Kids With ADHD Are Not “Bad Kids” & Their Parents Are Not “Bad Parents” by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
There are two children in my family with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), one of my nephews and one of my sons. When my nephew was diagnosed at age 5 over a year ago, I educated myself about ADHD. Now that my son is being treated for it, I know even more. Of everything I’ve learned, the one thing I would most like others to know is that children with ADHD are not “bad kids” and their parents are not “bad parents.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The cause(s) and risk factors for ADHD are unknown, but current research shows that genetics plays an important role. Recent studies of twins link genes with ADHD ... Research does NOT support the popularly held views that ADHD is caused by eating too much sugar, watching too much television, parenting, or social and environmental factors such as poverty or family chaos...”
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, the most common such disorder of childhood. Neurodiversity is just what it sounds like – brain difference. Not all brains are wired the same way. Neurological differences should not be viewed as negative or bad, just as genetic physical differences should not be viewed as negative or bad.
Neurodiversity comes with strengths as well as challenges. In fact, according to Dr. Marc Lewis on PsychologyToday.com, “Many scientists believe that a certain amount of psychological diversity is built into the human race because it provides an evolutionary advantage for all of us.”
Adults and children with ADHD “may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the results will be) or be overly active.” ADHD symptoms can cause children difficulties both at home and at school and in their ability to make and keep friends (CDC).
On the bright side, ADHD can be successfully managed. There are a variety of treatment options and resources available. The appropriate treatment plan is dependent on the individual’s unique symptoms and needs, as ADHD does not present the same way in every person. For instance, my son is not especially hyperactive and wasn’t when he was younger either; there are several symptoms in addition to hyperactivity.
If you are a fellow parent of a child with ADHD, know that you are not alone. I recommend joining a local or digital support group as such groups can provide both resources and emotional support. If you are not the parent of a kid with ADHD, please don’t judge those of us who are. Know that we’re doing the best we can and that our kids are so much more than a diagnosis.
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