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March 10, 2015

Testimonial Tuesday: Handling ADHD

SFP bookFrom time to time we receive emails from folks just like you who are discovering just how revolutionary our content can be. We love hearing this — not just because it validates our materials but because it means lives are being changed. Our whole idea is to help people stay cool enough to handle any moment in the moment. We know that if they can do that, they can find the momentum they need to create great relationships. Great relationships, change lives, which transform communities, which, in turn, heal the world. So, we want to share with you some of the stories we get to hear — stories of life change, stories of transformation. Today’s story comes from a dad who went to his local bookstore looking for a different book and ended up with one of ours instead. Sounds like he’s glad he did.  

Dear ScreamFree:

I apologize for this lengthy email, but I really feel like I have found the breakthrough that I have been searching for and I am so passionate about it, I just had to write you.

My wife and I have three children: ten-year-old boy/girl twins and a six-year-old girl. We are currently expecting a fourth. My wife and I have always thought of ourselves as good parents and understand the fact that we are not perfect and neither are our children. We have made more mistakes than you can ever imagine but have accepted those mistakes as learning experiences and have tried to move on.

Our biggest struggle has been with our ten-year-old son. He has been diagnosed with OCD and ADHD. Obviously these are pretty strong labels. My son, wife, and I have also had to deal with serious eating issues and have had him in therapy to help resolve this. To say everyone is stressed is an understatement. He has the tendency to lash out, disobey, and disrespect much more than his sisters. No wonder, huh? His parents show him how.

Last week, after three days of constant nagging, fighting, yelling, and spanking, I went to the bookstore to find the book The Strong Willed Child. I had heard excellent reviews on the book and thought I must do something different. Divinely, I could not find the book in the bookstore. However, I noticed your book from its catchy title and started to read it in the bookstore. Instantly, I knew I did not need a book about a strong-willed child, I needed a book about strong-willed parents.

I read your entire book yesterday and put it into practice immediately. My children saw a change right away and could tell I was somehow different. At one point in the day, my son started freaking out that he could not find a pencil sharpener. In the past I would have probably yelled at him to stop yelling. That makes a lot of sense, right? This time, however, I said, “It is really frustrating when you can’t find what you need. I hate when that happens to me.” He kept on freaking out and yelling for everyone to help him. My wife and I ignored it and just kept about our business without engaging in a battle. He eventually went on to something else, forgot about the pencil sharpener, and my wife and I felt no anxiety. This may sound like a small thing but it was huge in our eyes.

The final thing I need to tell you is how I made the greatest connection with my ten-year-old boy in a long time. My son likes to collect Webkins stuffed animals. He has tons of them, most of which he bought with his own money. About a week ago my son and I were in an argument, and I took away about 20 of those stuffed animals and said he would have to earn them back. I was using them as leverage to get him to do what I wanted him to do. After reading your section on “space/place” I realized I was completely wrong. I had no right taking what was really his.

Last night, while my son was reading at the table, I took the bag of stuffed animals over to him and said, “I have to apologize to you. I was completely wrong by taking these away from you. These are yours, and I will never take them away again. Will you forgive me?” The light in his eyes was amazing. This made an enormous connection with him. He forgave me and said thank you in a very sincere manner. At bedtime, even though my wife was taking them up he asked if I would come along.

Can you believe this all happened in one day? I woke up this morning feeling differently. My wife and I pledged to make it different around here. We both let go, and our anxiety levels are way down because we are not trying to control or manipulate our children. We finally feel in control of ourselves. We know today there will not be a screaming match no matter how many gauntlets our kids try to drop.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

A Grateful Dad of Three in Sacramento, CA

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