The Number #1 Strategy for Helping Complex Kids

by Andrea Wackerle


Yes, you.

Parents are the #1 most effective strategy for helping complex kids.

Let’s face it, parenting kids with complex issues is more difficult than parenting typical kids. While your friends are complaining about the hassle of chauffering their kids to sports practices and dance classes, you are quietly scheduling therapy and tutoring sessions, having delicate conversations with coaches and teachers, and trying hard to get your kids the support they need while still giving them some semblance of a “normal” childhood.

You are navigating choppy waters every day.

On top of that, a whole lot of professionals are encouraging you to get support for your kids, but very few are encouraging you to get support for yourself … which is a little backwards, if you think about it. How are you supposed to choose the best therapies and resources for your kids if you feel like you are floundering in deep water without a life-jacket to keep you afloat?  

The Value of Parent Support

So, if you want to stop yelling and start managing; if you want to stop struggling and start enjoying your family; if you want to stop feeling like you’re just one outburst away from the edge – then the best place to start is actually with you.

As the parent of three complex kids (now young adults), I understand how challenging life can be. I felt like I lived on a circus high-wire for about 10 years, until a coach guided me across the wire and back down to safety. I was pleasantly shocked at how empowering coaching was for me – and what an extraordinary difference it made for my entire family. Coaching began to give me the tools I needed as a parent to manage my complex children and help them thrive. I became a coach to share that gift with other parents.

This should not have been such a surprise to me, but I have to admit that it was. Now, I understand that parents of complex kids need training and support to do the best job of parenting our quirky, energetic, creative, complex kids. In fact, parent training and support (also known as “behavior therapy“) is actually part of recommended treatment for kids with ADHD and other challenges of executive function!

Unfortunately, we parents often put ourselves last, and I was definitely guilty of that for more than a decade. It didn’t serve my family well at all, and I think I knew that on some level. But in the absence of professionals guiding me to get support, I felt guilty if I paid attention to myself – as if, somehow, I should know what to do when my kids started behaving in a way that was never addressed in the pages of typical parenting books!

The bottom line is this: when parents succeed, kids succeed.

Taking a Coach-Approach to Parenting

With parenting support (training and/or coaching) you can help your kids learn self-management, help your family build stronger relationships, and create greater calm and peace in your home. At ImpactADHD (which is for parents of ALL kinds of complex kids, not just those with ADHD), we call this taking a coach-approach. Whether you reach out to us for support online and on the phone, or to a local professional, here’s what to look for to get the help you really need.

How does the Coach-approach work?

Training and Coaching gives you “permission” to pay attention to yourself, as well as your children. By attending to your approach to parenting, you gain greater confidence and self-esteem – all important tools for managing your child’s complex challenges, and for modelling it for your children.

Training and Coaching also shows parents how to:

  • Become better communicators
  • Identify needs and set goals
  • Manage behavior and set expectations
  • Offer guidance
  • Educate their families on their unique strengths and challenges
  • Advocate for their kids and work with service providers
  • Build and promote self-esteem and confidence
  • Use a Coach-Approach with their kids

Getting support will help you build the framework for managing your unique, complicated kids. When you use a coach-like approach with your children, you:

  • Give them support and structure
  • Help them build the skills they need for success in school and in life
  • Help them become accountable, independent kids
  • Emphasize their strengths
  • Move from criticism to acceptance and guidance

If you’ve been looking for a better way to manage, and a better way to live with your child’s complex challenges, then training and coaching will help you create a structure to support your family more effectively. Best of all, it helps you rediscover the wonder, excitement, and adventure of being a parent.


About Elaine Taylor-Klaus


Elaine Taylor-Klaus PCC, CPCC — certified coach, author, parent educator. The co-Founder of ImpactADHD® and co-creator of Sanity School® for Parents and for Teachers, Elaine provides training, coaching and support for parents of “complex” kids — working with parents around the globe, online and on the phone. A lifelong advocate for public health, Elaine has served on Georgia’s Governor’s Council for Maternal and Infant Health, as a parent advisor for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and as an expert for Pfizer’s Making Moments campaign. She is the co-author of Parenting ADHD Now!, a national volunteer for CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD), and a sought-after speaker and trainer for parents and educators. The mother of 3 complex young adults, Elaine lives in Atlanta with her family.