Dr. Bertin is a developmental pediatrician and author of How Children Thrive, Mindful Parenting for ADHD, Mindfulness, and Self-Compassion for Teen ADHD, and The Family ADHD Solution, which integrates mindfulness into the rest of pediatric care.

Dr. Bertin is on the faculty at New York Medical College and the Windward Teacher Training Institute, and on the advisory boards for the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders, Common Sense Media, and Reach Out and Read. For more information, please visit his website at www.developmentaldoctor.com.

409: How Parents of ADHD Kids Can Thrive 

Dr. Mark Bertin

How do parents cope with an ADHD kid? Dr. Mark Bertin, developmental pediatrician has said that “ADHD tends to push parents away from the exact parenting approaches that best address ADHD.” In this conversation we talk about how parents can best help ADHD kids…and themselves! 

How Parents of ADHD Kids Can Thrive [409]

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Dr. Mark Bertin: So basically ADHD can affect a lot of stuff because it's basically anything that requires management, planning, and coordination can be affected by it.

[00:00:16] Hunter: You're listening to the Mindful Mama podcast, episode number 409. Today we're talking about how parents of ADHD kids can thrive with Dr. Mark Burton.

Welcome to the Mindful Mama podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Mama, we know that you cannot give what you do not have. And when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, hunter Clark Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years. I'm the creator of Mindful Parenting, and I'm the author of the bestselling book, raising Good Humans, A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind Confident Kids.

Welcome back to the Mindful Mama podcast. And if listen, if you haven't done so yet, go hit that subscribe button so you never miss an episode. And if you get some value from this, if this helps you at all, please go over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a rating and review. It just helps the podcast grow more.

It takes 30 seconds, and I greatly appreciate it. It makes such a huge difference to me and the whole team that puts on this podcast. In just a moment, I'm gonna be sitting down with Dr. Mark Burton, a developmental pediatrician, and author of How Children Thrive. Mindful Parenting for ADHD, mindfulness and Self-Compassion for teen ADHD, and the family.

A D solution, which integrates mindfulness into the rest of pediatric care. Dr. Burton is on the faculty at New York Medical College and the Wynward Teacher Training Institute and on the advisory boards for the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders, common Sense Media, and reach out and read.

His blog is available through Mindful dot org, psychology today and elsewhere, and you can find him@developmentaldoctor.com. Now in this episode we talk all about ADHD kids and how do parents cope with a kid with challenges like ADHD? Dr. Burton says that ADHD tends to push parents away from the exact Parenting approaches that best address ADHD.

So we're gonna talk about that and how parents can best help ADHD kids and themselves. So join me at the table as I talk to Dr. Mark Burton.

Mark, thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Mama podcast. I'm

[00:02:57] Dr. Mark Bertin: happy you're here. I'm happy to be here too. Thanks for the invitation. Looking forward to it.

[00:03:01] Hunter: Yeah, I love to I'm so excited to talk to you about ADHD kids and things like that, but I'd love to, things are so different now than what they were, and I'm wondering how were you raised and what was your childhood


[00:03:12] Dr. Mark Bertin: Huh, that's an interesting question. I don't know. It's such a broad question. It's hard to know. How was I raised? I had very, I was very close with my parents, very involved parents. Strict in old school in a lot of ways. I think I I'm still very close with my when my dad passed away a long time ago.

But when I, with my mom and yeah, I think there was a lot of sense of, a lot of we were a very close extended family. Part of why I went back to New York and a lot of sort of, Old school, sometimes things aren't shared like stuff too, just, it was, they were certainly totally fine setting rules and boundaries when they needed to.

But, but we but it was fun. It was part of why I moved back from California to New York after a long time is it's hard to imagine raising kids separate from the extended family, because that's very much who I was

[00:04:03] Hunter: raised. Oh, that sounds great. It's pretty much you're like running around and aunts and uncles are like yelling out the window.

Mark, what do you do with

[00:04:12] Dr. Mark Bertin: just about, actually, just about very much out of an, yeah. That's what it felt to me at least. Just, I know memory is so hard. You make, you the stories all, but that's totally how it felt to me. Yeah, just a lot of One side of the street was several different buildings with most of my dad's family, and my mom's side of the family was on the other side.

So that was my, how I remember growing up, my family was, oh my gosh, moved outta of the Bronx. Very young. I didn't actually grow up in the city for the most part, but we were in, but we went back every weekend more or less.

[00:04:40] Hunter: Oh, wow. Wow. That, so it sounds like it sounds like you, did you have a fair amount of freedom?

[00:04:46] Dr. Mark Bertin: We did. You did. Even when we moved out, in the city it was and was still the city. So we were we moved around a lot. But when I was growing up, my parents' first house, we definitely, one of my memories of growing up is the parents had to just call around to all the houses to try figure out where all the kids were.

Cuz we lived on a street with a lot of houses close to each other and a lot of kids, and we would just all go running off for the day. And at the end of the day before we, none of us had phones.

[00:05:17] Hunter: Awesome. So what made you interested in children's development and then specifically ADHD?

[00:05:24] Dr. Mark Bertin: I grew up around the field of special education although I don't think my life was that many, it makes sense that I got here. But my family is all in special education, a lot of special education teachers and when I was going through a rough time as a teenager, one of the.

Most important things that developed for me was I started spending a lot of time volunteering at the local Special Olympics cuz one of our neighbors ran it. And even though it wasn't like I, I wasn't so driven that I knew like it was all a straight line on some level, I always felt very connected to working with kids and knew that was gonna happen.

And yeah. And then from there, the d h d part mostly just evolved. It was almost it was always interesting and. To me professionally and then was certainly something, people needed. So like my first job, I was the only, if I remember right, I was the only clinician in the practice that was working with kids with d ADHD.

You had to get a special license back then and then for the prescribing. And then there's a part of it also that sort of, this isn't why I did it, but then it became particularly connection. But in many ways the research around ADHD and research around mindfulness are mirror each other, some of it.

So all of that sort of came together and that's how I got here. But I mostly, it's just evolved from having always been around this field really my whole life. Going back to

[00:06:50] Hunter: probably that's that's pretty unusual. If I remember anything about, I grew up in the eighties and. I was in high school in the nineties and you seem approximately maybe you're like a few years older than me, but if I know anything about that time, like it was pretty harsh with special needs.

Yeah. Autism and things like that. Like we the insults we used, I particularly remember there was an insult that we used constantly that was just like incredibly horrible to like kids with special needs. Okay. Earlier in your timeline come before you started working with it clinically with kids you started practicing mindfulness for your own sake.

[00:07:33] Dr. Mark Bertin: I just feel like I got immuno, I feel fortunate to have been introduced to mindfulness in general, but the timing in particular I was introduced to mindfulness. Probably in the early mid nineties and right away felt not that you right away, started practicing a ton, but right away felt like it was a useful thing to start practicing with.

So I started dabbling in it back then which was just before the explosion of interest in the country. And yeah, I kept it to myself for a lot of years. It, not that I hid it, but I wasn't talking about it while I was practicing medicine. Much at all really. And then it happened, what I remember is, it happened quickly, is I went to a conference on the research around all of this stuff, mindfulness and stress reduction and concept called neuroplasticity.

And so all these really. Brilliant researchers in this amazing format where they were in discussion with a whole bunch of really famous teachers of mindfulness and including the Dalai Lama. And and over the course of that weekend, it's like this light bulb went on. I do not know why I am keeping this out on my medical practice.

I know all these families that are so stressed and overwhelmed and man that gets talked about, still doesn't get talked about enough, how challenging all of this can be. So from that point, I started exploring different ways to. Bring mindfulness into Western care and really starting with parents mostly.

Yeah it's great to be able to work with kids if kids or kids. And, the one thing I think it's an important starting point whenever we talk about mindfulness with families is, as much as we, might really feel pressured to get our kids practicing, the only thing we directly control is whether we practice or not.

And that's really the foundation of getting started with any family, I think. I'm not, and is exaggerating. There probably are some families where that isn't true, but for the most part it's gonna start with parents. And so

[00:09:36] Hunter: what were the benefits, we've talked about mindfulness here, but just for your, for say someone who's coming to this the first time.

What were the benefits that you were realizing your own life that made you want to bring this into your

[00:09:48] Dr. Mark Bertin: practice? And there's there, there's so much we could talk about. I think, I guess the, you keep it concise initially. Mindfulness is way more practical and hands-on.

And I think most people know initially, it's not relaxing specifically, and it's not some cliche, like it's all good. Yeah. It really is more actively training traits and habits that make life easier to manage, so it, and very literally is, you can really break it down that way.

For me I was going through residency at the time. Which, isn't, I don't want to take any specific credit for that. It's like everyone goes through really intense, stressful times. And for me that was obvious for anyone who know has heard about what residency is like. It was exhausting and stressful and a lot was going on in my life in different ways.

So the, the ability to just manage stress, manage anxiety, settle myself that comes from practicing mindfulness was exactly what I needed back then. Still do, but it's evolved a lot. But so it really was just it just felt like exactly what was needed in that way.

It also connected for me in a little bit of a different way with I've also have always hiked and backpacked a lot, and back then I was backpacking. More than I was now, have more responsibilities now. And there was this place I would get to after a few days of backpacking where just my mind would just quiet down.

It would feel like I could see, and it wasn't just always, this is a parallel to practicing mindfulness. It's not that everything was great, it was just that it would settle enough that I could start, making decisions and see more clearly what had to happen in my life and all of them.

And that's another, and that's very much, you can't. Most of us can't backpack all the time, but you can practice mindfulness pretty regularly. So it was it felt similar in that way.

[00:11:45] Hunter: I can relate so much to all of that, that before I started a mindfulness practice, I was reading about for many years, and I would I would hike or I would run in the woods and like in college, I would just run by this creek through the woods.

It was like my therapy, to go there and just that feeling of like everything settling down and and, that, that was enormous for me. And then, getting a little bit of that feeling when I did finally, Stop just reading about it and actually practice it made a, I was like, oh yes.

Yeah. All of those things I can relate to. So then parents of ADHD kids, they're going through a lot of stress. They're going through a lot of anxiety. So let's talk to me about what are some of the unique challenges that parents are going through if they ha are raising a kid who's has a diagnosis of


[00:12:43] Dr. Mark Bertin: To understand that you have to I. Recognize kind of the big picture of D H D first ADHD I don't know how much in your program you've talked about it, but D h D is a, first of all, it's a proven medical disorder. So in spite of how it's often talked about, it isn't a product of our modern society.

It's been described going back, more than a century in different ways. And one way to shorthand. Pretty much shorthand, but shorthand. The science of d, ADHD is that, the genetic, the genetics of the ADHD are almost as strong as the genetics of f. Oh, wow.

[00:13:19] Hunter: And you said it goes back in historically.

What, how did they describe it? You said historically, or

[00:13:25] Dr. Mark Bertin: some of it has to do with just in different medical textbooks described with different names. And some of it's more colloquial, like in the public. There's a famous in the field, at least book of. I think there were German poems translated by Meck Twain kinda like grim fairy tales almost.

And one of them is called Johnny. He in the Air and now delete describes the ingen type of PhD, and one of 'em is called Fidgety Phil. There are Grims fairy jealous and neither of these kids, do so well in the end. Oh no. But clearly, again, that's not medical, that's just colloquial.

But there's like lots of stuff like that you can find in just places it's clearly being described. And then the textbooks are describing, from what I understand, like in the late 18 hundreds and different ways.

[00:14:17] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcast right after this break.

Okay, so it's a proven disorder, like as disorder, because I think that's important to say because sometimes we feel we're all super distracted, the phones, the screens everywhere. Like it's making our kids more distracted and a lot of parents have worries about that. If you have a really distracting kids, is it this, the product of the society?

And you're saying, if you have a kid who's really getting to the point of maybe a diagnosis, then don't stop beating yourself up about it because this is really something that has a, maybe a strong genetic component.

[00:14:56] Dr. Mark Bertin: I think some of the Yes. Speaking generally. Way to think about it is part of a diagnosis of ADHD.

Yeah. Literally includes the concept of chronic impairment. Everybody's distracted by the way we're living nowadays and everybody can get reactive and everybody, all these, some people are organized than others and all these things that are going on with ADHD are true.

To have actual diagnosis of a d h ADHD, you have to prove there's a chronic pattern going on for an extended amount of time that includes some kind of specific impairment, which doesn't mean necessarily you're failing outta school. It can be social, it can be behavioral, it can be.

Chronic stress can be part of it, particularly for kids who are gifted academically. So they're doing well, but they're exhausting themselves, excessively doing it. The really big concept that I think helps put ADHD in a developmental context that comes back to your original question of why it's so stressful.

Is that h d is not, has long outgrown its name. And the best way to think about d h D at this point is that it's a developmental delay of a wide ranging skillset, call it the executive function, which is like our self-management skills. So it's like the brain CEO or the conductor of the orchestra.

So it's not the skills it's not whether math or whether know right from wrong or anything like that. Everything's in there. It's a matter of organizing, coordinating, and planning that gets affected. And so it's way bigger than attention. It's not even a short attention span, it's an attention mismanagement disorder.

So you can hyperfocus on some things that you like. You can't focus on things that are hard, you can't shift attention. There's a behavioral component, but, and it also involves almost anything. You can put the word management too, so you have to. Manage projects, you have to manage time, you have to manage emotions, all of those things involve executive function.

So basically, ADHD can affect a lot of stuff because it's basically anything that requires management, planning, and coordination can be affected by it. And it's also if you wanna come back to understanding how to, make a diagnosis. One of the things we're really relatively new, science and child development we now recognize is that executive function is a developmental class.

So that just like language skills, you don't expect a one-year-old to speak the same as a three-year-old because that's not how language works and that's intuitive. Executive function is similar. You don't expect a five-year-old to manage. Challenges the same as a 15 year old or even a 25 year old.

And that's a really important concept because I think it explains a lot of the challenges of how we're treating kids in general society nowadays. Alone, I, the example I use a lot has to do with Running a restaurant where, you can get a bunch of five-year olds to imagine, to play, pretend to run restaurant because factually they probably know a lot of the stuff that goes into running a restaurant.

They know that you need to have food and you need to cook it and need to serve it, and all of that's true, but clearly, you wouldn't have a five-year old even get a meal on the table at that age. They know the facts, but they can't do any of the planning and coordination. And then 15. You have kids who can probably get a meal on the table.

Life is a big bell curve. Maybe there's some extraordinary child forced in amazing circumstances to, to go work in a restaurant. But for the most part, a 15 year old is not quite ready to manage an entire business. But the same thing conceptually. They probably could list all the facts.

They know it, they just don't have that coordination and planning maturity yet. And it turns out that the human brain matures into our mid twenties, teens are teens for a reason. They're 10 years away from having fully mature judgment and planning. So by 25, obviously that's the sort of job many people have.

And and that sort of illustrates this past path of executive function. So when you're trying to say, does someone have ADHD? It's basically, a two-step, two-step thinking process related to that, which is like compared to peers the same age, are you far enough behind that you're causing yourself some kind of chronic impairment is basically in the shorthand for the diagnosis and for the most part it's worth looking into because people I think tend to conflate the treatments with the, just understanding what's going on and it's almost always valuable to understand what's going on in whatever decisions you make about treatments, not all of which are medical.

[00:19:17] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. We talked to Seth Perler. He talked about executive function a lot. We can, dear listener, you can check out that episode as well. But I, this idea of, there's just this delay in executive function. I really love your metaphor of running. Running a restaurant, cuz that makes, that really puts, it, makes it very clear, like you can, you don't, that management to be able to think about all those things and to, have the impulse control and to just all the logistics and things around that.

So for a parent who's has an ADHD kid, let's imagine you have a six year old or a seven year old, right? Who's been in school now for a couple of years, starting to get into academic work and they're realizing. My is having a lot of trouble managing this. Maybe we're starting to get in, starting to explore diagnosis and things like that.

How do these, this lack of self-management skills, how does it create an environment for the parents? How does it add to the stress of the parents in the home?

[00:20:20] Dr. Mark Bertin: Layers and layers of challenge is what it comes down to. And I'm first of all, obviously we all struggle when our kids struggle.

So some of it is just one of the best one line descriptions of ADHD ever from Russ Barkley, which I probably over quote, is that a D h ADHD isn't a disorder of not knowing what to do. It's a disorder of not doing what you know. So it's like watching, raising a child who's just struggling with themself lots because they forget or they get off task or they get impulsive or they, emotions, a huge part of ADHD.

So they could have like too quick to frustrate, too quick to anger. That leads to problems with friends or in the classroom. All of that makes, leads parents to suffer too. And then on a very practical level, executive function skills are the skills that allow you to be independent. So kids with HD generally rely on their parents much longer than their peers do.

In fact, that can go on all the way through high school because executive function skills are the skills you use for planning and problem solving. So kids with ADHD are. Basically, this actually goes for adults too. Anyone with D ADHD has a challenge with the skills that would allow you to go after managing your own d h ADHD, which is a very unique situation.

So having d h ADHD, requires a lot of support and intervention because your d ADHD gets in the way out of the plans you're making to manage it in the first place, and it's, so it's all really demanding and stressful. Very reliant on, if you have a, if you, I think it's very important for kids with D H D initially for the adults and then for the kids too, when, you know, as they get older and begin to understand it, to recognize that, you are behind in actual skills, which means, and the example I use in schools a lot.

If you're forgetful around things like handing your homework, no amount of, just like marking your grades down over and over again is gonna fix that. It's not that you need to be motivated more, it's that somebody needs to take the time to create a system that teaches you how to be less forgetful and, so that, kids with ADHD often internalize that instead.

And if they just keep getting poor grades cuz they can overhand in their homework without, getting some kind of structured support around it. They just start to feel bad about themselves and assume that's how you know they are as students. They, they develop an internal story around it and but, this is where it just becomes a lot of work for parents and teachers of, this, the only solution, if you look at it as these are skills that are behind is to, is for the adults initially to create a system that allows a child to thrive and that they can learn from.

That they pick up eventually, but it can take an awful long time. That means a lot of, intervention structure, routine at home, and a lot of the same type of stuff at school. And and it's you can just keep digging and digging. When it comes to a d ADHD, it goes all the way through like high school where study skills are executive functioning based.

A high school student with a d ADHD might come across as if. They just don't care and work hard when in reality what's going on is with poor executive function. They just have the slightest idea of how or why to study, which is a different issue entirely.

[00:23:38] Hunter: To me, I imagine this is like an incredible stress for parents, right?

Because you're, you say you have a seven year old, you're expecting them to be able to listen to you and to follow directions, and then they're getting distracted. You're expecting certain things at different developmental milestones. You're expecting levels of independence because you are working hard.

You're wanting this child to have some more independence. By the time they're 10, you're wanting them to do chores around the house and to remember to. Feed the cat and to, all the dif different things and to make their own lunch and to remember to bring it. And, when they're 11 and 12 and et cetera, all these ages, you're, you are wanting and expecting these levels of self-management and maturity.

And so what you as you describe this mark, like it makes me think of the idea. Of the term discipline. And like we think that the term discipline means to like punish, right? Like the idea of you get this bad grade because you're not, the rewarding or punishing this behavior.

But I always like to think of the word discipline from the word, as the same route as the word disciple, right? Like where is to follow or to teach? Where you're learning. And to me this really points to, for the parents really shifting that your mindset into really a lot of teaching and learning of organizational skills and systems and and really trying to become your child's executive function management kind of teacher in some way.

Is that kind of the role the parents get thrust into?

[00:25:11] Dr. Mark Bertin: Definitely. Yeah. I mean there's, yes, for sure. And there's almost, I was, as you were saying, that there's two or three things that came to mind for me. One is again, going back to that first question you asked me earlier, or one of the questions you asked me earlier about like, how did this start integrating to medical care is it's hard.

And if you don't acknowledge the fact that Parenting is stressful and overwhelming to begin with, and then you're raising the bar that it becomes even harder to do all these things that are being asked of you. So that, one of it is just to do all this, starting with that sense of mindfulness for parents or self-care in some way, or whatever it is for you that helps you stay resilient as a parent, makes it easier to advocate all this, make hard choices.

Stick to your plans. So that's def that's one thing that's definitely true. Second part is around executive function. There's many different parts to executive function. But yes, a lot of just like how do you learn to do your morning routine? How do you learn to do your homework initially does start with the routines parents grade, for sure.

And then the third one that's really important that you're alluding to, I think is that discipline doesn't mean there's a different way to use the word discipline, which is that it can be positive or negative. It doesn't mean punishment necessarily. And there's research saying that kids with ADHD are corrected more than their praised that the numbers quoted differently, like a three to one ratio by the time they hit kindergarten because they are off task.

And the the nuance there is that to learn they do need some correction. So that, programs that sort of push for just positive discipline in my experience, don't actually work. Kids need corruption. They need limits. They need boundaries. However they're heading the right direction because especially when kids have ADHD, they need a lot of positive Parenting in order to just have that.

It's almost if you wanna think of it a little overly, literally, it's to have a positive relationship, you need a lot of positive connection, a lot of positive feedback, a lot of, valuing your strengths or, you, you need like a coordinated effort to do all that. Positive Parenting to get Meeks are definitely.

Discipline, they're like vital for starting to steer kids' behavior when they have ADHD. And I

[00:27:31] Hunter: wanna just interrupt you right there, just so we understand what the term means, right? So when we're talking about positive Parenting techniques and things like that, you're talking about instead of saying what they're doing wrong, like talk to them about what they're, do you know what they can do?

Or, encouraging and, acknowledging the things they are doing, that kind of

[00:27:53] Dr. Mark Bertin: thing. Yeah, I mean it's, when I organize my thoughts around it, it's like almost like three different areas you can look at. One is just positive time together, just setting aside time, making sure that you value their, what they enjoy and immerse themselves in play together and, family meals and just all the positive time is one piece of it.

The second piece, which overlaps with both of the topics we've talked about today is What you're saying, what you just said is like labeling the positive stuff too. Which is actually almost like a mindfulness exercise. Yeah. Because when life gets ki, when life gets chaotic and busy, you know what stands out are the things that don't go well.

And that might be the only thing your child hears from you on the way out to the door in the morning. As opposed to just, making almost like a might loss activity of paying attention to and noticing all the things they're doing. Even in misbehaving child is usually doing more things right than wrong.

It's just that they have these other behaviors too. So you wanna praise the positives, not in an empty way. Empty praise doesn't have that much value but really find those moments that go well. And then if you really wanna get into the nitty gritty, this third piece is actually actively using reward plans.

That reward the opposite of a problem. So that just becomes a goal setting activity instead of an avoiding, bad behavior specifically. Like I don't get trouble. It's more let's work towards this goal of speaking more kindly to my sister, that type of thing. So positive Parenting techniques, are this kind of foundation of Parenting that set a certain tone and actually do correct a lot of behaviors in a lot of different ways.

Although they don't tend to stand alone.

[00:29:31] Hunter: Okay, so you're allowed to be human and see the frustrating things too kind. That's kinda what I'm hearing. If I'm a parent that's the best and I'm like, ok, I wanna focus on the positive things, but oh my God, the, whatever is happening, like you're allowed to be human and be frustrated at this behavior that's maybe like the cat your kid is pulling the cat's tail, or whatever it is, right?

[00:29:53] Dr. Mark Bertin: I get really frustrated sometimes with the pro, with, When the suggestions made to parents that they're gonna steer behavior like Mary Poppins, that's gonna work. It just, it's so exhausting as a parent when we led to believe that's possible. We're gonna get frustrated by things and kids need to get in trouble once in a while as they learn from it.

And it turns out that the positive Parenting stuff is quite important because that's, emotionally how kids should feel. And it sets a tone that you definitely wanna emphasize, and all of that's real. And then you're gonna have moments, just like you said, where you lose it or you get frustrated by good behavior, or your child needs to get in trouble.

And all of that's fine too, and one, I think one thing that relates to this conceptually is that in early child in particular, most learning behaviorally is just from immediate feedback. And the way I often describe it is that discussion is like one path to learning, but it's like the five to 10 year plan.

Like kids don't often just change their behavior from a good talking to on a Saturday, discussion is really important for many relational reasons, but it's just not how kids are learning when they're in early childhood in terms of behavior. So what's gonna steer their behavior is either, reinforcing the things we wanna reinforce or discouraging the things we wanna discourage.

So the, limit setting is e equally important as positive Parenting, although you wanna be, you hopefully are doing it less than the positive stuff, but it's equally important, and especially when kids have ADHD. If you have a self-management disorder, you need to be corrected regularly and problem solving things like timeouts is just vital cuz you have to empower yourself as a parent to to be able to, teach your kids that it's okay to be angry, but you can't cross that line.

That's just part of how kids, especially, I think all kids, but especially with ADHD, it's important to be able to do that as a

[00:31:42] Hunter: parent. Let's go back to parents, like you talk about mindfulness and you talk about how it can help kids, but you can also talk about how it can help parents and like we are parents are, it's like we know it's super hard to begin with and then you have an ADHD kid and you we're just like saying, okay, now you have to take your Parenting and you, like you said, raise the bar.

Like now you need to step up in this major way. And a lot of parents are thinking, okay, the mindset kind of turns into a lot of time. My kid has this problem, my kid has this diagnosis. I'm going to sacrifice everything and kind of put all my attention to my kid so that I can help my child. And this has become the most important thing for, my highest priority.

And then they sacrifice themselves. And this is not going to work. I'm imagining Talk, talk to us a little bit about. How parents can manage all the challenges that they're dealing with when they have a kid with a

[00:32:41] Dr. Mark Bertin: diagnosis. It stirred from, it's probably, it's one of those things that the research has to back up even though it may, may be intuitive or for explaining it kids, parents of kids with ADHD, the research that they've been shown, struggle with anxiety, depression, they lose confidence in their Parenting and strains, marriages.

It, it does all these things that in the end not just. Make you feel bad, but actually undermine your own resilience, your own ability to handle and bounce back from challenging situations. I think it goes for parents as much as it goes for any, teachers, doctors, anyone in a caretaking field, it's often overlooked that if we're gonna be at our best helping other people, we need to at least take care of ourselves enough to, to feel strong enough to do that.

And and that takes some effort. I think, when it comes to something that, you know, as specific as mindfulness, and it's not that I think everybody has to practice mindfulness, I think everybody could benefit from it. But the most important thing is taking care of yourself enough that you can, recover and keep doing the things you need to be doing to take care of everybody and your family and everybody in the world that have everybody you're responsible for.

And that really is the foundational, connection between mindfulness and ADHD really mindfulness and Parenting to me. I think there's sometimes a perception that, because mindfulness certainly does emphasize typically a type of meditation practice that increases focus and that's real.

But it doesn't erase ADHD, unfortunately, it supports ADHD care. It helps with attention. I think the really important thing it does on the most basic level is that life can be really stressful and overwhelming. And anything you can do that helps you manage that is gonna let you be at your best more often, doing whatever it is you need to be doing day to day, whether that is just your ability to Maybe notice when you're caught up in something stressful and then life shifts and suddenly you're in the backyard playing and just give that your full attention, that's relates to mindfulness practice or, when you get caught up in I think this was just talking to someone this morning who is saying they just can't help themselves.

That they start telling, they start telling these stories that go farther and farther into the future, projecting, from what's today, and then they feel miserable. Because this cohort brain today becomes failing outta college 15 years from now. And yeah, it's like it's important to problem solve and yet you can also start to work with those types of things because they again, undermine your resilience, which changes how you respond emotionally to things when they get ranch, ratcheted up, which changes decision making, which danger, just it all.

That is the fundamental premise of mindfulness practice on some level is, that when we practice it for ourselves, it's not really for our, when we practice it ourselves, it's not really just for us. That when we are able to navigate things with more skill or when we stay balanced or just recover quicker, that influences everyone around us profoundly.

And that's true in really any situation. So you can look at it like, couple of examples I think for parents that I think. Our sort of can resonate is I think we all know that when we come back from a week's vacation, if someone hands us a problem, we're gonna think about it more clearly and handle it differently than we would handle the same problem in the middle of three weeks of, chaos around school.

That point where we're exhausted and stressed, we're not gonna think about that problem in the same way. So that, that's a little bit of one aspect of what we're trying to get to with mindfulness practice is being able to, approach that problem with enough clarity that we can, make a good choice even if it's a difficult one.

[00:36:44] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcast right after this break.

[00:36:52] Dr. Mark Bertin: And then the other area that comes up a lot around family, particularly if you look at the emotional part of a d h ADHD. Yeah. It causes a lot of emotional reactivity and without saying anyone, it's like it's not your fault that your child's being emotional and reactive. And yet it's one of those things that if we can step, if we look at it as we're advising a friend, we all know that if you meet reactivity with reactivity, you get reactivity squared.

You never that never leads to calm. It doesn't, mean it's easier where we're gonna be perfect about that as a parent, but we can recognize that, the better we become able to manage our own emotional state around that, which is, another aspect of mindfulness practice, managing our emotions.

The better we're able to manage our own side of that interaction, the quicker it's gonna settle down. Even if someone has to get in trouble, the whole situation is gonna stay. Less volatile should we have, if we're feeling grounded and managing our own emotions and the fact that, we may recognize that we're getting frustrated and angry, but how we interact in that moment is gonna change a lot, which doesn't mean we can aim to do perfect all the time.

Even those of us who've been practicing Mindful for less a long time, lose it once in a while, but you get better and better at it if you practice.

[00:38:07] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah, I agree. And our emotions are contagious, right? Especially little kids, right? Like they need to borrow our columns sometimes, right?

They need that. They need us to be able to soothe them. So it's like our own ability to down regulate the practice of recognizing and processing through whatever's happening and being able to also, I think like the biggest thing for me, I guess as a parent who with a mindfulness practice,

When my kids are in a really intense, challenging situation and I really feel it, I'm feeling the intensity of their situation. I'm feeling worried or scared or whatever it is. One of the biggest benefits I can identify for myself is this idea that I can sit with the discomfort of what is happening.

Like I can, stuff is going down and I can sit and breathe through, through it, and it's not gonna kill me. I don't have to react right away, I can just. Practice this, like in incre, this tolerance, incredible tolerance compared to what I used to have, and not all the time but like most, a lot of the time.

And then I'm like psyched when it I can do it. I'm like, yes, hunter, good job. You did it right. But it always helps to down regulate the sit situation faster. Always.

[00:39:24] Dr. Mark Bertin: Yeah. And I, you said little kids, but I would totally project that for Yeah. With teens, it's if they're gonna be reactive themselves and meet it the same way that isn't gonna, go anywhere, easy.

One thing I think that we've alluded to a few times that I think is worth touching on before we end too, is part of mindfulness practice is the perspective we bring to things, which is, I think, Of two things. One of, one of the big challenges as a parent is that, life is messy and uncertain and we want only the best for our kids and we can get caught up in trying to fix and, protect and make sure everything goes perfectly all the time and get really caught up and all that.

And yet, life doesn't work that way. We can do our best to set our kids up to succeed and help them when they're struggling. And yet that expectation, like I think you were alluding to, learning to sit with uncertainty and not know the answer. And all of that is a practice in and of itself because we can exhaust ourselves pretty quickly if we don't recognize situations where, you know, all we can do is do our best because there is no answer, and that is really hard as a parent. And that's one. So one side of things I think is learning to. Feel a little more comfortable with we're doing what we can here, but it's still gotta be uncertain for a while. Which I don't mean that lightweight, it's really hard, but it is, reality sometimes in any situation for any of us.

Which relates to the second thing, which you've certainly mentioned a couple of times today, and I think I have too, which is part of all of this practice, is also just letting go of just perfectionism. We, there's like this loud inner critic most of, most live with in different ways in life.

It's we, we tend to harsh on ourselves when I think I'm dating myself using that term. But we tend to be really harsh with ourselves when we, something challenging going on in a way we would never talk to a friend. It's totally in, wrapped up in Parenting of just am I doing the right thing?

Or I didn't do the right thing, or I shouldn't have said that, or I made a bad choice. Or, this this judgmental voice is part of what exhausts his parents. And certainly when you asked. What other things, what's changed in real mindfulness practice, letting go of that sense of perfectionism, which is really nuanced.

It doesn't mean you're not always trying to do your best. It doesn't mean you're not always trying to improve, but there's a part of the practice where you can shift your perspective. Again, it's that same contradiction that happens a lot in life of we would advise, most of us would advise child do your best, learn from mistakes.

Go apologize if you need to, but it's okay. And then just, get back up and try again, and really focus on that perspective of self-care and effort. And that's how most of us would advise like a child or friend. But that is not how most of us treat ourselves. Like our own inner world does not play out that way.

And so part of all of this, part of why, mindfulness can help parents is when and this comes out of, Kristen Neff's self-compassion research and She said at Austin is that if we can shift that in her dialogue, some to, give ourselves a little room to solve and do our best, and occasionally make a mistake and recover and learn from it, we, that's another thing that definitively builds our resilience and helps us feel better.


[00:43:00] Hunter: And it not only helps us feel better I think it's so practical because I'm a miserable puddle on the floor. If I'm telling myself I'm a terrible mother, and I'm, and in a way it's almost like this weird, like selfish self-pity, like misery pit that you know, And if I'm practicing self-compassion, if I'm like, okay, that stunk, that was hard.

That's, but it's oh, it's hard. You can do this. You can, I can get back up. I can try again. You know what I mean? I can get, become more present with my family and all the demands and, it's a definitely a resilience practice. It's just super practical I think as well, just like mindfulness is, Oh my God, there's so much here.

Oh, sorry. You wanted to add

[00:43:40] Dr. Mark Bertin: I was gonna, because I realized just I know we have to end. The one thing I didn't say that I wanted with is what that all steers you back to is it lets you navigate the fact that, there's an awful lot of practical stuff that has to get done around a ADHD and, so that's what I just wanted to make sure we mentioned that at some point today of managing the school plan and working with people outside of school, like psychologists to manage, teach executive function or doing it as a parent or.

Making decisions about medication or dealing with screen times of illness when it comes to D H D, this is, I just wanted to make sure we're clear that, mindfulness is not replacing any of ADHD management, but is supporting, all of that, which can be quite hard. Yeah.

[00:44:21] Hunter: Yeah. I completely understand. I get that. More podcasts for you, dear listener, on all the practical stuff later. I guess we'll have to talk about that, those practical management tips and tricks and all the things that need to happen. It's a lot, it's a lot, dear listener. So I hope this has helped you, mark.

I really. I really appreciate you coming to talk to me about it and taking the time. And and you of course, you supported the Raising Good Human Summit and we talk about it more there. This has been such a pleasure and a joy. I really appreciate it. If people want to talk more about you and see your work, where can they find you?

[00:45:00] Dr. Mark Bertin: The easiest thing is to just go to my website, which is developmental doctor.com. Everything you need, you can find there.

[00:45:07] Hunter: Awesome. Again, thank you so much for your work and your time and your like, super, like calming presence New York is lucky to have you, mark.

[00:45:17] Dr. Mark Bertin: Thank you for being here. I appreciate everything you're doing too.

[00:45:28] Hunter: Hey, I hope this episode was valuable to you. I hope you liked it. I hope you learned something or maybe it just felt. A little less, not alone, which would be great, which is definitely one of the intentions I have for this podcast that I want you to just feel a little less alone in whatever you are going through.

One of the very best ways you can support the podcast if you like it, is to leave an Apple Podcast rating and review. I wanna give a shout out to M Villa ESCO oh seven, which is a five star review, and they say, highly recommend. I recently discovered Mindful Mama, and I'm so glad I did. I'm consistently impressed with the engaging conversations, insightful content, and actionable ideas.

I truly learn something every time I tune in. Go ahead and give it a follow. This podcast will quickly become a favorite in your feed. Thank you so much. Make such a big difference to have those ratings and reviews. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We are heading into summer here as I record this in my family and things are getting a little more loose and a little more relaxed, and I'm liking that.

And I'm not loving the incredible heat in Delaware. Oh my God. But I hope that things are maybe a little looser and a little more relaxed for you, and I hope that you're seeing the things about this time that you can appreciate. It's amazing how times change. So my daughter, my oldest daughter, Maggie she went to Germany recently on a two week exchange trip.

And oh my God, that day I just dropped her off at the high school parking lot and she got in the bus. I'm crying tears. I'm just like so sad. And it's not because I'm worried about her, nothing like that. I'm just. Sad cuz I'm gonna miss her. And it's like a preview of her going to college. And things are really good for us in the teen years now that I've turned things around with the way things were going in the beginning years and we're really, and we're close and I love her and I miss her and I wanna spend time with her.

And so that was really hard and sad. So listen, I know if you have little kids, It feels like it's a bazillion years away, really feels like a bazillion years away. I remember thinking that time is never ever gonna come, and then it comes and you're like, wow, it's true. What all the old. Grandma said like it goes super fast.

It's true. So wherever you are in your Parenting journey, I hope on whatever stage, cuz there's like really annoying and frustrating things in every stage and there's really lovely things at every stage. So I hope that you can practice to bring your attention to those lovely things that you can appreciate and that will help.

Lift you up and maybe get you through this time with some more grace and some more ease. And anyway, I hope that this helps. Listen to the podcast and I'm wishing you a great week, my friend. Thank you so much for listening. Namaste.

I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better and just, I'd say communicate better as a

[00:48:56] Dr. Mark Bertin: person, as a wife, as a spouse, it's been really a positive influence in our lives. So definitely

[00:49:02] Hunter: do it.

[00:49:03] Dr. Mark Bertin: I'd say definitely do it.

It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to your children and feeling like you're connecting more. With them and not feeling like you yelling all the

[00:49:19] Hunter: time, or you're like, why isn't

[00:49:20] Dr. Mark Bertin: things working? I would say definitely enjoy it. It's so worth it.

It'll change you no matter what age someone's child is.

[00:49:29] Hunter: It's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's great investment

[00:49:33] Dr. Mark Bertin: in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue in your old habits that aren't working, or you can learn some new tools and gain some perspective to shift.

Everything in your Parenting,

[00:49:51] Hunter: are you frustrated by Parenting? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem. So overwhelming with too much to learn. Are you yearning for a community of people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?

Hi, I'm Hunter Clarkfield, and if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting membership. You'll be joining hundreds of members who have discovered the path of Mindful Parenting and now have confidence and clarity in their Parenting. This isn't just another Parenting class.

This is an opportunity to really discover your unique lasting relationships, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to Mindful Parenting course.com to add your name to the wait list, so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment.

I look forward to seeing you on the inside. Mindful Parenting course.com.

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