How to Talk to Kids about the Gifts, Tools and Rituals of the ADHD Brain

This podcast will focus on the insider’s take on ADHD from someone who knows. Peter Shankman gives us the tools, tricks, life hacks and insider’s understanding from someone who has ADHD and grew up feeling misunderstood. Of course, he grew up to learn how to use his “faster than normal” brain and to become incredibly successful in business, writing and speaking as an entrepreneur, best-selling author and highly-paid keynote speaker. Peter helps us to understand the gifts of ADHD and how to help kids with “faster than normal” brains to use them to their advantage.

Peter Shankman is a spectacular example of what happens when you find the best traits of ADHD and work really hard to make them benefit you. Diagnosed at seven years old with “sit down, you’re disrupting the class” disease, Peter wasn’t formally diagnosed with ADHD until his mid-30s. By that time, however, he’d started and sold two companies, and realized that all the differences that formerly labeled him as a troublemaker were actually his greatest assets. After Peter sold his third company, (Help a Reporter Out,) he decided to focus on really understanding this “faster brain” of his, and learning exactly what it could do. From that, the Faster Than Normal podcast and bestselling book were born.

Peter believes that everyone has gifts, potential, and abilities far beyond what society has deemed “normal,” and strives to help bring those gifts to life in as many people as he can through his podcast, books, online videos, and countless worldwide speaking appearances. We are so blessed to get this insider’s view on what it’s like to have ADHD, be wildly successful with ADHD and how to manage your responsibilities, your deadlines, your environment, your diet and many other areas of life when you have ADHD—using it as a gift, not a curse.

The podcast provides:

  • Why ADHD is a gift not a curse
  • How we can turn negatives into positives in kids with ADHD
  • How supercharging can help ids with ADHD
  • How we can help kids with ADHD get through monotonous tasks
  • How rituals (not resolutions) work for kids with ADHD
  • Why “free will” isn’t free for kids with ADHD
  • Life rules for kids with ADHD
  • How to get through tasks kids “unenjoy” when you have ADHD
  • Life hacks to stay on task and stay organized
  • What parents really need to know about kids with ADHD

Important Messages:

  • It’s easy to make the good sides of ADHD work for you—but you also have to learn how to avoid the bad sides.
  • In school, kids are told to sit down and stop being different—and the kids are getting the message that they are broken.
  • What’s fun for these kids? If they love running or music, for example, it gives them a boost of adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin that they need in order to focus on the boring stuff.
  • The problem is that resolutions fail. Rituals is just something you are doing each day or each week.
  • Healthy good food is mandatory for kids with ADHD. If my grandmother wouldn’t have recognized it in 1910 as food, don’t eat it. Stick to the perimeter of the store. The inner part of the store is where the twinkies live that last for like 400 years. You don’t want to eat that. Do the apple test. If you are hungry- do you want an apple? If not, you’re probably not hungry.
  • Might need to both get as much sleep as possible as well as get up early to have early morning time to get work done and to exercise.
  • Life hack: Sleep in your gym clothes if you want to make that a ritual so you can just get up and go and do it. No need to think about it.
  • Don’t think of it as going to bed earlier- but being able to get up earlier. Think of framing it as what they really do want.
  • Look for incentives to help kids get done with the things they don’t want to do—so they can get these things done first. Sometimes you might need to provide an activity with a dopamine boost half way through the unpalatable activity.
  • Write things down, get up earlier than you think you need so you aren’t rushing around- you are calm and not rushing around
  • Parents and teachers need to know that these kids are not broken, they are not trying to disrupt life, they are just trying to live and learn.
  • Kids with ADHD have a faster brain and they need to learn how to use it.
  • We need to learn to listen to kids with ADHD.

Notable Quotables:

  • “We need to stop telling kids that they are broken—that they are different and that something is wrong with them. We don’t want to be telling kids with ADHD that their creativity, imagination, super-sized brain and speed are negatives. We need to start helping them understand that those are positives and there are so many good things they can do with their brains as long as they know how to use them, drive them, work them and how to make their brains benefit them.”
  • “Resolutions fail. Rituals succeed.”
  • Healthy, good food is mandatory for kids with ADHD. If you eat like crap, you’re going to feel like crap and work like crap.”
  • Eliminate choice.”
  • “Worry about what works now—not what would have worked last time or later—do what works now and do it as much as possible. Everything happens for a reason and you don’t want to blame yourself for not understanding it earlier.”
  • Don’t think about it as going to bed earlier, think about it as getting to start the next day earlier and be awesome at that.”
  • For me, I employ rules that are really an elimination of choice. I use them as ways to prevent myself from doing things.” I sleep in my gym clothes so I don’t have the choice to come up with an excuse not to go the gym in the morning. I don’t keep certain foods in the house because I’m going to eat them. My lights work on a timer. It’s much harder to go back to sleep when the lights are on.”
  • Ask; What is the thing you can do that can make the thing you have to do less unappealing?”
  • “Mornings can be a lot easier with kids if we take the time to wake up earlier.”
  • “The most important thing for parents of kids with ADHD need to know is that your kids are not broken. They are not on the island of misfit toys. They are different but different can be amazing.”
  • “When you have ADHD, you have a faster brain. It’s like having a faster car. If you don’t know how to drive a faster car, you can very easily smack into a tree but if you do know how to drive it, what you can do is mind blowing. You can drive faster than anyone else.”
  • “The most important thing for teachers to know about kids with ADHD is that they are not plotting to disrupt your class. They are not plotting to disrupt your day. They are just trying to learn in their own way. That’s the only way they know how.”
  • “We need to listen to our kids. Don’t assume you know better what the kid wants. For as long as it takes them to talk, listen to them.”
  • “Just because children with ADHD are doing something that works for them that wouldn’t work for you doesn’t mean they are wrong.”

The most important thing for parents of kids w/ ADHD need to know, says @PeterShankman on #talktokids podcast is that your kids are not broken. They are different but different can be amazing. Want life hacks for kids w/ ADHD? Listen in!
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