Reply To: Newly diagnosed 13 year old daughter

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Bella W

Hi! I’m almost 13 with combined-type ADHD, and I think I might be able to help. First of all, learn as much as you can about ADHD and have your daughter do the same. Make sure she knows about her diagnosis. There are a lot of symptoms I didn’t know were ADHD and I thought I was dumb and lazy. Definitely consider medication or therapy if she feels like it’s impairing her ability to function at school and at home. Next, a lot of parents of kids with ADHD do this. DO NOT compare it to neurotypical people having difficulty paying attention, assume she’s not trying, or accuse her of making excuses. If she has ADHD she is trying and probably working twice as hard as her peers. Only use the term ‘excuse’ if she really is blaming her ADHD on something that isn’t even really a symptom. And lastly, please don’t say anything along the lines of “Everyone has trouble paying attention sometimes.” or “Just pay attention. It’s not that hard.” Paying attention is much harder for someone with ADHD. Also, check in with her every once in a while and make sure she feels like she can talk to you about it. I’ve had plenty of experiences where I zone out or get distracted even though I really am trying my hardest to pay attention in school and I didn’t hear the directions. I don’t always ask for help, or tell my parents because I didn’t feel like I could talk to them. Now that I take medication it’s easier and I feel like I could ask my mom or one of my teachers. My dad is my last choice and I wouldn’t ask him for help unless it was my only other option because he’s not very educated on my diagnosis and tends to accuse me of making excuses or not trying. Don’t be like my dad. Parenting a kid with ADHD is not easy, though, and it’s not your fault you didn’t have her evaluated earlier and couldn’t help her, especially since girls don’t always get diagnosed.