ADHD and 2020: How to Pivot to Positivity as an Uncertain Year Ends

What a year this has been! 2020 has redefined what it means to bounce back. Just when you think you’ve set up a routine that works and life seems to be chugging along, something comes and upsets the whole apple cart again. Pivoting to these new challenges, everybody has repeatedly been forced to regroup, think quickly and adapt. 

Bouncing back has been the theme of 2020. I’m so impressed by the creativity, fortitude and persistence I’ve seen in parents, kids and young adults throughout this year. Necessity is truly the mother of invention, isn’t it? I’ve seen children have driveway playdates with a chalk line separating them for safety: teens sit six feet apart on the trunk of their cars to see their buddies in person; college students throw a virtual dance party to connect with their community. Kids have made their own popcorn and watched a movie with their cousins on Zoom while parents have arranged “Mocktini’s” with beloved extended family members and friends. Somehow people managed to host virtual or distanced birthday parties and holiday gatherings that had meaning and fun.

As parents, you have risen to the enormous challenges of this pandemic. You’ve created effective routines to manage remote learning, homework and chores, often in combination with your own work, and tweaked them as needed. You’ve fought so that the educational needs of your Neurodiverse sons and daughters are met in this new academic environment. You arranged music lessons, safe participation in sports and socially distant playdates. You’ve lost your tempers, wished you had some time to yourself and did the right thing for your kids despite the personal cost. You grieved the loss of loved ones and nursed the sick back to health. You rose to meet this awful pandemic and showed up even when you felt sapped of strength.

I have been moved over and over again by how you, your children and teens keep bouncing back. You inspire me. While it’s not easy, you’ve all adapted to the many tough challenges that 2020 put in your path. Bravo. Take a minute and let this sink in. You and your family made it this far. This is what resilience is all about. 

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary (https://bit.ly/2JaDaq9), resilience comes from the Latin root of salire, a verb meaning “to leap.” Everybody has taken leaps this year–sometimes landing on your feet and sometimes falling. But, somehow, we stand up. We pivot, we change direction and move forward. 

During this holiday season, I hope that you and your family acknowledge all of the strides you have made by creating a Wall of Wonder. Get some Post-It’s, open some space on a wall and encourage people to write down (or draw) and post any of the following:

  • Something they are grateful for
  • One thing that went well
  • A memory of a fun experience (maybe an outing to the beach, the time you made pizza from scratch or riding bicycles in the park)
  • Something they are proud of themselves for
  • One thing they appreciate about someone else

On New Year’s Eve, gather as a family in front of the Wall of Wonder and look at what 2020, with all of its frustrations, sadness and obstacles, was also made of. Seeing these positive aspects of the year will help all of us make a bridge towards a better 2021. Happy holidays!