Everyone has an opinion – how do you deal with critics?

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Parents Everyone has an opinion – how do you deal with critics?

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    • #47855

      The first thing I did when my six year old was diagnosed recently, was join this forum and head to the library to arm myself with information. It became immediately apparent that for every book on managing ADHD in children, there were two disputing the very existence of ADHD, blaming poor and permissive parenting and a big pharma collusion. Add those perspectives to phrases like ‘hyper’ and ‘OCD’ and “sensory issues” being flung around to describe common child behavior rather than a diagnosed condition, and it seems everyone has an opinion of the very real condition our children have. Am I the only person drowning in the stuff? From the “Oh no, you mustn’t medicate a child, get them labelled, stop disciplining them, feed them red dye” to the “Are you sure it isn’t homeschooling that’s doing this to them?” instead of finding support among family and friends, I am encountering this judgmental, ill-informed nonsense. How do you all manage involving friends and family?

    • #47871
      Penny Williams

      Everyone certainly has an opinion. The key is to listen to that which serves you and your child, and cast out that which doesn’t. Great books for starting out are: Superparenting for ADD

      Superparenting for ADD

      The Explosive Child

      Then, I’d read books that are specific to your child’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, if he struggles with organization and planning, read Smart but Scattered. If you get a lot of attitude or don’t feel like your child hears you, read How to Talk so Kids will Listen, and how to Listen so Kids will Talk.

      Here’s more on silencing critics:

      Blah, Blah, Blah

      Win Over Your Critics

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

    • #47943

      Wow, fantastic suggestions, thank you! I will absolutely seek those out. I’m not usually one to mind everyone weighing in with their comments and opinions, in fact I usually encourage it! And listening to other people’s experiences is an absolute must for pretty much every aspect of my life lol, but maybe it’s that I’m so unsure myself of how best to handle things, being told I am doing it all wrong is really cutting right now. I probably am, and I would love for someone to show me how to do it better, but I’m not sure the views of those who really don’t know what they’re talking about is really undermining. I am off to check out the library catalog for those titles, and I now have my evening reading pegged. Thank you so much, I really appreciate your time and opinion.

    • #48990

      I had terrible time with my birth family who all wanted to blame me for my ADHD son’s behaviour, and it made our life much harder than it needed to be until I learned to walk away from their judgements.
      Neurotypicals generally have very little real imagination that people are not all the same and certainly not the same as them. The ‘ i can do this so you should too’ approach to being unkind and judgemental.
      You don’t need to cut them off completely although we ended up doing just that as a family because we all got so fed up with their attitudes. But you can cut them off emotionally in terms of not listening to their attitudes and just understanding it is their attitude and nothing to do with you.
      I found mindfulness really helped with all this stuff, managing the ADHD my own and my sons, managing other people and coping generally.

      hope this helps https://medium.com/@sylviaclare/adhd-and-mindfulness-a-users-guide-54d9cf3c47f1

    • #49006
      Suzanne C

      Sorry you are having a tough time of it – it is enough to have to deal with without having to deal with such out of date and ill informed opinions. You are doing the right thing by informing yourself so well.

      I have often found it useful to inform people about the science of ADHD. For example, as you will no doubt be aware by now there are evident differences on an MRI scan of the brain of a person with ADHD compared to a neurotypical brain. Parts of the brain, mainly the pre-frontal cortex, are under-active. It is generally thought that a major reason for this is that the levels of certain neurotransmitters are low in ADHD sufferers – the stimulant medications work by increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters.

      Many people who do not know about ADHD are not aware of this. I didn’t, and my own family didn’t, in fact, despite all having medical backgrounds. However it is fairly easy to understand and difficult to argue with – though you probably won’t convince everyone. Some people still believe the Earth is flat, after all!

    • #49011

      We went through the same thing…you are not alone! Until our son was diagnosed at the end of second grade, we were rather ignorant about ADHD ourselves, although my husband had been taking Adderall for some time, based on trouble focusing at work. We were very hesitant to use medication with our son (even our family doc discouraged it). Although our son did fairly well at first without medication, I now wish that we’d started medication sooner. Three years of meltdowns and transition-to-bedtime misery could have been greatly diminished. He really “hit a wall” at the beginning of fifth grade (he also has Asperger’s, and we had just moved to a new state and new school as well), so we decided that it was time to go the pharmacological route. The difference made by the medication was tremendous…far fewer meltdowns, and his academic performance began to match what we suspected was his innate intelligence….his grades improved, and his test scores went “off the charts”, his social skills improved. He made a real, “long-term” friend who actually invited him over to play!!!!! Although lifestyle changes certainly help him (but who DOESN’T perform better with good sleep, exercise, and diet??), I am certain that ADHD is real…our family is such a good example…my husband and one son are impulsive, “lost in their own worlds”, inflexible, emotionally volatile, forgetful, careless (but also fun, spontaneous, and adventurous), while I and my other son are organized, conscientious and detailed, aware of what people are saying and doing around us, adaptable, excel academically with no effort (but are meek and hesitant to try new adventures, which is balanced out by our thrill-seeking family members). What has worked for us is to NOT be afraid to at least TRY new interventions (medication, but remember that behavior therapy is critical as well!!!), to explain to both kids how ADHD affects our son’s behavior and our entire family, but to still hold our ADHD son accountable for trying to change some of his bad behaviors….we see (and try to teach this to our son) that ADHD is a challenge and an explanation, but is NOT an excuse to stop trying to cope and improve. Our son struggles with self-esteem, so we put effort into pointing out things he does well and encouraging him to pursue his talents and interests. I strongly feel that ADHD is NOT, NOT, NOT a result of bad parenting; it may be made worse by taking the wrong approach as a parent (we are guilty of that at times), but it is a real entity. Parents of ADHD kids need support, not blame….find friends and family who will listen and understand, get counseling from experienced professionals, even seek out appropriately prescribed medication if things are not going as well as you think they could. I have two very different kids, and I love both. But I can tell you that I could have 5 of my non-ADHD kids more easily than dealing with our ONE child who has ADHD. Not a pleasant thing to say, but it is reality. People who don’t have very “difficult” children really do not have any idea how challenging it is. It is a continual process of educating yourself, trying new approaches, and adjusting expectations as your child matures. Don’t let people make you feel guilty….we’ve been there. It’s not productive. I’ve heard all sorts of advice about spanking and punitive measures….if your kid is like mine, these techniques only create more defiance and poor self esteem. Collect information from many sources and figure out what works for your individual case.

      • #49995

        I don’t have much to add, as I’m new to the diagnosis and medication route myself. But, I do have to say that I completely agree. It cuts like a knife through my heart when I hear family members talk about how “giving them a pill” isn’t parenting and that it’s just trying to make them be zombies. 🙁 I have two sons that are a year apart in school. My oldest has ADHD and ODD, my second is a typical kid. I use similar parenting tactics with each, but the reactions are very different. My family is unaware of our decision to get a diagnosis and go on medication, but they have commented that our son “seems to be growing out of it” since starting meds. To me, this is proof that we’ve made the right decision. Parenting is hard. Parenting a kid with ADHD is harder.

        Good luck! We’re in this together!!

    • #49206
      Suzanne C

      People who blame ADHD on poor parenting really don’t know what the disorder is about. They trivialise it and think it is just about behavioural problems. But it often doesn’t cause behavioural problems at all. What it does cause is general problems with executive functioning.

      Does poor parenting cause poor memory? Does it cause a child to struggle to understand time and sequence? To be excessively distractible and unable to stay on task, even when they really want to? Or to be so absorbed in something they don’t hear you call them in a quiet room from a metre away? To struggle with distractibility and staying on task? Does poor parenting cause poor motor skills?

      Maybe explaining what ADHD actually is can help.

    • #49602

      Thank You so much for responding with so much good advice and information – I know I have been horribly slow to say how much I appreciate your help, distracted child versus laptop = one more unanticipated expense. The way in which you’ve all described ADHD, it’s cause and impacts are absolutely perfect. I hope you won’t mind but I am going to use those to send a message to our families and friends, if they still choose to hang on to inaccurate beliefs then I’ll know it’s not something they’re willing to redress and will just ensure they’re not able to negatively impact my child’s perception of herself and her disorder. I think we’re fortunate in that she’s been diagnosed very early, without any hoops to jump through, so her self-esteem is completely unaffected so the idea that misinformed family will be the ones to dent it won’t be tolerated.

      I also appreciate the comments on multiple approached to treatment/mitigation of effects – my daughter was placed on medication as the doctor made a very good case for it but we now have our referral for behavioral therapy which I’m really hoping will help us all find tools for our arsenal. There is no shortage of love or tolerance in our house but yes, it is difficult to be the calm and peaceful parent I always wanted to be at times so hopefully, I can garner further insight on how to approach that. I love the idea that we might too be that family where my daughter’s ADHD catapults us into her happy kind of frenzy instead of the cool pool of calm that would undoubtedly be easier! We are the sum of our parts even as a family, right?

      I am truly thankful to you all for being so open with your experiences and offering such wise support – I cannot tell you how grateful I am. Wishing you all a very happy weekend!

    • #71604

      Your child is unique. But your child’s attributes are not. I have grown up with undiagnosed ADD or ADHD. As an adult I had a friend psychologist unofficially diagnose me with adult ADD.
      Every child is different and have different tools in there tool box. ADD or ADHD is just another tool in the box that you and your child need to learn how to use. Too many people look at this tool as a problem and as the only tool in a child’s box.
      Can it be a problem tool? Definitely! But using or creating other tools to work with ADD or ADHD can produce some great outcomes.
      Example. I use lists and calenders to help with my difficulty keeping track of tasks in relation to time and deadlines. I create enviroments were I can complete tasks free of destractions that I know distract me.
      These are some tools that help me. I am not perfect. I have strengths and weaknesses like everyone else. But I don’t let them define me.

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