ADHD Myths & Facts

“Your Child with ADHD Is Not ‘Misbehaving’”

Understanding ADHD requires an open mind and education to discern myths from the truth. Here, ADDitude readers start the conversation by sharing what they wish their community knew about ADD.

Boy with ADHD jumping in field
Photo by Argia Sbolenfi

Children with ADHD cannot “grow out of it.” The condition is not a “phase.” It is not caused by bad parenting or eating too many sugary cereals and processed foods. Yet such misconceptions prevail and cloud the truth: ADHD is nuanced, complex — and often misunderstood.

Our back-to-school contest asked ADDitude readers what they wished their communities — at school, at work, with family and friends, and beyond — understood about people with ADHD. Answers ranged from wanting to dispel misconceptions and recognizing the trial-and-error of finding the right medication to simply asking for the acceptance and freedom to be who they are. Read their responses below and share your thoughts by Friday, September 30, here, and you will be entered to win a box of ADDitude magazines shipped to you free of charge.

“I really wish people knew that we are not trying to make things more difficult for them. We really are trying, and we carry a lot of guilt around from not being able to do things as easily as a neurotypical individual.”

“Kids with ADHD forget what they should be doing and mask their frustrations with behaviors perceived as naughty. They feel big feelings but don’t have the same built-in skills to manage them as do neurotypical kids. All this is on top of having to expend their energy on everyday activities that come naturally to neurotypical kids. Imagine a bunch of kids running a race, and one has a big, lead weight chained to their ankles. That’s the kid with ADHD.”

“I wish the community would accept and understand that we are all different. You don’t have to go above and beyond to be accepting, and it is not something you should have to work at. You don’t have to understand everything about ADHD.  Just know that we are all different, and we all struggle. It doesn’t mean my struggle is greater than yours or worse than yours. It’s just different. And that’s okay.”

[Free Download: Unraveling the Mysteries of Your ADHD Brain]

“I wish they understood why I’m so sensitive to things that shouldn’t bother me and why I ‘fly off the handle’ when I feel misunderstood. I wish people would give my ideas a chance, and just because I would take a different approach to a situation doesn’t make me wrong.”

Children with ADHD are no different from any other child in their class. Just as teachers teach differently, children learn differently, especially those children with ADHD.”

“I try to remind people that kids with ADHD are paying attention (just to too many things), their brains are tired at the end of the day (Their parents are tired, too), medications alone don’t fix ADHD, and preferential seating is not always right in front of the class.”

ADHD kids need to be reminded over and over….”

An ADHD diagnosis is a family diagnosis. It takes time. It takes resources. It takes your ‘village.’ The family and friends who work on understanding ADHD by researching, reading books and articles, and listening to podcasts become the lifelines that keep us moving forward when we cannot propel ourselves.”

[Quiz: ADHD Myth or Reality? Check Your Knowledge ]

“People with ADHD are trying so hard. They just need you to be a little patient and give them the benefit of the doubt.

“ADHD does not mean you have a low IQ — that is an ADHD myth. But having ADHD may mean you learn better in a classroom with fewer distractions and more hands-on work. Medications can and do work for many people. Finding what works best can take years and often changes with age. Don’t expect the focus and memory to be the same after the meds stop working for the day. Gentle reminders, redirecting, and snack before bed is necessary.”

“ADHD is a spectrum disability. It looks different in every child. Your child is not ‘misbehaving.’”

“I’d like everyone to know that it is not their fault. It is hard for people with ADHD to focus and participate in something they consider not super-interesting. They are not lazy. Their brains are wired differently, and we need to be patient and encouraging.”

Understanding ADHD: Next Steps

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