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Does my son have ADHD?










































(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)



Does My Son Have ADHD?


(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)


Dr. Kenner: Right now I want to welcome Ali. Ali, you've got a 5-year-old son and you're worried about his behavior?


Ali: Yes ma'am.


Dr. Kenner: What's up?


Ali: Like I was telling your assistant there, I was just wondering your opinion, if you could tell me about that condition, because I haven't really done a lot of research on it - hyperactive or ADD?


Dr. Kenner: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.


Ali: Yes ma'am.


Dr. Kenner: A big mouthful. ADHD for short. When you're on a friendly basis. So, tell me what your son is doing?


Ali: For one, he doesn't like to sit still for very long, and he's constantly moving, constantly going, and the noise. My husband and I joke about it where it's almost like we have three kids.


Dr. Kenner: All packed into one? Just the level?


Ali: Like he's having a war with himself and this imaginary friend or something. It really does almost - (sound of young child in background)


Dr. Kenner: Oh, he's going to show us!


Ali: He's playing with what? You want to add your two cents in, see? Just I don't know too much about it. Just wondering.


Dr. Kenner: Let me tell you my take on it, and then I'll give you the information on it. My take on it is way too many kids are labeled and diagnosed and have to carry this label through life that they have some problem with them called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or Attention Deficit Disorder. Meaning they're not focused. It used to be called minimal brain damage, but how many parents want to label their kids with minimal brain damage?


Ali: Are you serious?


Dr. Kenner: Yeah, so they changed the name and then it became the disease du jour in psychology. It is, in my estimation, it is labeled far too often for normally healthy, rambunctious, adventurous kids who have tired parents who are worn down, and that with many of the kids or families that I saw, a few I thought had the diagnosis, but I thought many of the kids were absolutely delightful and the parents just needed some R&R and some wonderful parenting skills.


Ali: How does one go about doing that? I have taken a parenting class and tried to utilize the techniques I learned there, and to me, it doesn't work. I even do that's one, that's two, that's three, and he spends so much time in timeout.


Dr. Kenner: And then timeout becomes sometimes pointless. Kids don't care anymore. Like, "Okay, we're doing timeout now." There's a much better way to parent. I do want to give you your information on ADHD also, but the parenting books, the gold standard of parenting is How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk.


Ali: Can you repeat that one more time?


Dr. Kenner: How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk. The book is available at my website, I didn't write it. I read those books when my kids were little tots and I became a much, much better parent than I ever would have without those books. When I say those books, the authors didn't just - 


Ali: It gives me hope.


Dr. Kenner: These are fun books. They're not written by psychologists with psychobabble. They're written by mothers who just had heard one psychologist talk of a very, very easy on the mind approach for both parents and children, without letting yourself being a pushover, and without having to be that authoritarian, "You get in your room now. It's bedtime now." It's none of the above. You're not "Whatever you want to do kids." It's a way that helps you give your kids guidance that lasts for a lifetime. It helps you learn and communicate not only with your kids, but someone else in your house - your spouse. It's the same skills that I learned as a therapist, in highfalutin terms, in that book in comic strips. There's also a website,


Ali: I'm writing this down.


Dr. Kenner: Right. Cornelia Lockitch gives information and I think has an email newsletter you can get. You can ask her questions. 


Ali: What is her name?


Dr. Kenner: Cornelia Lockitch. She's a wonderful woman. She usually deals with the little ones as opposed to teenagers or whatnot.


Ali: He's my only one.


Dr. Kenner: She may be a good source of support. Saying all that, my son was very rambunctious and delightful and playful. When I came home, I never knew what room in the house he was playing in with the babysitter. He'd be sleeping in different rooms, find different cubbyholes. He is so spontaneous and fun as an adult. You don't want to kill that in your kid. Give him all of that. I don't want to totally wipe out the fact that some kids do have minimal brain damage, but I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that yours does if all he is doing - 


Ali: He can read and write. He draws all the time and his reading skills, he's not reading yet, but everything that's leading up to him being able to read. He can do all of those things and has no problem with motor skills, walk in a straight line.


Dr. Kenner: In listening to me, do you think he has got some disorder, or do you think he's a normal kid and you could use some help?


Ali: He's a normal kid and I could use some help! 


Dr. Kenner: I could give you the definition, but you can look it up on the web for Attention Deficit Disorder if you wanted to. Most kids meet the criteria - that's the problem. The way the criteria is set, too many healthy kids meet the criteria.


Ali: That scares me because I don't want him labeled like you said.


Dr. Kenner: I don't want him labeled. I would just re-label my kid with his teachers or with everyone, I would just say, "I have an adventurous kid, or a scientist or a developing curious scientist." You reframe it all. Instead of it being a problem, isn't it wonderful that he's under the table during the Thanksgiving meal playing a game, rather than just sitting there? Yeah, it is! How dull to be sitting with adults at a Thanksgiving table. I love kids so much, and I just love to see the ones that have that spark of life, like Mark Twain.


Ali: He's got life, enough life for three of them!


Dr. Kenner: But if you need rest and relaxation, if you need to figure that out for yourself, how you and your hubby can find time for yourself, you may need some outside help. It could be family or it could be a babysitter. We had babysitters and we screened them very well and my kids loved them and boy did we need them. We needed the breaks from the kids. We loved their childhood and they did too. Listen, thanks so much for the call Ali.


Ali: Thank you.


Dr. Kenner: I'm Dr. Ellen Kenner and my show is The Rational Basis of Happiness. Toll free, 1-877-DRKENNER.