Reply To: Dealing with other Parents who don't understand

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I’ve read through all the responses and can identify with so much. I can’t help but to wonder though–is the judgement that many of you have shared around ADHD or is it just what people do?

Before we knew my son had ADHD, I felt the judgement too. Whether it was comments about how strict I was, or if my son would act out and I would get the stares… it was judgement. Hell, I’ll be honest enough to say that even before I became a parent I was a judgmental a** of parents. I distinctly remember seeing a young child or maybe 1 or 2 smack their mother and I turned to my then-fiance and told him I’d never allow that to happen. Well fast forward years later when something similar happened and though I did provide an immediate boundary, it’s not like it didn’t happen.

My point here is that people are going to judge you no matter what “it” is that they’re judging over. They will judge you on the cars you drive, the houses you own, the things you have or don’t have. They’ll judge you on your looks, your color, your religion or your lack thereof. But who is it that gives them the power? We do. If we allow anyone like that to creep into our head space and take up our valuable time, then it may be helpful for us to recognize that and to not give them that power over us.

I’ve also learned during this journey that everyone has their own burden to bear. It’s easy for me to “judge back” because the person I’m looking at must not understand what I’m going through with me and my child. And they may not. But they may have their own burden of unhappiness, medical issues, divorces, etc. I’ve also learned from a very early age (raised in a house with a bi-polar depressive) that people have an extremely hard time grasping anything they cannot see. Mental illness, ADHD, even the hidden aspects of non neurotypical conditions like Tourette Syndrome, OCD, anxiety, even drug or alcohol addiction etc. — most people cannot fathom what living with these things mean. Heck, I had 40+ years of hands on training and sometimes I scratch my head and wonder why someone can’t just “change.” Then I catch myself and remind myself of what I know. But the point is, it’s not an easy concept to grasp unless you’ve had experience with it.

When it comes to living with and learning how to help my child who is managing a few conditions, I keep reminding myself (and my husband which I’m sure he loves lol) that we can’t control others reactions, only our own. To that end, we do not share our struggles with everyone. We keep those conversations to people like yourselves or to very close, trusted friends who even though they may not understand it all, they listen with loving ears and don’t judge. I also try to take anything anyone says as a grain of salt. I give them a “thanks for your opinion” and I keep moving. I treat it like they just told me they don’t like my shoes… oh well! It’s their issue, not mine.

I only share this because I can feel the struggle some of you are going through. And trust me, we are going through many too so I don’t want this to sound preachy or anything along those lines. But WE are in control of the power we give anyone. I’ve stopped trying to make any non-essential people understand the issues we’re living with and instead try to focus on advocating to the essential people such as teachers, administration, caregivers so they understand. Everyone else can go take a long walk off a short pier.

The challenges we face are prominent in our mind and we are very in-tune to them. Have compassion for those who don’t understand because I can guarantee you–at some point in their life, they are going to be smacked with that lesson on some level. I’ve seen it too many times to not believe it.

I hope this comes across the way I’m intending it too. On no level is it meant to be a negative to anyone or any thoughts. Just sharing my thoughts based on what I’ve learned so far. Next year, hell next month my thoughts might be very different!