"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 about ADD, and how we call all be a little more sympathetic.
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8 Comments: "He's Quite a Handful, Isn't He?"
I’ve got a kid with ADHD. Yes, SOME of his behavioral problems are caused by his ADHD. But frankly, having been throught 13 years of therapies, medications, counseling and special schools (yes, we have done the work), an awful lot of his bad behavior is just a kid with a bad attitude who uses his ADHD as a “cover”.
He’s a bully and a manipulator, and that’s got nothing to do with his ADHD. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what symptoms are just a defiant kid and which are cause by ADHD. But this article gives these kids too much of a pass.
I’m going to give you the other side of this coin, as someone who has a nephew with ADHD and friends who’s kids have ADHD.
Some parents use the ADHD diagnosis as an excuse to NOT bother to parent… they let the kid run wild, and then claim “Oh, he’s got ADHD, there’s nothing I can do” and that’s complete bullshit.
Our friends kid has ADHD, severely. When dad is around, he’s well behaved, because Dad calls him on his bad behavior, and puts him in time out.
Mom, however, tolerates the bad behavior, and does nothing.
So yes, ADHD is real, and these kids need extra attention and extra parenting. The problem is, too many parents are just shitty, lazy, and could care less and let their kids run wild.
Like the couple on a plane recently that had a kid who screamed the entire 6 hour flight, threw tantrums, and ran around the plane. Several passengers and flight crew spoke to them. Their response, “He has ADHD” and then they did NOTHING. NOT A THING.
They put on headphones while their Satan Spawn screamed non-stop, ran around, kicked things, etc.
That’s not ADHD. That’s shitty parenting.
GP: “I don’t have anyone in this area I can refer you to. I’ll send you on a parenting course.”
Also from GP: “Just pick her up and take her to school in her pyjamas.”
CAMHS: “Just call the police if you need help.”
Pharmacist: “We don’t have all that medication in stock and we have no idea when the rest will come in. It’s a CONTROLLED DRUG.” (Said so loud everyone in the shop could hear).
I wish more people could look at ADHD as a positive. My daughter has ADHD for sure, but she is also super smart and can focus like a laser beam on things she enjoys. We all have challenges, and we have to make the best of them. I’m inspired by Kyle Maynard and I tell my daughter about him too. Who cares what other people say anyhow? Don’t forget, our children take cues from us when learning how to feel about themselves. When people say stupid things about my kids, I try to kindly educate them, and I hope that others will do the same for me when I say something ignorant.
“You shouldn’t allow him to act like that. He is a danger to himself, and others (said behavior was tipping empty chairs back). You using ADHD as a crutch isn’t helping at all. That’s just giving him an excuse. He should be disenrolled.” Just heard this one, this morning. We’re pros, by now. Our 11 year old has severe ADHD and Aspergers. His 4 year old brother is actually not as severe, but he does require someone to keep him busy. That is apparently too difficult at this time.
Hi, reading all those comments made me feel so sad, my child who has ADHD, also one with ADD, but for the ADHD child, he is now 16, and during those primary school years, it was such a struggle. The snide comments from parents with “perfect” children. Being the only child in the class not to receive an invite to a birthday party or for play dates because he was too “active/busy”. As a result he does not have a friendship group and that breaks my heart. I have tried desperately to put him into team sport activities, but he isn’t interested. He does cadets, and seems to fit that mould, however, now wants to join the army/military. I have this gut wrenching thought that he will be the one who can’t stay still when there is a threat, and he’ll be in the firing line literally. For 16 years it has been such a struggle, my closest family don’t know of his condition, as their comments would be “well that explains a lot”, so feel so much on my own. He is a beautiful child once you get past the “activity”, but people are so small minded they won’t see outside their own little box. I have only joined this forum today, and I hope it will allow me to see I am not on my own.
I appreciate the list that you have presented and would like to add… “he’s lazy”. ” if he would just apply himself..”.” He has the potential hut chooses not your use it”. These insensitive comments brings to light the lack of awareness people have about add and the impact these comments can have on a child’s self esteem. I often challenge such comments by asking parents and professionals to imagine this child as physically immobile who require the use of a wheelchaireal. Would they expect this child to get up and walk across the room?..adhd and the impact on a child’s developing sense of self is gravely overlooked by the uneducated.
Is there any of those comments I hadn’t gotten? I’m not sure. A sad state of affairs, that. (I did get a variation of 19 tho: “There has been a lot of improvement, so I don’t think she has ADHD” — indeed, she is now 3 years older than when you first met her). But I’m surprised you haven’t added “Ignore her! She’s just seeking attention!”. I get that a lot and it drives me flipping crazy. Well, if she is seeking attention, we have to give it to her — nothing gets better by ignoring. And giving attention does not mean we condone whatever behaviour (which the ADHD kid probably doesn’t even realize she/he is doing).