Today on Business and Sequins podcast. I have a very special guest for you! My friend, blogger and coach extraordinaire Sharon Collon.
Sharon is passionate about helping parents have functional and fun lives when they have children with behavioural challenges. Sharon specialises in practical strategies and helping exhausted parents.
Sharon's company, The Functional Family, has assisted over 15,000 families. She has created online support groups where parents can ask questions, connect and support each other. She offers one on one coaching, a regular blog and an incredible 6 week online program, ADHD and Families.
She wants to help parents get back their time and energy, but most importantly create space for the good stuff!
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Welcome to another episode of Business and Sequins. Yay. It's so great to have you here. And today's guest we have got the lovely Sharon from the functional family. And Sharon is just passionate about helping parents have a functional and fun lives with them, especially if they have children with behavioral challenges. Sharon specializes in practical strategies and helping exhausted parents. She is a coach and advocate a podcaster, a blog author, a speaker, and she is the mom to three beautiful boys with ADHD. She's also married to an amazing man who also has ADHD. And as I said she is passionate about making life easier, streamlined and fun. I'm just so excited about having Sharon here.
Well welcome Sharon to the Business and Sequins Podcast. It is so good to have you here.
Oh, thank you for having me, Jo.
I'm so excited to be here. Yeah, I'm going Sharon and I we met earlier this year over in Australia when we were at a retreat together a woman's conference. And it was so great to chat. Because, you know, Sharon's business, the functional family is just a topic that I absolutely love to talk about. It's all to do with ADHD. And for anyone that is listening on the podcast, you would have heard me give a great intro to Sharon. But for anyone that is jumping on LinkedIn, or YouTube who's watching this live, Sharon, would you like to give us just a little bit of background in regards to how you've gotten to be where you are today?
Oh, thank you, Jo. And I just want to say one thing that I remember from you from the retreat is that you have an incredible way of making and I'm sure this comes across in your podcast, as well, of making everyone in the room feel really welcome and included. And that's why people love to be around you. It's just such a beautiful smile and happy energy that you bring to the room. And so I'm really grateful to be in your orbit as well.
Ah, thank you. I do remember us singing wild horses retreat, doing a bit of a karaoke. listening or watching Sharon has got the most amazing singing voice. Wow. Voice go here, tell our listeners all about you and how you've gotten to be where you are?
Oh, yes. So I am married a incredible man that is that has ADHD and has struggled with it his whole life. And, and I also had a brother that was diagnosed with ADHD, when he was young, when he was younger, it's not as quite as severe as my husband, and, you know, over that journey of, you know, getting married, and, you know, and our relationship and then having our three boys that also have ADHD, I've learned a lot and I learned that there was just some massive gaps in the diagnosis process and how we support these beautiful parents that have kids with ADHD. And what I felt is I felt that, you know, that there was just no resources out there for me as the mum on how to, like just, you know, not survive everyday, but actually live a happy life with ADHD in the family. And so I decided to research everything that I could and actually created that resource and that community to help these beautiful families because it's one of those things that is very misunderstood. And not a lot of people know a lot about it. So I am loving educating everyone and, and, you know, connecting the best professionals in the industry with our beautiful community and, and helping these families. It's such a such a great job that I get to do. And I'm very fortunate to be in a position not only to live it every day, but also to help others.
Jo Blowfield 03:05
Yeah, that's so fantastic. Because ADHD isn't a word that I've known all my life. You know, it's a word that I feel has come about just kind of over the last, I don't know, maybe 10 years or so it's a common word now that we've all heard. And, you know, when I was probably a bit younger, it was kind of, you know, people said it was bad behavior, ADHD. And you know, and I feel like that stigma kind of got attached to it right at the beginning. And, you know, now I find that there are just there are lots of children with ADHD, and lots of adults with ADHD as well. Yeah, so just circling back to your husband, did he know that he had ADHD? Or was it something that he realized later on in life?
No heat we definitely knew. So it's this, I'll tell you a little bit about ADHD, you know, so that everyone can understand it's not just a concentration issue, people sent center tend to think of it like a school concentration issue. But there's three sorts of ADHD there's there's inattentive, hyperactive or combined and that's what's recognized in Australia at the moment, and all my family have the combined types of inattentive and hyperactive. The hyperactive ones are the ones that get diagnosed first, because they're the ones that are the super active kids climbing on the roof, those sorts of things. And the inattentive ones, tend to go under the radar, and they're the ones that tend to get the later diagnosis because they're not as loud and often as active as the hyperactive presentation. So with my husband, he had a terrible time going through school, he was labeled the naughty kid. He was pretty much banned from the classroom. He was very aggressive. And he had a lot of trouble, never got invited to parties really, really struggled. And when my first son Xavier was diagnosed, I just heard Anthony's stories of how he felt growing up. And I was looking at my beautiful little boy that was struggling with exactly the same things. And I just thought this cannot be how it goes down from my little boy, like, I am not going to have it, so that everyone misunderstands his behavior, like he can't help it, he can't help the things he does, you know, he's learning, he's trying so hard. And so I just wanted to change the world for my little guy. And he is Zevia, my eldest, he's 12 Now, he's still is definitely the most severe out of my children. And, and, you know, we had to work out ways that we could all work as a family together, because we've got such a high energy, explosive family, you know, you can imagine, there's, there's me, and then there's all this really intense energy and my husband's explosive, and you know, and impulsive, and there's no emotional regulation going on with anyone. I often say that my house should be put on TV as a documentary series, it really needs to be made. People need to be public. But we had to work out ways that we could have a happy family together because it was such an intense life, and all it was doing was burning us all out. And, and so that's why it's called the functional family, not just help your ADHD kids, because it's so much bigger than just the person that has ADHD. It's the whole family working together, it's protecting that primary caregiver from from burnout and, and really encouraging us all to know more about ADHD and also look after ourselves and, and be more compassionate to people with ADHD because it's one of those things that people often say, Oh, you're acting like you've got ADHD, it's such a, such an like, the negatives come out of it all the time. Like there's negative comments about it. But there's actually some really cool positive things that can come from having ADHD. We know that a lot of the really cool thinkers have ADHD, the people who take risks, the people who are entrepreneurial, have any ADHD. And so I want to make sure that we are drawing attention to the positive sides of it as well. Yeah, absolutely.
Jo Blowfield 07:01
And I know that yeah, I've talked to you before, because our daughter has been diagnosed with on the autism spectrum. And she also has got Dyslexia as well. And I think that there is a touch of ADHD in there, too. And you're so right, because you're she gets so down on herself. And we just said, Oh, look at all the famous people who've got dyslexia or ADHD or autism, and they've just gone on to do such amazing things. I just find her creativity is out of this world. She can't, you know, there's other little things that she can't do, right. But the crane hook hearing of other people, that kid has got a memory. Like, I just she can remember things, what we said on a particular day when we were over in another country. And I just think to myself, I cannot remember that at all. And if you were to ever tell her that you'd like to something, it locks into her memory. And she will just say, remember the time that you told me you like this? And I just think to myself, Wow, I mean, go, you're so right, there's just so much positivity to it. And I think what a lot of us do see is just the outside behavior of climbing a tree when they maybe shouldn't be or, you know, doing something in a shopping mall that maybe shouldn't be happening, but there's just so much more behind it. So just a joke as to how many children you've got. And then what are their ages?
Sharon Collon 08:25
Yes, I've got Xavier, who's 12 Ashton, who's eight. And Harvey who's six. Harvey hasn't had his formal diagnosis yet. He is got an appointment next year. But you know, there, he's probably more on the sensory side of things. And Xavier is definitely the most severe and Ashton since his comes out more in learning disabilities, so they're all very, very different children, there's not a cookie cutter of just of how they present, they all present quite differently. And you know, what, what I love is that I'm in a position to, you know, often people with ADHD or autism, or, you know, they grow up believing that they're broken somehow. And I really want to drive home the fact that they're not broken, the world's broken, like, it's the we're putting them in an environment that is not built for them. And so one of the best things that I get to do is I get to change the environment around these beautiful people so that it works with their brain. And that is the best part. We can wait there's little tweaks that we can do this little things that we can little skills that we can give them as visual cues that we can set up that makes it easier for these guys and then we can start to see you know, their true brilliance shine when we're not in the day to day drudgery of, you know, trying to get them to do you know, the everyday stuff that we we tend to do easily as neurotypical but we can streamline all of that for them and so they have more time to do the stuff that they're good at, like the creative stuff that you mentioned, with your daughter, you know, there's there's really so much we can do The power is in knowledge and understanding. And I often just wish sometimes I just wish that, you know, we had something with ADHD kids that you could see, you know, if they all had, you know, purple hair or something, you know, and then we could recognize it. And we would, we would adjust our expectations and our behavior accordingly, you know, and we would be more understanding, but because they look, you know, that they look the same, we just keep expecting them to be one way when they're not that way, there's some another way, and we have to, you know, accommodate how they're beautiful brains, they're spectacular brains work, and, and really give them the right environment, the right tool, so they can succeed.
Jo Blowfield 10:39
I absolutely agree. Because the thing that I find the toughest is that they get tested against what's normal, and things like school, and you know, and our children, they, they aren't normal, they're exceptional, they're good, they've got a different way of thinking, so test them against children that are similar to them, instead of giving them these expectations, because, you know, that was the one thing that our daughter found had was that she was being tested against, you know, other children in her class, but she's very different way of learning. And, you know, we just had to say to her that, you know, you've got a different way of learning and your way is absolutely fine. There is nothing wrong with it. And Andrew, and I've had this discussion a lot with teachers and things like that, why can't we have different streams so that children can be tested in the streams that they're in with similar people? Not, you know, tested with nice children that might, you know, that our children will never be like, and so it's interesting conversations. So you've got, you know, something, I think I read, like, over $15,000, that you 15,000 families that you've assisted not dollars, along the way,
Sharon Collon 11:48
I wish it was stolen. No, no, no, no, I really, you know, this, this has been a market that hasn't been looked after very well, you know, and I only created it because, you know, it's what my family needed. And once I got what my family needed sorted out, I realized that I could help other people with the same thing. Like people were crying out for support for having a voice for being able to have a platform to talk about how hard it is, I mean, particularly my passion is about helping that primary caregiver. So often, it's the mum, sometimes it's the dad, but often it most of the time, it's the mum, that is really burning themselves out, trying to get to all the appointments, do all the homework, like, really taking the brunt of all of this negative feedback, you know, and I think I people might have heard me say it before, but it's a little bit death by 1000 cuts. So you go to the school, and you pick them up, and they say, can you come here, we haven't had a very good day. And you know, and that that person means well, and then you go to sport, and then you get pulled aside or no, they're doing this, like, you know, can you have a chat. And so everywhere you go, you get the slight negative feedback. And what it ends up doing is it everyone means well, and everyone's trying to help. But oftentimes, often in those instances, the child can't actually help it. And what happens to those families is they end up getting isolated because the mum, or the or the primary caregiver doesn't want to get all that negative feedback all the time, and no one's telling them when their child is doing something good. And so it ends up being quite an isolating journey. And so I love being able to support these families and give them a place to celebrate their wins as well. I mean, if we only compare our families, to other families highlight reels on social media, like we are setting ourselves up for some serious mental torment, you know, so we've got to be putting ourselves in a space with people that have families like ours and, and celebrate together the things that we can achieve as a family, but it's probably not going to look like and hold a hallmark commercial, right? Like I have no illusions that people would be quite shocked if they were to spend a morning in my family with the for, you know, for boys just going mentor and you know, being being so high energy, but it's ours and I love it and it's what we've made it work for us we've found things that that work for us and and and that worked for other families as well. And that's why I love getting to do what I get to do because we can make a difference but without you know without that awful comparison, then you know that that stuff that goes along with with that because we're just never going to get there no one's going to get
Jo Blowfield 14:32
What are some of the things that your family does in order to help you get through things? What are some of the things that you guys do
Sharon Collon 14:39
are definite like the number one thing and I know every person that works in ADHD spaces it is routine. And you know I want you to think about it like when you were learning to drive and when you first learned to drive and you had to like put so much energy into like checking the mirrors and you were like looking all the time and you know it took so much energy to do too. Learn how to do that skill. But now I reckon, you know, you can drive, you're thinking about we're going to do for dinner, and you're probably eating a croissant and like having a coffee, and you know, like you're doing all these different things. And sometimes you can arrive at the destination, you think, oh my God, how did I get here, you know, because you can switch that part of your brain off, because it's just habit. And that's all that routine is its habit. So what we try and do is we set up, we do this task leading thing where one task kind of leads to the other. And we can actually, you know, through repetition, and through that habit, help our children get through that boring, mundane stuff that they their brain, stuff don't like, through that repetition. And then we can allow more time for the good stuff which their brain actually seeks, you know, all that sensory seeking, like, creative stuff that they are really good at. So what habit is definitely one of the tools that we use and that routine, and also, you know, knowing when to be flexible with it, and when to when to be able to, you know that there's a whole, there's a whole skill around even that routine topic. But also, you know, communicating well as a family and helping our beautiful kids feel involved. One of the things that they often feel is that you know that they don't have a spot in this world. So I love the idea and what we do, as well as that family meeting concept. And we talk, we all have a turn to talk about our concerns, we all have a turn saying what we're grateful for. And we are looking for good things all the time to say in those family meetings. Because if you if you look for bad things you'll find and if you look for good things, you'll find it right. So we we try and say things that are good, and we're grateful for and that we're happy about. But also those family meetings have the ability to share the load a bit for that primary caregiver. So if you sit down and have a you know, often I think, especially women do this art, it's just too hard to ask someone to do it. So I'm just gonna do it all myself, and then you burn out and you're resentful about it. But actually, if we sit down beforehand and have a chat, you know, what are you guys doing on Thursday? Could you actually pick this up? Could Could I ask this person to do this for me, you know, and really look at it from a, from a view that's a bit higher up, rather than looking at it 20 minutes before or the morning off, to try and see what you can delegate, try and see what you can get people to help you with. And often times people want to help, but they just don't want to offend you by asking if you need it, you know, like, they can see you struggling with kids with special needs, and they want to help but they just don't know how people need to be sort of in a really nice way, told how they can help or given permission to help. And then for goodness sakes, take it, take it, take all the help you can get. Because what you're doing is hard. Like what you're doing is super hard. And it's often, you know, thankless, thankless work. So take the help. You know, it's not no, you're no good to anyone if you're exhausted and you're burnt out. And, and, you know, that's something I've learned time and time again, the hard way is that we can do anything, but not everything. And so we need help, and we need support. And we've got to we've got to learn to accept it when it's offered as well.
Jo Blowfield 18:07
Yeah, absolutely. And I think I think it's a female thing, too, that sometimes you do just feel like it's quicker if you just do it yourself. You know, and I know with our 12 year old, that's something I can ask you to do something combined nighttime, that's still not done.
Sharon Collon 18:24
Jo Blowfield 18:26
Yeah. It's just, it's, I think it's just one of those things, but you're so right, as a family, you do need to kind of find out what works for you. And then have some great things that you can resources, like what you've built, to be able to actually go back and use but I think, yeah, what you've built in regards to a community is just so valuable.
Sharon Collon 18:47
Yeah, and that's the bit that I love the most, you know, we've got a really good regional reach. We've got people in like the outback of Australia, and like, in the middle of the mountains of New Zealand, you know, you know, what we're connecting them with, you know, some of Sydney's best professionals and, you know, the top, top level people at hitch that work in ADHD space, through interviews and things and, and that is that benefits everyone, you know, like if we can all because it's not just, you know, the professionals whose job it is to educate people about ADHD, it's actually the mums and dads on the ground that are responsible for letting the people know around them what ADHD actually is, and what we will accept in terms of people talking about it, you know, like, if people say something negative about it in front of your child, that's kind of our responsibility to pull them up on and go, Hey, like, that's not cool, you know, so that we can protect or change the narrative about ADHD. Because, you know, it's one of those areas that does get picked on a fair bit and it's really misunderstood. And you know, I've had people say to me, ADHD doesn't exist and things like that, you know, you can see it on a brain scan, guys. but it's it's, it's, it's actually amazing that people still have that hangover from, you know, before, we knew a lot about that they've sort of brought that forward. And, you know, it's everyone's responsibility to be a part of changing that narrative. If we leave it up to the doctors, you know, they're just too busy. We can't, it's not going to get out there.
Jo Blowfield 20:24
And it is, it is really tough because, you know, back in the day, the first thing people reach for the medication, you know, medicate, medicate children. But, you know, I'm hoping that there are alternatives now and that, you know, there are lots of different things that they can do. And bear with us. So if a parent has an idea, or thinks that their child could have ADHD, when they go to first, what do they do? What would it be?
Sharon Collon 20:51
To them? Yeah, sure, the first step is the GP. So you need to discuss it with your GP and get the first thing I would always say is get a referral to go to a developmental pediatrician or a pediatrician, because they have a long wait list. Like I think Harvey's appointments like a year and a half, are making. So those are the things that you want to get done first, but then you can start experimenting with things at home. So you can look at some of the functional family strategies, looking at whether routine helps take out colors, preservatives, additives, those sorts of things can often be helpful, and I am pro I am pro medication, but I don't know necessarily if it's the right fit for every child. So it's every family's decision to you know, look at what works for them, what what what things work for them, it's every every family is unique. And ADHD is almost, you know, the presentation, it's it's, as you've seen in your own family, it's often not just ADHD, it's ADHD coupled with Tourette's or ADHD, coupled with being gifted ADHD, you know, it's, it's every, every person is unique, and every family is unique. And so, you know, having all the information out there in front of you, knowing what you can choose from, because that was half the battle when Xavier first got diagnosed, I mean, I knew a fair bit about ADHD, but I just didn't know what services were available, what support, you know, I can ask for movement breaks in class, in classrooms and exams, you know, all of those things, finding out what what you are entitled to, and I wish, you know, the government's would give us some funding, like NDIS, or, you know, a national, you know, disability service or something like that funding, because a lot of kids do miss out on early intervention, and ADHD doesn't get very much at all. So I really, you know, just being being aware, educating yourself on it as much as you can, getting those appointments booked in, often speech, occupational therapy can help as well, you know, and hooking up with someone like us, or, you know, through your communities, local community services to try and work out what is available to you, that is half the mystery, it's just like this big puzzle. And there's no, there's no silver bullet for this, you know, there's no one thing you can say, Oh, this will work for you. Because often for each individual child, it's about, you know, a few things will work, you know, when you get those few things leveled up just at the right order, then you start to make good headway. And, and that is, you know, the power of knowledge, you know, and knowing what your options are, you know, there's, there's lots of things that definitely don't hurt to try. So you know, I know that coloring definitely makes my children's behavior worse. So I know that I'm not going to give them or if I do, if they do have something at a party, I'm not going to expect very much for them for the next three days, you know, I'm not going to be crazy about you know, saying you can't have this all the time, especially for parties, because I don't want them to feel different. But I'm not going to expect I'm not going to book family photos the next day and expect them to be standing still for that, you know, so it's about you know, having the information, having the power, experimenting with it, and then being able to adjust things accordingly. Because, you know, you want to put them in a position where they're going to be set up for success, not set up to fail. That's all the time we know that kids with ADHD have terrible often have terrible self esteem, they are in the firing line for suicide, and depression and things like that. And I really feel like if we could get this sorted at a younger age, we would see a drop in especially, you know, we know that the male suicide rate here in Australia, I don't know what it is in New Zealand. Terrible. If we could get this sorted, we would, we would see a decline in that I'm certain of it. I'm I really am. And it's one of the things that we just have to handle better as a society and it's some of the stuff is super easy. And it just requires a little bit of compassion as well.
Jo Blowfield 24:36
Yeah, and yeah, and I think it's so right. You need all communities working together in order to be able to lift these children up, you know, at home is great, but you also need schools you need you know, family, you need all sorts of people to come together to help. I know with them without daughter that we've had to go through, like you said, a couple of systems in place so that, you know, we can't just take her out Really quickly, if we're going to somebody's house, we have to stop, tell her who's going to be there, and then give her the timings of what's going to happen. So that in her mind, she knows what's happening. And if, if it doesn't happen, then you can guarantee 100%, things will go to pot things, it will just not work out. So we've learned the hard way. Because, you know, when we've looked for resources, and all sorts of things as well, and so we've definitely learned the hard way just by figuring things out. So you know, having something like the functional family, it's incredible having a resource like that, for somebody like yourself, who's already paved the way, but made notes and templates, all kinds of systems to bring back and help.
Sharon Collon 25:46
Parents are exhausted, right, they don't need any more like homework or pressure, you know, they need someone to just go here it is, let's make it easy for you just like, let's, let's just give you really clear step by step instructions on how to make life easier. They don't need more pressure and more more, you know, intensive things for them to do. They need someone to just clear the path for them and their beautiful families. And, you know, like you said, with your daughter, you know, having trouble with those transitions, is that often behind ADHD is a huge level of anxiety, they have this massive bass note of anxiety. And so just like you said, figuring out to do those allowing her brain to toggle, that's what she's doing there is allowing her brain to toggle, by giving her expectation about what is going to be happening, when you're getting there, you're setting, you know, telling her what's happening, you're easing her anxiety, and often I like to do a bit of a countdown as well. So as we're going out the door, you know, like, we're going to go in five minutes, four minutes, three minutes, just to allow them to pull out of whatever they're doing and do go on to the next thing, it's a really great tool. So you've done that instinctively, by by easing her anxiety and, and letting her know what's going to be happening, which is something that we forget to do, because you know, when we're also busy, and one of the things that I love the most is giving back people time, right, so that they have time to address this stuff. Because all of it takes time, unfortunately. So we need to make sure that we're organized and we have things in place. So we have time to handle those those sort of tricky transitions when they're coming about. But really, you know, you've, you've been able to do that and just give her what her brain needs, that's what her brain needs to be able to go to the to the next event successfully. And that it's those sorts of little quirk like little quirks and those little tweaks that you can make, that can save so much like even I'd write it up. So if we've got errands to do, I'll write it up, I'll be like, we're going here, we're going here, we're going to do it in a circle. So he can see that we're going home. Because for an anxious child, it's really nice for them to see that we're going to go back home at this, you know, after we've done those few tasks, and I get him to hold the list and get him to tick it off. And so I give him the power and ask him questions, because I'm very forgetful. You know, I'm like, so where are we going next? And what are we going to get there and I try and get his brain thinking about what we're going to do on those errands. And that having that visual map is so reassuring, he can see that we're going to go home after we go to the chemist or whatever, you know, that we're doing. And it's it just makes it a lot easier. And you know, yes, drawing it up takes two minutes. But having a meltdown in a shopping center takes 30. So you know, you know you've got you've got to be able to have those little few minutes of forward planning. So you can save yourself time down the track, you know,
Jo Blowfield 28:34
I love that the step that we haven't been doing is putting the home at the end so that you can see the full circle. Oh my gosh, that is gold.
Sharon Collon 28:43
It's beautiful. Because you know if you can see that you've just got to get through those three things. And even if those one of those three things is a bit tricky, if you've got home coming up in that arrow, it really does it make them be able to push themselves outside their comfort zone a little bit. Okay, I can get through this because I can see that we're going home, you know, we're going back to my safe place. And often a home is the place that can be the most I tend to think that it goes either one or two ways. They either hold it together at school all day and they're like really good at school and they've really holding it together and they get home and they explode with all their stuff or they like let it really go at school and at home. It's not so bad because they can't cope with the environment school so my son is definitely holds it all together. He just holds it together at school like it's just sometimes that comes out but he really just gets quiet at school. He's still very much got the hyperactive tendencies like he's fidgeting and things but he doesn't tend to let too much anger and things at home and then he gets in the car and it doesn't matter what you say he's gonna fight you about it like it's like he's angry he's angry when he gets cut so now we've so we don't want to do the same thing over and over again and hit our heads against the brick wall right so if something's not working for our family and he was getting in the car and just like spewing venom over all of us, if something if we are going to get have If that's a problem that We've identified that's a predictable problem, we know he's going to do it every day, let's get a strategy to stop doing that every day. So my strategies, and we tried and tested a few things, is to put food in his face. As soon as he gets in the car, he gets in the car, and I've got something really nice for afternoon tea, and I like we literally do not even say hello, he just starts eating as soon as he gets in the car, and then that time where he's eating, and he's like, really focused in on whatever that delicious thing is in the afternoon, then we then after he's eaten that, then we can, you know, have a normal conversation, and we can not fight about whatever it is that he, you know, doesn't matter what it was, he was gonna fight about it. So that is a predictable problem. And that is an easy solution, I can have something in the car, no problem. And we can avoid that whole drama that we were facing every afternoon after school. So easy solution to a predictable problem. And that's what you know, that's what we try and do, we can, you know, and that's also teaching him, you know, his blood sugar is getting a bit low, he's hungry after school. So we've got to make sure that we put fuel in the car. And you know, and look after that car. So which we're talking to him about those sorts of things and not, you know, going straight into that fight mode that we were doing repeatedly. Because those sorts of things will wear you down as a parent, gripping the steering wheel going. Here it comes, right. But but we can do things to avoid that and not beat our heads against the brick wall every time and that's, you know, avoiding it for him and avoiding it for me. So we're much happier car journey on the way home.
Jo Blowfield 31:31
Yeah, absolutely. Because you see my head nodding so much, if anyone that's watching the video, the replay, yes, not a lot. And for any listeners, I was nodding so much, because you just described my life every day after school, I would meet her it at the gate. And I could tell by her face coming up, if it was going to be good, or bad. And it was literally an explosion of everything that had happened through the day. And you were so right. And then the one factor was that we just said to her that she had to eat everything in a lunchbox and the car on the way home. Because yeah, because someday she would not eat anything through the whole day. Not to eat it. And then in the car, just eat your lunchbox thing you can talk. But oh my goodness, I was laughing so much because you just described my life to an absolute tee. I know because one of the things that the moment that you know we are struggling with is that, yeah, our daughter is having difficulty with face masks. Because it's the you know, we're trying to find the right face masks that she will happily wear because it's the feeling of it. And it's that restriction. And so at the moment, we're just going through processes of trying to find, you know, of her picking masks and all sorts of things because the anxiety that is behind wearing a face masks because it has been huge
Sharon Collon 32:51
because these kids like their sensory, right. So they really feel things like my son, still, my youngest still has a seatbelt, he still has it off, he holds it off him, he won't let it sit on his body. So he holds it off in the whole classroom. So they fade it often like they have a lot of sensory input coming in. So you've done exactly the right thing you let her choose. And often when there's a problem, I often like to give my kids because if I just fix it for them, they're not actually learning anything, right? So if we involve them in the solution, we're going to, especially as kids get older, we are going to get so much more from them. So you know, you just say hey, I noticed that you're really and we've got to we've got to approach it the right way don't approach it when they're in meltdown, for goodness sakes. I've got to catch myself doing this later. So you say to me, Hey, I noticed that you're struggling wearing a face mask. Let's let's use it as a bit of an experiment. You know, you know we have to right now we have to wear these face masks. But let's let's see if we can find some on the internet that might be better. Can you have a look like let's have a look to see if there's any cool colors that you like, maybe there's one of those guard things that pop the mask out like one that comes off your face that's not sitting against your face, maybe there's something like that that we can use. And let's just experiment and you can give each one a score it was by like three or four. Let's see, you can give each one a score out of 10 how much you like it. And then let's focus on that one. So then it becomes an experiment rather than like you have to do that like this. Let's have a look at our options. And then it's teaching her that skill as well of let's let's have a look at a problem. And let's have a look at some possible solutions for it. It might not work. But you she's learning a life skill of let's let's problem solve because that's what we always want to do. We want to be teaching the problem solving because we tend to have, especially with ADHD kids is real black or white thinking like it's either like we're on or off. It's we're having the mask on or we're having us but maybe there's a gray area, maybe there's a different mask that we can find for you that you like. So you know we're always presenting that gray we're presenting problem solving, because we really want them Do you think of that? You know, because that's, that's the skill that they're going to need for life. And that's a skill that you know, that they've got to develop, and that they do incredibly well at once they've had a bit of practice. You know, problem solving,
Jo Blowfield 35:14
you know, I'm going to be calling you every week. Now, Sharon, I've got this problem, what do I do?
Sharon Collon 35:22
You know, I'm most most happy. If you don't mind a bit of kids screaming in the background, because that is what
Jo Blowfield 35:32
I am totally used to even for like our interview today, because our kids are home because we're in lockdown. So even for today, I had to give pre warning that, you know, you were to be quiet between this time and this time, so that and they and they push it right up to the absolute minute of doors slamming right up to the absolute minute. So but my husband said, you know, he loves our daughter, our youngest daughter, because she actually makes us slow down. So she makes us stop and actually think about things because otherwise, you know, my husband, my daughter, my oldest daughter, and myself, we would fly through life without even our feet hitting the ground. Whereas she actually brings us back to actually stopping, planning, and actually making sure that all of the steps are the air. So I love that about who is beautiful.
Sharon Collon 36:18
And you know, that's, that's one of the things that I love about working collaboratively with our kids is if we slow down enough to actually ask them, What do you need? And what does your what does your brain need? I mean, some people don't like that, asking the kids that, but I, my kids respond to it. So I always do it. But we know what does your brain need right now, you know, like, and you can ask them and sometimes the solutions that they come up with us so incredibly intelligent, and you know, so like stuff that I could never even dream of, you know, and and you know, when we slow down enough to actually listen to them and, and and appreciate them for all the amazing things that they can do. You know, it, you know, not just not just the stuff that's hard, but the stuff that works incredibly well. That it's all boosting their self esteem. It's all it's all positive, there's so many great things like even being able to slow down as a family and really look at things reflectively is incredible. That's an incredible gift as well, you know,
Jo Blowfield 37:16
yeah. And yeah, we're just trying to teach your older sister to kind of do the same, because your older sister doesn't have so much patience. So, but you know, thank you so much. I have loved chatting with you. Before we go, I do do a couple of things with our, with our guests that we have on, I think the tips that you've given us through this whole podcast have been absolutely fantastic. Unless you have any other tips that you would like to add?
Sharon Collon 37:45
I would just like to say that if for the primary caregiver, whoever that is, whoever's doing the brunt of the home stuff, or if you do it together for both of you, then the number one thing has to be to look after yourself, you have to look after yourself first, I really see time and time again, that that the parents are getting really exhausted, and we have to have strategies, if something's not working, if something's not working for, for the mom or for the dad, we have to be able to have strategies to put in place things that create a bit more of a buffer zone for that exhaustion because we cannot be good effective patient parents, I'm the most impatient person in the whole world. But you know, we cannot be effective patient parents, when we are like running on empty, we have to have some stuff in the cup to give to these beautiful kids and they need our eye contact, they need big gestures and you know, and, and then need a lot of energy and and it's our responsibility to look after ourselves to make sure that we can, you know, we can fulfill those needs. And yeah, I just think that I see so many women that are so exhausted, and so many men that are just so exhausted. And I want to just highlight that as a bit of an issue that if you know if you can see yourself instead of berating yourself for losing it or not being a good parent, you know, you know, we've all lost it right? Like, you know, you've just said stuff that's bad, you haven't handled the situation, how you wanted to, instead of feeling guilty about that, number one apologize to those those that are affected because it's important for our kids to see that we can make a mistake and come back from it. But also to instead of bracing yourself and feeling bad about it, like we all do. Just see it as a red flag that we need to take some time out. Let's set that's a red flag warning lights coming on that we need to take some time to ourselves, and everyone needs that. And that that's nothing to be, you know, sad about or you know, it doesn't mean you're a weaker person, it just means that you're proactively taking care of yourself before it gets, you know, really bad.
Jo Blowfield 39:45
Yeah, I love that so much because you're so right, we beat ourselves up. We really do. And we've got to really look at the positives, rather than the negatives of what we're not doing.
Sharon Collon 39:55
Yes. What we're doing is hard. Yeah, we're doing is hard. We need credit for it. No gives us a certificate at the end, I really think we should get a certificate. But you know, what we're doing is hard. We need to give ourselves credit for all the stuff that we have done. That is great, you know, and that we've all the changes that we've made for our kids and, and all the love and you know, kids will feel that they'll feel that the love that we're doing all the all the things we're trying, even if it doesn't work, at least we're trying, we keep getting up day after day, and backing it up for our beautiful kids. So that's something to be commended.
Jo Blowfield 40:28
Yeah, I think my husband, I always pat each other on the back, because you're our house plants, we're terrible at health class, they would just die. But we pat ourselves on the back for keeping our children alive. Because they got to a stage where they could feed and water themselves. You know, it is it is you've got to constantly feed them and nurture them and do everything that they're needing. So you know, we're always patting each other on the back going. Yep, that's great. It's a So here, the house plant hasn't made it, but the children here. So I'm quite happy about that. Now, a couple of other things that I always ask as well, to any of our guests. So if you could pick a color of sequin that best describes your personality, what color would it be and why?
Sharon Collon 41:14
It's definitely blue. I'm a blue person, I always wear blue. Everyone always sees me wearing blue. And the reason I wear it is because it's a calming color. And I hope that that brings some calm into my lovely house. But also because I like to remind myself to be like water, right? So we can adjust to situations we can flow things we can flow over the top of things and not let us affect it affect us. You know, like let's, let's all try and be a little bit more like what we can we can adjust to things we can chop and change when there's hardships coming, we can find a way water finds a way so that's why I choose blue.
Jo Blowfield 41:51
I love that. And then I always asked on the Sequin scale of one to 10 one being you find it really difficult to get out of bed and 10 being that you're throwing glitter everywhere you go. Um, How was life for you at the moment?
Sharon Collon 42:06
I think a good solid eight.
Jo Blowfield 42:08
I ah, yeah,
Sharon Collon 42:10
I'm pretty sparkly. There's things going on. But you know, I am recovering from homeschooling being locked down from the wall. So I'm going to knock two points off. But there's a fair amount of good going on, there's a fair amount of glitter.
Jo Blowfield 42:22
I love that so much. Because I tell you homeschooling children is like it's a next level. Next Level patients and everything. And it's yeah, I just try and keep as continuously busy. So that she's Yeah, so that she hasn't oil just all give her some time for downtime, but just keep her busy and keep doing things. And as has been trying to, to save for dog. So that has made a life a little bit easier because I can get her to do all these random things. And she's quite happy. She knows how much she's a lot in towards the dog. So Oh, that's great. Yeah, it's I think, I think that's gonna bring a lot of joy to our family. And she's so excited about it. And you know, he's already planned the name and everything like that. And we're just leading ahead that little bit of ownership. And yeah, great fighting. Yeah, I know. But I've been we've got a cat that is just so unloving that we have we really want some something that's gonna cuddle us back.
Sharon Collon 43:23
We found that getting get we've got a boxer and he's hilarious. He's Yeah, he's not. He's not very well behaved. But he is amazing with the children and the way that they can snuggle into him and how patient he is with the kids climbing all over him and everything is just, it's just beautiful. And it's been such an addition to the family. And that when your children feel like it's another comfort, it's a sensory thing, right? Like all the furniture and, you know, snuggling and, and having that thing of unconditional love can be really a very positive thing for the family as well as teaching responsibility and, and all those sorts of positive things that come from owning a pitch. Yeah. And that's exciting, Jo,
Jo Blowfield 44:06
as well. The Pit arrives very shortly, so I'm not sure I'm ready for it. But I hope it doesn't chew my shoes.
Sharon Collon 44:13
Probably will. Probably not.
Jo Blowfield 44:17
So I'm trying to organize everything. So it's like, on off the ground from arriving and embraces. My husband has never owned a dog before. A cat was the first pet that he's ever owned. So a dog is like a whole other a whole other thing. And our daughter's been working on him for about three years now to have a dog. And every day pretty much every day she asks for a job. Last week, he just said yes. Okay, let's give a dog just like fifth day of her life.
Sharon Collon 44:49
Oh, that's wonderful. That's one one. I look forward to hearing some updates about that. With my one eight all our Christmas decorations yesterday. So too much about what's happening with our puppy.
Jo Blowfield 45:04
No. Okay. Well, the dog.
Jo Blowfield 45:08
I love it. Sure, thanks so much for coming on their Business and Sequins podcast I absolutely loved speaking with you. We're going to pop into the comments into the post all of the details of how people can connect with you, and how they can connect. What just quickly though, just so that people know, you have you've got courses coming out next year. Is that right?
Sharon Collon 45:32
Yes. So our next enrollment is open on the 22nd of February. And we'll have some things in between there, we do a webinar about five easier steps, five steps for easier home life with ADHD. And there's there's a few things coming out. We always have free resources and blogs and a free seven day program and things on our website, too. So there's lots of interviews and resources that people can go and have quite a large Facebook group as well that people can go and, you know, ask questions and get supportive, beautiful answers from our gorgeous community. And yeah, thank you very much for spreading the word Jo. Yeah. And they
Jo Blowfield 46:09
can just type in the functional family on Facebook and forget site and find you.
Sharon Collon 46:14
Yes. And there's the group is ADHD and families. It's called any history and families and then stash the functional family.
Jo Blowfield 46:21
yeah, yeah. If you are out there and you are listening, or you are watching, and you would like support from this wonderful woman and her wonderful community, then do reach out to Sharon and just remember as Sharon said, you're not alone. And go easy on yourself. So fantastic. Thank you so much, Sharon.
Sharon Collon 46:41
Thank you very much for having me, Jo.
Jo Blowfield 46:44
No problems. Have a great day. You too. Bye.