Ask the Experts

Q: How Can I Tell My Parents I Think I Have ADHD?

Sometimes, a child recognizes his or her symptoms long before teachers or parents detect any challenges or differences. In this case, a lonely and overwhelmed child may not know how to broach the subject of ADHD with family. Here is some guidance.

Q: “Sometimes I feel lost and jealous of my siblings. I ask myself: Do my family members love me? Do they care about me? Was I just a mistake? I haven’t told my parents that I think I have ADHD and depression, and I don’t know whether I should. I’m just 10 years old and I can’t go anywhere without my parents. Please help me!” — NoBody


Hi NoBody:

I want to applaud you for reaching out and asking for help. Even as an adult, it’s never easy to identify the right course of action or the best steps to take when you think you have ADHD or depression. I can’t even imagine how hard it is for a child.  I’m sure you are feeling lonely and confused.

Since I don’t know your specific situation at home, I am only going to offer you advice as a parent: I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I would want my children to tell me if they were struggling so I could get them help and support immediately.

If telling your parents about your suspected ADHD and depression is too difficult for you, perhaps you could write them a letter explaining how you feel? This might make it easier for you to break the ice. I used to do this as a child when I found being face-to-face with my parents too difficult. Is there another family member, or a counselor or teacher at school with whom you could talk? They could help set up a meeting with you and your parents to discuss your concerns and feelings and set up a necessary course of action.

Good luck to you and please keep me posted!

[Free Handout: Get a Grip on Tough Emotions]


Organization guru Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, answers questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

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