Reply To: Grandparents who don't get it

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I’m sorry to hear that your parents act his way. As someone who is 30 and has a diagnosis of ADHD Combined Type, I know first hand what it’s like to not be understood and too have other people look down on me for not being “normal.” My mother believed like many people of the time that it was just a discipline problem despite ADHD running rampantly through my father’s family. At school I was not well liked because of my irritability, and my misunderstanding of what social norms were. I just wanted to give you a bit of my background, to show you that I in part understand what you and your daughter go through.

It is always easier to tell someone how to parent or how to act when they themselves don’t understand what the actual problem is. These people are often called backseat drivers and cause more harm than good when they point out these faults in others. What your parents are doing is WRONG! I apologize if I myself come across as being judgmental, for that is not my intent. I get very emotional and upset when I hear things like this because I have personally dealt with people like this since I can remember and has caused me a great deal of anxiety and depression throughout my life because I knew I was different but didn’t understand why. I hated myself for such a long time and didn’t understand why God would make me this way, but ultimately realized that I was made his way for a reason. If I can help others who have been through similar situations, I will do all that so can. That being said, there are a few things that I propose.

1. It is absolutely imperative that you set boundaries with your parents. At the moment, both of your children are noticing how your parents are treating them differently. By standing up for them, you are inadvertently teaching your oldest that it’s alright to treat people in this manner who are different; to point out a person’s every fault and too not accept them as they are. You are also teaching your youngest that it’s alright for people to treat her differently because it’s “not as easy to love her.” This is a sad excuse for being too closed minded and unwilling to work with your youngest. By telling your youngest that they love her equally, is lying to her. I’m sure that you mean well by doing this, but you shouldn’t have to do this. Your parents should be grown up enough to understand that things are different and that she is a child who is still learning. By unintentionally “standing up for your parents “ you are allowing anxiety and eventually depression to take hold of your youngest. This happens often with people with ADHD. They want to be liked by their peers and by people in general, and when we are denied this, behaviors oftentimes become worse. They start to realize from a young age that they are different and that they aren’t well liked by others, but many times don’t understand why. When there are people in their own family act like this, it exponentially increases the likelihood of anxiety and depression taking a foothold.

2. Hold your parents accountable. I understand that you are doing everything you can and know how to, but. I believe that you need to give your parents an ultimatum. They can treat both of your daughters the same or not see either of them. Now they may resent you for this, but it is up to you to protect your daughters, not your parents.

3. You should also explain to both of your daughters that the way they are treated is NOT right. One should not be favored & the other discarded. Granted, I would use different wording, this is just the best way I could convey the difference in the way your parents are treating your two girls.

I hope the way I worded things didn’t come across as being too harsh. I merely wanted to convey the urgency, and the importance of the things that need to happen or else both of your girls will grow up in a way that you may not intend. I hope this helps. Here is also a website link that may help you and your parents understand what it’s like to have ADHD.

I hope this plays, but in case it doesn’t, it’s titled ADD/ADHD Simulator by Aunghula.