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Keep the Social in Social Distancing

I’m seeing many introverts engaging more socially now due to our current, virtual world. Yay! Zoom is great for shy people as it can be less intimidating than walking up to someone in person. Now is the perfect time to work on strategies to build your (or your child’s) social and emotional skills for when we return to “normal” in-person interactions. The first step is to understand where you need help, and then to set achievable goals. What about interacting with others, online and in-person, causes you to avoid or delay connecting? Understanding where you need help is critical to … Continue reading Keep the Social in Social Distancing

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Social Spy

What is it to be a Social Spy? The concept of Social Spy is designed to help you or your child learn to  manage concerns around social skills and social and emotional development. Exercise: Go into a virtual or public event with a mission to be a social spy to obtain specific social information. Rehearse ahead of time in order to watch other people in a subtle, covert way and to listen without looking like you are eavesdropping. The idea is to scan and read the room to learn crucial information about peers such as how they dress, what they … Continue reading Social Spy

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Collaborating Virtually at Work and School

Working or learning virtually can be a challenge especially if reading social cues and managing your communication is a challenge.  We have the technology to create and support virtual teams, but collaborating remotely requires special skills. These tips can help build social and communication skills in a virtual setting:  Consider who is Your Audience- Think about what you know about the people in each meeting or interactions, what motivates them? What is their history with you? What are their past choices and what does that tell you about how they will react to a situation? Then if need be, pause … Continue reading Collaborating Virtually at Work and School

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Connection is a Verb

We’ve all heard the sayings: “Money doesn’t fall from trees,” “The early bird gets the worm,” “Make new friends but keep the old.” What do they have in common? They require action! You don’t just sit on the couch and get rich (unless you are a youtuber or creating some new and improved way to work from home – stocks are super-hot now during COVID!)… but I digress… My goal in this post is to implore you to reach out and cultivate friends. Friends come in all forms and from all places: your kid’s school, neighbors, coworkers, place of worship, … Continue reading Connection is a Verb

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Rejection Sensitivity & ADHD

When you experience Rejection Sensitivity, you have a heightened reaction to a real, perceived or even anticipated event, person or situation. This reaction feels all-consuming and mammoth inside you and it’s crushing – even crippling! When this event occurs, even if it is a small non-event to most, it feels enormous and can literally is paralyze you. This overwhelming physical sensation feels unbearable and on a scale of 1 to 10 – it is 10+! What matters here is how it makes you feel; not the actual situation. Our brains are ancient, so when they perceives a threat, our body … Continue reading Rejection Sensitivity & ADHD

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15 Phrases to Spark a Conversation About Social Dilemmas

Talking about social challenges is never easy. For most parents, the dread of how to begin keeps us from having the conversation at all. Or it turns what could be a series of small breezy chats into an epic conversation akin to a meeting of rival nations at the UN.  Some children simply won’t engage. They do a disappearing act—scattering whenever you bring up anything. 15 phrases to spark a conversation about social dilemmas and situations for your child:  “What does it mean to be a good friend?” Teaching our children to be good friends starts with this question. Ask … Continue reading 15 Phrases to Spark a Conversation About Social Dilemmas

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Top 10 Social Etiquette Faux-Pas During a Pandemic

We’re all figuring this out, yet some of us have adapted to the rules of Pandemic Protection faster and better than others. This is a weird new world, yet community and civility should not be tossed out with our disposable masks! Some people wear masks driving alone in cars, while others claim they “don’t believe in them.” COVID is real, and its effects will last a long time. As a social skills coach, I see all types of behavior as we adjust to this mask-wearing, distancing new normal. Here are my top observations of how to inadequately protect yourself and … Continue reading Top 10 Social Etiquette Faux-Pas During a Pandemic

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What Will the Fall Be Like?

Now is the time for parents to contemplate what fall will look like. None of us knows what to expect, but we can’t just adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Measures should be put into place this summer in preparation for a successful school year. As a social skills coach, I suggest that parents review the social struggles that were most prevalent last year. Did your daughter make friends easily or did she eat alone at lunch? Now would be a good time to ask her if there were people she would like to get to know better. Are there clubs, sports, … Continue reading What Will the Fall Be Like?

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3 Tips to Building Empathy During a Social Crisis

COVID Resource – Are we becoming cruel and self-centered or just oblivious? Let’s face it, we are in a social crisis. Socially distancing is making us exhausted and LONELY. What’s more, on a whole, we are becoming “less nice. Bullying, cruelty and insensitivity may actually be on the rise as we shelter behind our screens. We all witness how cruelty and callousness divides a community – even if it is unintentional. Where we had seen a child burst into tears, or innately sense a rebuff, social distancing has taken away these vital, often non-verbal social exchanges. Empathy is showing compassion, … Continue reading 3 Tips to Building Empathy During a Social Crisis

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Why Will No One Play with Me? made it to the Best ADHD Books of All Time

Why Will No One Play with Me? made it to the Best ADHD Books of All Time   I’m happy to announce that my book, “Why Will No One Play with Me?: The Play Better Plan to Help Kids Make Friends and Thrive”, made it to BookAuthority’s Best ADHD Books of All Time BookAuthority collects and ranks the best books in the world, and it is a great honor to get this kind of recognition. Thank you for all your support! Learn More about Why Will No One Play With Me? The book is available for purchase on Amazon.

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How to Work With a Teen Who Won’t Abide by COVID Rules

It will happen. Maybe more times than you would like. Your teen has had enough of the social distancing and refuses to obey the house rules. You know he is lonely and has a hard time making friends. Should you forbid an in-person union? Should you stay the course and try to guide him through the ups and downs of why being safe is so important? How do you know what to do next? First, forbidding anything can be a tough call, and may backfire. Saying no can make it seem more attractive to your child. Plus, outward disapproval might … Continue reading How to Work With a Teen Who Won’t Abide by COVID Rules

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Virtual Playdates: Can They Really Help Build Social Skills?

Who knew playing at the playground, running on the soccer field or summer camp would be taken for granted? Adults have an easier time staying connected to friends, but kids need to keep in touch just as much, if not more than we do. There are many ways to keep your young one social and active with friends while on lockdown. They can continue to build on the social skills strategies that you’ve been building on over the last several months. Ways to make virtual playdate a success – Determine the social struggle – Ask yourself what your child tends … Continue reading Virtual Playdates: Can They Really Help Build Social Skills?

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Stress tips for Parenting during COVID

Now how many hats are you wearing? Stress tips for Parenting during COVID: Prior to COVID you were crazy busy, but now?… What do you call this new phase? You work from home, discipline the dog, coerce your kids into silence and manage online learning with your kids! Oh yeah, it’s time to start dinner! As many parents continue to home school, the fear of adding camp counselor to your list of positions instills panic. Mom. Dad. You are are physically and emotionally exhausted! Add to that the feeling of being ineffective in multiple realms of your lives. You are … Continue reading Stress tips for Parenting during COVID

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10 Ways to Teach Your Child Social Skills in Daily Life

Some kids learn easily how to navigate any social event and other kids do not. As a parent, you are her original teacher and you are with her day in and day out, so you can help her practice her social skills in daily life. Consider the opportunities in daily life such as standing on the sidelines at a soccer game, playing in the park, shopping in box stores and malls, standing in line at the grocery store, going to barbeques as a chance to be your child’s social skills coach. 10 Ways to Teach Your Child Social Skills In … Continue reading 10 Ways to Teach Your Child Social Skills in Daily Life

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When Your Tween Acts Up During Lockdown

My stuck-at-home 11-year-old spends her off-school hours on the online game platform Roblox. As screen time goes, it’s a pretty safe, kid-friendly and creative option, since with parental controls I’m able to lock down her privacy (that means no chats, ever). But she resists screen time limits, argues about getting off Roblox to do chores and tries to push her bedtime later every night. She is worried about not being able to go back to sleep-away camp this summer. And annoyed that she can only FaceTime her friends, instead of seeing them in real life. I get it. Her reaction … Continue reading When Your Tween Acts Up During Lockdown

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Screen Time & COVID-19: How to Support Teens with ADHD

Connecting with others is essential, and that is especially true for teenagers with ADHD during this unprecedented COVID-19 quarantine. Most teenagers with ADHD, however, spend too much time on electronics, so it is necessary—now more than ever—for parents to engage them in collaborative discussions that lay out expectations. You can use this time—when most of the rules about screen-time limits and appropriate hours for waking and sleeping have gone out the window—to help your teenager practice self-regulation. Soon they will be out on their own, with no parental limits. Learning to coauthor their own limits will help them in the … Continue reading Screen Time & COVID-19: How to Support Teens with ADHD

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5 Ways To Maintain Your Child’s Social Skills During COVID19

Due to COVID-19, government and medical professionals are urging us to stay physically distant and avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people. Although parents are being asked to promote physical distance outside of the family, helping children develop social skills is still possible. As busy people, we don’t always make the time to connect with others in our immediate households—social distancing is the perfect time to do this, no? Social skills are life skills, and connection to others is essential to mental and physical health. Helping children feel connection is possible, even without playdates and when school is out of … Continue reading 5 Ways To Maintain Your Child’s Social Skills During COVID19

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Homeschooling During COVID-19

Parents did not choose to homeschool. Many of us are working from home for the first time and some of us have lost jobs—and now with this heightened sense of anxiety, we are expected to teach our children? You’ve prepared for this challenge by purchasing planning calendars, organizing the workspace, and successfully logging onto Zoom and installing a kid-friendly backdrop. Unfortunately, your child is not interested in this type of schooling. Your gut tells you that he is under pressure, in pain, and that no amount of cajoling is going to help—he seems to be struggling and can’t manage the … Continue reading Homeschooling During COVID-19

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Play Better Book Club Training for ADDCA Coaches

Play Better Book Club Training – ONLY for ADDCA Coach Academy Family Graduate Coaches Join me June 10, 2020 at 10am EDT as I step you through the Play Better Book Club for Parents – designed specifically for ADDCA trained certified coaches (coaches like you whom I have trained) to help you implement, market and run the 8 session Book Club either virtually or in-person. Learn how you can help parents, clinicians and mental health experts guide children of all ages, learning challenges and emotional IQs to recognize and address social clues to build lasting friendships. Training Date: June 10, … Continue reading Play Better Book Club Training for ADDCA Coaches

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 13

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, February 3rd, 2020.

This month’s theme is how to pre-plan play dates and vacation socialization for greater success?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 12

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, January 6th, 2020.

This month’s theme is New Years Resolutions!

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 11

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, December 2nd, 2019.

This month’s theme is when kids get tired of help, what do you do?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 10

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, November 4th, 2019.

This month’s theme is how to help a kid learn to join in.

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 9

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019.

Book Launch Month!

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Do I Need to Teach My Kid How to Make A Friend? I Never Needed That Kind of Support, Why Does He?

Some kids learn social behaviors and just fit in and get along with others. And other children really struggle. And here is the paradox if a child does not play well with others then they are invited to play less and then they do not get the crucial opportunity to practice their social skills.

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My Child Can’t Make Friends & Keep Them – What is Wrong With Her?

If They Could, They Would. Children with social skills weaknesses need help learning those basic skills to participate socially so they aren’t doing something wrong and getting pulled off to the bench.

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How Can I Get Through To My Kid That He Has To Stop Arguing With His Teachers So Much

Taking other people’s perspective and understanding that other people have an inner emotional life and being able to detect that point of view is known as Theory of Mind.  When someone has Theory of Mind it means they can detect the perspective, emotions and understand what motivates others….

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Managing Your Love/Hate Relationship With Your ADHD Child

As a parent, you often caught in the middle, trying to balance your own emotions about her poor behavior while also trying to help her have less conflict in her life…

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 8

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, August 5th, 2019.

This month our theme asked back to school narratives. Narratives like “No one in my school is nice” or “smart kids don’t have friends”. How is a child’s narrative or belief in something formed?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 7

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, July 8th, 2019.

This month’s theme was how do you talk about social skill problems with your child?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 6

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, June 3rd, 2019.

This month’s theme was what do when your kid is a bossy rule follower or rule police?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 5

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019.

This month’s theme was how do you help your child manage their emotions rather than their emotions managing them?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 4

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, April 1st, 2019.

This month’s theme is when should I intervene with my child’s friendships? (Example: play dates, reading text messages, etc.)

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Should I Ban My Teen From Seeing “Bad” Friends?

Q: “My teenager is having a rocky time with friendships. Lately, she is choosing questionable friends. These ‘friends’ are not treating her well, and, because of their influence, she seems to be heading in a troubling direction. I don’t like these kids, and I am worried. Do I ban the friendships?”

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 3

We rescheduled our Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event for Monday, March 11th, 2019.

This month our theme was how do you help your child deal with loneliness when they feel left out and say, “I have no friends”?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 2

My Facebook Live event was at my home office on Monday, January 7, 2019. I’ve posted the entire video here for you to view. You can also go and view it on my Facebook page.

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5 Signs Your Child Is The Classroom Bully

Maybe, in the past, you’ve gotten a phone call from your child’s school. Your son has pushed another kid’s face into some pasta at lunch. He has been reprimanded and is in trouble again. Or you saw your daughter be snarky to other girls at a classmate’s birthday party and heard her say snide things, like “We can see you are a genius” or “I’m trying to picture you with a personality” to other kids.

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Pause Saves The Day!

The PAUSE button has worked for many ADHD children, including Lucy. It is such a powerful tool that I couldn’t help sharing it with you on my blog today. PAUSE encourages children to STOP irregular behavior and access the prefrontal cortex, allowing them to utilize their logical thought processes before acting.

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Managing My Reactions as a Parent

Does parenting a child with ADHD stress you out? It does for me, at times. While I know it’s hard to manage your anger when things feel like they’re spinning out of control, the following tips will help you as a parent manage your anger and move toward a better outcome for both you and your child.

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Raising the Consistently Inconsistent Kid

One way you can identify your child’s lagging skills is by asking yourself the following question: “What is getting in the way of my child’s success?” Start by trying to figure out what the overall reasons are for your child’s inconsistency. Some kids freak out about timed events or tests. Some can’t handle peer pressure. Some don’t understand social boundaries. Some don’t know what to do when they make a mistake, and they fall apart and blow the rest of the race, recital, test, etc.

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 1

My first Facebook Live event was at my home office on Monday, December 3, 2018. I’ve posted the entire event video, but you can also skip to question 6 with the time information below.

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There is Always a Label

People resist diagnoses and labels, but sometimes we need to reframe our thoughts. If the label says that the kid is not willfully being difficult, that he is doing his best but that he cannot boss his body. Then isn’t that a better way to think of someone than to think of them as difficult or challenging?

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How to Motivate Kids Academically with WIFM (What’s in it for Them)

If you have a unique child who is unmotivated academically, consider using the WIFM strategy. Try to figure out what motivates your child. Your child’s motivator doesn’t have to be something that you think is an “acceptable” motivator. What comes up in my sessions all the time is that kids are motivated; they just aren’t motivated by what their parents want them to motivated by.

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Everyone is Working on Something

If you are the parent of one of these unique kids, the negativity is probably starting to get to you. These criticisms may be making you feel stressed, frustrated, or even ashamed by your child’s behavior.  Even though, deep down, you understand that change and growth takes time, you wish you could do something that would make your child “fit in” now so you didn’t have to watch your child struggle with the pain of being different.

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We May Have Eliminated “Last Picked” But Not “Picked On”

Kids are still going to be picked on at school and we should not underestimate the power of that dread. As we are well into the school year, many kids are falling victim to the class bully. Others may be suffering from being left out of the “in” crowd, silently scolded for being different simply by the fact that they are on the periphery and are not welcomed into a group.

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The White Noise Experience: An Answer to Getting Work Done

I had seen this phenomenon work for some of my other ADHD clients as well. White noise helped them focus when nothing else worked. When I was prepping to talk about this subject on Attention Talk Radio, my co-host, Jeff Copper, said, “Oh yeah. That works for me too. I call it the white noise experience.” Now, I use Copper’s term to describe this tool I have used with my kids consistently over the last decade.

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As Parents Are We Doing Enough?

People are having a lot of conversation about the bullying epidemic on social media and coffee shops these days. On the other hand, many parents are washing their hands of the problem, as if to say, “I see it going on around me, but it’s not happening in my house”.

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The Little Red Table

I dreaded reading time. By the second grade, I had a problem: I was in the slowest reading group. Each reading group sat at a colored table. These primary colors were like banners announcing each student’s reading level. Blue was for the best readers. Yellow was for mid-level readers. And red was for the slowest readers.

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My child is shy and refuses to play with new kids.

My child won’t join anything and refuses to try to play with new kids- she is so shy and says it is too hard. But in life we have to approach other people.

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A Castle with Walls Too Thick to Penetrate

Avoidance is a sign. Not a sign that the child does not care. Or a sign that he lacks motivation, is resistant, or is just uninterested in having friends, but a sign that he does not know how to break down the barriers so he can participate, or “join in”. Without a roadmap or help with his social plan, children and teenagers often shut down.  

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My teenage son disappears into the basement and never engages with us.

My teenage son just disappears into the basement and he never engages with us. He plays video games all the time. When I try to talk about it he says he has virtual friends. He has never had good social skills. What do I do?

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Birthday Parties, the Cafeteria, and Other Social Obstacles

You don’t need to helicopter to help your middle-schooler make friends in fact, too much interference can do more harm than good. Follow these strategies to boost your tween’s confidence.

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My daughter is avoiding everything this year.

My daughter is avoiding everything this year. She seems to be sad, she is missing the bus on purpose and asking to be home schooled. I think this has to do with friends. But when I ask her she says she is fine. What do I do?

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Madame Ruggles

Kids will have so many different teachers throughout their young academic years – all with different teaching styles, different ways they relate to each child, some in their first years of teaching, some growing close to retirement, some good, and some bad. But we’ve all heard the stories about the one teacher that made a difference, and they may not have even known it.

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What if my child won’t even discuss getting help for social skills?

When children are resistant it often means that the activity is hard for her. To help your child be more comfortable, you will likely have many conversations with her. We often talk about “paving the way” for a conversation that we anticipate will be sensitive or difficult.

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Your Child Isn’t Defiant — His Skills Are Lagging

“If he could, he would.” Children with ADHD don’t always act rudely or awkwardly on purpose — sometimes, they simply lack the executive function skills to keep up with confusing social norms and fast-paced conversations. Here’s how parents can reframe these social challenges and better bolster weak skills.

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The Giant Paddington Bear

Aiden was bright, intuitive, and the largest 5-year-old on record. Because of his size and his hyperactivity, he create a kind of tilt-a-whirl effect wherever he went. When he bumped a shelf at a small shop, it would cause seismic shifts. 

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How Tweens Can Trigger Mom’s ADHD Symptoms — and How to Keep Your Cool

Being a mom with ADHD is already a precarious balancing act. But add a tween’s hormone-fueled emotions and thirst for independence to the mix, and it may be harder than ever for Mom to manage her own symptoms. Take control of your child’s behaviors — and your ADHD — with these strategies.

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