Coach Anders Ronnau Talks About How He’s Transforming ADHD

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​In this episode of the Tilt Parenting Podcast, I talk with Anders Ronnau, a master coach, hypnotherapist, trainer, and writer, and the ADHD coach behind the Transforming ADHD Movement. Anders is the leading ADHD coach in Denmark, and for the past seven years has been teaching both parenting programs and been an ADHD coach trainer. He recently launched his online community and business, Transforming ADHD.

Anders has a unique approach to working with his clients, who are anywhere from six years old to adults, and I was really intrigued to learn more about his work and find out what its implications are for our children. His focus is on development his client’s cognitive skills and behaviors to help them be better at managing their time, focus, and temperament, as well as rebuilding their self-worth.

 

About Anders Ronnau

Anders Ronnau is fiercely committed to helping children, teenagers, and adults transform their ADHD through cognitive enhancement, and inspire them to become extra-ordinary with their unique gifts and talents. His focus is on developing his clients’ cognitive skills, in order to help them become better at managing their time, focus and temper, as well as rebuilding their self-worth. He works with clients from 6 years old and up. Only recently has he translated his work into English as articles, videos, and online courses. You can find a special video for Tilt listeners along with a bunch of free resources at http://TransformingADHD.com/tiltparenting

 

Things you’ll learn from this episode

  • A look at whether or not positive behavior systems work in the long-term for kids with ADHD
  • How to gain access to the inner world of a child
  • How “externalization” helps change behavior and leads to transforming ADHD
  • Why a differently-wired person’s inner negative self-talk is their biggest hurdle as they get older
  • Ander’s tips for things parents can do at home to help their kids
  • How the magic question—What were you trying to do?—allows us to reach out with curiosity instead of blame or anger

 

Resources mentioned for transforming ADHD

 

Episode Transcript

Anders Ronnau  0:00

I think that’s really the most debilitating part of being differently wired is that through the resistance you get from the outside world you build in these very destructive, automated parts of your personality that are just not helping you progress.

Debbie Reber  0:20

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 I’m happy to be bringing you a conversation with Anders Ronnau, a master coach and hypnotherapist who specializes in ADHD. Anders is the leading ADHD coach in Denmark, and for the past seven years has been teaching both parenting programs and been an ADHD coach trainer. He recently launched his online community and business Transforming ADHD. Anders has a unique approach to working with his clients who are anywhere from six years old to adults, and I was really intrigued to learn more about his work and find out what its implications are for our kids. His focus is on developing his clients cognitive skills and behaviors to help them be better at managing their time, their focus and their temperament as well as rebuilding their self-worth. And lest you think this is going to be all about ADHD. Anders works with all kinds of differently wired people, including those with Asperger’s Tourette’s, OCD, and other differences. So I think there really are some great takeaways for any parent raising an atypical kid. I hope you find this conversation as interesting as I did. And before we get started, if you like what we’re doing on the Tilt Parenting podcast, I would like to invite you to support our Patreon campaign. Patreon is a tool that allows people to support the work of artists, musicians, and yes, even podcasters. Donations made through our campaign help fund production costs associated with the podcast help, which is very appreciated as it allows me to spend more time focusing on the other pieces of finding and researching great guests to bring on the show. It’s super easy to help out and every little bit helps. If you’d like to support us, please visit patreon.com/~parenting. Thanks for considering and for being a part of our audience. And now let’s get on with the show. Hey, Anders, welcome to the show. 

Anders Ronnau  2:26

Hi, Debbie. 

Debbie Reber  2:27

So you and I were talking before I hit record, this is the first time we’ve spoken in person, although I was trying to think we’ve been online friends for maybe the past year. Does that sound about right? 

Anders Ronnau  2:37

Yeah, that does sound about right. 

Debbie Reber  2:39

Well, and I think we connected because our big picture mission for supporting differently wired kids, for me felt very much in alignment. And I know that your focus is around supporting kids and adults with ADHD as well as helping parents who are raising kids with ADHD. And before we even start, I want to just say that I appreciate how supportive you have been, as I launched and got tilt off the ground. You kind of saw this in the early stages. And now I’ve gotten to see that with your transforming ADHD. And watch you launched that last fall. So it’s been really cool to see that and to get to support what you’re doing and have you on the show. Likewise, before we kind of get into the meat of our conversation, could you give us a little bit of background about your story and how you got into this field of helping people with ADHD?

Anders Ronnau  3:29

Sure. So I work as a coach coaching clients with ADHD now, like a lot of my clients, I have a mixed background. I started out when I was a kid. I was differently wired, but also gifted. So you know, I kind of snuck under the radar and manage well throughout school and stuff. My mom was a special ed teacher. So she helped me manage everything like I was supposed to. Then in my early 20s, I did a PhD in applied physics, then I did because I realized that wasn’t really it. So I did a master’s level design degree afterwards. And what kind of holds all this together is that I really like to figure things out, like how they work and, and what’s going on. And I love the process of problem solving. So when I started, I did a couple of mat coaching programs, and just knew that that was the most intense experience that I’d ever had workwise and had to do more of that. So in 2007, I started working as a coach full time. And one of my very first clients was an adult who called in and said, I have ADHD and am 40 years old. Is there anything you can do about it? And when we talked, I thought I knew what it was about. So I said, Yeah, sure. Come on in and we’ll figure it out. And when I hung up the phone, I was like, oh shoot, I don’t actually know what ADHD is. So he came in. I actually had time to prepare and read about ADHD in advance. Once and what I was reading, reading, when I was reading, like the psychiatry-based literature wasn’t too optimistic because it was all about behavior. And all of my training as a coach and therapist was, how do we change things from the inside out? How do we work with the emotional states, the cognitive states that drive the behavior. So for me, looking at the behavior alone wasn’t very interesting. And everything about ADHD is about behavior when you look at it from a diagnosis perspective. So I actually coached him for free for six months, and had a really interesting time learning about ADHD from him. And pretty much from when he walked out of the door, and I told my network about what I’d been doing my entire practice was around ADHD. Because there weren’t any tools, 10 years ago, there wasn’t anybody who could say that things really moved, at least not not that fast. So I think one of the things that kind of my signature is that I came in not knowing anything about ADHD. So, I really had to let my clients teach me. Of course, I’ve read all the right books, and went to the conferences and whatnot. But I’ve really let my clients teach me what ADHD was, and also what could be done about it. Because a lot of the things I read in the psychiatry-oriented literature was very belief oriented, like this can be done, all people are like that. And you can’t change anything about the way they think about time and, and stuff like that. And I was like, ah, that doesn’t apply to me. I don’t want to hold these beliefs. So I’ll just let my clients tell me what is actually happening inside of them, and what we can transform. And I still haven’t really found the limit to what’s possible, to transform in the mind of somebody else.

Debbie Reber  6:54

Very interesting just to hear the story from you. And it does seem so counter to what we think of when we think about ADHD, especially with kids, so much of the strategies are centered around their behavior. And maybe because with kids, that’s where their ADHD is really creating a problem, right? In schools, their behavior is disruptive, or it’s non-compliant, or it’s intense, or just being disorganized, or all these kinds of factors that are influencing them. And so that’s where all the focus is right on addressing that behavior. And the standard approach. What we used for years was this positive behavior reinforcement plan. And, you know, were there lots of charts that I think with, we had so many iterations of our little charts, there was one for different teachers and one at home, and, you know, stickers, or checks or stars, or I think our last one, he, he created a Minecraft monetary system called creeper bucks. And that’s what he was collecting. But you know, that reinforces positive behavior. And as far as we knew, that was really the only thing that was what worked. And that’s what you do. So yes, what are your thoughts on that?

Anders Ronnau  8:07

I’d really like motivational strategies. So I’m not not opposed to moving in the direction of motivational strategies. The problem is that a lot of times with kids with ADHD diagnosis, they just don’t work. Or they work while you use them. But they don’t kind of settle into a new behavior. So that once you stop the strategy, everything falls apart again. And that really comes down to if you’re, if your thoughts are spinning, like if you have a lot of stuff going on in your mind, you can kind of pass them like so subconsciously, you can say kind of pass them or try to focus and whatnot. But once you don’t have the motivational strategy going for you, things will just kind of pop back to how they were. Let me give you an example of that. I was working with a kid who really can’t when he came in to me, he couldn’t remember three things. So if his mom told him to go pick up this, that, and the third thing, he would come back with, like a partial solution to the first thing. So like if that first thing was pick up like a freezer bag, with like two cups of oatmeal, he’d come back with some oatmeal. And you could definitely have tried motivational strategies with him like, offered him stars and or even money or games or playtime or screen time for doing it right. And he might have been able to gear up and try harder. But if the cognitive strategy for remembering those three things isn’t in place, he’s just going to reverse or revert back to the old way of thinking, like relax into his normal way of thinking, really. So what I was able to do with him was to help him realize that he was actually really good at remembering his three favorite games, and he had very detailed memories. As for him, he could say what the game was and who was in it, and even what the font was on the front page of the front cover of the DVD cover. So his memory wasn’t not working, it was just used in the wrong way. And we were able to kind of rewire his thinking around remembering things. So he had a clear image of what he wanted to remember. And from that day on, he could just remember those three things. And he didn’t need a motivational strategy, because he really was motivated. Right? He just didn’t have the cognitive strategy for it.

Debbie Reber  10:35

Wow. Okay, um, this is very exciting. I’m already like, yes. Because what you just described is a real challenge for kids with ADHD, especially that multi step, you know, do this, then do this, then do that. And that’s actually something I work a lot with Asher on and I challenge him, we don’t use any motivational or behavioral system, Positive Behavioral reinforcement anymore. But I do say, okay, firstly, I’d like you to put your dishes in the dishwasher, then if you could take your clothes and put them in the lot. You know, I try to give him three things to do seeing if he can stick with all three of those. But I’ve never, as you describe it, it makes total sense that give them a strategy. He has the best memory, he almost has a photographic memory. Yet, you know, sticking with these things is difficult. So I love that it sounds like you’re kind of becoming fluent in the child’s world, or their language and what their gifts are and interests are, and then using that as a starting point. Is that accurate? 

Anders Ronnau  11:40

That’s totally correct. And you mentioned ad ADHD, and differently wired, my work is not centered on ADHD. That’s just the kind of the niche or the expertise teas I’ve developed. But I’ll happily work with ODD, Asperger’s and Tourette’s and whatnot. So, with all these different diagnoses, once a person walks in the door, they don’t really matter anymore to me, because as you say, I need to become fluent in the child’s inner language. And that inner language is different from child to child to child. So I can’t really know in advance what I have to do, which in the beginning was terrifying to me. I like order and structure and, and whatnot. And I’ve kind of freaked out every time I had to work with a child because things were so hectic and all over the place. And I had to work to figure out what was actually going on. Right now. It’s obviously a different situation. But yeah, everybody’s inner world is so differently laid out and managed, if you will. So I really can’t offer anything there. I don’t have any solutions for people or for any of my clients, I have to figure out what’s in there, and help them help me figure out what will be good for them.

Debbie Reber  12:58

How do you do that? How do you kind of get access to the world of the child that you’re working with?

Anders Ronnau  13:03

I just really listened to what comes out of their mouth. Like I’ll have a kid coming in. And we’ll be talking about how they have anger fits and hits other kids in school and stuff. And the kid says, it wasn’t me that hit her, it was my hand. And every normal healthy parent, when they hear that there’ll be going, Oh, it’s your responsibility. It’s your hands. It was you who did it. Whereas I’ll say, Oh, wow, then it’s a good thing. You said that, because then you and I need to have a good conversation with your hand about that. Because obviously, different forces are at play in the child, there’s a part of them that wanted to hit. And that’s the, that’s signalize are described by the hand wanted to hit. And then there’s obviously a part of them that knows that that’s wrong. So what I want to do is I want to talk to the healthy child inside the kid that has a good value system that knows what’s right and wrong and stuff. And I want to talk to that whole child about the hand. And we’ll be talking about the hand like the hand is really the perpetrator of the actions. This is a process called externalization. A lot has been written about that through Narrative Therapy. My background is in neuro linguistic programming. And I’ve studied a lot of narrative therapy. And so I take the coaching approach to all of this. So all the different tools in my bag can be used with the coaching approach. And I’ll just ask the kid, so how do you feel about your hand doing that? So we’ll externalize that thing in their hand that wants to hit and I’ll have the kid explain a lot of things about that hand and why it’s doing what it’s doing and what it’s trying to achieve and, and whatnot. And then we’ll figure out what the child thinks the hand should do differently and all the time I’m just merely being a catalyst. for that conversation,

Debbie Reber  15:02

Do you find that the kids you’re working with are open, you know, is that externalization? Help them be more open? Because it’s not kind of fused with who they are. And I imagine some of them feel guilt or shame about, yeah, their behavior.

Anders Ronnau  15:14

Absolutely, absolutely. They’ve been guilt tripped so much about their behavior. And they really want it to stop, but they can’t figure out how to do it, because it’s the hand that does it. So when I acknowledge that they really want it to stop, most often, they just really think that I am a trustworthy person, and I am often even the first person they think, actually, I understand them. Because I just, I just listen and let them know that whatever’s going on inside of them, is what’s going on inside of them. And, and I completely understand that. And I know, and obviously, I expressed this both, like consciously but subconsciously, that I think they’re cool kids. And I just really liked them. So they trust me, sometimes it’s in the fourth session with a kid that we actually get to do some work. Obviously, my work starts in the beginning seconds of the first session. But the transformational work sometimes only starts when we reach the third or fourth session, because that’s when the kid is open to the transformation and trusts me enough to trust me enough to talk to me about things that are going on in there. But once we do that, most kids really love it. They love talking about what’s going on inside of them. And when they know it’s okay to talk about what’s going on inside of them. It’s like an alternative universe opening up with everything from trolls to magician’s, to all these different things that are happening inside of them. I have kids coming back and saying that they had a really fun time last time and they really wanted to come play with me again. That’s a good sign. Yeah, that is a good sign.

Debbie Reber  17:03

So would you mind taking us through continuing this example of the child who you externalize that? Was his hand doing the hitting? Like, how do you then take that information and work with the child to actually change the behavior? What does that look like further on, like further on in that session? So if the child makes that connection, right, so they now understand, and they have this language? And they and you’re able to kind of look at this as not part of who they are? How do you take that information and help them come up with a strategy to actually change what’s going on? Or does that just kind of happen naturally, that once they’re aware of this, they can have more control over it.

Anders Ronnau  17:48

So we want to create a transformation during the session that allows them to not have to struggle afterwards. Which means that the thing with the hand has to be so different by the time they leave my office, that either they don’t have to think about it. So a part of the personality. So our personalities are interesting concepts with parts of our personality. So if we say one part of this kid’s personality, wants to hit and thinks that that’s a really good way to solve conflicts, or get a get as well. This was something that he learned years ago, typically, once things become a problem, so if he’s a 12-year-old, that still hits, and it’s his hand doing that, when I talked to him, he thinks it’s a really bad idea to hit. And he doesn’t like that his hand is doing that. But he doesn’t know how to fight it. So kind of the power struggle within him, favors that hand right now. What I want to help him do is either change the powers within him so that the hand doesn’t win in that situation. Or even better, I want to help him transform the part of him that wants to hit. So how does that work? In this session, in this concrete example, I’ll be going into a lot of detail. So I don’t know anything about that. And it turns out that when you detail, if you bring a lot of detail to something that’s inside of you, you kind of drag it out of your subconscious mind and into your conscious mind. And when you do that, it becomes surprisingly flexible, like you can change it into anything. So with this kid, I had him detail everything about that hand like how far up does it go up into the wrist or into the arm or and I’ve had the experience with the hand several times and sometimes it’s in the hands sometimes it’s all the way up to the shoulder. Either way, and I’ll have him even describe to me what color it is, how hard or soft it is. weren’t feeling it gives him how heavy it is. And all these kind of weird details that you wouldn’t want to ask people about what’s going on inside of them, because you just don’t do that. But when I do that, people find that the answers are really easy to come up with. Because all these subconscious patterns like before he walked into my office, it was automated, in his mind that he would hit write, once we bring it into his conscious mind. By detailing it, things change, he can suddenly change it. So I’ll be asking, so what of all the things I asked you, what would you like to change about it? You’d like I don’t like the way it feels, or I don’t like how heavy it is, or I don’t like its attitude or whatnot. And we’ll be going through that thing then. So for example, he says, I don’t like the color of it, it’s not a nice color. So he associated some kind of thing with a color. And I’ll be going so what color would you like it to be instead. And just for his mind to attempt to, like find that better color, the thing changes. So if it was, if it was dark red, for example, typically associated with some kind of anger, he’d be going, Oh, I’d like it to be light green. And just to come up with that answer, his mind has to do that thing in his mind. So we’ve already, if you will massage that pattern. And so I’ll just keep him in that. So I’ll be going. So when it is green, what else changes with it, and he’ll start describing how it’s lighter, it’s almost like fun. And suddenly, he just wants to put it in his pocket. And then we’re pretty much done, of course, this kind of finishing up procedure around that. But in very simple strokes, that’s what’s happening in my practice. And a parent will return after a session like that, or call me and say, That’s amazing. The teachers say that my kid is walking around in the schoolyard hand in his pocket, and just ignoring fights around him.

Debbie Reber  22:07

So interesting. I trained as a life coach years ago. And your story reminded me of just something we used to say you have to name it to tame it. And so you’re really bringing out I love that you’re giving it all this detail or the child is that they’re kind of, but you have to see it to know what it is in order to, to be able to deal with it. Yes,

Anders Ronnau  22:32

if you want the transformation to come from the inside out, you definitely have to see it or experience it or kind of feel it and name it, as you say it’s so powerful to name it. And then you say to tame it. And I like that, because most of the motivational strategies that are in play, are really based on some kind of like oppositional strategy, then you fight something or you struggle through something right power through something. And that works too. But it always leaves that part of you. That was like if we’d power through, like, put your hand on your back and go to your teacher and whatnot. He could have maybe done that. But it would have been a struggle every time and possibly for the rest of his life. Right? This way, when it comes from the inside out, he can change it and not have to think about it again.

Debbie Reber  23:24

When it’s also just positive, right? It’s just part of who he is. And, and we’re all complicated. We all have different ranges of our behavior and experience and emotional responses to things. And it’s good to acknowledge them and notice them and see what we can do so that they don’t work against us. But to kind of shame them or make them feel like that’s a bad side of us doesn’t really work.

Anders Ronnau  23:51

No, they create a whole lot of problems that we’ll just get bigger and bigger along the way.

Debbie Reber  23:56

Yeah, yeah. Well, when Asher was four, I was thinking about this before our call. The very first therapist we took him to was because he was having anger issues in preschool and throwing things and you know, just kind of acting out physically in unsafe ways, and just a lot of anger. So we took them to this therapist in Seattle, where we were living and we did kind of the first part of this approach and that he created an avatar for his anger and it was the mad monster. He called him and he was blue and he described him and so we used to talk about like, oh, it seems like the mad monsters hanging around. And so we talked about it in that way but it probably stuck with that for a year or two. And maybe it was helpful in some ways but seems like what it was missing was taking it to the next level. So it was big and that is a big piece to be missing.

Anders Ronnau  24:57

A lot of therapeutic kinds of directions or strategies actually have that part of narrating what’s going on inside of you. And it does help to realize what is going on inside of you. But a lot of the time, then that becomes the thing that you fight. Whereas really, in my work, I work a lot with what’s called the positive intention. So I always assumed that there’s a positive intention with every part of a person’s personality. That’s a long way of saying that, I think that the hand that was hitting was trying to help the child. So when I acknowledged that to the child and asked him, so what’s, what’s the hand trying to help you with? But it wants to hit the other person? Yeah, what would come out of that, oh, he’d leave or he’d stop teasing me or whatever. And then we can have a discussion about, so the outcome that the hand wanted, the positive intention was really, for you to be left alone. And that opens up like an acknowledgment process, even to the pattern in the child. That is not good. Does that make sense? Yeah.

Debbie Reber  26:10

I absolutely love that. That idea of a positive intention. And that’s something with emotions, I always have believed that, you know, there’s no such thing as a bad emotion. And actually, when you’re feeling a really intense emotion, like anger, or frustration, or jealousy, or whatever it is, one of those are really strong ones, that it’s a gift. It’s there for a reason to provide you with information or something that you need to be paying attention to. So I really love that reframe. And I could see how helping a child consider that the behavior or whatever aspect of them is responding in a way that might be quote, unquote, inappropriate is actually doing what it thinks it needs to do to help. Yeah, that’s a really cool, yeah,

Anders Ronnau  26:59

The best it knew when it was created, so that the hand part was created years earlier in the child. And back then, the child thought that hitting other kids was the way to go, or maybe had an experience where it worked. And then it kind of settled in as an automatic reaction. Right, so they’re immature parts of the personality. And when you transform them, they kind of grow up. So really, what’s happened is, it is a metro station process.

Debbie Reber  27:36

I wanted to ask you about age, what are the ages of kids that you typically work with? And what is their kind of motivation, like in terms of, I mean, I’ve noticed as Asher’s gotten older and his 12 and a half now, he is incredibly motivated to work on things for himself, because he recognizes that certain aspects of the way that he responds in situations can get in his own way can cause problems for other people. So he’s highly motivated. But do you find that with kids that you work with that they come in motivated, or I don’t know, I’m just curious about that.

Anders Ronnau  28:14

I have kids from six years and up. So I work with kids, teens, adults, and even grannies. And really one of the things that for this process to work, in the timeframe that I have with the child, the child has to be motivated, the child doesn’t have to know what’s going on. But the child has to, you know, be a little sad that they hit or one things to change. So if a child is very unmotivated, or can’t even see that it plays a role in what’s going on, I have a difficult time, the coaching approach, in its cleanest form, just really doesn’t solve anything. But most often, the kids are just really excited to change something. But often, there’s a lot of guilt or shame involved, that really is in the way of working with it. So we have to get that part out of the way first. Asher is obviously a different child in this respect, respect, because of the education that you’re giving him. And the environment he is living in now. So I think he has a lot more insight into what’s possible and strategies and thinking about the mind and the brain and whatnot, then other kids his age. But even if kids don’t come in, like truly motivated, you can still work with them. Like I had a kid, a teenager come in, he was like 1415 and he had really bad behavior. And even though I always check with the parents, is your child motivated? I had gotten a yes from the mom and she kind of pushed him through the door and left, right. Fix my kid. Almost. Yep. And I sat him down in the chair and made sure mom couldn’t hear us and I was like, so why are you here? I don’t know, he said, I really have no idea. So I guess your mom would have an idea. Yeah. But that’s really her problem. So the kid was not interested in being there. And what was cool was that we ended up talking about him having a problem with her problems with him. It’s very, very meta, but it opened up to, to a really interesting conversation with him about how they struggled for no reason, because the mom was trying to control every aspect of his life. And he opened up to realizing that, that she was actually trying to protect him. And he could start, like negotiating his freedom with her. Like, like, like, she would have to hand over responsibility for a lot of things, for him to grow up and become the man he already thought he was becoming. Right. And that became a really good process between the two of them.

Debbie Reber  31:03

So when people come to see you, or they, you know, as you said, the mom wanted her to fix her son. I think that that’s the mindset of a lot of parents who are struggling, especially with either behavior at home or information they’re getting from the school about what’s going on, or especially with kids with executive functioning challenges, which could be you know, they could be differently wired in so many different ways and struggle with that, like organization, and time management, and all those things that start to become a big problem in middle school and things. What are most people I’m just curious, coming to you, wanting you to, quote unquote, fix,

Anders Ronnau  31:45

I really get the full palette of difficulties that are associated with ADHD, and kind of the surrounding diagnosis. But I think the one thing that most people need to work with before they can do any of this is all the negativity that they have towards themselves. So most people, if not all, people, aged eight and up with the ADHD diagnosis, and probably with most of the different diagnoses have a lot of inner negativity. So they have some kind of inner voice in their mind, telling them they’re not good enough. They’re not perfect enough, they’re not good, they’re always wrong or whatnot. So they have all this negativity in them. And I think that’s really the most debilitating part of being differently wired is that through the resistance you get from the outside world, you build in these very destructive, automated parts of your personality that are just not helping you progress, right. So that later in life, when you do want to learn something, then you still can’t learn something. Because first you have to go through that filter of not being good enough and being an idiot, and I’m bad at learning, and whatnot. And those will be the ones holding you back. Not the material, because your learning potential is enormous.

Debbie Reber  33:15

Yeah, I wrote a blog post not too long ago about a conversation Asher I had at the dinner table. Well, actually, he was late to the dinner table, which is why we had the conversation. And he apologized for showing up late because he was trying to finish some, some project on his computer. And I said, you don’t need to apologize. I know this is something you’re working on. And that was kind of it. He’s like, Well, I said, I think I’ve been programmed to apologize. Well, what do you mean? And he said, because when I was in school, I had to apologize all the time for everything I did that was related to my ADHD. And I had no I didn’t know this. That was complete news to me. And I really wanted him to explain more, you know, of what was going on. But I knew that he identified as a quote unquote, bad kid when he was in traditional school, but I didn’t realize that. Yeah, you go through your life apologizing, you’re gonna feel like everything you do is wrong. And I can imagine what a huge barrier that is for people. Yeah, absolutely. So for the parents who are listening, you know, there’s so much work that we can do. I know. And I know that we are often unwittingly contributing to this mindset that there’s something wrong. Do you have any thoughts or advice? I don’t know, maybe a few tips for parents of how they could start to do this kind of shift at home with their own kids. I don’t know their little tweaks they can do and to help this reframe happen?

Anders Ronnau  34:47

Absolutely. There are a couple of things. One would be when your child has some kind of behavior, realize that that behavior is being driven by some thoughts or feelings. From the inside, and then really talk to the child about those thoughts and feelings. After you’ve all cooled off, that’s the most important part. And then realize that if, for example, if a child doesn’t want to go to school, there’s typically almost always a part of the child, obviously, that doesn’t want to go to school. But the opposite part is also always present. So there’s a part of the kids that wants to go to school, and there’s a part of the kid that doesn’t want to go to school. And you can talk to either one. If you talk to the behavior, you’re talking to the one that doesn’t want to go to school. But if you have that conversation about what’s going on, so is there also a part of you that wants to go to school? Yeah, sure, there’s a part of me that really wants to learn or whatnot, or hang out with my best friend that would, then you can start talking to that part of the kid from early morning until you’re out the door, that will change the conversation. And that’ll change how your own emotional state is and how the child’s emotional state is. So that’s one thing. The other thing is, look at that positive intention, always go for the positive intention. Let me give an anecdote here. My assistant on the live training I do for coaches, told me that she had been sitting around a table with her family or her nephew. And the nephew suddenly reached out and turned over the milk, the milk carton, and milk all over and people were yelling and screaming and degrading him for doing that again, again, again, again, again, and, and really like a bad setup. And my assistant asked the kid, what were you trying to do? Because you obviously didn’t manage to do it? What are you trying to do? What was the positive intention, basically, but she didn’t ask the kid, the six-year-old kid about his positive intention, right? So she was trying to ask him what he was trying to do. And he said, Well, I can see that my dad wanted the butter in a minute, like that was almost ready for the butter. And the kid really wanted to show his dad that he was a good kid, then pouring the milk all over the place, and, and getting paraded by that same dad. So if you can catch yourself, and not just look at the behavior, and what happens as a result of that behavior, but pause for a second and go, Wow, what was he trying to do? What was actually an attempt of his that didn’t succeed? That will, for most parents, bring an end to a lot of conflicts?

Debbie Reber  37:41

Absolutely. Gosh, it’s so powerful to think about that. And it’s something you know, that we definitely believe in, in our home, that behavior is inflammation, and we still forget it sometimes. But so many of us assume the worst. And I think, especially if we’re stressed or have a lot of things going on, and behavior is challenging, and we’re feeling under attack, you know, we’re in this kind of mindset. So absolutely, it’s easy to jump to that conclusion. And that behavior was done without thought, or intentional, or, or, or just not thinking, right, like, what were you thinking? I love this, assuming that there was a good intention. And this question, what were you trying to do? I could just see the question. If you just respond with that, every time your child does something unexpected that you don’t like? Yeah, yeah, that would fix so many things, and probably prevent a meltdown. Right? Because a lot of kids immediately go on the defensive when they feel that they’ve screwed up, and then they escalate, then we escalate. And next thing, you know, we’ve got an explosion. So I could see how just asking that question could stop the cycle immediately.

Anders Ronnau  38:55

Absolutely. Because you reach out with curiosity, instead of blame or anger,

Debbie Reber  39:00

Frustration, curiosity. That is the key word, isn’t it? Yes, Anders, I feel like we could have a very, I mean, this is already a long episode. And there’s so much we could talk about. So I hope that you will come back on the show, and we would love to continue this. But before we go today, would you tell us a little bit about where people can reach you and what you are offering through transforming ADHD?

Anders Ronnau  39:24

Yes, I’d love to. Well, so you said it transformingadhd.com And I’ve made a special video for parents listening and professional listening to parenting. So if you go to transformingadhd.com/tilt There’ll be a special video for you there. What I’m currently developing as we record this and we’ll be ready by the time the recording comes out, is a parenting course on how to build your child’s self worth and that will be followed by courses on conflicts, anger management and so on. So that’s my work at transforming adhd.com.

Debbie Reber  40:06

And those are all virtual classes that people can participate from anywhere in the world. Yeah, yes. Awesome. Well, thank you. And thanks for making a cool special video for tilt. That makes us feel very appreciated.

Anders Ronnau  40:20

Thank you. I really love listening to the Tilt Parenting podcast. So I’m a big fan myself.

Debbie Reber  40:25

Excellent. Well, for listeners, I will include links to all of this. And Anders also has recently started a YouTube channel. So I’ll make sure to share that as well. And definitely check out his resources and sign up for his newsletter. I just got a newsletter this morning. I believe that was very good. I’m kind of what I needed to read. So thank you so much for just such thoughtful insight today. It’s gotten my mind racing already of things that I can be kind of noticing in my own life and family and I know that listeners are gonna get a lot out of this too. So thanks again. 

Anders Ronnau  41:01

Thank you, Debbie. 

Debbie Reber  41:04

You’ve been listening to the Tilt Parenting podcast for the show notes for this episode, including links to the special video Anders made for the tote community, his website transforming ADHD and the other resources we mentioned, visit the show notes page at tilt parenting.com/session46. If you’re not already signed up for our newsletter, I would love for you to join our parenting online community. I send out short weekly updates with links to new content on the Tilt website, articles and resources just for you. And lastly, here’s my weekly pitch to ask you to leave an honest review or waiting for the podcast on iTunes. It only takes a minute. It is pain free, I promise and it really helps get us more visibility in the crowded podcast space. Thanks again for listening. For more information on Tilt Parenting, visit www.tiltparenting.com

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