Ep. 91: Key Principles for Raising a Child with ADHD with Dr. Russell A. Barkley

Jul 26, 2022 | 0 comments

In today’s episode, we are revisiting an episode about Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with the incredible Dr. Russell Barkley. He has officially retired this year after a career in making significant contributions to understanding ADHD. I was honored to have him on the Diverse Thinking Different Learning Podcast last year as an internationally recognized authority in ADHD and I know that this discussion is a great resource for parents, families, educators, and clinicians working with the child with ADHD.

Dr. Barkley is a clinical psychologist and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. He is also an author of numerous books particularly on the subject of ADHD and today we discuss his most recent book The 12 Principles for Raising a Child with ADHD, which I highly recommend. 

In addition to sharing his vast amount of knowledge, Dr. Barkley also shares how ADHD has affected his own family that has helped lead to his passion for understanding it and guiding others. He has been incredibly supportive of ChildNEXUS and was gracious enough to allow me to republish his ADHD fact sheets on our website.

So listen on to learn the science behind ADHD and several of the key principles for raising a child with the disorder. 


Show Notes:

[3:16] – The fourth edition of Dr. Barkley’s best selling book Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents became available in 2020. There is also a companion guide called The 12 Principles for Raising a Child with ADHD.

[3:56] – Dr. Barkley explains that a superficial definition of ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disability in the emergence of two mental functions that we all possess: the capacity to pay attention and the ability to inhibit excessive action.

[6:41] – When you look at ADHD beyond the superficial level, you can see how debilitating it can be.

[7:22] – Dr. Barkley explains the inhibition dimension of ADHD and how it appears in children with ADHD.

[9:37] – The hyperactivity we see not only affects movement, but also manifests as excessive talking and interrupting.

[10:06] – Another type of impulsivity that most people don’t talk about is motivational impulsivity.

[11:04] – Those with ADHD don’t value delayed gratification and consequences which can lead to problems with some types of intervention.

[13:00] – The emotional impulsivity in ADHD is different from mood disorders because the emotions are rational, just not controlled.

[14:20] – Many times, these impulsivities are missed especially when manifested in preschoolers with ADHD. 

[15:19] – Dr. Barkley describes how ADHD impacts a child’s executive functioning development from preschool onward. 

[16:46] – Across development, ADHD is first and foremost a self-regulation problem. Relative to your age, one is not able to do what their peers can.

[19:04] – What is normal age-appropriate behavior and what is cause for concern? ADHD begins where impairment begins.

[20:11] – The dimensionality is something that can cause a lot of confusion and misconceptions.

[22:20] – Raising a child with ADHD has been found through research to be as stressful and as challenging as raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

[23:32] – In the 1970s when Dr. Barkley entered the field, it was believed that ADHD came from bad parenting.

[25:14] – Dr. Barkley emphasizes the importance of finding strengths and aptitudes of a child with ADHD even if they are “outside the box.”

[27:12] – There are a lot of pathways to success and it's not all about making money. It is about finding something that is meaningful to you and following it. Those with ADHD can do that in spite of their difficulties.

[28:45] – The next step is to find opportunities in the community that help the child with ADHD with their aptitude. Develop the non-traditional aptitude and be in their corner all the time.

[30:04] – Focusing solely on excellence in school will not lead to success for children with ADHD.

[31:51] – Dr. Barkley discusses the importance of true acceptance and throwing your ideas of “good parenting” out the window.

[32:55] – Focusing on what is developmentally critical over the trivial can improve your relationship with your child.

[35:33] – Because of a strong relationship, when consequences become inevitable, you won’t be driving your child away.

[37:23] – Dr. Barkley’s book comes highly recommended for parents with practical strategies for raising a child with ADHD.

[38:21] – Why did Dr. Barkley write The 12 Principles of Raising a Child with ADHD?

[40:07] – The book is a great next step for parents after a diagnosis. 

[41:09] – Dr. Barkley shares the personal impact ADHD has had on him, including the death of his twin brother.

[43:07] – Time blindness is something people with ADHD really suffer with and can be very demoralizing and devastating if not understood.


About Our Guest:

Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized authority on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults who has dedicated his career to widely disseminating science-based information about ADHD.  He is currently a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Dr. Barkley has published numerous books, rating scales, and clinical manuals and more than 300 scientific articles and book chapters on ADHD and related disorders. He has presented more than 800 invited lectures in more than 30 countries, and he has appeared on nationally televised programs including 60 Minutes, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, and other programs.


More Resources from Dr. Russell Barkley:

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