Grow a Thick Skin


300px-Coaching_personal1[1]If you are the parent of a child with ADHD you have probably heard it all:

  • There is no such thing as ADHD
  • Your child is just naughty and needs a good spanking
  • You are not strict enough with your child
  • You are too strict with your child
  • Are you having marital problems, drinking, doing drugs? Because when a child acts the way yours do, surely there is something wrong at home
  • Stares, giggles and gossip from the car park mafia
  • Facebook ‘shares’ about the ADHD conspiracy

And so the list goes on. And it hurts every time someone does or say something insensitive to you or your child that makes it clear they do not have a clue…

You have a choice though. Crumble and feel sorry for yourself, or put on that iron vest, raise your head up high. Fight ignorance and become an advocate for ADHD with knowledge as your battle axe.

Give facts, not excuses. And practise forgiveness. If you were in their shoes maybe you would have reacted in the same way. We are all just human after all…

I once got an excellent pamphlet from a drug company explaining all the neurological, psychological and behavioural issues concerning ADHD. I asked the nice lady if I could have a whole box full – she gave it to me. I kept a stack in my car and handed them out to people who dealt with my child. The sports coach, a new friend’s mum, karate sensei, the team leader at church and so forth.

Do not hide the fact that there is something wrong. It is the worst thing you could possibly do. Stigmatisation of psychiatric conditions is a vicious disease and should be fought actively, with great conviction and passion.

No one in their right mind would ask to have ADHD. But that’s the way the cards were dealt. So you have to deal with it. Pro-actively. And information is the key to understanding and knowledge. So use it.

If you still get hard-core confrontation from others, walk away. Or if possible cut them out of your life. This is not a debate or a contest. If they are not interested in the facts, then there is no point in trying to convince them. Just like with religion and politics, some things in life you can change and others you have no control over.

It’s in the way that you handle yourself, your child and your family that will make you stand out and gain respect from others.

So grow a thick skin and pre-empt scenarios and possible comments. Teach your child to do the same. I recently spoke to a group of school children about ‘being different’ and one boy put up his hand and said, “I am different. I have ADHD.”

The other children quietly listened to his explanation of how it made him feel. At the end of the session, everybody shared their own ‘weirdness and funny likes and dislikes’. It was a great learning curve.

Acceptance starts with you.



  1. Pingback: ADHD, You Are a Lion, and Inside You is a Hero! | We Are ADD

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