Secure Your Own Mask before Helping Your Child

After 33 years raising 6 children I realize that the right mindset is essential for helping a child through their ADD challenges. We must first fill our minds with the latest information about ADD, including how ADD interacts with their personality, temperament, age, co-existing conditions, and environment. Next we need to accept our children’s deficits without accepting limitation. This gives us patient for the often bumpy journey without giving up on the end goal. Finally we must learn to empathize—to connect with their emotions and intentions, to build trust and help them in the right way.


Just as it is important on an airplane to secure your own oxygen mask before trying to help your child, parents need to get the proper mindset before helping their child meet the challenges of ADD. Without that mindset we may see our child as one big problem that needs to be fixed, and our efforts to fix them may only break them more.

This interactive workshop will prepare parents to be more effective in helping their children tackle the often difficult challenges of ADD. Although strategies, structure, and support will all be important in meeting those challenges, they will only be effective if both parent and child have the right mindset.

Sterling shares the keys to gaining that mindset. He draws from his experience as a father of three boys and three girls all of whom struggled with ADD and/or various other co-existing disorders. He also draws from his own struggles with severe ADD.

This workshop will focus on the following three steps each parent should take to prepare themselves to help their child.

1. Understanding Your Child’s ADD

Like trying to fix a complex mechanical devise the more you know about its inner workings the more likely you are to not make things worse. Parents need to learn everything they can about ADD; however, they also need to understand how ADD is affected by their child’s personality, temperament, age, co-existing conditions, and social and family surroundings.

2. Accepting Your Child

Parents also need to understand what not to accept about their ADD child, such as limitations and lower standards. No matter how severe their ADD is, our children need to hold on to a core set of goals and personal standards that will support a happy life. Parents do have to accept that their child may falter more often along the way and that it may take more time and patience to reach those goals and meet those standards.

3. Empathizing with Your Child

Finally parents need to hone their empathy skills. They will need to put themselves in that classroom with their child’s deficits and recognize the emotions their child may feel. Emotions drive our motives and motives determine our actions and reactions to life’s circumstances. If we can understand and deal with our children’s emotions they will start to trust us and allow us to be a part of their solutions.

In addition to learning these keys step to preparing themselves to help their child, parents will leave with increased hope, even belief in a positive outcome. Belief always displaces fear, which is the biggest obstacle to our parenting success.


  • Students will be able to discuss how ADD may manifest in their child, and how it may be interacting with their child’s personality, temperament, age, co-existing conditions, and social and family surroundings.
  • Students will be able to identify false limitation they may have accepted about their child.
  • Students will be able to cite core standards their children should keep their sites on to support a happy life.
  • Students will be able to shift to a second person perspective in order to better understand their child’s emotions, motives, and actions or reactions in a given situation.
  • Students will be able to list the five critical steps to listening in order to convey understanding and empathize.


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