Dealing with ADHD Emotions in Children

Emotions can be difficult for your ADHD child to control.  But there are a few things you can do to help:

  • Provide Structure:  Provide as much structure as possible.  That doesn’t mean you have them over-scheduled, just that there is a very predictable structure with every daily task:  breakfast, getting dressed, dinner, homework, bedtime.
  • Stay calm:  If your child is acting out it’s important that you don’t get pulled into the chaos.  Stay calm and don’t raise your voice.  Allowing yourself to get upset just makes matters worse.  After the scene is over, go into your bedroom and scream into a pillow if needed.
  • Help them Self-Soothe:  I worked with a child with ADHD who just couldn’t sit still to concentrate on his schoolwork.  He was very bright, just couldn’t calm down.  I asked him what he did to calm himself down and he looked at me all confused as didn’t have a clue how to do that.  I tried several activities with him but the only thing that worked was swinging.  So that’s how we did his schoolwork.  We went to the playground and swung and worked.  Turns out I can’t swing and read so ended up soooo nauseous.  But, we got through tons of schoolwork that afternoon.  I wonder if fidget spinners were created with kids with ADHD in mind.  Their hands are spinning so their minds can focus on homework. 

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter.  It includes my FREE “3 Step Parenting Plan” which is a great way to introduce structure into the family.  Sign up is at the top right of this page.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

How do I Deal with Adult Bullies? … one of the top 10 questions I hear from parents

Parents:  How to deal with Adult Bullies

This is in response to all the complaints, tears, self-doubt,
etc. I handle with clients who are upset about the way
some people bully them.  They’re vulnerable when
it comes to their kids, and bullies know it.  

Parents who don’t have perfect little angels (99.9999% of parents) are fair game for bullies.  These bullies hide behind good intentions.  You know, they’re passive-aggressive. Some people truly are just trying to help when they give you “unsolicited” (key word) advice.  But, most are not.  They’re just self-righteous, bossy know-it-alls … and new parents are easy targets for them.

If you are nodding your head in agreement as have someone in your life like this, then keep reading.  This may not even have anything to do with parenting, these tips work with any passive-aggressive adult bullying.

So, let’s first identify the adult bully.  They’re different than the child/teen bully as they’re less obvious, more passive-aggressive.  They don’t even know they’re doing it half the time as have convinced themselves they’re truly trying to help the rest of us who just don’t understand how to live and need them to point out our flaws.  Here are their most common traits:

  • self-righteous
  • defensive right fighters
  • bossy know-it-alls
  • say “but” a lot. E.g., “I’m not one to tell people how to live their lives … BUT … “
  • closed minded
  • their way or the highway

They’ll start sentences with phrases like, “Do you know what you should do?”, “Don’t get defensive but …”, etc.  They’re experienced at defending themselves and if confronted will say things like, “Don’t get upset, I’m just trying to help you”.  If that were true then you’d feel better, not worse.  This passive-aggressive stuff is really tricky to deal with as it makes you question yourself.  That’s what bullying is all about.

Okay, so here’s how you deal with it.  When an adult says something snarky or insulting, just give them a silent stare.  What that does is put them off balance and force them to sit in their own poop.  They’re used to people getting upset and defending themselves, which is what they want.  When you don’t do the expected, they are thrown right off balance and usually start to babble to fill the awkward silence.  It’s okay at that point to change the subject with something mundane like, “Nice weather we’re having”.  This is a very clear message that you cannot be bullied.

I’ve used this technique many times throughout the years and it works every single time.  It’s non-confrontational, just makes their negative comments hang in the air for them to reconsider.

So, that’s the first line of defence, i.e., the silent stare.

I have another technique I use is when someone says something like, “Why would you do that?”  I reply, “Because I’m a moron”.  That’s always fun for me as the bully is completely kafuffled.   What on earth can they say to that?  Nothing.

I call both the above techniques “mirroring”.  Am sure there’s some psychological explanation for this but I just think of it as holding a mirror up to the bully.  Let’s them sit in their own poop all alone as you’re not dragged into it.

Of course my best advice is to rid yourself of adult bullies altogether.  But they’re often family, co-workers, neighbours, etc. so we’re stuck with them.  Try the above techniques and see what happens.  I’d love your feedback.  I’ve had clients who’ve used this on mother-in-laws (stereotypical but common) and not only have they stopped bullying, but have become nicer … because what choice do they have?


Dr. Phil and other psychiatrists/psychologists recommend you confront bullying to put an end to it.  Maybe that works on TV or in counselling, but not in real life.  The bullies will just deny, defend and attack.  But on the flip side, it can give you clarity about what you’re really dealing with so THEN you can use the above 2 methods of handling the now confirmed bullies.  

I often say I’ve never been bullied which is sort of true.  More accurately, I’ve never been knowingly bullied.  I was actually frequently bullied but just didn’t recognize it as bullying, as it was mostly passive-aggressive which is the hardest to identify as makes you question yourself rather than the bully.  It wasn’t until other people started pointing it out that I realized what was happening.  Had I identified the situation earlier I wouldn’t have let it escalate the way it had.  But, it did and I had to take action by setting boundaries.    

There was no easy way to do it.  I confronted them and they came back, not with a stupidly expected apology or remorse, but rather, on the attack.  It was in that moment that I saw the light and realized that they were simply bullies, just as others had told me previously.  Guess I have to find out myself, plus I think a part of me wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt.  Oh well, it needed to be done as it gave me validation and clarity.

I discuss bullying all the time, yet still couldn’t see what was going on in my own life … funny how that works eh?!  

Now when they cross boundaries I just use the silent stares and responses like “guess I’m just a moron”, and it works like a charm.  

If you decide to confront your bullies, hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.  At the very least you’ll get clarity … and that’s not a bad thing.  

Bullies are not horrible people, they’re just insecure and/or self-absorbed.  Once you understand the source of their bullying, it becomes much easier to de-personalize and shrug off.  It must be a horrible feeling to want to try to make other people feel bad to build yourself up.  I have so much compassion for kid bullies but none for adult bullies as they should know better.  You can learn from my experience and avoid confrontation by just going right to the silent stares and humourous responses.  Much easier on everyone.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

P.S.  I’d love to hear how you effectively dealt with your bullying experiences.  Send me an email:

Find the FUN in Parenting

Find the FUN in Parenting

Can you really have FUN with and be friends with your kids?  Yes, absolutely!!!  The secret is to find the balance between FUN and discipline. Once you have that figured out you will sail through the younger years with your children and sail through (okay, maybe not sail through, but certainly find them easier) the teen years.  My parenting philosophy is based on my belief and experience that raising children should be FUN,and that’s what I want for you too.

The above is the new intro on my Website Home Page.  I’ve sort of stayed in the closet when it comes to talking about all the fun I had parenting my own 2 kids.  The reason is I’m afraid of making other parents feel bad if they’re struggling and not wallowing in parenting.  I agree that parenting is difficult and often painful, that’s the norm.  But the reality is … gulp … I loved parenting and found it quite easy.  There, I said it.  My kids weren’t perfect, and neither am I, they’ll happily attest to my imperfections.  But I had an edge in that I was very tough re. discipline when they were younger so that I could just sail through about the next 12 years until they hit the teen years when I had to sort of remind them to be considerate and respectful at times.  Those early years really cemented our relationship which was built on a strong foundation of discipline and tons and tons of laughter and fun.  It’s hard to enjoy kids who are out of control, but it’s pure joy when they’re well behaved and fun to be around.

I’ve written this many times and deleted it as don’t want to sound like I’m bragging or make parents who are struggling feel bad.  But by finally (hope I don’t delete it again) admitting to how easy and fun I found parenting I hope to give you hope.  Parenting really can be fun, but you have to be willing to be the bad guy, the disciplinarian, the heavy first.  I was proud of how tough I was, never for 1 second thought that being tough was wrong as I knew it was for their own good … and my sanity.  Get that out of the way then just relax and enjoy.

Sure, you can pay me to coach you through this, and I hope you do.  But if you don’t, just give it some thought.  If you were a kid/teen, wouldn’t you want to please a parent who is predictable, structured, reliable, and really easy to make laugh and have fun with?  Imagine how you’d feel being around someone who makes you feel good about yourself because you’re well behaved and also lots of fun to be around.  Self-esteem sky rockets, and so would your behaviour and attitude toward others.  Wouldn’t you also want to please that parent and never disappoint them?  It’s a win-win formula.

Please don’t feel you’re doing it all wrong because you don’t wallow in parenting.  Few do.  I certainly don’t wallow in many things, only parenting, which is why I’m doing this for a living now.  It’s just my “calling” if you will.  I’m terrible at so many things, just happen to have felt right at home mothering.  The hard part for me at this point in my life is that that stage of my life is over and done :(.  I miss those years yet am so proud of who my kids have become.  They’re mature, kind, responsible, honest and both really fun to be around.  They just don’t need me like they used to and I’ll get used to that … one day I’m sure.  It’s just another stage of parenting, i.e., letting go.  This is, by far, my biggest parenting challenge.

Why You Yell At Your Kids


I love this picture … we’ve all felt that way (ha ha).

So, why do you yell at your kids?  Simple, because you don’t know what else to do.  It may work in the moment or in the short term but it’s guaranteed to come back and bite you in the butt one day.  If not when your kids are little, certainly when they’re teenagers.  That face on the left is what your teens will be doing to you down the road if you’re a yeller.  It’s normal and human, but it’s not worth it.

The first thing I tell all new clients is to stay as calm and controlled in front of their children as humanly possible.  It becomes easier as coaching goes along as they’re finding other ways to discipline that are healthier.  Plus, they see how well the calm, controlled method works.

Enjoy the video and always welcome feedback.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

604-944-7479   /

Parenting Violent/Dangerous Teens

This video is for parents who are afraid of their teenager who is violent and dangerous.  This happens more often than you would think.  These parents often go into hiding.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach