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Mindful Parenting for ADHD

Mark Bertin, mindfulness experts, explores mindful parenting of children with ADHD in a new book.

Mindful Parenting for ADHD, by Mart Bertin, M.D.
(New Harbinger; paperback, $19.95; Kindle, $9.99)

Dr. Mark Bertin, a developmental behavioral pediatrician, first wrote about incorporating mindfulness practice into parenting a child with ADHD in his 2011 book, The Family ADHD Solution. In this workbook-style title, Bertin shows how to use mindfulness to support traditional ADHD care to benefit parents and children.

Bertin begins with an introduction to mindfulness, specifically as it applies to families who are managing ADHD. Mindfulness, Bertin writes, takes advantage of the brain’s plasticity to cultivate skills such as attention, awareness, and creative problem-solving. “With mindfulness,” says Bertin, “you develop an increased
capability to balance seeing things as they are and doing everything possible to change what you can.”

Next, Bertin gives a detailed, up-to-date overview of ADHD, covering, among other topics, the value of a thorough evaluation and diagnosis, the role of executive function, addressing challenging behaviors, school performance, and medication decisions. Bertin does a good job of explaining how to apply mindfulness techniques in each section.

In the chapter about making ADHD medication decisions, he outlines an eight-step approach that clarifies the agonizing choices of starting a child on meds. This includes using mindfulness to settle yourself and note body sensations, thoughts, and emotions; seeking out objective information; noticing whether your inner critic is increasing your worry and self-judgment; and giving your chosen solution enough time to prove itself.

Bertin concludes by showing parents how to teach children to be mindful and to establish mindfulness as a daily practice.