Ok, gotta admit I have been totally slacking with the book reviews. Not because I am not reading, but because I am not writing about what I am reading. I have no explanation. Sorry.
So today I want to talk about Super- Parenting for ADD, written by Edward Hallowell, MD and Peter Jensen, MD. I have no memory of when or why I ordered this book from Amazon, but I did. You know, I am that person that always has several books in rotation.
You can purchase a copy here.
I am going to use my 3 things I like and 3 things I do not like technique here.
I LOVE the positivity in this book. In particular, I enjoy the fact that the authors devote the entire first chapter of this book to the subject of love. I should say, I love and I hate this.
Love is such a hard thing to define, but the authors do a good job of putting any fears the reader has to rest when it comes to loving your child with ADHD. My favorite quote:
“It is love, wise love, smart love, persistent and unremitting love
that they need, first and foremost. More than anything else, these
kids need someone to detect the beginnings of what’s positive
in their oddball, offbeat, exasperating, or disruptive ways.”
The whole idea of loving your child with ADHD really spoke to me because as I was diagnosed so young, and my parents really struggled with it. I struggle with it too, but for different reasons.
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Drs. Hallowell and Jensen do a good job of giving the reader some historical context for not just ADHD but also mental health in general. I personally know very little about the history of mental illness and it’s manifestations historically.
Not that ADHD is a “mental illness”, that is not what I meant. But many, many people still believe that ADHD is some type of personal choice, and that children (and adults) are simply not trying hard enough to pay attention.
We are not trying hard enough to manage our lives. We are not trying hard enough to…fill in the blank. This is maddening to me! As the writers of this book point out: Even now, people believe that all you have to do to overcome the symptoms of ADHD is to “work harder.” It’s hogwash.
Emphasis on Strengths-Based Approaches
I cannot even tell you – and I am certain you could not explain to me, how devastating it is to get the news that there is something “wrong” with you child. Even when you know the diagnosis is coming.
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The authors of Super-Parenting advocate just the opposite. They argue that we should, “identify strengths, interests, potential interests, hopes, dreams…shine a light on those.” From my perspective, this is lacking in our world right now.
If I let every 9th grader I had in class write a persuasive paper about a topic that they were really interested in, chances are I would have gotten waaaay better papers. But I couldn’t do that, because as a teacher I had to limit their options.
This book does a great job of opening our eyes to the possibilities for children and adolescents with ADD and ADHD.
Now for the skinny on what I am not crazy about:
Lovey Dovey Stuff
No matter how much I like the positive vibes – you cannot love ADHD away. Believe me, if I could, I would.
You cannot cope with ADHD with love alone. Sometimes you do need medication and therapy. And parent education.
Dr. Hallowell and Dr. Jensen discuss the idea of “mirror traits”. This is defined basically as the good within the bad. For example, if a child is highly distractible the “accompanying positive mirror trait” would be curiosity.
I tend to be forgetful. I forget appointments, I forget details. The “accompanying positive mirror trait” to this is that I get “totally into what I am doing.”
I don’t really agree with this. Not every trait has a positive opposite. Some of my traits, and the traits of others with ADHD are just well…annoying.
For example my son is 5 now, and he still has trouble transitioning from one activity to another – this is common in children with ADHD. I see this as being inflexible, which is annoying and endlessly frustrating. What is the positive mirror trait for that?
This is me being totally weird but I didn’t get this chapter at all!
The basics include: collaborate and connect with other parents living with/parenting with ADHD, look for support in your community, and get involved in ADD/ADHD research and causes.
While I agree with all of this, I felt like they were trying to sell me something. What, I do not know. It was like listening to a coach talk up a football team that just lost a game.
It felt a little forced. That’s all.
The Final Word
This is not a bad book by any means. I basically read it in a day, which is a good thing for any other readers who might be living with ADD/ADHD. It is certainly a quick read.
Nothing in this book is particularly hard to understand. The vocabulary and concepts are easy to follow and pretty down to earth.
This book is light and you will close it feeling hopeful. Hope is always a good thing.