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Real Parents Share Lessons Learned Raising ADHD Kids

Parents reflect on what they’ve learned raising a child with attention deficit, and share tips for meeting the challenges of parenthood.

by the readers of ADDitude

What I Wish I'd Known...

What one piece of knowledge would you pass on to a less experienced parent? Here, parents share what they have learned in raising their ADHD kids. If you're a parent, read and learn — and then share your own hard-earned wisdom!

Great Expectations

Setting expectations—about behavior as well as what is going to happen the next day or week—is important. Telling a child what to expect calms him down.

—Karen, Wisconsin

Patience Is a Virtue

You have to learn to be more patient. You realize that your definition of patience changes when you raise a child with ADHD.

— Amye, Washington

Do What You Know Is Right

You have to do what you know is right for your child, not what society thinks is right.

— Rena, Michigan

Anything Is Possible

That a child with ADHD can be extremely focused when he wants to be. I did not realize that was possible, so I didn't think my child had ADHD. 

—Anne, California

The Terrible Tweens

I didn't realize that puberty was going to be 110 percent worse with ADHD.

— Betty, Florida

The Kids Are Alright

As long as your child is happy, you're doing OK.

— An ADDitude Reader

The Importance of Structure

The importance of routines and structure in a child’s life, not to mention the importance of sleep and being aware of the fact that an ADHD child can be extremely sensitive. 

— An ADDitude Reader

Time Is of the Essence

Don’t wait until a child grows older to see if troubles correct themselves. It’s easier to put organization systems and routines in place when she’s young. 

— Christina, Pennsylvania

Don't Take Things Personally

Don’t take things personally. I wish I had known that my child’s inability to fall asleep wasn’t my fault. I attributed her sleeplessness to my being a bad mom. I thought that if I were stricter and more consistent, she would be able to settle down and go to sleep.

— Amy, Wisconsin

Fostering Friendships

I wish I had known how crucial it is to help a child establish friendships. Friends can make or break a child’s life at school.

— Amy, Illinois

ADHD and Girls

I wish I had known how differently ADHD affects girls. I would have better understood what my daughter was going through and tried harder to give her the support she needed.

— Debbie, New Hampshire

Parenting Tips

  • Please share your parenting wisdom in the ADDConnect Support Group!
  • Visit ADDitude's Parenting Skills Resource Center
  • Download 13 Parenting Strategies for ADHD Kids
  • Check out "You Know Your Kid Has ADHD When..." for humorous "kid ADHDisms"
  • To help establish structure in your home, read Reliable Routines for ADHD Children

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