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Managing Chaotic Times in the Life of a Family with ADHD

The only thing constant in family life is change. Whether it’s starting school, ending school, changing jobs or even a new babysitter, every day has times that throw monkey wrenches into the works. Frankly, it doesn’t take much for smooth-running systems to come to a complete halt. So how do you handle it when transitions in family life with ADHD create chaos?

Guest Expert Ari Tuckman joins us to discuss this issue. “We have certain routines, habits and patterns that are generally helpful,” he says. “What happens is, we hit a transition point (where) something changes...Suddenly, it’s a whole different ball game. It forces us to question and think about what we’re going to do.”

For starters, it’s helpful to recognize the chaos -- to know it, understand it and expect it. That way, when things get a little wonky, you don’t freak out or make anything worse.

But if you don’t remember to do that in advance when you notice it, or it’s five days later and you suddenly realize your plan isn’t working, don’t beat yourself up. Just say, “Here’s where we are. Where do we go from here? What can I do today? What can I do tomorrow?”

As Elaine explains, the solutions are in the successes. In other words, if you ask yourself, “What worked before?” you can map over to a new space and look to repeat the success.

So, what about consistency? Sure, all the experts advise you to be consistent. But expert advice isn’t always designed for complex families. Tuckman explains that there’s a difference between being consistent and being rigid. For instance, bedtimes may change when traveling or when family is coming in. It’s okay to make exceptions, so long as you openly communicate the situation. And again, don’t beat yourself up for inconsistencies that make sense in the grander scheme of things.

In this podcast, Elaine and Tuckman discuss typical daily challenges in complex families and give you real tools to manage them -- like teaching your kids to make a “rock ‘n’ roll” lifestyle choice (no, not literally) and still handle their responsibilities. You’ll learn how to handle it when things start to change just when you thought you were getting a handle on things.

Tune in and learn how to tolerate and adapt to chaos in the life of a family with ADHD. After all, chaos is a key foundation of family life.

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