Transitions of any type can be challenging for many with ADD. On a micro level, the challenge is shifting focus from one task to another. With the onset of Fall, a different type of transition came to mind for me.
This type of change comes with a significant occurrence in one’s life, like moving, starting a new job, beginning a new relationship or starting school.
Just this past weekend, I was talking to another mom whose daughter was about to start college over a thousand miles away. It was clearly a life altering event for both daughter and mother.
While not quite as momentous as going to college and only .6 miles away, my daughter starting middle school will certainly be a change in standard operating procedure in our house.
As I was having the conversation with the other mom, I became aware that I was avoiding thinking at all about school. Usually, I want to be "uber" prepared. So, why did I not want to go clothes and supply shopping? Why was I not encouraging her to review her math? I haven't even got her the book she needs to have read in two weeks…
I suddenly realized that I was nervous about my daughter starting middle school. Not preparing for it was my way of putting it off. Of course, it was coming, regardless of whether she (or I) was prepared or not.
Transitions can be difficult, even when the transition arises from achieving a much desired goal or the inevitable, like going to middle school.
The first step is to recognize that you are going through a transition. Once you acknowledge that it will not be business as usual, the next step is preparing for the change.
Preparing for transitions
Preparing for transitions will help you to go through it with greater ease.
Now that I've pulled my head out of the sand, I am preparing myself and my daughter for school. At least she has the cool jeans. Isn't that what middle school is about?
But preparing is about more than just getting the “stuff,” though that is part of it. It is about contemplating and preparing for the change. Here are a few questions that will help.
- How is your schedule going to be different?
- What is the impact on your current schedule and how do you need to adjust it to accommodate the change?
- What routines need to be in place to make it easier to operate?
- Given what is most important to you right now, where do you want to focus your attention?
- Are there activities that need to take a back seat for now because you will not have as much time?
- What kind of support do you need as you go through this transition?
- How do you feel about the transition? What would be a helpful perspective?
Cut yourself some slack
With significant changes, it is not business as usual. You can’t do it all.
Once you acknowledge that you are going through a significant transition, think through how to prepare for it, then you can move on to new way of operating. Even if it is temporary…
Matching your expectations with reality is definitely the way to go. At least, you'll get less sand in your ears.