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I’ve heard them all.
The judgemental statements from people who don’t understand ADHD.
And quite frankly they’re not helpful. People who have never parented an ADHD child make statements that are discouraging, frustrating, and cut deep on a personal level.
If you are an ADHD parent, you’ve heard them too.
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But why do people feel the need to make statements like the following?
My only guess is a lack of education and understanding of what ADHD is and how it manifests. A lack of knowledge on how much control a child has over such a mental illness must be to blame for word-vomits such as these.
Not to mention how much a parent has control over the way ADHD manifests.
Studies do show that effective parenting strategies can aid ADHD management tremendously, but it’s still there.
Lurking under the surface of your child’s calm exterior like lava, waiting to erupt anytime.
And these days we can’t predict any better than any other person with a mental disorder. Depressed people don’t always know which days will be easier to get through than others. Anxious people don’t always know what will set them off.
But ADHD kids and parents are expected to know and control their mental illness all the time.
If you’ve said any of these statements to a known or possible ADHD parent; two words of advice: Shut up.
Stop saying these five things to ADHD parents today, and start offering something that might actually help. Like encouragement.
“Maybe your child wouldn’t act that way if you were more strict.”
Let’s understand something. My child is made to rebel. Literally, it’s in his D.N.A. to be defiant. It’s part of ADHD. Just like your child loves crafts and the color red but hates the taste of pickles. My child’s D.N.A. tells him to argue, act defiant, and resist authority. Whether I am the worlds strictest mom or the most laid back mom, he or she will still find a way to defy my requests and requirements. So don’t doubt that I’ve laid ground rules, and doled out consequences. I assure you I have, and this tantrum will receive those consequences. But the tantrums will still take place because…my child has defiance in his D.N.A.!
“I’d spank my child if they acted that way.”
Good for you. When your child acts that way, let me know how well spanking works! Since you are clearly an expert.
P.s. If you’ve never felt the need to spank your child, or your child has never done anything that would warrant spanking as a punishment, how can you even say that it would work? I’m just curious. Get back to me on that. (P.P.S.: Studies show, spanking breaks down the parent-child trust bond all the way into adulthood. Just something to consider.)
“I don’t allow that behavior in my house.”
Yeah? Wonderful. I don’t allow it either without consequence. Looks like we have that in common. The difference is, it still happens in our house and must continually be dealt with. If we come to your home, do you think some magical property of it will make my kid stop being who he is? Because I really doubt that it’s your house vs. my house thing. It’s my kid has ADHD, and yours doesn’t thing, promise.
“I would never give my child medication. Those are controlled substances!”
I’m so glad that you’ve never had to face the choice of medicating your child or watch them struggle with their own brain. In our case, I had to make that decision, and I promise it is the right decision for our family. I hope you never have to make that decision for your child. But if you do, I hope you do the research and understand that treatment for mental illness supports the use of medications. Hand over fist.
“My child/infant/toddler/ will never act that way.”
Well, I hope you are right. But let me also say, I hope you are wrong. Parenting is supposed to humble you. You are given a scary, daunting job. A job that if done right has the capability of setting another human being up for success in their life. If we do it right, we get to let them go, and they will flourish and continue to grow and hopefully raise their own children to do the same. But if we get it wrong, the consequences can be detrimental to our child’s health. So I’m confident that if you don’t yet have kids or your children are still so little, they haven’t yet learned to say “No” you still have plenty of time to be humbled. And I’m a firm believer that humble parents who are always willing to learn and have an open mind make for great child-rearers.
You can keep those high hopes that you’ll never face the defiance that can come with raising an ADHD kid.
But if you are so lucky to experience it, understand that it is a blessing, not a curse.
If you like this post, you might also like:
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|The Truth about ADHD Medication and Our Results|
Do we as ADHD parents enjoy these judgemental statements from people who don’t understand ADHD?
Hell no. But you can bet we are never going to judge another parent we see experiencing the symptoms of ADHD. We are never going to rule a child as troubled without considering his heart as we have considered our own child’s heart.
We become stronger parents because we have strong-willed children.
Children that require we flex our parenting muscles all the time.
You can’t build strength without practice. And you can’t raise ADHD kids without humility, mental toughness, and after swallowing a big dose of reality.
So next time you feel the urge to say any of these things to ADHD parents, remind yourself that ADHD kids are significantly more likely to grow up and start a business than their neurotypical counterparts.
The last thing you’d want to do is create a wrong impression on your child’s future boss.
My son (15) has both kinds of ADHD (I guess that’s how you say it) and even though he isn’t defiant at all (it’s just not his personality), he does make the SAME mistakes all the time even with consequences. Things like never remembering to take his towel with him when he goes in the bathroom to take a shower, or putting his dirty dishes in the sink instead of the dishwasher…Many would think he is disobedient but he absolutely is not. When asked to do things, he obliges.
We have found that he still needs to be guided and reminded (aka told) to do these things. Now, what will happen once he’s on his own? I guess he’ll use post-it notes or something!
As an ADHD adult, it has taken me much longer than my peers to create workarounds to my own need to have reminders. But thriving as an adult is possible! Hang in there Valerie! We find ways once we are on our own, but the early years of our twenties are rough. But with a patient mom like you, I have a lot of hope for him 🙂
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