blog | Mar 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

8 ADHD Quarterback Tips

An old African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  I might take a twist on this and say, “It takes a strong mom of an ADHD child to fend off the angry villagers.”  I often get asked what to do with those opinionated but not always helpful family members that want to weigh in on your treatment plans.  Because of my Indiana roots and losing our favorite Colt this week, I’ve chosen a quarterback metaphor to run through some points to consider.

1. Uncertainty – It is unnerving when family and friends judge and challenge our ADHD choices because we’re not sure.  This isn’t a skinned knee or a high fever.  We know what to do with those. Our loved one is struggling and the last thing you need is an armchair quarterback.  Remember, you’re the one that gets up every day, puts on the shoulder pads and the helmet, shows up for all the practices so you can go out and do your best to move that ball down the field. Don’t let the fans sitting in the lazy boy with the bowl of chips and the plate of hot wings call the next play.  They mean well when they shout out plays, remember, Peyton never stopped a game to listen to the arm chair quarterback.  You shouldn’t either.

2.Build Your Team – Show up for practice and get your best gear.  If you’re going to quarterback this game, you need to know the rules and have the right equipment.   Get a good doctor, therapist, medication, diet plan, IEP, teacher support, you need the right team.  Professionals.  Not amateurs. But never forget you’re the quarterback. Don’t spend time trying to figure out how your loved one got ADHD, that’s not helpful.  Peyton doesn’t research the history of football. Get to work helping you and your family live and play well with ADHD.

3. Winners have Heart – Feed your head with good information and always bring your heart. Peyton Manning is the best quarterback to have played the game because he has skills and heart.  Bring both to the game every day.  Don’t let your focus be on “fixing the ADHD” that’s not a game you can win.  Your focus is on helping your loved one, who happens to have ADHD, to have a great life. Every day be ready to listen, love, and feel.

Arm Chair Quarterbacks – There are two types of arm chair quarterbacks, those that read the stats and want to learn and know about football and those that want to drink too much beer, eat too many wings, and scream at the tv. Figure out which kind you have. The Stat Watcher or The Other One

4. The Stat Watcher – This is the best kind of arm chair quarterback.  They really are interested in learning more.  Lead them to good information.  Send them articles and book recommendations to inform them…. not to give them control.  Join ADHD groups on Facebook, recommend them to others.  They still don’t get to be on the field.  You are the quarterback.

5. The Other Ones – This is tough because these are still family and friends. They probably aren’t malicious or mean; they just don’t have good info. Unfortunately that doesn’t prevent them from having opinions.There has been so much terrible information about ADHD in the media over the years, or worse yet, no information at all.  That’s all they know. Sometimes we have to smile politely and then call a cab for the last drunk that won’t leave the party on Super Bowl Sunday.  Sometimes the obnoxious fans get escorted out of the stadium if they become dangerous.  You might try something like, “Yes, there’s lots of information out there about ADHD, thanks for caring and having an opinion but we’re working through things with our doctor.”  Or, “If you’re interested in taking the time to really research and understand ADHD, I’m happy to send you some information, if not, I’d rather not discuss this with you.” The words you say aren’t as important as your emotions and your intent.  Get those in check and the words will come easier.

Remember, you are the quarterback that got recruited to actually get out on the field. A good quarterback doesn’t get rattled when it’s 4th and 1 and the fans are screaming at them.  They stay cool.  You’re going to need the patience of Peyton on Super Bowl Sunday. Learn to possess the quiet confidence of a winner.  Don’t let them see you sweat.

6. Don’t Share the Playbook – Peyton has never walked up to an angry fan in the stands who has criticized his last play and asked for an opinion or an apology.  You don’t have to do to that either.  You are going to create a great playbook with your professionals, (doctors, therapists, nutritionists, teachers, etc.) this is not up to debate from the fans.  This could be a big shift for you and your relationship with your friends and family. In the past you may have shared everything about what kind of diapers to use and baby food to buy but this is different.  They don’t have the same situation or experience that you have with ADHD so their opinions aren’t always relevant. You can love them without putting them on your ADHD team.

7.) Coaches and Advisers. You still need a support group. Find a group that knows about ADHD.  They’re available through CHADD in some cities, a there’s a ton of them online.  Find other ADHD families to get your support from.  They will understand your fear, your celebrations, your exhaustion.


Now go out there and play the game! (Insert a team friendly pat on the behind)





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