Although I’m somewhat of an ADHD parent rookie, my husband and I suspected it for years. Truth be told, we were somewhat relieved when we received our son’s diagnosis because we wanted to help him, but nothing ever seemed to work (ADHD parents, amiright?).
The ADHD struggle is real, and parents see things in their ADHD children that other family members and friends just don’t – the daily meltdowns about screen time or cookies, telling your child to put his shoes on five times and then having to touch his shoulder before he even acknowledges your existence, listening to the constant jabbering and questions (okay, I find this ADHD trait adorable and endearing), all the energy … ALL THE TIME, and of course, the constant communication from the school for behavioral challenges.
We know our children best. Period.
However, many of the comments I’ve received about my child’s diagnosis, and during the diagnosis process, have been truly astonishing — and I have three boys so nothing surprises me anymore! Below are the 10 types of people you will encounter when you share your child’s ADHD diagnosis.
1. The Experts
The experts know everything. I mean EVERYTHING. They have all the answers on how to “cure” your child’s ADHD, from changing their diet to changing schools. They are not teachers, behavioral specialists, or even living with a person with ADHD, but they have no problem telling you what you should and shouldn’t do with your child.
2. The REAL Experts
These are the teachers, fellow parents of children with ADHD, special education instructors and counselors with actual hands-on experience. They only offer help or advice if you ask for it, and you definitely should ask for it. They have great information on everything from different approaches on how to speak to your child and talking to them about their ADHD, to how to work with your child’s teacher and creating a 504 plan. The REAL experts are saviors and if you don’t have them in your life already, find them.
3. The Opinionators
Opinionators have no problem telling you what they think about your child’s diagnosis and if they think your child actually has ADHD or not. You’ll hear everything from “He’s just a normal boy” to “I don’t see it.” They compare your child to other children, and share unsolicited observations — you know, in case you don’t notice yourself (insert eye roll emoji here).
4. The Anti-Medicators
One of the first questions the anti-medicators ask is “Will you medicate?” If your response is “no” or “as a last resort” they immediately let out an exaggerated sigh of relief and cry out “Oh good.” If your response is “yes” then … run. The decision to medicate or not is a private one, between the parents and their healthcare professional. Kindly butt out, Felicia.
5. The Un-phasables
If you tell an un-phasable your child has ADHD, they don’t so much as flinch – they don’t look or act surprised, or have any reaction at all. They don’t give you unsolicited opinions or advice but they listen to everything you say, or need to vent about. They are basically ADHD Switzerlands, with comments like, “I’m sure that’s really hard” or “That’s interesting.” If you have a bad ADHD day and need a timeout yourself, call up an un-phasable for a glass of wine – they won’t judge if you call your child an asshole while taking a breather.
6. The Anti-ADHDers
Anti-ADHDers do not believe in ADHD. They believe it is “over-diagnosed” so all children who are diagnosed just plain and simply don’t have it. They actually cringe when you say “ADHD,” like it’s some kind of political debate they disagree with. Some will go as far as actually making you feel like you need to defend your child’s diagnosis. The Anti-ADHDers believe a simple spanking or a better loving environment is all the kid needs.
7. The Hippies
Cut GMO’s and gluten out of your child’s diet, along with using essential oils on your kid’s butt and his ADHD will magically disappear!
8. The Askers
The askers are full of questions – how we knew to get our child tested, how the diagnosis process went, what his teacher says, etc. They gather all the information, as they find ADHD and the entire process interesting.
9. The Shamers
The shamers will make mental notes any time you raise your voice, lose your shit, or show the slightest bit of impatience and then suggest ways for you to parent differently. Basically they make you feel like a crappy parent after your worst moments (thanks guys).
10. The Supporters
But then there are the supporters. These individuals never offer unsolicited advice or opinions. They are the people WE NEED MORE OF. They support every decision we make for our ADHD child, because they know that we – the parents – know our children best and will always do what we think is best for them. Their comments bring legit tears to our eyes, because they are what every parent needs to hear, especially on a bad ADHD day.
“You’re doing a great job.”
“We are really proud of the parents you are.”
“We are happy you noticed this (ADHD), and caught it early.”
“That’s great your school is being so accommodating. It sounds like a great school.”
“Please let us know what we can do, or how we can help.”
“I know he is a difficult child, but you are doing all the right things.”