Debbie Reber  11:44

It wasn’t a yoga ball. But it’s the same material was oh, yeah, no, it’s a dinner table that is at school. And at home. We had a green cushion that had little bumps on it. And you could sit on it. And it would give you kind of feedback. So you could move but not fall off the chair.

Asher  12:00

Yeah, it was kind of like one of those ball bearings, you know? Yeah. So that was helpful where they move without really moving.

Debbie Reber  12:08

Exactly. So you were able to kind of get the movement, but without it without that you would move the whole chair. Right. You wouldn’t play fourth, and that would be….

Asher  12:16

Yeah. It was a shock absorber. Yeah, exactly. A fitted absorber.

Debbie Reber  12:20

And I think you’re teaching second grade and also allowed you to move around if he needed to, but I do distinctly remember. He was concerned that you were walking around aimlessly, and you were touching things. And so he asked me one day, How can I prevent Asher from touching and messing with this? And so he had big signs just for you.

Asher  12:42

Yeah, I remember. I was like, and I like touching the side. Just like this.

Debbie Reber  12:50

So as your parents, your dad and I are also on our own learning curve, like just like, there’s things teachers need to learn. There are things that we’re still discovering, and I will say that when I first started homeschooling you, it was difficult. It was difficult, because I don’t think I realized, like, I knew you had ADHD. And I knew what the strategies were.

Asher  13:13

But you didn’t really realize how hard it was. 

Debbie Reber  13:15

I didn’t realize how hard it was. And I remember… 

Asher  13:18

But it really isn’t really hard. It’s just different. It’s just… 

Debbie Reber  13:21

That’s exactly right.

Asher  13:22

Exactly. It’s not, it’s not really fair to just make a system that works for four fifths of all the people and then expect the 1/5 just just suck it up. No, you’re learning in a way that you don’t learn.

Debbie Reber  13:37

But for me, never having homeschooled before, and then also growing up in a traditional school environment. I think that when I started teaching you, I thought that now that we’re one on one, all the problems that were challenging in school were just going to kind of go away because you’d have my focused attention. And I could teach you in a way that you learned and all of those kinds of things. But what I wasn’t prepared for even though I had lived with you for nine years, and I knew that you’d like to move, but watching you try to do work was really eye opening to me. I suddenly was like, Oh my gosh, like how did this kid ever sit in a classroom? Like I totally understood why it didn’t work for teachers, and it certainly didn’t work for you.

Asher  14:20

Yeah, like sometimes I write books. And how I write is I run around the living room in circles while dictating the book.

Debbie Reber  14:29

Yeah, you move a lot. You also like, you know, sometimes to do one math problem could take 20 minutes because

Asher  14:37

And sometimes 10 can take two.

Debbie Reber  14:39

It’s true. But as you know, there’d be lots of doodling in the margins of the paper and you know, and then the eraser would be dissected and then you know, their own pace of things happening.

Asher  14:50

I couldn’t resist because it was mechanical.

Debbie Reber  14:53

So those were all adjustments so I guess what I’m and to say, I’m still learning and so it was your dad. I’m still understanding and trying to learn about ADHD. What do you wish that we as your parents understood better? Like I’m sure that you have gotten frustrated with us for not…

Asher  15:14

Wow. Actually, the main thing that frustrates me is whenever people tell me to do things, and I’m already doing that I take way too much offense. But that doesn’t really have anything to do with ADHD. I just take way too much offense to really minor things. That’s true.

Debbie Reber  15:33

That’s true. And then that might be a part of your wiring that you’re a person…

Asher  15:37

Yeah, it’s like, hey, Asher, are you? Did you brush your teeth? Yes, I’m brushing my teeth! You don’t have to yell at me, I wasn’t Yeah, like, you just Yeah.

Debbie Reber  15:50

You know, I would say what you’re describing used to happen a lot more than it does now. Because you express that that was annoying to you and dad and I have really made an effort to, and it’s worked. And it’s been working. But you know, here’s an example. Okay, one of the things that I actually just watched a video a few weeks ago, that is on the Blocked to Brilliant website, we interviewed Margit Crane, who’s an ADHD coach, her name is now Yaffa, she changed her name. And she is a brilliant ADHD coach. We worked with her as a family once and then I’ve since been looking at videos she has online and they’re all great videos on different topics. So when I have time, I just poke on to see, okay, what can I learn today? And one of the videos I watched recently was about interrupting. And the fact that people with ADHD like to interrupt and I was like, Oh, my God, that is the story of our life. Yes. Or interrupts Yeah.

Asher  16:47

I get you sometimes, what happens? Well, I mean, this also doesn’t have that much to do with ADHD. But it does have something to do with interruption. Sometimes I’m about to interrupt them. Like, no, wait, if I interrupt that, they’d probably get annoyed at me for disrupting their show. I’ll wait till it’s over. And it’s like, Wait, what was I going to say? Again? Oh, if only I had just interrupted.

Debbie Reber  17:09

Well, this was a problem. When you were in school. I remember in first grade, the second half of first grade when you were at Giddens, that you were in math class, specifically with your teacher, you wanted to contribute in your constant, you were really engaged. And you were…

Asher  17:22

Yeah, I treat lectures as discussions.

Debbie Reber  17:25

Right. Which is a problem because they’re trying to listen. And so their strategy was, they gave you a little note, except for if they’re really important lectures, they gave you a little notebook. And they said, when you have something you want to say, write it down. That way you can get the thought out of your head, but then after class, you can come up and share it. And then tell me your idea. Exactly. I think that was a good idea. In theory, I don’t think it really worked. Because it was just at the time, when you were in first grade, you weren’t really mature enough to kind of do that. Follow through on that, but it’s a good idea. But going back to this video that I watched, I really recognize that your dad and I can often be annoyed. Like, right? If you’re talking about something and you’re constantly jumping in and just checking ourselves and be like, how are we responding? Are we saying I should just wait a minute, okay. Or, and what I’ve been trying to do since I am being more cognizant of my own responses be like, can you hold on Hold that thought I just want to get my thought out. But I really want to hear what you have to say and do it in respect.

Asher  18:29

Yeah, away. That’s the best strategy. My because it means I still get to do what I say it provides a much better incentive to remember. Because I know that you’ll be listening to what I do. And it also provides me the opportunity to fully listen to what you’re saying and not spend the whole time thinking Wait, what was that I needed to remember?

Debbie Reber  18:54

And I like it because it’s respectful. And I think it is. I think there are lots of things that again, we’re still learning that we’re realizing some of the ways we respond are kind of knee jerk reactions to things we personally find frustrating. And it’s because we’re still learning that this is just part of who you are. 

Asher  19:11

Yeah, in fact, ideally, there would be different school curriculums for different types of learning. Like they’d have a few standard learning types, for example, right? So there’d be a teacher specially trained to teach ADHD people for example.

Debbie Reber  19:31

Yeah, that would be awesome. There are schools that are for differently wired kids, but they’re very few and far between and because this can look so different. It’s hard to…

Asher  19:42

Yeah, you know, how they’re like different teachers for things like math and music. There should be different teachers for ADHD and regular and dyslexia. Either that or the teacher should be specifically trained for right right…A team of highly trained teachers.

Debbie Reber  20:02

That’s a big thing. And that’s one of the reasons why Jeff from ADHD Kids Rock made those  cards because a lot of teachers aren’t trained at all in how to, you know, there may be given they sit through like a two hour lecture, and then boom, they’re supposed to understand how to support kids with learning differences.

Asher  20:20

Yeah, it’s like the kids with learning differences find it harder to learn in the same way as everybody else. Class dismissed. Yeah, right. Okay, now go apply all your new knowledge.

Debbie Reber  20:32

Is there anything else? So I just mentioned the interrupting thing. I’m also thinking about the fact that you, you know, there’s a lot of, sit down when you’re eating, step rocking your chair, like there’s a lot of that still that’s happening in our household? And are there things that you wish we understood better about who you are? And would kind of be more understanding? Can you think of anything that’s related to your ADHD? 

Asher  20:55

Not really. I think you’re doing a great job. Oh, thank you. And Dad too, of course,

Debbie Reber  21:01

Well thank you. We still have some work to do, because I do. I even noticed it with you. You know, with the chair like if it’s a dangerous situation, okay, let’s not rock back so far. They’re gonna crack your head open. But if you need to rock your chair a bit, is that really the end of the world?

Asher  21:16

Yes. It’s the end of the world as a chair.

Debbie Reber  21:22

Oh, my goodness, we’re recording this right now. And if you can hear like,

Asher  21:26

it just started torrential downpour. 

Debbie Reber  21:28

And if you can hear a soft patter it’s because it’s dumping rain outside our window right now. Ah, the beautiful Amsterdam weather sheets of rain. Okay, let’s keep going though. I wanted to talk about medication. Medication is one of those issues for people with ADHD and families dealing with ADHD that can be really controversial. And I have, as I’ve mentioned on the podcast before, you are not on any medication. And yeah, and all I’ve said was that, you know, it’s an option for you. But your choice right now is that you’d like to try other strategies. Exactly. Can you say a little bit more? I’m just curious. Yeah. So people can hear from you like

Asher  22:07

Not to be rude to anyone who is on medication. But my point of view on it can be summed up by the old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, can you say if you if you develop strategies to either stop things that are annoying other people or get other people to be more accepting of those things, then there will be no need to use something that only temporarily stops them. All I’m saying is it’s a more temporary solution. Like if you were stranded on desert island with one other person, and you hadn’t practiced strategies, you’d drive them insane.

Debbie Reber  22:45

I do want to point out for listeners, too, that you are someone who has always objected to medication or ingesting anything of any kind that you weren’t 100% on board with. So I mean, even to the point where you won’t take any medicine, if you’re sick. When you had your appendix out, you refuse to even take an ibuprofen to help with the pain like you were, you’re just super strict with yourself. And I’m not sure where that comes from? 

Asher  23:14

No, I think it’s partially because I feel kind of close to nature. Right? You know, just in general.

Debbie Reber  23:20

So how does that impact you now?

Asher  23:22

That’s why I like eating radishes. 

Debbie Reber  23:24

How does that impact? 

Asher  23:25

I don’t know. It just makes me feel like I’m, for some reason, it makes me feel like I’m more survival-ly if …

Debbie Reber  23:33

 If you’re not reliant on…

Asher  23:34

It makes me feel more independent. 

Debbie Reber  23:37

Okay. All right. 

Asher  23:38

So yeah, I think that’s an important thing and not a person.

Debbie Reber  23:42

I think that’s important too. And we have talked about medication. And I know a lot of kids take medication, because it’s really the only way they can get through a school day. Yeah. And there are schools that you have attended, where medication probably would have become mandatory at some point for you to stay in that program. And so, because we’re homeschooling, we have a lot more flexibility. And I acknowledge that, yeah. However, we do talk about it. And when, especially when you get really frustrated with yourself, we talk about what are other things we could do then. So we’re not going to explore medication right now, which I totally support your decision in. But we also then need to be more proactive about trying other things to support you. So what are some of the things that we have been doing that you think are making a difference?

Asher  24:30

We run every morning. It’s really nice, and it gives me a running high. It’s really fun.

Debbie Reber  24:38

We did start running every morning. I mean, we do it. We really started it how long ago now maybe six months ago. We were doing the Miracle Morning already. But the Miracle Morning you were doing some funky jumping jacks that kind of barely passed his exercise. But we started the running in I think it’s really nice

Asher  24:57

Because it’s exercise and it makes you feel happy and it helps kind of calm and focus your mind.

Debbie Reber  25:03

Yeah. So we do that every morning. First thing, sometimes after breakfast but sometimes torrential 

downpour. Yeah, we do it rain or shine and it. So you have felt a difference with your 

Asher

yes, definitely 

Debbie Reber

focus and energy?

Asher

I wouldn’t say I’ve noticed a huge difference. But I enjoy running with you. But if you’re feeling like it’s centering you more I mean, we certainly are doing a good …It just feels like I’m more calm, more focused, generally happier.

Debbie Reber  25:32

Yeah, I would agree with that. The other thing that you kind of personally made a decision to do is really cut back on your sugar. And that partly is due to some documentaries we watched about the effects of sugar on the body. But also, we know that nutrition can be a big piece of ADHD as well, especially more sugary foods.

Asher  25:53

And again, I like to feel independent. There is a weird thing, but the less you eat sugar, the less you like sugar. Mm hmm. I’ve noticed that too. Like it’s actually become less of a treat for me. So interesting.

Debbie Reber  26:07

There’s actually a pack of Peeps in the kitchen right now that’s been there for…

Asher  26:12

Wait, seriously? Yes, I’ve gotten you to reveal our candy!

Debbie Reber  26:17

Yeah, Aunt Alice sent it back with me when I was there in June, and it’s still in the cupboard. 

Asher  26:23

Yeah, at first I just started savoring my candy. And I started eating it more slowly. And, and then last and last. And then eventually, I was like, Gee, sugar is really bad for you. I’m going to cut out a big portion of it. And, now I have sugar on very special occasions. Yeah. And vacations and stuff. Yeah, cuz we have to have gelato on vacation that every single day goes without saying.

Debbie Reber  26:49

Let’s talk about kind of the big thing that we’re doing to address, you’re getting frustrated with yourself. Like when we had a call with our ADHD coach, one of the things, the biggest issue was that you were perpetually getting frustrated with yourself too hard on myself, what we notice and why you wanted to meet with the coach is because you were getting increasingly frustrated with yourself, because you have a lot of personal projects that you’re working on. And you were not accomplishing what you set out to accomplish. You know, even you’d make a plan that day, and then the day would end and you didn’t achieve what you set out to do because you got distracted. And then you were getting really, really angry with yourself and having some really upset moments and sadness and beating yourself up really?

Asher  27:36

Yeah, like sometimes I was really sad because I had felt like I was really the worst kind of focuser, right?

Debbie Reber  27:44

Do you remember what Yaffa said, when we talked to her about that specific thing? How could you support yourself?

Asher  27:51

Yeah, the creative process is really messy. You can’t just say, Okay, I am going to think of this today. Oh, I didn’t think of it as argh, I’m a terrible creator.

Debbie Reber  28:01

Yeah. And we actually just like…

Asher  28:03

I’m going to think of this today. I’m going to be creative about this, this and this.

Debbie Reber  28:09

Yeah, and that. 

Asher  28:10

I mean, that goes against the very idea of creativity.

Debbie Reber  28:14

And we know that people with ADHD tend to be very creative people, because you have lots of ideas, right? Oh, hey, so one of the things we did, and I will share this on the show notes. And I bet listeners, a lot of listeners have seen this, but there’s a great image. And it’s the creative process. And it’s the start and the end, you know, either side of a paper, but instead of a straight line connecting the two, there is a big jumble of lines. 

Asher  28:39

Yeah, exactly. It’s awesome. 

Debbie Reber  28:41

And that is true for any creative person there. It’s not a linear process. And so part of it is, and what we’re focusing on is you getting to know your own way of working. And maybe you are someone who can do focused work, and then you need to go off on a tangent for three days before you come back to it. And that’s okay, the

Asher  29:01

Exactly. Sometimes what happens, it’s kind of a pattern is for a few days, I would spend like two hours just being really distracted not doing any work, then I’d realize that I’d spent lots of time I only had a bit left, then I would chunk out two hours worth of stuff in that half hour. And in the end, I would have done all the work I set out to do. Just I’d done the actual work in a very small amount of time, right and then goofed off for the rest. Right?

Debbie Reber  29:31

And so what we’re trying to work on is you being gentle with yourself and not judging yourself for or as I like to say not shoulding on yourself for what you… Should, s-h-o-u-l-d.

Asher  29:44

Oh, because, I was like, why do I have to offensively poop on myself with my words? just gross.

Debbie Reber  29:53

Anyway. So yeah, I think that is the biggest lesson for you right now is just learning to be patient with yourself. 

Asher  30:00

I can’t should all over myself.

Debbie Reber  30:02

And learn to recognize how you operate in the world. Yeah. Because once you know that you can start advocating for what you need both with other people, but also setting yourself up for success by recognizing and that is the other strategy. We’re doing pretty heavily right now; do you want to tell people how we’re using a modified productivity planner.

Asher  30:22

One of the things we’re using is a productivity planner.

Debbie Reber  30:26

You know what we actually did talk about the productivity planner in a previous episode, it’s kind of like our screentime planner only better, but what we’re doing not just for screen time, right, and you’re being really conscious about filling it out, and you’re writing down your priority for the day…

Asher  30:42

And we have a timer that plays the most annoying music in the universe…

Debbie Reber  30:45

You’re asking me to sit back up timers? And then I’m also then when a timer goes off, I’m just saying, hey, just checking in. Are you doing what you planned to be doing right now? And then you stop and reflect? So there’s a lot of support happening? You’re not doing it on your own? But do you feel like you’ve been moving your personal goals forward?

Asher  31:04

Yeah, I do. Definitely.

Debbie Reber  31:05

So we’re gonna have to keep working on that. I’m sure. It’s something we’ll keep adapting. We covered a lot of ground with regards to ADHD today, before we say goodbye. Is there anything that you would like to share either to the parents who are listening, whose kids have ADHD or to kids who are listening who have ADHD, or maybe kids who are listening who don’t have ADHD, but have friends with ADHD?

Asher  31:29

I think my main thing is that we’re just not doing it on purpose.

Debbie Reber  31:33

Yeah, one of the most important things that I remember learning back when we were discovering kind of who you are, is a quote, I don’t remember who shared it with me, but the quote is, he would do better if he could. And when I learned that, it just totally resonated with me. And I tried to spread the word among all of your teachers, some of whom didn’t quite buy it. But I believe that deeply for any child, not just kids who are differently wired that we all do the best we can when we’re younger, and everyone’s approaching the world and life and in their learning and everything in their own unique way. Yeah, well, Ash, I would like to thank you once. For this really honest conversation and sharing your story with us and with the Tilt listeners,

Asher  32:23

It’s my pleasure.

Debbie Reber  32:27

You’ve been listening to the Tilt Parenting podcast. For the show notes for this episode, including links to the resources Asher and I talked about in the show, visit tiltparenting.com/session33. If you like what you heard and haven’t already done, please consider subscribing to our podcast on iTunes or leaving a review. Both things help our podcasts get more visibility. And lastly, if you’re not already signed up for our newsletter, we invite you to join our online community on tiltparenting.com. I send out periodic updates with links to new podcast episodes, articles and resources just for you, as well as information on events like the upcoming holiday survival webinar. So if you want to be in the loop, sign up there. Thanks again for listening. For more information on Tilt Parenting visit www.tiltparenting.com

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