A child therapist who specializes in anxiety and bipolar disorder recently interviewed me about blogging, parenting an ADHD child, and the way I see conditions overlap in my daughter.
Given ADDitude's recent focus on anxiety and ADHD, it felt serendipitous when Kristen McClure, a therapist specializing in treating anxiety and bipolar disorder in children, asked me for an interview. I was honored to accept. Here's the result: ADHD and Parenting: An Interview with Kay Marner.
While exploring Kristen's site, I found helpful information about anxiety that fits my Natalie, who struggles with anxiety along with ADHD, to a T. I especially appreciated Kristen's description of separation anxiety and her tips for dealing with . I think I'll implement one of her tips, a reward system for staying in her own bed, right away. I know the perfect prize--yet another Webkinz (this will be number 12)--to sleep in her bed with her!
Speaking of anxiety, I wrote previously about Natalie reacting with anxiety to a change even though it was positive: when I quit working outside the home, Natalie did some acting out about coming home after school, rather than having to go to daycare. I wrote that I'd work on developing a routine for after school in order to help Natalie adjust.
As it turns out, there seem to be two key elements to the routine that's resulted. One: it's best if I'm waiting on the front porch where Nat can see me as she executes the short walk from the bus to home. And, two: Nat greets me, then goes immediately to the kitchen table and opens her "mail." I place the junk mail in a pile in the same spot each day, and she rips it to shreds and scatters it around the table. Then, she's ready for anything! How weird!
Yesterday, she went home with Harry after school instead of riding the bus home, so that I could go out with my good friend Sarah for some girlfriend time (yes, it involved sangria!) Her only hesitation in going to Harry's was a fear that her mail wouldn't be on the table when she got home! I placed the mail in the usual spot, and left a note on top if it for Don and Aaron (well, really for Natalie's benefit): "Please save mail for Natalie!" It did the trick!
I'm glad this works. My only concern is that since it's a purposeless activity, it's more OCD than healthy coping. You know, a repetitive ritual that someone feels compelled to do, believing doing so will keep them safe, that doesn't really do anything--like avoiding cracks in the sidewalk. Should I worry about that, or just be happy that it helps? Let's see what Kristen McClure thinks!
Kristen: Care to comment?