Parenting Program

When doctors take the time to listen to parents….amazingly good results follow!

When we first started listening to parents, we learned a lot about what didn’t work. Those magical time out moments ended up with parents spending hours to get their five year old, hyperactive child to sit in a chair for five minutes.

Behavioral charts that spelled out how many “points” a child could earn or lose were cumbersome, confusing to many parents, and didn’t seem to motivate most of our patients. Taking away toys and privileges didn’t work any better, because their kids would just find something else to do. Some parents even have tried taking “everything away”, only to find that when kids with ADHD don’t have anything to work for, they stop trying. Even the biggest rewards that they could offer didn’t really inspire their kids and corporal punishment didn’t faze them. Our parents were lost, frustrated, and unsure what to do. We realized that we needed to discover another way.

Why don’t time out, charts, rewards and punishment work so well for kids with ADHD?

The answer is this, some children and teens have mistakenly been diagnosed with ADHD without “looking at the big picture”. Other children actually have ADHD, but are not being effectively treated for it. And without figuring out the specific medical causes of each child’s problems, no parenting technique is going to work.

What kinds of medical problems could my child or teen have?

Certain life style choices make it hard to pay attention and stay calm. For example, we have learned that poor dietary habits and lack of sleep can have a big impact on how well a child will pay attention, follow directions, and stay calm when frustrated. Other medical conditions like deficiencies of Vitamin D, B, Essential Fatty Acids, zinc and magnesium can cause significant problems, and also get in the way of successful parenting. Children with food allergies can also struggle to pay attention and control their actions and their temper. If your child or teen’s problems are due to ADHD, their problems are caused by certain neurological differences, which you will learn about during our parenting program.

What will you learn in our Parenting Program?

To give you an idea of what we teach in each class, here’s a brief description of the “learning goals” for our program.

Class 1. Everybody doesn’t have a little bit of ADHD!

A lot of parents come to our classes carrying guilt over doing a “lousy job”. They blame themselves for not being “consistent enough in their discipline”. Or simply for being too worn down from repeatedly having to remind, prompt, and direct their child to do things that their three-year-old neighbor has mastered. This class is intended to be a “guilt buster”. We’ll focus on helping you understand the kinds of medical problems that can cause problems of attention and behavioral control. The homework for this class is straightforward: Make sure that your child has been evaluated by their doctor and treated for any of the medical problems that we cover in this class.

Class 2. Parenting doesn’t cause ADHD. Genes Do!

Once you are certain that your child’s symptoms are not caused by a medical condition other than ADHD, you’re ready for this class. In this session we talk about the genetic and neurological differences found in children with ADHD. More importantly, we talk about how these differences impact on parenting and learning. You’ll come to understand the answer to the age old mystery “How come my kid can pay attention for hours when they’re interested in something, but only seconds when they’re not” (Hint: It’s not because they’re lazy). At the end of this class, you’ll receive a checklist intended to help you decide on the specific problems that matter most to you. You’ll use this list as a guide as you proceed through our parenting program.

Class 3. Medicines don’t cure ADHD, but they can help

In this class, we describe the different types of medications and how they work. We’ll also describe “non-medication” treatments, including certain supplements, computerized attention training programs, and neurofeedback. The goals of this session is to make sure that you understand your treatment options, and your child is being treated for their ADHD with an intervention that has been found to work. If you ignore the neurological causes of your child’s ADHD, you simply won’t be successful in your use of the strategies found in this program. Charts for monitoring your child’s response to medication, supplements and other treatments are provided.

Class 4. Nutrition does matter.

Even though children and teens have a wide range of food options, they don’t always choose wisely. Most kids and many parents have no idea what kinds of foods can improve our attention. Our experience is that a lot of children with ADHD eat too little protein, consume too little essential fatty acids, and are prone to nutritional deficiencies that can really impact on their attention and mood. In this class, we will talk about ways to help you develop meal plans that provide sufficient protein, essential fatty acids and other nutrients so that your child goes to school able to function and doesn’t come home moody and worn out. Nutritional charts are provided at the end of this class to help you in your planning at home.

Class 5. Students with ADHD are entitled to help at school.

Children with ADHD have a “health impairment” that can interfere with learning and the performance of academic tasks, like copying from boards, taking notes, writing down homework assignments, remembering what they read, figuring out how to write an essay, recalling their basic math facts, turning in assignments, and completing tests as quickly as other students. Although not every child with ADHD will need an Individual Education Plan, I simply have never met a child who had ADHD who did not need some type of accommodations and support. In this class, we will discuss the legal “rights” of students with ADHD and the kinds of help they often need. We’ll also talk about computer software that makes reading and writing much, much easier to do. Checklists and sample letters to send to your school district’s special education services department are provided.

Class 6. Kids need a reason to learn.

In this class we share the types of parenting strategies that have proven to be helpful in motivating children to follow your directions and do what you ask, “The First Time”. In this class you’ll learn about Work for Play, Time Stands Still, Positive Practice, Positive Punishment and the importance of apologizing and “making amends” when you do something wrong. We’ll give you a worksheet and help you practice each of these kinds of skills during this class. We’ll also give you a worksheet to identify the “Top 5 Changes” that you want to work on during this program.

Class 7. You’ll get lost without a lesson plan.

Now that your child is being treated for ADHD, is eating and sleeping better, and plans for getting some help at school are in the works, we can focus on the Top 5 concerns that you have. We’ll help you figure out “what you want your child to learn”, and match your goals with specific teaching approaches and motivational strategies. You’ll also get a behavioral chart to use to keep track of your child’s progress.

Class 8. Temperament may be inherited… but…emotional control is learned.

Children, teens, and adults with ADHD commonly struggle with at least one of the following three types of emotional problems: outbursts of anger, excessive worry, and depressive reactions. In this class, we discuss strategies to help your child develop emotional control and inhibit impulsive behaviors like interrupting, intruding, and demanding that needs are met immediately.

Class 9. Yelling rarely solves anything.

Babies begin their lives by learning that crying, whining, and screaming work! Unfortunately, many children, teens and adults never grow out of that phase. In this class, we teach the basics of effective problem solving, recognizing that when someone says “NO” to you, there is usually a fear or a need that is getting in the way. The key to solving problems often comes down to learning what those fears or needs are, and respecting the other person enough to take care of those in order to get what you want. Problem solving worksheets are provided.

Class 10. Parents are people too!

Chances are that since your child has been born you have spent much (if not all) of your waking hours trying to keep them out of harm’s way, trying to figure out how to help them get organized, stay on top of their responsibilities, remember what he or she has been told, and on and on. In short, you’ve been your child’s “frontal lobe” for as long as your child has been alive. That is a very draining job. In this class, we talk about ways to recharge your emotional battery so that you can stay sane, loving and focused as you work to bring the best out in your child.

How do I register for the Parenting Program?

The easiest way for you to register is to visit our store. There you will be guided through the enrollment process. The program will provide you with access to videotaped presentations of Dr. Monastra teaching our 10 session program to a parent group at our clinic. You can view each class at your convenience. You will be provided with class worksheets so that you can follow along with the activities and demonstrations given in the class and practice skills between classes. You will also have the opportunity to email Dr. Monastra between classes if you have any questions or concerns. Our Assistant Director, Donna Monastra, LMSW, will also be available to you to answer questions that you may have. Phone: 607-785-0400.