Parents: some of you may have ADHD, since there is a genetic component to ADHD. Many of you may not. If you don’t have ADHD, its very hard to understand. I hope this post helps.
Big picture: imagine you need to describe the scent of a rose to someone who has never seen a flower? This will be your ADDYTeens challenge, as they interact with you. Its is absolutely vital that you begin to understand what life with ADHD is really like, and how your child feels about it.
For those parents who have ADHD, you likely have a fair idea of how challenging and frustrating ADHD can be. You likely have a good idea of what your ADDYTeen may be experiencing. For those parents who do not, here are a few things to remember:
First, ADHD is a real thing. You may be skeptical, but ADHD is a real as Asthma. You can’t see either condition. You can’t imagine what it’s like not to be able breath if you have never suffered an Asthma attack, but that does not make it any less real. Read my post that discusses this point.
Second, ADHD is challenging. Your child faces very real challenges, and certain tasks which are ordinarily easy for some are not easy for ADDYTeens. Having ADHD feels like walking around with a backpack full of heavy rocks when everyone else does not have to. Unfair, indeed.
Third, ADHD is not cured by medicine. In fact, as my mentor Dr. Sarah would say, ADHD is not curable, so to speak, and even expert Neurologists like her are still trying to figure it all out. Medication works for ADDYTeens like reading glasses work for those of us with Myopia: its helps us focus, it does not make us “more productive, do our work, take our exams, etc”.
Fourth, managing ADHD is not about “working harder”, it’s about working differently. Suppose you are in a crowded room full of people talking, and you want to focus on just one conversation, but you are hearing them all at the same time. Now put yourself in a classroom, knowing you have to focus on a single task but every noise, movement, or word pivots your attention away from work. Having ADHD is often described in this way, so you may want to put yourself “in your ADDYTeens shoes” as you work to help them learn how to help themselves.