What Were You Thinking?

Have you often wondered to yourself, “What were you thinking?” when faced with your child’s actions or decisions? This session will help you answer that question the next time he or she does something seemingly inexplicable. It will be an anecdotal journey through the lighter side and the serious side of life with ADD, tying the outward events to inward thought processes. This fun discussion will give participants a better understanding of your child’s ADD mind and motivation, and a level of empathy for your child that will help turn your frustration into helpful support.


Whether they ask it or not, “What were you thinking?” is the question that passes through every parent of a child with ADD on an almost daily basis. Knowing the answer to that question gives us great understanding and empathy for what our children with ADD are going through. The type of support that flows from empathy can be a life line to our child’s self-esteem.

Maybe I remember what I was thinking because it was the one question my mother asked me more than any other, so I thought it might be an important thing to remember. Maybe remembering what I was thinking is one of those treasurable ADD superpowers I happen to posses.

Regardless of the reason, I can still remember what was going through my head when I sat in first grade not doing the worksheets the teacher placed on my desk, and in second grade when I got kicked out of the advanced reading group for never knowing when it was my turn to read. I can also remember the thoughts I had leading up to wetting my pants on 2nd base during my little league baseball game and leaving the field via the center field fence. I can remember what I was thinking when I didn’t finish even one book during my fifth grade reading program. I can remember my thoughts when I talked Andy Ball into hiding on top of the book cases in Mrs. Anderson’s fifth grade classroom, and while on our way to the principal’s office afterwards. I remember not wanting to fight Ricky Guest or Clifford Glenn after school, writing a masterpiece for English class fifteen minutes before it was due, and wishing I hadn’t just caught the table cloth on fire at the head table at my ninth grade banquet.

I remember hoping after every semester that my report card would never reach our mailbox. I remember feeling like I was making my entire family miserable, especially my mom who was in the trenches with me fighting the battles of my challenging life. I remember what I thought for weeks before trying to relieve her of that burden by running away from home. When that didn’t work I remember finding even more destructive ways to numb my ever growing need to feel better about myself. Most importantly I remember what finally got me back on the road to believing in and loving myself, finding my sweet spot in life and striving to become who, in reality, I was all along.

Not only do I remember what I was thinking, my extensive understanding of the ADD mind allows me to understand much of why those thoughts were going through my head. It has allowed me to understand much of the behavior of my six children, several of whom are ADD.

This romp through the ADD mind will give parents who are struggling to understand the answers to, “What were you thinking?” They will be better able to put themselves in that head and look at things through those eyes. That new perspective will help them react with understanding and patience instead of judgment and frustration. It will prompt them to provide support and structure from a valuable position of empathy and compassion.


  • Develop more understanding of the seemingly erratic and irrational behavior of kids with ADD.
  • Tie underlying brain deficits to the thoughts or lack of thoughts of kids with ADD in various typical scenarios.
  • Better protect and rebuild self-esteem in kids with ADD by reacting with less frustration and judgment and more understanding and acceptance.
  • Approach the role of a parent or caregiver of a child with ADD with more empathy and compassion.
  • Use these new insights to offer support and structure that is more effective in helping our children manage their life with ADD.
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