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ADHD and Other People's Opinions

Coping with other people’s opinions

Because your child’s behaviour is often the only outward sign of ADHD, strangers who aren’t aware that your child has ADHD may make hurtful assumptions about you and your child. Even if people know that your child has ADHD, they may still make assumptions and judgements. Messages parents get from the media and from family and acquaintances may include:

  • “ADHD isn’t a real disease. There’s no such thing as ADHD.”
  • “People who say their child has ADHD are just making an excuse for bad parenting.”
  • “You should be able to keep your child under control in public.”
  • “Your child isn’t welcome in my house because of her behaviour.”
  • “You shouldn’t be medicating your child. There are better ways to deal with the symptoms of ADHD.”

Whether or not you believe these messages, they can have an impact on your confidence and on the choices you make. If you feel that your child is not welcome when you visit, that can strain your relationships with family and friends. If you feel that your decisions and your parenting skills are constantly being judged, you may feel stress, frustration, and anxiety. You may be reluctant to ask for support and help.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Learn as much as you can about ADHD, its causes, and its treatments. This will help you be more confident about your choices for your child.
  • Although you cannot change the world’s opinions about ADHD overnight, you can make a start with those closest to you. Share what you learn about ADHD with family and friends. This may help them understand some aspects of your child’s behaviour.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Tara McAuley, PhD, CPsych

Peter Chaban, MA, MEd

Rosemary Tannock, PhD