Talking About ADHD

“He’s Quite a Handful, Isn’t He?”

We’ve all heard them — those rude, insensitive, or just plain ignorant comments about our children with ADHD. Here, some of the most hurtful things our readers have overheard, and how we call all be a little more sympathetic.

Insensitive Comments About ADHD Children
Insensitive Comments About ADHD Children

Before my son was diagnosed with ADHD, I had seen how people looked at and treated other children who have the condition. I have three nephews who have been diagnosed with attention deficit. I’d heard people whisper about them, and about children I’m not related to. I’ve seen students with ADHD in my children’s classes struggle to conform to expectations. I’ve seen the little boys who want to play sports, but who can’t do what the coach asks them. It’s too much for their bodies, or their minds.

If you have no empathy for someone who is struggling, even if you don’t know why, you should look inside yourself to see the problem. The problem is not with the child; it is with you.

I asked my friends who have children with ADHD for comments they had heard others make about their kids. I also posted the question to my Facebook friends. So many people chimed in, I was overwhelmed.

Here are 21 comments that were made to mothers who love their children with ADHD:

1. I guess it’s easier to medicate than to parent.

2. Why don’t you just/I would totally just beat his/her ass.

3. Wow, I’ve never had those issues with my child.

4. Yeah, my kid used to do that, but then I just eliminated sugar/dairy/carbs/snacks from his diet. Suddenly, he became a perfect little angel.

5. I’m so glad my child knows better than to act that way.

6. I don’t know how you do it.

7. He’s quite a handful, isn’t he?

8. You need to be more consistent/give him structure/get on the ball.

9. Just give me a week with him. I’ll straighten him out.

10. I would never have gotten away with that when I was a kid.

11. Are you sure he isn’t just faking it?

12. Have you considered alternatives to medication?

13. Have you tried medicating him?

14. When he stayed at our house for the weekend, we didn’t bother with his meds, and he did great without them.

15. You do know your child has ADHD, don’t you?

16. ADHD is nothing but an excuse for bad parenting.

17. I am glad he’s not my child.

18. You would never know he wasn’t normal at first….

19. Since he does well in school, there’s no reason to treat his ADHD.

20. Hang in there. It gets easier.

21. They didn’t have ADHD when I was a kid. (They actually did. They just hadn’t named it, or figured out how to help kids who suffered from it.)

If you have a child in your life who has been diagnosed with ADHD or a learning disability, take a moment to walk in his shoes. Think about how you feel when you are overwhelmed or overstimulated.

  • Have you had one too many cups of coffee in the morning and found that you couldn’t focus enough to complete a task?
  • Do you ever skip lunch and, around mid-afternoon, when your blood sugar drops, you can’t remember what you were doing?
  • Have you ever been in the most boring meeting ever, and you couldn’t force your mind to focus on what was being said?

I don’t know for sure if my child is feeling such things, but I have and they aren’t pleasant. If it’s a little of what my child, or any child, feels, I empathize with him.

Each of us struggles with something in life. We have things we excel at and others that we don’t do as well. Instead of judging someone you may not understand, take a moment next time to think about how it would feel to walk a mile in that parent’s or child’s shoes.

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