Ned Hallowell on How Parents Can Best Support Their Children with ADHD
Today I’m bringing you my conversation with Dr. Ned Hallowell, a board-certified child and adult psychiatrist and world authority on ADHD. He is the Founder of The Hallowell ADHD Centers in Boston MetroWest, New York City, San Francisco, Palo Alto and Seattle. Ned has spent the past four decades helping thousands of adults and children live happy and productive lives through his strength-based approach to neurodiversity, and has ADHD and dyslexia himself. He is also a New York Times bestselling author and has written 20 books on multiple psychological topics.
During our time together, we talked about Ned’s strength-based approach to ADHD and how it can change the outlook for someone with ADHD, his thoughts about ADHD medication, what finding the “right difficult” means and how parents can help their kids find theirs, and how to create safe and stellar environments for our children to thrive as themselves.
About Dr. Ned Hallowell
Edward (Ned) Hallowell, M.D. is a board-certified child and adult psychiatrist and world authority on ADHD. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Tulane Medical School, and was a Harvard Medical School faculty member for 21 years. He is the Founder of The Hallowell ADHD Centers in Boston MetroWest, New York City, San Francisco, Palo Alto and Seattle.
He has spent the past four decades helping thousands of adults and children live happy and productive lives through his strength-based approach to neurodiversity, and has ADHD and dyslexia himself.
Dr Hallowell is a New York Times bestselling author and has written 20 books on multiple psychological topics. The groundbreaking Distraction series, which began with Driven to Distraction, co-authored with Dr John Ratey in 1994, sparked a revolution in understanding of ADHD.
As the host of the twice-weekly Distraction podcast, Dr. Hallowell explores with guests how to better connect with others and how each of us can implement strategies that can turn modern problems into new-found strengths. He is also a sought-after international speaker and has presented to thousands on topics including the strengths of ADHD, strategies on handling fast-paced life, parenting and a range of other pertinent family and health issues.
Dr Hallowell has been featured on 20/20, 60 Minutes, Oprah, PBS, CNN, The Today Show, Dateline, Good Morning America, The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, Time Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe and many more. He is a regular columnist for ADDitude Magazine.
Dr. Hallowell lives in the Boston area with his wife Sue and they have three children, Lucy, Jack and Tucker.
Things you’ll learn from this episode
- What inspired Ned Hallowell to write his new book ADHD 2.0
- How having a strengths-based approach to ADHD can change the outlook for someone with this diagnosis
- What VAST is and how it relates to ADHD
- Ned’s take on and approach to ADHD medication
- What the vestibulocerebellar system is and how exercises and other strategies targeting it support kids with ADHD
- What finding the “right difficult” means and ideas for parents to help their kids find theirs
- How we can create environments that truly support our kids in being the best version of themselves
Resources mentioned for Ned Hallowell’s ideas on supporting children with ADHD
- ADHD 2.0: New Science and Essential Strategies for Thriving with Distraction – from Childhood Through Adulthood by Edward M. Hallowell, John J. Ratey, et al.
- Driven to Distraction (Revised): Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder by Edward M. Hallowell M.D. and John J. Ratey M.D.
- Delivered From Distraction: Getting the Most Out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder by Dan Cashman, Edward M. Hallowell M.D., et al.
- Driven to Distraction at Work: How to Focus and Be More Productive by Ned Hallowell, Christopher Kipiniak, et al.
Ned Hallowell 00:00
And the refrain that you’ve had ever since as long as you can remember is try harder. You’ve got so much potential, you’re so smart you could do so much, get your act together, clean it up, try harder and and of course that just drives your self esteem down further and further and further because you know, you’re trying as hard as you can. You’re trying to and yet it takes you eight hours to do homework that it takes another kid one hour to do or as an adult, you have a brilliant proposal and you show up at the wrong place on the wrong day and it never you know gets the attention it deserves so, chronic underachievement until the diagnosis is made.
Debbie Reber 00:42
Welcome to Tilt Parenting, a podcast featuring interviews and conversations aimed at inspiring, informing and supporting parents raising differently wired kids. I’m your host Debbie Reber. Today I’m bringing you my conversation with Dr. Ned Hallowell, a board certified child and adult psychiatrist and world authority on ADHD. He is the founder of the Hallowell ADHD centers in Boston Metro West, New York City, San Francisco, Palo Alto and Seattle. He’s spent the past four decades helping 1000s of adults and children live happy and productive lives through his strengths based approach to neurodiversity, and has ADHD and dyslexia himself. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author and has written 20 books on multiple psychological topics. You’ll hear more about his newest book ADHD 2.0 later in this episode. Also, Ned has a brand new podcast out called Dr. Hallowell’s Wonderful World of Different which celebrates the many differences that adorn humanity. So definitely check that out after you listen to this episode. In this conversation, we talked about Ned’s strengths based approach to ADHD and how it can change the outlook for someone with ADHD. His thoughts about medication, what finding the right difficult means and how parents can help their kids find theirs, and how to create safe and stellar environments for our children to thrive as themselves. As always, if you want to dive deeper into my conversation, please check out the show notes page on Tilt Parenting. There you’ll find a bullet-pointed list of key takeaways, a transcript of the episode, links to all of the resources mentioned in a podcast player with the episode broken down into chapters. So if you want to go back and re-listen to a specific piece of the conversation, you can easily find it. This week’s episode can be found at tiltparenting.com/session275 or just go to the podcast a tab on Tilt Parenting and click on this episode at the top of the page. Thanks so much. And now here is my conversation with Ned.
Debbie Reber 03:00
Hey, Ned, welcome to the podcast.
Ned Hallowell 03:03
Nice to be with you.
Debbie Reber 03:04
I feel like this is such an overdue conversation because I’ve certainly been following your work for years, I think we’ve been in similar summits for parents. And so I’m just really excited to talk about your new book, ADHD 2.0. Today, you’ve obviously been working in this space for a long time and have been a thought leader when it comes to ADHD. And I’m just wondering if you could share what things have changed. And that really inspired you to say, Alright, it’s time to write this new book within the landscape of ADHD.
Ned Hallowell 03:36
Well, to give you a timeline, personal timeline, I had never heard of this condition until I finished college medical school residency, and I was doing a fellowship and child psychiatry at the old mass mental health center, which is a Harvard training program. And I had early in July of 1981 attended a lecture about a condition that I’d never heard of Attention Deficit Disorder. That’s what it was called then. And if you told me before, then someone had Attention Deficit Disorder, I thought it was some psychoanalytic concept about a kid who didn’t get enough attention. You know, so that’s how uninformed I was in 1981. But that was a real aha moment for me because I realized two things. Number one, that I had the condition myself I’d always known I had dyslexia, but now I knew I had this thing. And also that the medical model, the deficit disorder model really missed, you know, a lot of the story, all the good parts they leave out, which you know, that’s what the medical model does. You don’t go to the doctor because you feel so good. You go to the doctor because you feel bad. So it’s not that I’m not blaming them. I’m just saying it’s unfortunate that the medical model is where this condition got its start and you know, if you trace it back, it used to be called minimal brain dysfunction. And you talk about Python. based. So then throughout the 80s, I just saw a lot of people who had my patients in my textbook, because there were no textbooks and the textbooks that there left out all the good stuff. So I just sat and listened to my patients, whether they were children or adults. And in 1994 1994, John Ratey, and I came out with Driven to Distraction, which, which turned out to be much to our surprise, we thought it would sell maybe 10,000 copies, well, it’s now sold 2 million copies. And it really put what was called add on the map. And it’s still the case that people don’t understand it. But so we did driven distraction in 2004, then delivered from distraction in 2005. And so, you know, more than, you know, about 15 years had passed since we did Delivered from Distraction. So there was time for a new book, because there was a lot of new stuff.
Ned Hallowell 06:07
And, and also, I thought that, you know, both driven and delivered are, I think, wonderful books, but they’re long. And people with ADHD don’t want to read long books. So in ADHD, 2.0, it’s only about 100 pages, it’s all less than 50,000 words. And my other books were well over 100,000 words. So this was an exercise in concision, if that’s a word, it’s very concise. And, but that makes it add friendly. So and the new stuff that was in there, and I really wanted to nail down the strength based model, you know, that this was not, in my opinion, purely a disorder. It certainly has its downside. But it also has a tremendous upside. So I say, you know, it’s a mixed bag. And my job is to maximize the upside for my patients and to minimize the downside. And invariably, you can, if you, if you come to see me, I guarantee you, you will get better, the only question is how much better I can guarantee without any doubt whatsoever that your life will improve. The only question is how much improvement and that’s why it’s such a wonderful condition to work with. Because unlike most diagnoses in medicine, you know, I deliver good news, usually when a doctor delivers a diagnosis, it’s not happy. But this is wonderful news. Like I said, Your life can only get better. If you’re living with this condition, whether you’re six years old, or 60 years old, you’ve been struggling in ways that an analogy I use is sort of like you’ve been driving on square wheels, takes a lot of effort to make progress, I mean, but as a group, we are very, very determined very, never give up very gritty. So you know, we’ll drive on the square wheels. Another analogy I use, it’s like being nearsighted and not having the benefit of eyeglasses. So you’re straining and squinting and you’re trying so hard just to just to get just to see what’s in front of you. And so you’re bumping into things, missing things, and in every end and the end, the refrain that you’ve had ever since as long as you can remember is try harder, you’ve got so much potential you’re so smart, you could do so much get your act together, clean it up, try harder and and of course that just drives your self esteem down further and further and further because you know, you’re trying as hard as you can. You’re trying it and yet it takes you eight hours to do homework that it takes another kid one hour to do or as an adult, you have a brilliant proposal and you show up at the wrong place on the wrong day. And it never gets the attention it deserves so chronic underachievement until the diagnosis is made. It’s a tale of chronic under- achievement you may succeed at a very high level. But you know, you could be doing better, you could get more done with less effort if you had the diagnosis. So it’s a good news diagnosis. And I guess writing this book, I am just frustrated because not even now in 2021 Most people still don’t get it. They don’t understand what this really is. They still think oh it’s a terrible thing. It means you’re stupid and lazy and irresponsible and you’re gonna you know do nothing but mess up throughout your life and you know, that takes a toll. So, you know, by the time they become adults, usually their self esteem is not good. And so anyway, I’m very passionate about trying to bring people the truth, the knowledge, the facts, and shatter stigma as much as possible. And you know, give them a basis upon which to achieve their dreams, you know, and These folks tend to be big dreamers of Bobo. By the time they become adults, often they’ve given up on their dreams because they think they’re just an incorrigible loser.
Debbie Reber 10:09
Well, this strengths based approach comes through so clearly and yeah, you’re right. I think for people who don’t know much about ADHD, there’s this generalized idea of what it is. And in reading through your book, which Thank you for keeping it brief, I actually listened to it. And then I also had it on my Kindle. So I could go back and kind of highlight things. But I really appreciated the way that you described the paradoxical tendencies, but I was reading, and everything was just like I had to. I was like, Asher, my, you know, my 17 year old, you have to listen to this. And I would read him a passage and was like, Oh, my gosh, that is exactly how I feel. And it was just, I could see how empowering it was to see see it described that focus and that deep dive into projects, and then what happens when you need to move to something else, and the disappointment and this negative self talk in this cycle, it was just such a powerful way to see himself represented in the book.
Ned Hallowell 11:07
Yeah, that’s wonderful. Because that, you know, it really is an example where the truth shall set you free. And, you know, when they can, when they realize that I’m not messing with them, that, in fact, it’s correct. You know, then Whoa, they can really take off, you know, it takes some work, you know, I say, you know, add is a gift that’s hard to unwrap, and until you unwrap it, it can be a curse, you know, so and, you know, Ross Barkley has shown over and over again, that undealt with this condition is horrible. I mean, it he’s done the statistics, and it costs you about 13 years of life, if it’s not dealt with properly overrepresented in the prisons, and the addicted population in the unemployed, the marginalize the multiplied, divorced, you know, just the the unhappy and frustrated and so, yeah, until you come to terms with it, it can absolutely ruin your life. But good news, when you do come to terms with it. And if you’re working with a doctor who can do something other than just give you medication, then a complete, you know, reconstruction of your life is what happens and you take off.
Debbie Reber 12:19
So I want to talk about some of the strategies because you do share a lot of wonderful strategies and tools for supporting yourself if you have ADHD are things that we as parents can help our kids with. But I wanted to ask you about this term vast, which you talk about in the book, which was a new concept for me, as you know, you sometimes interchange it or use it in addition to ADHD. Can you explain what that is?
Ned Hallowell 12:45
Sure. Well, first of all, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a terrible term. We do not have a deficit of attention. It’s flat out wrong. We have an abundance of attention or challenges to control it. If it were a deficit of attention, it would be a form of dementia, which it certainly is not, if anything, we’re gifted, so, so we need to get rid of the word deficit. And then disorder, you know, yeah, it has its downside, but it also has its upside. So I prefer to call it a trait. And depending upon how you manage it, it’s positive or negative, so vast, you know, and the two key elements are attention and stimulation, we’re always looking for high stimulation, and our attention wanders, it doesn’t go empty, but it wanders. So coined the term that was actually suggested to me by a woman who was working for KQED at the time in San Francisco now she works at Where does she’s in Washington, but Kerry Fible and, and she came up with this idea of variable attention stimulus trade, VAST, a far more accurate term, you know, attention varies and add and, and stimulation, the search for stimulation is sort of one of the guiding forces, you know, boredom is our kryptonite, we can’t do boredom. And yet stimulation then when we’re riveted, we can pay super attention. So it’s a more accurate term than ADHD. ADHD is grossly inaccurate. And also, I wanted to expand the DSM five definition because there are people who can benefit from help who do not meet the strict criteria you see in the diagnostic manual. So if you’re being honest, you can’t say I have ADHD as it is defined in the DSM five and that is that that’s the definition is how it’s defined there. But there were a lot of people that I see in my practice that don’t meet the strict criteria but still have a treatable condition. They still need help. So VAST has wider boundaries than ADHD.
Debbie Reber 14:59
Yeah, it was Very interesting. And in reading it, I understood Wow, so many more people. And I would think that even now that we’re talking, we’re still in this COVID pandemic a year and a half in and I can only imagine that people are really noticing inability to focus right now more than ever before.
Ned Hallowell 15:17
Oh, yeah, I mean, modern life is add Oh, genic you know it even before COVID. And then you throw in social isolation. You know, I say we’re suffering from a massive vitamin C deficiency, vitamin connect. And vitamin Connect is every bit as important as this korabik acid. So you throw together the crazy pace of modern life, where our brains we’re asking our brains to process exponentially more data points than ever before in human history. And then you complicate it further by having us isolated, and fearful, and, you know, wearing masks and being afraid and dying, literally 700,000 deaths in this country and and so, so yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s a recipe for environmentally induced problems, the true condition of what is still called ADHD is genetically transmitted 90% of the time. But then there’s this on Laga, this extra kick that comes from, you know, epigenetics from from environmental influences, you know, and, but again, this can be can this can be dealt with, you know, it’s, I never leave on a sour note, you know, this is absolutely deal with a bowl, you know, I’m 71, I’ve been living with it my whole life, as well as dyslexia. And I’ve, you know, like to think I’ve done well, and, and I’m small potatoes. There are Nobel Prize winners who haven’t Pulitzer Prize winners, Academy Award winners, you know, major league athletes in all sports, world class chefs, Supreme Court Justice, you know, that you name the field, and I can name you, someone who’s at the very top, who has it. It’s just so important that people understand and get the diagnosis before they lose too much ground in life.
Debbie Reber 17:14
Yeah, and that’s one of the great things about this podcast in the community that I serve as it is predominantly parents and caregivers. So we’re talking to people with little ones, to teenagers to young adults. So there is so much possibility and potential for getting supports that they need. I want to talk about some of the different strategies that you include, because there were some things in the book that were new to me, I do want to just take a moment to touch on medication because that comes up I’m sure all the time in your work. And you know, I have a Tilt Together Facebook community and I would say, I don’t know, a good third of conversations are a parent inquiring about medication for this or that, a lot of which is ADHD. So can you just talk about your perspective on the efficacy of ADHD medication or some general thoughts about it?
Ned Hallowell 18:08
Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s ironic, because this is a really good news story that most people think of is bad news. And the medication has a terrible press, which is a shame, because stimulant medication is used properly as a wonder drug. I mean, it’s like eyeglasses. When it works, it allows you to focus like nothing else can and you know, all the non medication, the non medication interventions work better, if you’re lucky enough that the medication works for you. And it works about 80% of the time. In my case, it does not work. So coffee is my medication. But 80% is a pretty good batting average, all three of my kids have it. And they’re, you know, doing great on medication. And the really worst thing about medication is most people are afraid of it. You know, in the chapter in the book, I call it the most powerful tool everyone fears. And it’s a shame, you know, that they think of it as a drastic last ditch intervention. And, you know, they say, Well, can we do a year or two of non medication treatment first? And I say, Sure we can and I’ve written books about how to do that. But it’s sort of like saying, why don’t we do a year or two of squinting before we try eyeglasses? You know, why not try the proven intervention that’s really safe as long as you have a doctor who knows what he or she is doing? These meds are a really wonderful story, and yet most people are afraid of it. They say what about the side effects? Well, first of all, all the side effects are immediately reversible by changing the dose or discontinuing the medication. And second of all the side effects you really ought to worry about are the side effects of not taking it year after year of frustration and underachievement and being called out and just you know, not knowing why you can’t do better you know, you’re smarter than your grades reflect and you know, you’re a nice or person, and then the kid who doesn’t get invited back to birthday parties, because you’re too impulsive, and, you know, all of that those are the side effects that really do damage, you know, major damage to self esteem, ambition, all the stuff that you need to have a good life. So, so it’s just too bad that a very powerful tool and you know, there are people who are fanatic in their opposition to it, you know, it’s, it’s very polarizing, and, and I just think, gosh, you know, just maintain your, I call myself a radical moderate, I have a radical passion for holding the middle position. And the middle position is simply this. If you try the medication, and it works and doesn’t cause side effects, then keep taking it. If you try the medication, and it doesn’t work, or does cause side effects, then stop it. Now, what could be simpler than that? It’s just pure common sense. You know, why do we have to fight over that, you know, it’s like saying, if you like asparagus, eat it, you know, then even though it makes your pee smell funny, you put up a wall, but you know, and, and if you don’t like asparagus, then don’t eat it. You know, and the same with these meds, you know, it’s just, it’s just nothing, nothing works as powerfully. And as immediately as medication over the long haul. There are other things that are more powerful, like, you know, finding what I talked about in the new book, a creative outlet, and how important that is what I call your right difficult and so over the long haul, the non medication interventions, you know, marry the right person, find the right job, you know, these basic sort of keys to a good life. But in the beginning, nothing can jumpstart you with the power of that medication.
Debbie Reber 21:48
Well, thank you. I really appreciate that perspective. i One of the things that you mentioned in the book, I thought was really interesting was about the I’m gonna say this incorrectly. The vestibular cerebellar system.
Ned Hallowell 22:00
Very good. You said it properly.
Debbie Reber 22:03
There you go. And its role in people with ADHD and perhaps more importantly, how exercises and other strategies targeting that system can really support kids. Can you just share what that is?
Ned Hallowell 22:15
Well, the bottom line is we never realized how important balance is in cognitive function. You boil it down. That’s a huge major discovery from Jeremy Schmahmann at Mass General Hospital in Boston, Harvard Medical School, we always knew that the cerebellum had a lot to do with balance. But what we didn’t know was that there are pathways from the cerebellum at the back of your brain to the front of your brain where the action is in cognition and emotion. And by challenging balance, standing on a wobble board, skateboarding, surfing, skiing, anything that challenges balance, it’s really good for add, it’s amazing that you know, physical exercise can improve focus, mood, and, and attention. It’s a big breakthrough. One of the best non medication interventions is a program of cerebellar stimulation, basically challenging balance, I did a whole treatment with a little boy in China. I never even met him, I just did it by email with his mother, a little boy, an eight year old boots. And when his mom presented him to me by email, he was in the bottom of his class in school, he was getting, you know, spanked with a stick, you know, because he couldn’t behave himself. And, and, and he was a mess. And, then this was in September. So, you know, we, I diagnosed him by this history, which, you know, testing history, history, by the way, is the way you make the diagnosis. And, we set it and we set up a program, it began by changing his mindset, you know, we said, you’re very lucky, you’ve got a racecar for a brain, you’ve got a way powerful brain, but you’ve got bicycle brakes. And, and, you know, so So I’m a brake specialist. And once we help you control the power of your brain, you’ll do well. So you know, he brightens up his mother and describes it and I say, and can you persuade the teacher to stop hitting him, you know, let’s put an end to physical punishment because what he needs is his encouragement and connection, what I call the other vitamins he needs. He needs love, you know, and, and that he’ll respond much better to than being you know, hit and, and, and convinced his dad the same way so, so we get insight we get, we change the crucible, he’s living into a warm and loving one. And then we have him do these balancing exercises. Well, come Christmas. You know, we’re talking about September, October, November, and December four months. He’s number one in his class. No behavioral problems. And he’s given the award at the for Christmas vacation, which was a big chocolate as the outstanding student. And he brought it home and showed it to his mother and his mother said, Oh, great, let’s eat the chocolate. And boots was his and he put it on the mantelpiece. He said, Oh, no, this is far too precious to eat. You know, so. So, in a short amount of time being the exercises, I hasten to add that that wasn’t the whole story, because creating the connected warm environment makes a huge difference. And helping me feel proud of who he is makes a huge difference. But you combine all that and you can get really dramatic results, and we didn’t use medication at all.
Debbie Reber 25:42
Wow, yeah, you and you share that story in the book. And it was super interesting, you know, and you shared the exercises that he did in the morning. And I’m thinking, Alright, how am I going to incorporate these into our daily life, but just really fascinating. And again, new information for me.
Ned Hallowell 26:00
One little trick you can do is tell Asher, when he gets dressed and undressed, not to sit down. So put on and take off your socks without sitting down, put on and take off your underpants without sitting down. You may stagger a little bit, so have them do it near the bed. So if he falls, he’s got something to fall onto. But just that his is a good daily, twice a day challenge to balance.
Debbie Reber 26:24
I love that. All right, challenge accepted, at least on my end, we’ll see what Asher has to say.
Ned Hallowell 26:29
You can do it too. I mean, you don’t have ADD, but doing this, it does enhance cognitive function and everybody. And by the way, it’s also good for your core.
Debbie Reber 26:38
Yeah, it does sound like a win win. All right, I will do the challenge with Asher that will probably get a little more buy in. So you mentioned earlier this idea of finding your right difficult and I loved that language, you have a whole chapter on that. And it’s about that omnipresent experience that so many ADHD people have to make something. And then what can happen if they don’t kind of let that itch be scratched? As you say, Do you have any ideas for parents who are listening who want to support their kids and finding the right difficult? What does that look like,
Ned Hallowell 27:10
just let their imagination roam, you know, and play is really where you discover your passions. And my definition of play is any activity in which your imagination lights up. So as long as your imagination is lit up, you’re at play. And that’s where you’ll discover you’ll discover yours now that I discovered mine in 12th grade. I mean, I’d always liked to write but my 12th grade English teacher challenged me to write a novel. And I thought, holy moly, I knew this was a tough school, I didn’t know how to write a novel. But I was the only kid he’s challenged to do that. So I was kind of flattered. And he said, you have to do it in your own time. And I did and one page led to another and by the end of the year, it won the senior English prize and I wrote a novel and I had found my passion, you know, in my right difficult because writing is extremely difficult. But it’s something that I wanted to sacrifice for I wanted to you know, and now I just this is my 21st book, ADHD 2.0. And, and it’s not that I’m ambitious to write books, if I don’t have a book going, I get depressed. You know, so I’ve got to have the creative, my own consciousness has got to be engaged in something or I get depressed. And I think that’s a part of ADHD that hasn’t been talked about nearly enough that we really, we really must create. Ordinary life just doesn’t do it for us. Other people, ordinary life is good, you know, you wake up, you know, I’m glad to be alive. us it’s not good, it’s not enough. We’ve got to boost it up, we’ve got to pump up the volume. ordinary life doesn’t engage it. So we got to do something to make it more exciting, more beautiful, more majestic, dream big, you know, and writing that novel got me to prove to myself that I could do something that I would have thought was impossible. And I’ve been trying to do that ever since, usually failing you know, I mean that but I don’t care. What I care about is the love of the game. I love the fact that I you know that I have writing you know and the way some people love golf or something you know, I love and golf is a very punishing discipline to you know, just as writing is but you know, it’s so so I think if you can just allow your child to follow his or her imagination and never say something like that’s not practical or that’s a waste of time or that’s silly. That’s stupid. Just never shame never, you know, it was what my old friend used to say: be a dream maker, not a dream breaker. And because these kids will have crazy big dreams that you sort of know won’t come true. Well, lo and behold, they come through.
Debbie Reber 29:51
Let me ask you one more question before we say goodbye. So I talk a lot in the tilt community about creating a secure world for our kids. differently wired children. And so I really loved this section of your book where you talk about creating stellar environments at home. Any last thoughts on how we can actively create or support a stellar supportive environment, in our home spaces?
Ned Hallowell 30:15
Long on trust, long on warmth, low on fear? You know, wherever you find fear, you want to stamp it out, you know, and my daughter, actually, when she was 13 years old, after 911, I was supposed to go on TV and give advice. And I asked her, I said, Lucy, what advice should I give, and never get said, she said, Daddy, tell people don’t hold back on life out of fear. And, you know, and it’s just become truer and truer, every year since then, I mean, how many people right now are holding back on life out of fear. And, you know, yeah, some of that fear is well founded. But at the same time, if you keep playing, not to lose, you’re never gonna play to win. You know, if you’re always trying to hedge your bets and make everything super safe. You know, it’s a mistake, a lot of good parents make they’re over protective, they don’t let their kids take chances. So you know how to create a stellar environment is allow for curiosity, allow for risk taking, but have the rock solid bedrock be you are always loved. No matter what, there is nothing you could do that could talk me into not loving you. And, you know, the vitamin C, vitamin connect, and that is the shock absorber against disappointment against failure against because you want failure failure, it just means you didn’t get it that time and who has ever ridden a bike the first time they get on it? You know, I mean, if you don’t, if you can’t put up with not getting it right the first time, you’re not going to try anything new and, and you will use avoidance as a coping style. And that’s a terrible coping style. You know, it’s why a lot of people never meet the mate they should meet because they’re too afraid to ask, you know, or it’s why they don’t get their question answered in class, because they’re too afraid to raise their hand, you know, they don’t try out for the team or the play or pick up the musical instrument or, you know, whatever, you know, if you if you just couldn’t get past the fear barrier. And the way to do that is to have loving support. That you know, you know, it was a white man, a famous man was once asked how he had achieved so much and I love his answer. He said, In my mother’s eyes, I only saw smiles. And if you can create, you know, that feeling that when your kid thinks of you or looks at you, he sees he may be angry. I’m not saying you never get angry. Of course you get angry, you set limits, you can yell and scream, but he sees smiles behind all he knows that you’re loving.
Debbie Reber 32:47
Such a great note to end on. Thank you so much. I just want to say the name of your book again. For listeners. It’s ADHD 2.0: New Science and Essential Strategies for Thriving with Distraction from Childhood through Adulthood. It is an easy read with a lot of tangible practical strategies and information and case studies and is very interesting so Is there anywhere else people should connect with you or anything else you want them to know about?
Ned Hallowell 33:16
Sure, they can go to my website drhallowell.com. And my new podcast will be getting released in a couple of weeks. It’s called Dr. Hallowell’s Wonderful World of Different and I’m going to interview you on that podcast and then of course, my books, but I’d love to hear from any of you.
Debbie Reber 33:37
Thank you so much, listeners. I will include links to all of this in the show notes page. And I think by the time this interview comes out, the podcast should be live. So be sure to go check that out wherever you listen to podcasts. And man, thank you so much. I just so appreciated this conversation today.
Ned Hallowell 33:52
I loved it. Thanks a million you’re doing great work.
Debbie Reber 33:56
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