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Boy Question Parents this is an encouragement to understand your child and his / her ADHD better, which can help to strengthen this very special relationship in your life, it is NOT intended to make you feel guilty or condemned, we are all trying as parents to do our best and we will all make mistakes, remaining teachable is the key!

This does not apply to all children with ADHD, and some children may have some of these difficulties but not others, or only one or two...

  • I try so hard to please you but feel like I constantly disappoint you (either with your words or I see it in your eyes)
  • I have no idea how to tidy my room and keep it tidy, even when you've shown me I find it so overwhelming that I don't know where to start. Your constant nagging and wanting perfection makes me feel like a failure OR
  • My obsession with tidiness/cleanliness is beyond my control, please don't make me feel guilty because of it or mock me
  • I am often 'clumsy' (due to poor proprioception) and knock things over or bump into things, I'm not being naughty or careless and honestly can't help it (an excellent book to explain children with sensory processing disorders and things you can do to help, is 'The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun' by C.S.Kranowitz)
  • I CANNOT handle the scratchy labels in my clothes or that scratchy jersey you got me, I'm not being fussy (it's my tactile system that is highly sensitive)
  • I don't want to be a 'fussy eater' but the texture of --- makes me want to throw up
  • Wearing shoes is like wearing a straight jacket
  • If you shout and get angry I get so anxious that I can't hear what you're saying and react to your emotion instead of listening to what you're talking about
  • I procrastinate because I honestly don't know where or how to start and feel overwhelmed, if you give me the first step and get me started it will help. I'm not lazy – that has nothing to do with it
  • Please give one instruction at a time and keep them simple
  • I am extremely distractible and don't mean to not finish every task I start, once distracted the previous activity is gone from my mind
  • If I'm focussed on my work/studying please don't interrupt me, it takes extreme effort to 'get into the zone', and once distracted it's gone
  • My mind often gets distracted while you're talking and I don't hear it all, I'm not being rude or insolent, I can't help it. When you say "but I told you yesterday" I may not have heard you
  • Please don't talk about me to the teacher or your friends in front of me, it's very humiliating
  • My mind is hyperactive most of the time and I can never 'switch it off', that's why I love watching TV or playing on the computer – it's the only time my thoughts can be 'switched off' while focussing on a screen (I know this doesn't mean I should watch TV too much, just explaining why it's my way of 'chilling')
  • Please don't compare me to ---, I am unique and special with my own different gifts and talents, strengths and weaknesses
  • When your standards are constantly too high I give up trying – "what's the point, I can never please you anyway!"
  • If I study/work with the music on (or in my ears) it's because it drowns out the other distractions and helps me focus
  • I know my constant movements/foot tapping/ball bouncing/chair rocking drive you crazy, but I can't help it
  • I find transitioning from one activity to another difficult and it takes me time, please don't expect me to be able to do it quickly
  • Please notice and comment on what I do well (this is a cliché, but if we count our negative and positive comments in a day, the former far outweigh the latter usually)
  • Your total unconditional love and acceptance of me is what keeps me going (life at school is tough sometimes, but you are my 'safe place')
  • I often 'lose it' when I get home from school because I've been keeping all my anxieties and emotions bottled up all morning and they have to come out. It's because I know I can safely let it out with you because you won't reject me, not because I don't love you or respect you
  • I need you to allow me to fail and learn my own lessons when I'm ready to
  • I don't know why my moods change often; I hate feeling down and miserable. I'm not 'sulking' and have very little control over it
  • I have no idea how long things take and how to organise my time, I would love your guidance but not in a judgemental, condemning way
  • Please separate me from my behaviour, if I behave badly I know I have and need consequences, but not to be told that I'm 'stupid/naughty/lazy/an idiot/a monster/useless'
  • I LOVE inventing things and being creative with art (cooking, woodwork, photography, design...). Please take my interests seriously and allow me to be creative even if it makes a mess or inconveniences you a bit. These things energise me and help me de-stress
  • Sometimes I need to 'hide' from the world under my duvet or in a small 'house', please let me
  • I need deep-pressure to help my sensory system 'calm down', bear-hugs and touch-rugby are good OR...
  • My skin feels like ants are crawling all over it, please don't touch, hug, tickle me – I can't handle it (tactile defensive)
  • I never asked for my ADHD, please learn as much as you can to understand me and help me with my challenges, I need your support!
  • When we go to church/the mall/a party that is too much for me (too loud/too many people/too many aromas) please allow me to leave graciously or to be on the periphery which is more bearable
  • Please don't ever say 'ADHD doesn't exist, it's all in your mind', I wish it was and I could make it go away, but I can't
  • Sometimes I do crazy things to get your attention or to say 'help me, I'm not coping'
  • I sometimes hurt myself because it takes the emotional pain away that I don't know how to deal with, help me please!
  • With you in my corner I can face the world and my challenges – thank you for loving me 'just as I am

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