Eps 355: ADHD in the adolescent years with Dr. Ann-Louise LockhartEpisode 355
My guest today is Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart.
Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart & Casey dig into ADHD in the adolescent years. Parents of teens with ADHD may see dysregulation looking like compulsiveness, messiness, impulsivity, & a lack of motivation. Parents may think that their kids are lazy or lacking willpower, when in reality, their executive functioning skills are truly off balance. Dr. Lockhart & Casey talk about discussing long-term goals with teens, moving backwards from there, baby steps, as well as figuring out what feels hard so we can best support them. They discuss how to support adolescents with ADHD and how that may differ from what neurotypical teen brains need. Dr. Lockhart explains what rejection sensitive dysphoria is & how to talk to teens about their ADHD. Casey asks how to get buy-in from a teen to work with an ADHD coach or other outside support or services. They finish by talking about what teens with ADHD need most.
Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart is a business owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology in San Antonio, TX. She is a pediatric psychologist, parent coach, wife of 23 years, a mom of 2 kids and has over 16 years of experience in her field.
She serves as a parent coach for parents who have kids and teens with behavioral and emotional regulation concerns, those diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety, as well as kids who are highly sensitive.
She focuses on helping parents adjust their mindset about parenting. Dr. Lockhart helps overwhelmed parents get on the same page and better understand their kids and teens.
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Takeaways from the show
- Keeping your focus on teaching life skills, not compliance
- What does ADHD look like in an adolescent?
- Misconceptions about teens with ADHD
- Asking “what’s hard about it?”
- Scaffolding & strategies like body doubling and creating a false sense of urgency
- Do teens with ADHD need different things to support brain development than a neurotypical adolescent?
- Rejection sensitive dysphoria
- Talking to teens about their ADHD
- Getting your teen to utilize an ADHD coach or other outside support
- What do teens with ADHD need most?
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Anne Louise Lockhart
Casey O’Roarty 00:04
Hello, hello my friends. Welcome back to joyful courage, a conscious parenting podcast where we tease apart the challenges and nuances of parenting through the adolescent years. I am your host, Casey over already positive discipline trainer, parent coach and adolescent lead at Sprout double, where we celebrate not only the growth of children, but also the journey and evolution that we all get to go through as parents. This is a place where we keep it real, real stories real parenting, the teen years are real messy, and there aren't many right answers. But the more we trust ourselves, and trust our teens, the better the outcomes can be. The Parenting we talked about over here is relationship centered, you won't find a lot of talk about punishment, consequences or rewards. What you will hear is a lot of encouragement about connection, curiosity and life skill development. Our teens are on their own journey. And while we get to walk next to them for a bit, we don't get to walk for them. Their work is to learn from the tension of their life. Our work is to support them and love them along the way. I'm so glad you're here. Enjoy the show. Hi, listeners. I'm so glad that you're back for today's show. My guest is Anne Louise Lockhart. Dr. Lockhart is a business owner of a new day pediatric psychology in San Antonio, Texas. She's a pediatric psychologist, parent coach, wife of 23 years and mom of two kids and has over 16 years of experience in her field. She serves as a parent coach for parents who have kids and teens with behavioral and emotional regulation concerns, those diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety as well as kids who are highly sensitive. She focuses on helping parents adjust their mindset around parenting, Dr. Lockhart helps overwhelmed parents get on the same page and better understand their kids and teens. For those of you who have been around for a while you will remember Dr. Lockhart from the Adolescent Mental Health Mini summit that I hosted way back in the early part of 2020. I'm so glad to have you back. Well,
Anne Louise Lockhart 02:22
thank you. It's great to be back.
Casey O’Roarty 02:24
Yes, I love in your bio, that you highlight that you help overwhelmed parents get on the same page and better understand their kids and teens. As the mom of two adolescent children and working with so many people just like you do, the adolescent years can be so overwhelming. And I find that with my work, it's really hard. And it's really important to just support parents of being willing to slow things down. And remember that there's more going on than just your kid is bad. And you need to rein them in by any means necessary. Yeah, kind of that old model of lay down the law and nip it in the bud. So what is attracted you to working with parents of teens? Because this is a wild ride?
Anne Louise Lockhart 03:11
Yes, it is? Well, I think it's because it's tough. It's just a tough time period. And I often compare the teen years teen rearing years to the toddlers, because they both age groups are really focused on independence and having a voice and doing their own thing and speaking up and all these things. And it's draining for parents. And I find that parents just need a lot of support. Because the way their parenting their teens is completely different from the way they were parented in their last and there aren't a lot of resources for parents of teens out there. And especially when it comes to those very specific issues like ADHD, or depression or anxiety. So I really just had a desire to really help parents and help them to better understand their teens so that they know that if it's hard, it's because it is hard. And doing the same old school stuff is probably not going to be working out very well for you. So let's try something different.
Casey O’Roarty 04:11
Yeah, in my experience, you know, coming into positive discipline early, knowing that there was some conditioning that I wanted to let go of working it out when the kids were young for me it was getting to the teen years and being like what is this look like? Now in this season? Right? Like I was able to wrap my head around, you know, that more relationship centered, centering, belonging and connection approach that kind of firm approach that was not necessarily how I was raised. But yeah, once it was like teen time and all the teen things started showing up I was like, Oh my gosh, I've I've been duped what have I been doing? Like what is this supposed to look like so and exactly. I felt like where are the resources that are speaking to kind of what I hold to be true, which was I don't want to slide back into what I experienced, which was a lot of being grounded. I was grounded all the time. And really all it did was make me think, you know, I gotta get better at getting in and out of that window. Right? Because I don't want to be grounded again, not like, oh, maybe I shouldn't speak out. So, anyway, do you have parents who are coming to you? Because I know you, you and I share the same philosophy just around like being in relationship with our kids in a way that supports life skill development, versus really leaning heavy on that punishment reward model. So do you see people that are like, okay, I get it. But now I've got teens, and they're doing these things. And what does this look like?
Anne Louise Lockhart 05:39
Yes, I do I get a lot of those individuals, because the hard thing for them is, what if they don't see any results, because they are coming for the instant results. They want to be able to do this so that their team will listen, not roll their eyes be better behaved. I'm like, well, that kinda doesn't work that way. Parenting is a long game. It's not like a quick parent hack. And things get better. And I think the hardest thing for a lot of parents, especially parents of teens, is when they're doing all the right things, all the things are supposed to do. And they're not seeing any changes. That's the hardest thing. Because why would you want to do something, if you're not seeing any changes? It's like going out and you're working out and you're working with a trainer and then like, you still feel unhealthy, you still can't move your joints are still Cracklin Why would you keep doing it if it's not benefiting you. And I think that's the hardest part is when it's about building up the relationship. And I see that when I meet with teenagers, because I also do therapy with teenagers of that. And I hear from that perspective, and I think that's where I have a really cool experience in being able to hear from them. And they do appreciate they know when they're being a jerk to their parents, and they want to stop they want to not be that way. But for many reasons, executive functioning and mature brain because hormones, because a bunch of things. They are just who they are for now. But they do notice they do recognize that they have to change their ways. And I think it's hard to make those two connections for parents because they're like, Well, I'm doing everything right yet my teenager is still doing the same thing. And I think it's a hard sell sometimes for them, because they're not seeing the immediate results.
Casey O’Roarty 07:18
Yeah, the terrain is messy, like just regardless of all the things, it's just a messy in between time. It's fascinating being on the other side, and watching it, it is it's infuriating, sometimes and fascinating. I feel like I've gotten to a place. So my oldest is going to be 20 next month, and I like her so much like we just really enjoy each other. And it's so nice after so many years of just what is happening right now. And like really like having to trust like, there's a different view like this is temporary, this is temporary. We'll get there, we'll get there. And now we're here. And it feels really good. It feels really
Anne Louise Lockhart 07:57
well. But I think that's a great perspective. And a great point, too, is that our focus should not be on all this blind compliance and obedience. Because then the same parents when I ask them what their parent goals are, I want to be able to have my kid as a friend, when they're an adult, I want to have them set up for success or be happy fulfilled. And I'm like, well, a lot of what you're doing doesn't pave the way for that. If you're nagging and lecturing and grounding. Why would they want to be your buddy at 1819 2025? Like it doesn't, you just can't flip the script and just switch it and say, Okay, I've been hard nosing you this whole time and Okay, now let's be buddies. Let's go shopping together. Right? I think we have to set up the foundation for a good relationship by having a good relationship early on.
Casey O’Roarty 08:50
Right? And it's so interesting. Can we just geek out on this a little bit for a minute. I just want to bottle this. I'm always looking for better ways of articulating this. But it's like even when it's hard, even when they are continuing to do the things that you are like, you know, you're using all your tools, you're curious, you're validating you're meeting them where they're at, and they're still doing the things when I try to remember. And when I finally after being dragged through a lot of stuff finally landed on was like, Okay, who we be while they're moving through the things is going to determine a lot about what the relationship is going to look like on the other side. And it's really hard, right? It's really, it's really hard. And we're going to talk today specifically about teens with ADHD, and how to help parents tease apart because this shows up I'm sure it shows up for you how the ADHD is presenting in their teen and doing some scaffolding to support them. What are some of the questions that the parents that are coming to you who have teens with ADHD are currently asking?
Anne Louise Lockhart 09:54
So a big part is the impulsivity. Is it normal for my teen with ADHD Need to be this impulsive to be this messy. They're lazy. They don't want to do anything. They're unmotivated. The impulsivity is a big part of it, it's like speaking out of turn, not thinking before they speak, rolling their eyes having an attitude. It's all that stuff related to dysregulation. And so an overarching theme, my hair is just dysregulation of thoughts, emotions, behaviors. And because they don't see it consistently across the board, well, they're able to read for hours or play video games for hours, why can't they just clean their room? Why can't they just get up and go to school? Well, there's different levels of motivation based on how much their brain is being stimulated. So, yeah, I think I see that the most, I think, is the impulsivity, the lack of organization, the lack of motivation and starting things. And the regulation, I think those are the biggest ones I'm probably seeing the most, yeah, and hear and what they're asking about the most.
Casey O’Roarty 10:56
Yeah, I'm hearing that from my clients with. And it's so great for me as a parent coach to be talking to somebody who's got way more expertise around, ADHD. So I get to learn in this conversation, as well as the listener. So thank you for that. You're welcome. And I'm hearing, you know, especially when we talk, it's so interesting, right? Because it is that like, but wait a minute, they're doing the things in this domain, but they can't seem to get up and do anything in this domain. And the word will easy shows up, right? And so what are some of the biggest misconceptions which you say that parents hold about their teens with that who have ADHD,
Anne Louise Lockhart 11:35
I think they think it's about willpower, that they are lazy, because they don't have the willpower. And they have to really understand that it's about the executive functioning. ADHD is an executive functioning, dysregulation disorder, which means their executive functioning skills, everything that's controlled by the prefrontal cortex is dysregulated. It's off balance, it's overheated, it's under developed under stimulated all those things. Which means you're gonna see inconsistencies in different environments with different people at different times. And it's not predictable. So there may be times that at school, they're totally motivated in this particular area, or they're like, the Citizen of the Year, and then they come home and you're like, Okay, are we talking about the same kid because their attitude at home is ridiculous, but everybody thinks they're like, amazing at school. So that dysregulation of behavior, thoughts and emotions, again, will show up because of ADHD, it's not predictable in all sorts of ways. So laziness, which I do not like that word, it's not about laziness. The problem is task initiation, which is an executive functioning skill. And task initiation with ADHD is one of the hardest ones for them. And I've read a couple of articles that talked about how it's physically painful for individuals with ADHD. To start something, it feels painful for them, especially if the payoff is not immediate. If it feels overwhelming, if it's too big, or if they feel like there's no end in sight, or that's perceived that way. So starting something feels horrible. So yes, getting up to take a shower, to brush your teeth. Take care of any hygiene, to clean your room to start the homework, like any of that task initiation, starting is hard. And procrastination, and perfectionism go hand in hand because they feel like well, if I can't do it, right? Or if I'm going to fail, then why start at all? So then I'll just put it all off. Or if the task feels too big, I just won't start at all. So it's like, well, I just can't avoid failure. If I don't start well, you're failing anyway, if you don't start, but at least it's on my terms. Right. But it's really hard. And so I think that parents need to the big misconception is that they actually don't want to do well. But they do want to do well, Dr. Ross Green talks about that kids do well if they can, and it's not that they don't want to do well, it's that that executive function really gets in the way of it. And they feel bad about it, which is why some of the most common co occurring diagnoses with ADHD is depression and anxiety, because they're fully aware by their teen years that now they have this ADHD diagnosis. And it's impacting how their parents and teachers talk to them. How well or not well, they do. And so I think it's a big misconception for parents to think, well, they're just being lazy on purpose. They're just trying to ruin their life. No, they're not. They're actually not they're very much aware that it's a weakness of theirs, and that it's a skill set that they haven't developed yet. Yeah. Well, and I
Casey O’Roarty 14:47
hear a lot. They just don't care. They just don't care. They don't care about school they don't care about and so I would love your feedback on this. So one of the things that I invite parents to do with their especially around school, right? And this might be short sighted if you're talking to it, teen of the ADHD or maybe there's another way to tweak it. But one of the things because I feel like parents hold so much energetic responsibility, like I have to help them get a good grade, or it's like, it's all their job to make sure they do the homework, make sure they show up to school, make sure they graduate. And I really want to encourage parents like no, you get to hand over, that's not your job. It's their job. And I mean, you get to scaffold it, you get to support. But to think that it's your job to force them to do the things isn't supporting them and learning life skills. And one of the questions that I invite parents to ask their teens is, you know, are you open to summer school? Right? Do you want to, from a very neutral, non judgy place, but like just getting kind of like, what's going on with you? Do you want to graduate with your class? Is this important to you? And then moving backwards from those questions. But I wonder with a teen who has ADHD, if those are two broad stroke? Or what a better question would be for those kids to support them and figuring out what it is they need to move through that task initiation challenge and and support them with the executive functioning to get to? Are they thinking about where they want to be? Can they look in the long term and then make small steps in the present?
Anne Louise Lockhart 16:26
Yeah, I think that's a great question. I think there's a few things. One is the question I really like to ask and encourage parents to ask their team with ADHD is, if something is hard, it's hard to start my homework, it's hard to turn it in. It's hard to get good grades. It's hard to study. Well, what's hard about it? Tell me what's hard about it? And I think that's a really helpful question. Because it really gets them to stop and think, Well, it just feels like it's too much, or it's too overwhelming, or there's too many steps or I don't get it, or whatever it is like you can really start to determine what exactly is hard about it. So then you understand where they need the help? Do they need extra tutoring? Do they need a smaller classroom environment? Do they need a different teacher? Do they need a different type of learning environment altogether, like a different type of school. So when we can look at that, and we know what's hard about it, then we can figure out how to best support them. The other thing too, is with the ADHD brain, their thinking and their sense of time is very skewed. They think more in terms of now versus not now. So if something is not due tonight, or at 8am, tomorrow, it's not due. Right. So that's why they often work well under Well, quote unquote, well, right, they work better sometimes under pressure. And there's a project do 9am Tomorrow, and they're asking you for poster board at 10pm the night before, because if you have two weeks to do this thing, well, let's not do now. So then they just put it off, because there's no sense of urgency. So what I like to do from a practical perspective is create that sense of urgency. And that's why I do things like encourage them to do like timers, we use the Pomodoro Technique, where they set a timer for say, 20 minutes, and for 20 minutes, you do nothing but that. So you work on your project for 20 minutes, you write your essay for 20 minutes, whatever it is, timer goes off, take a break for five, or you have this huge math thing that you got to do. Yeah, you have to do 50 problems, just do 10 and then take a break, then the do the next time you have 500 pages to read, while you have seven days to do it. Let's divide that up. Let's just read 50 pages tonight, whatever it is, and really divided up so they have that sense of urgency. And especially with that timer, it really helps because it makes them feel like oh, I only got 50 more minutes left. And it creates that sense of oh, it's due now. And it really lights a fire under them. So we have to create artificial ways of that urgency. So it doesn't feel like it's so far out. And it's just for the now versus the not now.
Casey O’Roarty 19:14
Well and those executive functioning skills. Are they something that? I mean, the ADHD brain versus the neurotypical brain? They're in development in both places, right? Are there different things that need to happen for the ADHD brain to support them in developing those skills? Or is it just a matter of smaller steps?
Anne Louise Lockhart 19:39
Casey O’Roarty 19:40
What's the difference between the development and the two different kinds of brains?
Anne Louise Lockhart 19:43
So for today, the say you have a neurotypical versus the neurodivergent brain so with the ADHD brain, and compared to a kid who's developing typically and doesn't have ADHD, both of their brains are underdeveloped. Because they're teens right? Hey, yeah, so until the age of 26, when our prefrontal cortex is fully grown and developed, the frontal lobe is fully developed. Both categories of kids have underdeveloped brains. That's just a fact of the matter is, however, some people just like with ADHD may do better in some executive functioning skills versus others. For example, I had a teen that I saw in therapy, she had ADHD, 12 years old, significant ADHD, but she was the most organized person ever she organized my office when she would come in, she organized her parents had like she was so organized, she did not lack the executive function, skill organization. Although she had ADHD, what she did lack was emotional regulation skills, she lacked impulse control in terms of reacting, which affected her friendships. So she had other things that were the fish she was deficient in. So the major difference between the two is just that. Well, the similarities, they're both brains are underdeveloped. The problem with the ADHD brain However, it's also under stimulated. Yeah,
Casey O’Roarty 21:03
tell me more about that. Yeah, so
Anne Louise Lockhart 21:04
it's an under stimulated brains, which means when their brains for example, and in the ADHD kid, or teen gets a message, for example, they're in class, the teachers talking and their brain is telling them do pay attention, the teacher is talking. And they have inattentive type ADHD, for example, their brain, it's like the workers are looking outside the window, eating some cheese sticks. And they're getting messages from the factory to pay attention. But because they're under stimulated, and they're not paying attention to the cues, the messages are piling up in the inbox. And then when they're filing like, dude, pay attention, like Oh, snap, and they're now looking in their inbox. And look at all these messages I got about paying attention. And now it's too many messages, because I've gotten all these messages. Which one do I pay attention to? First? That's prioritization. How do I get myself out of being yelled at? That's problem solving, you know, how do I organize things based on first, next, that's organization planning. So then they just freak out, cuss out the teacher walk out the room, whatever it is, right? Peace out do systems, because it's too much because their brain is under stimulated and not getting the message in the time and in the way that it needs to. And so they're deficient in that area. And that's why they become dysregulated. Yeah. Now, however, people need to also remember that you can also have executive functioning challenges and not have ADHD. Right, right. So with the ADHD brain is just as under stimulated, and so it's chronically having issues with it. And it's harder to learn these skills. That's why there are some people in our field in psychiatry and psychology, who don't believe that you can actually teach executive function skills, you need to just medicate these kids. Because these are skills that cannot be learned they have to be medicated. I don't believe that. I believe there's a time and place for medication. But I believe the reason why they're called skills is because they can be learned
Casey O’Roarty 23:07
right? Over time with practice. Yeah,
Anne Louise Lockhart 23:10
lots of practice. Lots of practice. It's just harder for these kids to get it depending on the type of ADHD they have.
Casey O’Roarty 23:22
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I feel like okay, now it now it's starting to click now it's starting to click I still make a lot of mistakes but I don't give myself a hard time about it. I just kind of sit back and go okay, what would I have done differently
and I always feel like better about myself about my parenting just about I don't know I always take away something and it just Casey app something about how you run this and just your personality and I'm always happy that I've come once I'm there
I feel less alone in a lot of the things that I'm going through with my kids.
You're an amazing facilitator and you've brought this group together you've created this and it's been incredibly helpful to me and my parenting and and just making it through Nope,
I can see in the brilliance and the messiness of my parents.
Casey O’Roarty 25:09
There you have it. There you have it, those were not paid actors. Those were actual moms, some of which are still in the membership for second, and third years. So if you are looking for that community where you can share it all feel held, feel seen and heard, feel connected, not feel alone. This is a great place to check out, head over to be spreadable.com/l J. C. beasts browsable.com/ljc. Find out more information about the program and get yourself enrolled doors close January letter. Well, and I'm also thinking about, yeah, lots of practice with effort in an environment that is celebrating them. I remember from when you were on the adolescent mental health summit, and you talked about something that I'd never heard of before, neither of my kids have ADHD, so I'm not super, you know, I don't have all the lingo. But you talked about rejection sensitivity dysmorphia. And I was so interested in that will you talk about because this, just imagine this getting in their way at such a deep level? As far as like, are they feeling encouraged enough to lean in and do the practice? Or is it just like, you know, Screw this, everybody hates me. So talk a little bit about rejection sensitivity dysmorphia, and what that is and how it shows up and gets in the way.
Anne Louise Lockhart 26:41
Yes, so it's rejection sensitive dysphoria. Oh, thank you. Yes. Because dysphoric mood, and it's a term that it's not an actual diagnosis, but it was termed by Dr. William Dotson at Attitude magazine. Okay. And I really think it needs to be in our diagnostic manual. Because what he said is that he has seen, and I've seen various statistics, but really as high as 99% of individuals with ADHD are estimated to have rejection sensitive dysphoria. I mean, that's like almost everybody. Yeah, I mean, yes. And I have found that really, with individuals from little kids all the way up through adults who have ADHD that they struggle with this. So what RSD is, it's basically saying that when these individuals feel criticized, corrected, in some kind of way, and they perceive rejection, they receive slight some slight in the way that they receive the feedback that they either explode, and lash out, becoming angry, and feeling like I can't do anything, right. Or they pull in and shut down and become depressed, or anxious people pleasers, because nothing I do ever works out for me. And individuals, I found that it's really very common with individuals with ADHD, because they already feel like they can't do anything, right. They're always getting corrected. They are trying to do their best. And they just can't do it because their brain gets so easily overwhelmed because it's getting overstimulated and overtaxed. And so they tend to feel bad. So the examples have given is like, you know, even you have a kid who struggles with math. And you know, they had a test. So they come home from school, like, Hey, buddy, how'd your test go? I know you were struggling, fine. You know, you think that I'm screw up? You know, I know you're glad that I failed. I just asked her about your math test. And that sensitivity to the perceived insult causes them to overreact, because they already feel bad about themselves anyway. And so you questioning and even saying, I knew you were struggling? They misinterpret that as you think I'm a loser, you think I'm a failure, when you're just trying to check in on them. So these parents often feel like they're walking on eggshells, like little landmines, like, Okay, can I get a list of these words that are triggering you? Because they're so sensitive to this rejection or this insult, that everything becomes problematic. And I also see it with kids who are very highly sensitive to their environment as well, kids who are depressed who are anxious, so I don't think it's just reserved for the ADHD errs. I think it also is individuals who just struggle with mental health issues as well too, because they're perceiving the world as unsafe, as dangerous as out to get them critical that I can't do anything. Right.
Casey O’Roarty 29:38
Well, and once they become 15 1617 years old, I mean, that's an entire short lifetime of message receive, like, I know, I'm the tough one in the classroom. I know I'm the one that keeps the teacher busy with me. I know I'm the sibling that, you know, everybody's mad at all the time. So I can't imagine that at some level, you know, and they're great. perceivers not great interpreters. You know that at some level that becomes internalized. And yeah, I get that, like, they're just expecting the criticism expecting the judgment. And then we work with parents and say, you know, get curious with them. Or I say this what I say, you know, ask questions, get curious about that. And then they're like, whoa, the questions really set my kiddo off. I feel like this really is a piece of information that can be really helpful. How do we talk to our kids with ADHD about rejection sensitive dysphoria about executive functioning about like, what are good openers to have the conversation from a place of just really neutral? We're on your team? No agenda, place? Yeah,
Anne Louise Lockhart 30:49
I think we should always start by really just educating them. I find a lot of teenagers that I see in therapy, and parents that I've met with in parent coaching, they haven't actually spoken to their kid about their diagnosis. They assume that they just know what it means to have ADHD. And there's lots of information about ADHD online, but a lot of it is not very accurate or user friendly when you're reading it. So just because it's common, it doesn't mean they understand it, because kids like oh, he's got ADHD look all hyper this dude is or he can't pay attention to save his life. He's got ADHD. So it's done in very kind of cryptic, very general way. So I think it's important to talk to your teenager about their diagnosis. Like, hey, you know that you have ADHD, we got you diagnosed at seven. Do you know what that even means? And really finding out from them? What are their thoughts? Have they heard of other people in their class that have had it? What are some of the questions you have? Do you know that there's three different types of ADHD? There's ADHD inattentive type, there's ADHD, hyperactive impulsive type, and there's ADHD combined type, are you aware of the kind that you have and what that means, and really explaining that to them, and talking to them breaking it down, saying, This is why we got you tested back when you were however old, because we were concerned about this doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you, you're not brain damage, there's nothing wrong. It's not related to your intelligence. It's a way of how you process the world. And it can be a big strength, when you're aware of it, I think when it becomes a diagnosis like this become a weakness. It's because they're seeing it as all bad that it impacts my functioning. And it does. But when you're aware of how it impacts your functioning, you can use it for good, there are so many adults that I've worked with with ADHD that they got diagnosed as an adult. And they're seeing how the diagnosis actually helped them many ways it hindered them. But it helped them in terms of giving them energy to get their advanced degree or their business, or it helped them in terms of their creativity, or they're able to think outside the box in creative ways. They're the life of the party. They're fun to be around my kids, they have a principal at their school, she has dyslexia and ADHD, and the kids adore her. She's at every event. She's so fun. She's chatty, chatty, chatty all the time. And she can relate to the kids who don't behave properly, quote, unquote, right, and she's relatable. And so I think all of those things really helps in terms of educating your teenager terms, their diagnosis, giving them the language, helping them to know what it means. So they don't feel like it's something bad that it can be something really good if they're aware of it. And I see that all the time when someone is aware that this is their diagnosis, whether it's medical or psychological. And they are equipped with the information, then they know what works and what doesn't work. Just like if you're iron deficient. I remember when I was pregnant with my second, I was iron deficient. Okay, what do I need to do so that I'm not passing out on my way to work? Right, I have to increase this. And I have to do this. And once I was aware of it, I was able to change that. And I think it's the same thing with ADHD diagnosis in order for it to be seen as a string, they have to be educated on it so that they can know like, Okay, how do I tap into this so that I can be better at task initiation? or organization? Planning,
Casey O’Roarty 34:11
right? And does the ADHD brain have the capacity to recognize like, Okay, I gotta list and I'm noticing, I don't want to get off the couch, of course, because this is hard for me. I'm in my task initiation deficiency right now. So to help myself, I'm going to, like, is that kind of how you support people and like, finally growing that self awareness when they're inside the situation? Yeah. Inside the situation?
Anne Louise Lockhart 34:38
Yeah, absolutely. Because self awareness is another executive function skill. And that one is super hard, because it requires a very mature developmental brain in terms of like, knowing like, it's called metacognition, it's knowing, being aware of what you know, knowing what you know, and knowing what you don't know. So knowing that if I'm sitting on the couch, and I have this big thing to do, and I'm eating some Chocolate and watching my fourth, you know, binge episode on Netflix that I know that. Okay, I know that I'm doing this because I'm probably avoiding, right because I'm avoiding this project because I know I feel overwhelmed by it because I don't know where to start. That's my task initiation, I feel overwhelmed. So I know in starting a task, a skill, or a strategy that works is body doubling, call a friend over time to come over body doubling is basically having someone present. And with an ADHD brain, some often just having another individual present while you do the task actually creates motivation. So I know that about me now, it's you
Casey O’Roarty 35:37
hold on, that's huge, especially when we're talking about teenagers. And we're talking about schoolwork. And parents are like, I don't want to sit there, right while they do the thing. And what I'm hearing you say is like this is a powerful strategy for them. This isn't an enabling thing. This isn't a
Anne Louise Lockhart 35:52
yes, it's body doubling. I learned this term from coaching with Brooke on Instagram. She and her team are fascinating in terms of just everything they do with ADHD. But what I learned from her is this topic, this strategy called body doubling. And what it is, and I knew this was before I even knew it, because when I was in my doctorate program, when my residency, when we would do testing to see if someone had ADHD, the results would be different if we stayed in the room with them, versus if we left the room, there's one computer based test, then it's called the Connors performance test. And what it is, is 14 minutes and is a black screen, and different letters pop up at different intervals. And they have to press the spacebar for every letter except x. And it really shows whether they're impulsive, or whether they can hold back their responses. And so it's just one of the many tests that they do. And if we stayed in the room behind the teenager or the kid while they were doing it, I often noticed that they performed better, they're more attentive, if we left and we were watching them through the one way mirror, there were like looking all around oh shoot and clicking the spacebar. So distracted, or they would forget they were even taking the test. So just your presence made a big difference. So that Bodhi doubling concept is that even if you're just like, you know, working on some bills, paying some bills online reading a book, and you're sitting there while they do a project that in and of itself, your presence can help them with cleaning their room with starting a task with finishing a task, because it's something about you just being present, or even having, I've had teams where they just had a friend FaceTiming a friend while they clean their room, just having someone else there with them. While they do it can make a big difference. So but they don't know that that works, if they didn't know that there was a name for that, that that right task initiation, that self monitoring, that's organization that all the different executive function skills, if I'm aware that these are my strengths, these are my weaknesses, then I know what works for what thing, and then I can do them. But I think that education is so key in building that self awareness so they can move to action and actually build that skill.
Casey O’Roarty 38:05
Well, and I'm thinking about how important it is for parents to have some kind of outside support just around the ADHD stuff for their kids, like a coach or a therapist or somebody that's going to be you know, because listen, parents, everybody who's listening, like we're not sitting here with PhDs about this. And I know, you know, in my work, too, when I talked to parents with kids who have ADHD, I was just talking to somebody yesterday. And I am quick to acknowledge, like, you're the expert on your kid, like, I'm sure have deep dived and done some learning, but it feels like there's really no end. There's no like, okay, great. Now we know everything. And so we're gonna help our kid especially when that was seven years old. And now you've got a 14 year old. So I'm just sitting over here thinking about how important it is for kids to work with somebody who can support them with all of that. And then I'm also thinking about how challenging it can be to get a teenager to show up to something like that. Right? And I'm sure you have the range, right? Have kids that show up in your office who are like great, I am here for it telling me what to do versus like arms crossed scowl. My mom made me come. And do you have any tips for parents who are really seeking out like an executive functioning coach or an ADHD coach or somebody for their kiddo? Not so much the seeking out part but then the invitation to their teens to really use it?
Anne Louise Lockhart 39:36
Yes. I think that finding someone having your teen be part of the process and finding someone together so they can see their providers, or the coaches profile picture their bio, what they do looking at their tic TOCs or Instagrams, like having a sense of this person, because then by the time they show up on screen or in your office, they already know who they're getting and what they're getting into. And I find that when parents have reached out to me, and they've done that they're teenagers, they're asking for the service, and they want to be there. And so it's really easy to get them engaged, if you engage them from the start. And I find that if you can present it to your teenager, not as a problem that you have with them, or that the teacher has with them, but what is inconvenient about these symptoms for them. So you have a hard time starting projects, or controlling your emotions, or you know, not going off on people making friends doing well in school, whatever it is, what is inconvenient about these things for you, what would you like to change? How do these things, and these lack of skills get in the way of you being your best self, because if you present it as your dad and I are just sick of your behavior, we re send you to a coach, that's your problem. That's not their problem. So it's really important whether it's a mental health issue, a medical issue, ADHD issue, it's really about presenting in it for the child for the teenager, what is inconvenient, and I often go through like an inconvenience review. And I first learned about this years ago, when I used to work a lot with Tourette's and tics and hair pulling trichotillomania, like a lot of those kinds of behaviors. And because they would come because parents were freaking out over this child's behavior, or their hair pulling or their skin picking, and how do I get them to stop? Because it's embarrassing. It's gross. It's it was inconvenient for everybody else, Mike, no, no, how was this inconvenient for you? And we would do an inconvenience review. So when you pick your skin, when you pull your hair when you're doing these ticks? What is it? Oh, it's embarrassing, it hurts my neck. It makes me miss a good line in a movie like, these are things that it's inconvenient. I don't like that I can't style my hair that I want with, it's really important to present it in a way that it's for them. Yeah. Because then you can get buy in, as opposed to how is it a problem for everybody else? So I think how you can get them involved is like, what do I want for me? What's my goal for me? I'm choosing this person to help me. And then yeah, you can get good buy in and they'll be on board. And they'll make good progress because they're invested.
Casey O’Roarty 42:15
Well, and I also have to highlight, like, chances are not well, I won't say across the board, I went to the broad stroke. But a lot of parents that I've talked to with kids with ADHD, it's been a massive power struggle for so long. Like they're just entrenched in a power struggle. So the first thing is going to be you got to dismantle that. Right, you got to own it, you know, acknowledge it. And then I think there's, you know, and then it might even take a little bit more time. I'd love your thoughts on this. Because it's like kids have really good bullshit radars. And if we're just giving them lip service, like, I know, we've been in the power struggle, let's talk about how inconvenient This is for you. Like, you got to be real and authentic, and write on your stuff, so that your team can let go of this idea that here's my parent telling me again, I'm not enough, and trying to sign me up for another thing, and instead, really help them hold. This is for me. So
Anne Louise Lockhart 43:10
yeah, I think like you said, Be genuine about it. Don't just rattle off a script, if it's not in your voice, that's not going to be helpful. And acknowledge where you've screwed up. You know, I know in the past, I've been down your throat, I've been sneaking, looking at your phone, I've been all up in your business. I'm always I'm getting on you. And I'm being very hypocritical, like, own your place in the mass. And, you know, letting them know that I want to do things differently. I want to respect your space. I want to respect where you're at that you are struggling. And I haven't appreciated that. And I apologize for that. And I think then joining them in that struggle joining them in that resistance. If they're like, well, that's stupid, I don't want to go see no stupid coach. Yeah, it could feel dumb. It could feel like it's one more thing to do. I get that, like, join them in that. Yeah. And I really find that I've worked with some very resistant teens. And I have found that when you can join them in their misery. And you can frame it as what is in it for them, they will get on board. They will. Because I've even had parent coaching sessions, where I've asked parents to bring their teenager to the session, so that I could talk to them about the things that are going on. And for them to vent about it. And for them to have a healing moment between the two of them. Because they know their parent is being seen by a parent coach. Yeah, and talking about like, Yeah, well, they've always said they're gonna change and they never change. So let's talk about that. Yeah. So I think it's really important to show your commitment to show it to own it. And to really let them know that yeah, I'm I mess up like you do. I don't have it all right, either. And I think that shows that we're not hypocritical and expecting them to do certain things and then we don't do it ourselves.
Casey O’Roarty 44:52
Totally. That's so useful. Thank you so much for that. What do you think parents living with teens need most Just an 18 or 18 with ADHD. Oh, teens with ADHD? Let's stay on topic. Thank you. Probably fits for both right?
Anne Louise Lockhart 45:10
Yeah, I think it probably fits for both. I think let's see, what do they need most, I believe they probably made most a shift in their parent mindset, I find that that's always at the foundation of most of the work that I do. Because when parents show up wanting a bunch of strategies, I'm like, let's hold up on the strategies, because lots of strategies work for lots of stuff. But if we don't understand where our mindset is coming from that you need all these strategies, because honestly, a lot of parents that I meet with, they've listened to all the podcasts, they've read all the blogs, gone to all the summits and conferences, read all the books, they have the strategies, they know, they've read more books than I have on parenting. Yeah. So it's not more strategy that's going to help you, to me, it's really changing our mindset. And that really applies to lots of stuff. If you're in debt, and you need to change your mindset about money, or change your mindset about your relationship, or change your mindset about work and careers. That's what leads to long lasting change. And I think the same applies to parenting that it's really about adjusting your parent mindset. And really understanding that their behavior is not personal. It's not an affront against you, although it feels like it. Yes. Oh, my gosh. And then most I think what they need parents need the most is to understand the reason for the behavior. And I've seen so many parents, they'll come from the initial parent coaching session, and then come back like a week or two later and think, oh, my gosh, things are so much better. Really, I'm ready. Like, how is that possible? Because the parent mindset, and when they understand what's driving the behavior, when they realize that it's not that my teen is lazy, it's that they struggle with task initiation. When they understand that what happens is the teens behavior doesn't change overnight, their understanding of the behavior changes. So that way, when they speak to their teenager, relevant speaking to the behavior, they're speaking to the needs behind the behavior, buddy, I know that it's hard for you to clean your room, when it's such a big tornado feels like it's gone on here. I was the same way when I was your age. So let's see, how can we start this up? Why don't you start by with your books, and I'll start with your dirty laundry. Okay, great. Okay, go out and pick up your papers, I'll bring a trash bag in and then I'll pick up all your hangers, like when you can speak to the need and understand why they struggle, then you're not grounding them for something that they still don't know how to do, right? And expecting that the
Casey O’Roarty 47:39
grounding is somehow going to teach them to do better next time. All right, I love that vacco I'm all about belief buying behavior. That's something I talk a lot about. And I love that piece around to not take it personally when we understand better. What's happening under the surface.
Anne Louise Lockhart 47:55
Yeah. And it's so hard because it takes so much humility, and so much patience. Because in the moment, you feel offended and you want to attack and you want to because you think you're letting them get away with things or other people are judging or your own families like what you need to do is right, right, right. It's like you're missing the whole point, because those things aren't teaching anything.
Casey O’Roarty 48:16
Right? Right. Right. So that's another piece right listeners is you get to stand for what feels good to you, and what is helpful for your kid and not let all of those outside influences. I went through that same thing when my daughter was struggling with mental health. And I literally had to put certain family members only on text message like I would not get on the phone with them. I had to protect myself and my daughter because I even though I, on one hand felt like I have no idea what I'm doing. But I am following my heart. And I'm following my gut. And it looks a lot different than it would look if somebody else was in charge here. And so I need to just quiet that down and tune into my own inner guidance system so that I can be who I need to be for my daughter. So if you need to do that parents out there, do it. Right, set those boundaries. And Louise, I could talk to you for a million hours. I wish we were in a room together and we had the whole day. Ah, thank you so so much. Is there anything else that you want to make sure that you offer up to listeners before we wrap up?
Anne Louise Lockhart 49:26
I think I want to remind parents that the reason why they probably feel so frustrated and irritated and impatient and exhausted is because they're having to be the frontal lobe substitute or surrogate for their teenager with ADHD and frontal lobe executive functioning challenges, which means you're basically you're there crutch, you're scaffolding. You're all the skills that they lack. You're having to do it with them or for them until they can themselves and I think that if you can appreciate it understand that that's why you feel exhausted. And I think it makes it even harder if you as a parent struggle with executive functioning challenges in certain areas that your teen also struggles with, or that you also have ADHD, whether diagnosed or not, that you're exhausted because it's exhausting, because you're having to do so much self control and hold back. And that's just on a normal parent day, not just tagging on ADHD. And it's such, really remembering that it's all a training ground. And parenting is for the long haul. It's a long game. And we're building skills and developing habits. It's just constant skill building. And that's why you feel so drained. And I think that parents need to remember, that's a big part of the process. And I think if you can really appreciate that, then you're not questioning, are you doing something wrong? What's wrong with my child? No, you're not doing anything wrong. It's just hard. It's hard. And so it's hard to maintain your words and not impulsively go off on your teen, when they're not guarding themselves either. So yeah, so I just want to reassure parents that parenting in general is pretty hard. But when you have a kid with ADHD, it can feel very, very tough.
Casey O’Roarty 51:08
Yeah. Yeah. Seeing you all out there listening right now hoping that you feel seen and heard through this conversation, for sure. All right, my last question that I asked everybody is, what does joyful courage mean to you?
Anne Louise Lockhart 51:23
Hmm, I think it's probably means being brave enough to show up, even when it would be expected for you not to that when things are just hard, and people would expect that you would just be in that corner, curl up in a ball, crying yourself to sleep, and you joyfully and gleefully show up anyway, and put in the work, and know that you can get through it. And you can still rest to that you have the courage to know when to push through and knowing that you also have permission and the courage to know when to rest. I mean,
Casey O’Roarty 51:58
thank you, where can people find you and follow your work,
Anne Louise Lockhart 52:03
so they can find me on my website through my business. It's a new day s a.com. That's my practice in San Antonio. And we offer therapy for those living in Texas as well as parent coaching and life coaching. So if you need executive coaching, we have that as well for the executive function skills. And they can also find me on Instagram at Dr. Dot and Louise dot Lockhart. And I offer lots of parents strategies and reels and videos and resources, and find out information about my courses through my website as well, too. So yeah, so there's help out there. And there are resources out there. And I want parents to know that they don't have to do it alone.
Casey O’Roarty 52:41
Yes. And listeners go to Dr. Lockhart’s Instagram because not only is it super informative, but it's highly entertaining. I love your Instagram. All right, thank you so much for hanging out with me and giving me your time and your expertise. I'm so excited to get to share you with my community. You see.
Casey O’Roarty 53:12
Yay. All right. Thank you again for listening in to a another show. Please check the show notes for any links mentioned in this episode. If you liked what you heard today, we do me a favor and share it screenshot the show plastered all over your socials so that other parents know that we are creating value over here for them. If you really want to earn a gold star, head to Apple podcasts and leave us a review. This does so much for the show for the exposure. It's a great way to give back. Thank you to my team at Sprout double for all your support Ilana Juliet, I love you so much. Thank you to Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper, for keeping the show sounding so good. And you listener, thank you for continuing to show up. This is hard work that we're doing. I encourage you in this moment. In this moment together. Let's take a deep breath in. And follow that into your body. Hold it for a moment, exhale. And with that exhale, release the tension. And I invite you to trust, trust that everything is going to be okay. I'm so happy to support you. So glad to have spent time with you today. I'll see you next week.