Is it ADHD or normal behavior? Podcast Episode 299

“I am still just so scared these challenges are going to last forever, and school and daily life will always be a struggle. It’s so hard to see the stuff other kids can do that [my three-year-old] just can’t.”

If this lament – if these fears – sound familiar, I hope today’s episode will help.

Raising children is a hard job, especially when you’re worried about a child’s behavior, and if it’s normal or not.

In this episode we’ve got 5 ways for you to feel better about the bad behavior, and how you’re doing as a parent!

Plus in Parenting News:
A wonderful, funny, sweet TED talk by comedian Julia Sweeney on her chat with her eight-year-old about the birds and the bees.
Watch it – without the kids around, at least at first – to determine if it might be useful to you, when it’s time for you to have that same talk. And also to smile.

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Read more about the 5 ways to feel better (mentioned above), and check out the links for this episode, by clicking

Today’s episode is sponsored by the amazing Janine Halloran, expert in teaching kids coping skills, who has created a great resource to help your child handle it when the going gets tough!
Listen to today’s show to find out how to get 15% off your order, and then
Click to check out Janine’s Coping Skills for Kids Cue Card Decks.

5 ways to help when you’re worried about ADHD

1. Stop googling.
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if it’s ADHD or normal behavior. Studies show that, for young children, often ADHD IS normal behavior. Don’t make yourself crazy by googling this.

2. Understand: there is no “quick fix.”
If it is ADHD, it’s a condition people have all of their lives. Medication will not cure it. Also, medications have side effects. So instead of thinking on magic pill, consider instead how to positively shape your child’s behavior.
And – huge hugs if all that sounds difficult! This is one of those things where hearing a hard truth is better than believing an easy untruth.

3. Look at what is right in front of you.
It’s so easy to telescope into the future, and feel anxious and as if nothing will ever turn out right. Right now, you have the power to shape that future. Do your best to shape it positively, not by considering the future at all, but by being present, in this moment, with your child.
They need you.

4. Consider your actual child, and not some idealized version.

5. Focus on the positive.
Don’t focus on the negatives. If you do, that’s all that you will see! Instead, focus on the positive. It’s there, and there is lots of it. But you must look for it. It’s quieter than the negative, and shows up in deeper and more subtle ways.

Key Links

Click here to join the We Turned Out Okay Facebook group, where this week’s Magic Words are all about what is normal, and what is abnormal behavior, for a young child.

Vivian Paley, one of my favorite authors in the whole world, has written several books on the behavior of young children.
In today’s episode I talk about the following three:
You Can’t Say You Can’t Play, in which her class of kindergartners adopts the title as their rule.
Boys and Girls: Superheroes In the Doll Corner, about gender and childhood (but please note, it was written in the 1990s and the thinking may have changed between now and then.)
The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter, about a child with some serious and clear special needs, but without a “diagnosis.” This book was super helpful as I raised my own son, who also had some serious and clear needs.

Click here for the NYT Parenting article, “Your Toddler Has ADHD. Should You Medicate?”

If you need some extra help and support while encountering the challenges raising your children brings, work closely with me!
Go to to find out more.