Book Review: ‘Learning to Feel Good and Stay Cool’
ADDitude reviews an invaluable tool for helping kids with ADHD manage strong feelings.
This book gives kids ages 8 to 14 the tools to manage the strong emotions that come with ADHD. There are sections for both parents and kids. The parent sections, at the beginning and the end, show how to use the book and the advice it offers.
The sections for kids start by detailing different feelings they might have, positive and negative. It shows kids “how to stay in your Good Zone” by physically taking care of yourself (meditation and green time are recommended), figuring out your warning signs and dealing with them, and problem-solving, so that “upsets come less often.”
This book is best read with an adult. It offers several ways to personalize its message, including spots to draw your happiest and your proudest memories, check boxes to identify triggers for bad behavior, and blank spaces to write in feelings you are working on. As an adult with ADHD, I know I could have used this book as a child. The coping strategies the authors offer work. I used one of them, taking copious notes, to get me through graduate school. The authors recommend working on only one thing at a time. They don’t want kids going gung-ho, trying to apply the whole book at once, and going down in flames. They know kids with ADHD too well.
My only problem with the book is that it doesn’t address the co-occurring disorders that often come with ADHD. The authors talk about feeling “worried,” but never hint that the feeling may be clinical. They do the same with “sadness.” You can’t problem-solve about not making friends if you’re too down to problem-solve.
I’m stashing the book to read with my son when he gets older (he’s 6 now). I ripped out the part about triggers and taped it to my refrigerator — for myself. The tactics are equally effective for adults. And that’s the authors’ goal: creating lifelong habits for dealing productively with negative feelings.