10 Things I Need to Say About Parenting an ADHD Child

(This is a reprint from my original blog, but it’s still true and I think it bears repeating.)

1. Do not tell me “boys will be boys” because frankly, the only thing I want to respond with is “rapists will be rapists” or “serial killers will be serial killers.” Do not chalk my child’s issues up to being a certain sex. It’s as absurd as what I just said.

2. When you see me in the grocery store and my kid is running up and down aisles screaming like a lunatic, don’t assume I don’t care. The most likely scenario is that unless we went to the store RIGHT THEN we’d have nothing to eat - and not feeding your children ranks higher on the list of bad parenting moves than letting them run amok.

3. Don’t pity me - listen to me. Whether or not you understand everything I’m going through, just be there so I can vent and steam before my head pops off. Alternatively, if we have a GOOD day (read: the kind of day you probably have every day) please listen to that too. If you’re my friend, you need to understand how my life really works.

4. If I say it’s not a good time to talk, I’m not blowing you off. It’s entirely possible that my child is doing something which is endangering either himself or someone else at that exact moment.

5. Don’t tell me that “drugging” him will “turn him into a zombie” unless you have a PhD, and even then I would choose your words very carefully. If you want to test this statement out, head on down to the pediatric wing at the hospital and tell some of those parents that their kids really don’t need dialysis, they just need to try harder.

6. Don’t say this is a discipline problem and that I don’t know how to raise my kids. If you think you can do better I’ll drop him off at your house for a few days. Oh, and I won’t give him his meds either.

7. Whether or not you agree with our decision to remove artificial coloring, etc. from his diet - do not feed him that crap. Please do not say “how can one little (whatever) hurt?” If you do this, see #6 because I will be dropping him off at your place until he comes down off the “one little” you gave him.

8. Sometimes I just want to be left alone. It doesn’t mean I hate you, it doesn’t mean I want to be left alone forever. Sometimes dealing with the stuff going on in my house is just too overwhelming to deal with anything from outside the house. Don’t take it personally.

9. Please don’t tell me he “doesn’t seem like he has ADHD” because he can sit and play his Nintendo DS for four hours at a clip without moving. This is called hyper focusing, and it’s actually one of the gifts of being ADHD.

10. Do not assume he is exactly like every other ADHD child you may have encountered or heard/read about. He has strengths and weaknesses, talents, likes and dislikes just like everyone else.


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