Doing Life Together

child-1629537_1920Reader Question: My eight–year-old daughter constantly interrupts when I am talking with another adult. I have told her to stop a thousand times and she continues. What can I do to stop this? I feel it is rude to interrupt adults.

I agree. It is rude and your daughter needs to learn to wait for her turn. Part of the problem is that you keep telling her and she continues to get your attention. It is your attention that keeps her doing more of the same. Your words do not mean much.

So, here is what I suggest. First, let her know that interruptions are only OK if there is an emergency. Review what might be considered an emergency so she is clear on what constitutes an emergency.

Other times, her interruptions will be ignored and she will need to practice waiting until mom calls on her. Then, tell her that when she tries to interrupt you when talking to another adult, you will ignore her by not looking at her or answering her. Create a hand signal between the two of you to use as a reminder. This can be a raised finger or hand, but don’t give her eye contact. Show her the hand signal and practice. Do a role-play and ask her to interrupt like she usually does. Show her what will happen now.

When using ignoring, you cannot attend to her at all. This means do not talk to her, look at her or ask her to wait. Completely ignore and use the agreed upon signal. After a few times of you sticking to your guns and not attending to the interruption (you can tell the adult you are talking to what you are doing if feel this is necessary), she will eventually give up and stop interrupting. The reason this strategy doesn’t “work” is because parents attend to the child in some small way rather than completely ignoring. It only takes a look or a word to give attention and reinforce interrupting. Therefore, you have to be committed to the ignoring strategy and not give in to her persistance.


tutor-606091_1920Sally is now 25-years-old and has noticed how much her inattention is creating problems at her job. At home, she easily loses things, can’t get organized and is highly distractible. Her friend, who has been diagnosed with ADHD since childhood, told her to be evaluated. “You have a lot of the same issues I do. Maybe you have ADHD.” But Sally was never diagnosed with ADHD as a child. Is it possible she could develop ADHD as an adult?

Some adults who are diagnosed with ADHD as adults do not report childhood histories consistent with ADHD. Even though ADHD is seen as a neurodevelopment childhood disorder that continues into adulthood, three recent studies point to possible adult onset for ADHD.

Study 1 (See below): This study followed 1037 children born in New Zealand to the age of 38. All met criteria for diagnosis of ADHD.  Data was obtained from multiple sources like teachers, parents, testing, etc. The study concluded that those adults studied may not have had childhood onset. The authors raise the question, could adult onset have similar characteristics as childhood ADHD but be a different disorder?

Study 2 (See below): This study followed 5249 people raised in the same town in Brazil from birth to ages 18-19. At age 11, 9% of the children in the study met criteria for the DSM-5 diagnosis of ADHD. They too found that adult onset looked different than childhood and wondered if these are two different syndromes.

Study 3 (See below): The researchers studied a large sample of same gendered twins. They concluded that there is a difference between late and early onset of ADHD but the symptoms look similar.

One question for all three studies is, because childhood symptoms were not reported, does that mean they were not present. Overall, researchers are looking at how people with ADHD diagnosed in childhood may differ from those with adult onset. These studies support the idea that adult onset is possible.



Study 1: Moffitt et al. Is Adult ADHD a Childhood-Onset Neurodevelopmental Disorder? Evidence From a Four-Decade Longitudinal Cohort Study. Am J Psychiatry. 2015 Oct;172(10):967-77. PubMed PMID: 25998281; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4591104.

Study 2: Caye et al. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Trajectories From Childhood to Young Adulthood: Evidence From a Birth Cohort Supporting a Late-Onset Syndrome. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 Jul 1;73(7):705-12. PubMed PMID: 27192050.

Study 3: Agnew-Blais et al. Evaluation of the Persistence, Remission, and Emergence of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Young Adulthood. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 Jul 1;73(7):713-20. PubMed PMID: 27192174.

social-media-1233873_1920Daily, Rachel feels the urge to post pictures of her relationship all over social media. She has pictures on Instagram and Facebook posts about marrying the greatest guy on earth, etc.

Her sister, who knows Rachel’s relationship, has questioned her as to how much of her posting is an attempt to make her  look good to other people. Is she trying to convince others of how happy she is?

Should we wonder about Rachel’s relationship? Actually, yes!

A writer for Business Insider takes the position that happy couples do NOT plaster their relationship all over social media. In fact,those who do are probably feeling the opposite-less happy.

The writer believes that when you are content with your partner, there is no need to post away and look for external validation. Yes, this is opinion, but the writer raises some good points. Perhaps staying present in the moment precludes attention to social media.

Think of a time when you were having a wonderful experience with your partner. Did you stop to take pictures and post? Most of us get lost in the moment and kick ourselves for not getting a picture to remember. We are focused on the other person and the experience, not social media.

Also, consider healthy relationship boundaries. People in healthy relationships do not feel the need to share intimate details with strangers and random “friends.” They have boundaries! And those boundaries don’t include strangers.

Supporting this opinion is a 2015 study from The Happiness Institute. Results of that study indicate that those who go for an entire week without using Facebook are happier than those constant posters. And there are studies that link depression with excess social media use.*

Generally speaking, the more you post, the less happy you are.

So next time you are tempted to provide a highlight reel of your every relationship move, think about why you need to do this. Are you masking happiness and trying to bolster your feeling towards self or another? Are you hoping to impress people? Resist, as it appears that happiness is not reflected in social media.






child-1439468_1920I always wondered why I couldn’t trust my memory. Doctors have told me nothing is physically wrong with me. Yet I constantly think, “Maybe I am too sensitive.,” or “Could I be making this up?”

Then one day I talked with a friend who had heard the term “gaslighting” and it started to make sense. I had been in an abusive relationship for years. What I didn’t recognize was how this man taught me to doubt myself. 

The term “gaslighting” came from a 1938 stage play, Gas Light. The story line was about a husband who convinces his wife that she is going crazy by nightly dimming the lights (powered by gas) in the house. When the wife talks about the dimming lights, the husband denies reality and tells her she is mistaken. The wife thinks she is going crazy.

The term “gaslighting” now refers to as a form of emotional abuse in which the victim of the abuse is made to believe her reality is false. The abuser engages in questioning, twisting and omitting information in the hope that the victim thinks she is going crazy. She doubts her memory, perceptions and relies heavily on the abuser to help her see the “truth.” The abuser then controls the victim.

The process is usually gradual. The abuser employs techniques like withholding information, countering reality, challenging reality, trivializing feelings and denying things with the common accusation that the victim must be making things up. This leads to incredible feelings of insecurity, self-doubt and distrust.

Since gas lighting is fueled by manipulation and pathology, most people need professional help to deal with it. Once you see the pattern, you have to break out if the cycle. That may mean a break from that abusive relationship until the other person stops the abuse.

The rebuilding of confidence is critical. You begin by repairing your relationship with yourself and God. God is trustworthy. His word is trustworthy. What He says about you is true, not what other people say. No one has the right to define your worth or reality other than God. And He has already declared you worthy.  Read the Word to understand who you are in Christ, and how we are to treat one another.

You may also need  a therapist to help you begin to trust own thoughts, opinions, and reality again.  Counseling can help you set boundaries and learn how to respond to the manipulation. It can help you limit confrontations and minimize unhealthy interactions. Overall, the goal is to help you get out of that abusive pattern and take control of your life again.


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