My parents don't understand ADHD

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    • #171424

      My parents don’t have ADHD. I have ADHD and so does my sister. I was diagnosed first about 5-6 years ago. My parents have not done any research about ADHD and they try to think they know what’s best for me but how can they really know if they don’t actually know what it’s like to live with ADHD and if they have never actually bothered to learn about it. I am in 11th grade right now and I’m fed up with them thinking they know what’s best based on their own experiences when they have never faced the challenges I’ve faced. They’ve never tried living in my head before and it doesn’t seem like they have any interest in learning. Like for example, my stepdad wants me to take a break in the middle of my school work to go do something, “to reset my mind so I can focus” and my mom agrees! But had either one of them bothered to learn about ADHD or listen to me when I try to say that that’s a bad idea, they wouldn’t have suggested it. Like most ADHD people, if there’s something important that you have to get done by a deadline, once you get going, you can’t stop because if you do you won’t be able to get going again then you are just screwed. I am frustrated beyond belief. I am not sure what to do. I already got mad tonight and told my mom that I was frustrated because she doesn’t understand my brain and I want her to learn more about ADHD and that only made her mad and storm out of my room, slamming my door. I am not sure what to do anymore!!! Any advice or suggestions???

    • #171437

      You poor baby – and I really mean that. I am 42 and I didn’t find out that I had ADD until my 20s… by then I was already convinced in my core that I was damaged goods and less than what I should be. All I can say is, good for you to find this out about yourself so young and to be a champion for yourself. As a mom myself now, I honestly thought I was going to be the most understanding and empathetic parent, given all the struggles I had growing up… and I have been mortified to see that I am often repeating the same mistakes my own mom made. It can be hard sometimes as a parent to know whether you are doing the right thing by your kids – are you coddling them too much, or do you need to tell them to just buckle down… I think mostly we’re just scared of doing the wrong thing. But you are clearly very intelligent and introspective and learning about how your ADD brain works. I’m sure you know the phenomenon you’re referring to is called hyper-focus and it’s our ADD superpower – once you are excited and interested in something, the building could fall down around you and you would keep working on it. Definitely harness that! I think you are right to ask your parents to learn more about it – for both you and your sister. One thing I realized is that no one really wants to sit down and read articles about ADD except people with ADD. Perhaps you could find some articles that really resonate with you and highlight areas that you would like to share with your parents – and read it aloud to them. Find a day that is calm and you can ask them to sit down on the couch because it’s really important to you that they understand why you do some of the things you do – and then read the parts that you want them to hear. I am constantly reading things out loud to my husband that I find on the internet so he is forced to understand me 🙂 I don’t know if this is a magic solution but just a small start, and to let you know that you’re not alone. Do not stop standing up for yourself and asking for what you need. People with ADD often hide within their shame and don’t want to be an extra bother or use humor to cover it up. Don’t do that to yourself. You deserve MORE. Good luck. xxoo.

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by mpicc77.
      • #184591

        I understand your problems. We all had faced such problems. Try to convince them through your friends, tell your friends to talk to your parents about ADHD and what do you want them to do to get out of this. I’m sure this thing will work, try it!

    • #171459
      Penny Williams

      This makes me very sad. I’m sorry you have to go through this. ADHD is really tough to understand for those of us who don’t have it. And it’s even tougher for parents in general to throw out their ideas of parenting they’ve known forever and be open to something different.

      Try to ask your parents to allow you to study your way for 1-2 weeks and see how it goes. Agree up front that if it isn’t successful, you’ll try something different. Maybe you can get them on board if it’s a trial basis?

      And just keep trying to educate them on your brain. Share articles here like and ask them to do the ADHD simulators on

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

    • #171521

      I agree with the other replies, on top of this, if you have trouble talking to them without getting angry/without getting into an argument, maybe write down what you want to say beforehand and read it out to them.
      It might help get across to them your concerns in a more level-headed way.

    • #171536

      I had the misfortune of growing up with Inflexible-Explosive Disorder(which I think is really ADHD)in the 60s and 70s, years before it was “discovered”. My Father took my issues personally and reacted to them by screaming at me, spanking me, and taking TV away from me. He was Manic-Depressive and Paranoid, so he was a pretty good Father half the time and a really horrible one the other half. He must have felt that I chose to be what I was and I simply had a lack of values and respect, not a genetic problem.

    • #173005

      My parents are ‘kinda’ the same way (just graduated high school): my dad doesn’t feel like I can do anything and silently judges certain things I do, then uses said things as a way to not let me do things. (But I feel like he is just trying to help and is improving)
      While my mom says I’m using it as a crutch …which isn’t true and I’ve tried to explain with no prevail… and gets mad when I do something she doesn’t like; for example: swinging my arms up and down, emotional outburst, forgetting stuff, etc.
      So I have forced myself to a “conform and shut up” type of approach.

      Which doesn’t work and has only caused myself and my self-esteem to suffer, which solves nothing!!

      So try a different approach and send you love and support no matter what. Hope things go well and would love an update on how things go.

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Bsisk.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Bsisk.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #182991

      My stepmom and I both have ADD. She always says I don’t have that problem and I have ADD when I talk about my issues with memory and my anger issues. As well as the fact where she can’t do anything with any sort of distraction or noise whereas I can’t sit and watch/listen to tv or school without doing something with my hands and/or listening to music. Because of this difference she gets upset with me when I tell her I need these things when I am doing school work,listening to a lecture or I forget to do something or events and things she tells me.
      I try to explain to her that we are different and we don’t have the same brain so things we do are different. She is beyond reasoning with. What should I do?

      • #183031
        Penny Williams

        This science-backed article might help your mom understand that ADD/ADHD is different for different people:

        Is ADHD a Spectrum Disorder?

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

    • #184598
      Dr. Eric

      I wish I could give practical advice, but I have had the same problem… from the undiagnosed parent that I know doubt inherited the ADHD genes from…

      Keep in mind, I am an educational psychologist.
      So I can do a better job convincing other parents, but not my own.

      However, I was diagnosed as an adult, so it is easy for me not to worry what they think.

      Maybe you can ask your school’s psychologist or counselor for any resources that they have found useful.

    • #184744
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