Ask the Experts

Q: I Need an ADHD Evaluation, but My Mom is In Denial

ADHD in kids is sometimes deeply felt but ignored or denied by parents who refuse a diagnosis. Here is advice for sitting down and speaking with a hesitant parent about your ADHD experience — and needs.

Q: “I don’t know how to tell my parents that I want to be evaluated for ADHD. I tried implying it, but my mom just says ‘Yeah, that happens’ and continues with her day. I can’t tell if she already knows or just wants me to shut up. My sibling is having the same problem. I can’t do it myself; I’m only 12! Please, help me! – Self-closeted


Hi Self-closeted:

I want to applaud you for reaching out and asking for help. Even as an adult, it’s never easy to identify the right course of action or the most appropriate steps to take when you think you have ADHD. I would think it is even harder for a child. I’m sure you are feeling lonely and confused.

Since I don’t know your specific situation at home, I am only going to offer you my advice as a parent. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I would want my children to tell me if they were struggling at home or at school so that I could get them help and support immediately.

[Could Your Child Have ADHD? Take This Symptoms Screener]

You said that you have tried implying that you think you have ADHD to your mom. Perhaps sitting her down to have a quiet conversation where you share your specific struggles and challenges might allow her to see the true extent of what you are experiencing. If that feels overwhelming to you, try getting it down on paper first. This might make it easier for you to break the ice. I find paper to be very powerful. It gives you that uninterrupted time and space to fully explore your feelings without interruptions or discussion. You might even give it to her to read first so she can fully absorb the depth of your concerns before you speak.

If sitting down with your mom is not an option for you, is there another family member, counselor, or teacher at school with whom you could talk? They could help set up a meeting with you and your mom to discuss your concerns and feelings and implement a necessary course of action.

Good luck to you and please keep me posted!

ADHD in Kids: Next Steps


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Updated on October 9, 2020

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