Reply To: Never thought I would be that parent

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Penny Williams

First, take a deep breath and know that this is a process.

I challenge you to change the language you use to describe your son’s behavior. You said, “stubborn, lazy, selfish” — those are what I call red flag words. They are words that, when spoken, mean you need to stop yourself and check your thoughts.

For instance, kids with ADHD often appear lazy and selfish. However, it has everything to do with the differences in their brains.

Uncomfortable Truths About the ADHD Nervous System

I’m not saying this isn’t hard or frustrating — it is — but imagine how even more so it must be for our kids.

Remember that a kid with ADHD is 2-3 years behind their peers in many developmental areas. Your expectations have to reflect where they are, not their calendar age. That’s crucial because, once kids can’t succeed and meet expectations long enough, they quit trying altogether.

As for school, it’s torture for most kids with ADHD. The system is set up to expect full performance in all their typical areas of weakness.

Why School Stress Is Devastating for Our Children

Lastly, I’m wondering if your son has been evaluated for autism. You described 2-3 things that reminded me of my own son and his autistic traits. It’s worth investigating. Kids with “high-functioning” autism often look like they have a mood disorder or ODD, when really they’re just struggling with concrete thinking, stuck thoughts, and only being able to see one way of doing things.

ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism