Ask the Experts

Q: “I Think I Have ADHD. My Parents Don’t.”

Sometimes, children recognize the symptoms of ADHD in themselves and their struggles before their parents do. If you need help talking about ADHD with family members, follow this advice for starting a helpful, supportive dialogue and getting the help you need.

Q: “I think I might have ADHD, but I am scared to mention it to my parents. My older brother has ADHD, but my mom has yet to see the signs.” – Nervous

Hi Nervous:

I want to applaud you for reaching out and asking for help. Even for adults, it’s not easy to identify the right course of action or the most appropriate next steps when you think you have ADHD. I would imagine it’s even harder for a child. I’m sure you are feeling lonely, nervous, and confused.

Since I don’t know why you think you might have ADHD (what symptoms you are experiencing) or if someone (such as a teacher or counselor) has said anything to you, I want to make sure you are as educated as possible on the subject.

[Get This Free Guide: How Is ADHD Diagnosed?]

I believe that knowledge is power, so I urge you to read up on everything you can about ADHD so that, when you do approach your parents, you are informed and knowledgeable and can answer their questions. Perhaps if they see how much research you have done to help yourself and how serious you are, they will be eager to help.

Here’s an article about ADHD and its symptoms that is factual and has a wealth of information. The article also links to a diagnostic test for children. Showing your parents the results of your completed test and discussing your answers with them might help break the ice. Or you can simply share the article with them to read first.

Unfortunately, I don’t know why you are so nervous to approach your parents. If it is too difficult to discuss with them directly, I urge you (and your brother) to discuss this with another adult with whom you have an open and trusting relationship. Perhaps another family member, a counselor or teacher at school, or a member of the clergy can help facilitate the dialogue. Scheduling a meeting at school with your parents present can also provide you with the necessary ADHD support and confidence to discuss your concerns.

I know this is a lot to ask of a child. So I want to also offer my advice as a parent — one who has a child with ADHD. I know, above all else, that I would want my children to tell me if they were struggling at home or at school so that I could get them the help and support they needed to be successful. I’m truly hoping your parents feel the same.

[Read: ADHD in Children: Symptoms, Evaluations & Treatments]

Good Luck.

Do I Have ADHD?: Next Steps

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