Parenting an ADHD child can be really difficult, filled with ups and downs and so many unknowns. I started my blog to help other families on this journey, so that they might learn from my mistakes, and avoid some of the missteps I made as a mother of two ADHD boys.
When I started my blog 5 years ago, there were not many others sharing stories of raising kids with ADHD.
Thankfully over the years many voices have started to share their experiences of parenting kids with ADHD – for the benefit of us all.
I love hearing from other mother’s who are on a similar journey. Our stories might not be exactly the same, but we can all benefit from each other’s advice and perspective on this amazing journey.
I first “met” Cris on Instagram, where I’d see her awesome posts about ADHD and nutrition. Being such a proponent of excellent nutrition for my own ADHD boys, I knew I wanted to hear more about her story.
Cris is a wife, a mother of three young beauties, a registered holistic nutritionist and a culinary nutrition expert. She is an entrepreneur and founder of the ADHD Method. I talk so much about boys on my blog that I am excited to have a mom of girls to talk to!
Welcome Cris Brown of AllBoutBalance.ca!!
How are you guys dealing with the whole Shelter in Place thing?
Cris Brown: It’s hard. There are a lot of unsettled emotions around timelines. We’ve been thrown into something we didn’t have anytime to prepare for and have been asked to “figure it out”. The first week of online schooling was like our life 6 years ago with BIG emotions, inability to self-regulate, sugar cravings. Now, we’ve adopted a well needed routine, given the girls specific times to connect with friend via social media apps, incorporated daily family walks, frequent scheduled breaks and set new but realistic rules/ consequences so we don’t go too far out of a regular routine. We’re functioning at a much higher frequency these days and that’s a beautiful thing.
Any tips for homeschooling ADHD kids that you’d like to share? : )
1. You are not a teacher by trade so to expect your child to respect, listen, follow the outlines, grasp the concepts and enjoy it…that’s not realistic. If they were struggling with school before, they will struggle with it now. It’s not about patiences, it’s about adapting and pivoting.
2. Chunk the tasks. Bring one subject out at a time. Start with a fun subject and layer the not fun subjects in-between.
3. Regular breaks are essential and start back at a set and clearly communicated time.
But the real concept or lesson I’d like to instill is…
Do what you can that’s in your control.
Meaning, you can control what they eat, how you deliver the message, and what tools are available to support your child and family, plus the overall home environment (if it’s stressful, start helping yourselves because it will not change otherwise).
Can you tell us a bit about your early struggles with your girls. What were some of the symptoms you were dealing with on a daily basis?
Cris Brown: Oh man, the early days sucked! I really didn’t even know how bad it was until we weren’t living in it daily. I knew I was exhausted with almost zero energy, I knew my girls weren’t “normal” and it was so hard to face daily ridicule, judgment and fears around the behaviors that most of the time I just pretended things weren’t so bad. I would make excuses for them, give in and do their homework or let them out of doing their chores because it was what I thought would make things easier; does that make sense?
Struggles were not the same everyday, so it wasn’t like I could just figure it out and move past it.
We were faced with years of yelling, inability to follow simple tasks, sleeping problems, restless legs, sugar cravings, impulsivity, tics, delayed development, mood swings, skin issues, distractibility, poor concentration, disorganization, picky eating, sensory issues (listening to chewing hard things still applies), homework wars, hating school, not having friends, tantrums, hyperactivity, allergies…and these were the constant ones.
Even going through all this, I was still 100% committed to getting my girls past the behaviors which also created a lot of relationship problems with my husband; not fun times!
Truthfully, I really hated being a mom and that’s the candid truth. I mean, I didn’t hate them, I loved them and do love them but until the behaviors stopped, it was not-stop chaos and I lived in the “why me” or “why them” phase for way too long.
So I’m not just a Registered Holistic Nutritionist here, telling you how to randomly change things, I’ve personally felt, lived and hated through all the ADHD symptoms and the ripple effects of it all that so I also come with deep gratitude and compassion for families that are struggling.
What were some of the ways you tried to help your girls that did not work so well?
Well, Dr. Google is not all I thought he was – LOL
The major thing that didn’t work well was me giving into my fears.
Every time I was challenged by a change of demands, friend, family member or even my husband…I would cave. Any progress I made halted and I became depressed at yet another failed attempt.
I thought I could do it alone, manage the house, work and family…until I couldn’t.
So really, saying what I tried and failed at might not be a great account of what really was helpful, because I was the major roadblock.
Plus, when you try and give up so many times you have to start over and each time. When you do this, your children become more resistance or clever on how push buttons and steer you right back into the state of fear again.
Every child is biochemically unique so there isn’t one golden solution but I can say with 100% certainty that if I didn’t change the way I was feeding them and what I was giving them access to, I would not have the amazing and thriving girls I have now.
Was there a defining moment when you knew nutrition was the way to go with your girls?
The defining moment was when I realized I had turned into the same people that were treating my kids terribly. I was ashamed of the mom I was and it wasn’t the life I wanted for family. I knew my girls were amazing, neurodivergent little beings and I didn’t want to adjust their atypical personalities like meds are notorious in doing.
I knew in my heart, my gut that there was more than “here take this pill”. I knew that meds were only a band-aide solution that came with way too many side effects that I wasn’t willing to go that route.
So after watching my middle daughter hive up after eating a common condiment, the light bulb went on and I thought, if food can cause that reaction outside, what is it causing on the inside. This simple question lead me on to embark on my nutritional pathway and I’m so glad it did because my heart, gut and brain were connecting the dots.
Fast forward 6 years and through nutrition and periodically adding in supplements, we’re out of the ADHD symptoms and onto a much brighter and healthier future.
Were your girls the inspiration for you to study nutrition?
It’s two folded but 95% of the reason I became a Registered Holistic Nutritionist was to help my girls…the other 5% was for me to invest in my own health. Now, it’s my mission to help as many families gain the same relief as I’ve been blessed with.
What advice would you give to mamas just starting out on this journey?
For parents just starting…the best advice is that you don’t dibble and dabble. Get the help of a nutrition professional.
I invested in my health & lifestyle through a coach because I wasn’t getting it at home. I needed support and accountability plus I had no idea how to start, what steps to take and what to do when things weren’t going as the current book I was reading described. I needed someone to hold my hand, hold me accountable and pick me up when I was totally deflated so that I could keep going.
By enlisting the help of a professional, you’re going to skip years of struggles, wasted money, built up mindset blocks that are holding you back and most of all, you can see huge gains within 12-weeks and that’s amazing!
PS: If you’re child is young, please take it from my years of experience working with clients that come to me when their children are 10-13 years old and they are burned out, frustrated and defeated. I always hear, “I wish I had of done this years ago.”…but it’s never too late!
What do you say to those of us dealing with really picky eaters?
This may sound harsh but picky eating is a habit; a learned behavior.
Picky eating is a major indication that something bigger is going on in your child’s internal environment, that some nutrients are low or not being able to be absorbed. When this happens, habits start forming around the foods that make them feel good not the foods that are good for them.
You are in control of what your children eat and with some coaching and mindset applications, picky eating becomes a thing of the past.
Tell us a bit about your program, “The ADHD Method”.
The ADHD Method is a step-by-step, proven plan for parents of children with ADHD to stop ravenous behaviors (symptoms) by using natural alternatives, including nutrition, to get to the root of the problem. Let’s face it, the behaviors are controlling your life, your relationships and how you and your child are coping and that needs to stop! It’s not serving you or them. Whether it’s picky eating, tantrums, the inability to concentrate, BIG emotions, bouncing off the walls…don’t worry, I have an easy system for you to follow.
What’s in the ADHD Method that makes it so powerful?
There are quick gains because in the ADHD Method the guess works taken out of where to start, what steps to take next, what foods are required or not helping, so you don’t live in that panic state that grips your heart and gut so tight that you sometimes can feel like you can breathe.
It’s a 12-week online program that when followed, affords you and your child control back in your life within a small amount of time.
It delivers proven strategies, recipes, real-time coaching, accountability and community support; that means no more countless internet searches that in the end only leaves you more puzzled.
..and for you, it means that you get to enjoy going out as a family without ongoing meltdowns, school calls of praise- not ridicule, reconnection of relationships, serving a healthy dinner to the pickiest of eater without massive outbursts, and the best part is getting a happy, healthy and thriving child in the process.
The ADHD Method a savvy approach to getting families past the ADHD behaviors because these behaviors are only symptoms. The symptoms are signaling to us that somethings wrong…something inside of them is struggling.
We all know that the symptoms of ADHD are usually not just about one thing. What other treatments/remedies do you find helpful for your girls?
You’re 100% correct, it’s not just about one thing but without going to the root of the issues, it’s only going to be about the behaviors and host of other health complications that are associated with the ADHD label.
For my girls and my clients, I am devoted to going after the root cause and that’s your child’s internal environment (their gut).
What does that mean?
It means that giving the body and brain some much needed fuel so it can filter out all the background noise and static causing them outbursts, tantrums, lack of focus, frequent illnesses, learning disabilities, disconnected relationships and the list goes on.
Your child’s body not only needs whole foods for survival but for repair, maintenance and growth. The difference is that food for survival is not the same as for repair, maintenance and growth. You can survive for a long time on junk (maybe not without health complications but it can be done) but your child CANNOT thrive without the right fuel and that’s when we see a host of other complications as previously noted.
When you address the root cause with core mindset (habit) strategies, your child starts beaming and that’s why I love what I do because I get to take the journey with you.
Thanks so much for your amazing advice!! Where is the best place for my readers to find you on the web?
I’m all over the web and would love to connect with ADHD families that want to apply natural and alternative methods into their lives.
Facebook Business Page: All Bout Balance
Facebook Group: ADHD Nutrition Solutions
In fact, with our current times, I wanted to deepen my support for families struggling so I created a FREE Guide – 5 Key Strategies to Support Your ADHD Kiddo’s Immune System and went LIVE in the ADHD Nutrition Solution Facebook Community to deliver trainings by breaking down each key strategy. I’d be happy to see people join, participate and learn with like-minded families; community is key.
**all information and addressed topics are not being offered as medical advice and I encouraged you to discuss your child’s requirements with a Medical Professional.