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Parents of ADHD Children

People's unwanted opinions

I don’t discuss my son’s ADHD with many people because I have encountered those who like to freely give their opinions about how I should be managing our son’s condition, especially when it comes to his medication.  Some folks either have outdated views on the subject, like my mother in law, or just speak without having all the facts.  For reference, my son takes a low dose of Concerta only as needed, which is really only when he’s at school and occasionally for other things.  His doctors are aware and have told us giving him breaks is okay to do.  A 3-month supply can last us 4 to 5 months during the school year and even longer during the summer. 

Not long ago, one of my best girlfriends, a self proclaimed medical know-it-all (but I love her), tried to tell us how we were damaging our son’s health by giving him Ritalin and we needed to stop.  My husband shut her down quick and said - 1. we got it covered and don’t need your help, and 2. he doesn’t even take Ritalin.  After that, she said no more.     

I’m not alone in this am I?  Does anyone else encounter friends/family who think they know more about your child’s condition than you do? 

Thanks, Kim


If I had a quarter for every time someone gave me their uneducated advice on how I care for my son, I would have more money than Oprah! smile it used to really upset me now I try to educate them and tell them they are welcome to raise my son for just 1 day with no meds then can tell me what they think! smile

Posted by ADHDMoooM on Aug 06, 2014 at 4:05am

Yup, same here… although the opposite scenario - I get told by other ADHD parents that we should medicate our son (he’s combined type and has never been medicated). So it works both ways, unfortunately. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear… my apologies for that.

He’s doing really well - he still has challenges though. Some are typical kid challenges (at what point to we differentiate between kid behavior and ADHD behavior?). Some of his issues are related to his ADHD - for instance he’s much brighter than his report cards indicate. He’s a C/C+ student. He daydreams in class, which impacts his grades.

For the most part, though, he’s doing well. He’s happy, has friends, is well behaved, and a few minutes ago, in fact, was lying on the couch reading a book without being told to do so.

Anyway, as much as you would appreciate non-ADHD parents from giving their two cents, I’d also appreciate those who medicate from giving me theirs.

Again, not meant to offend… just giving my perspective

Edit - btw he was diagnosed by a licensed psychologist as having “severe” combined type ADHD after 6 hours of comprehensive testing, not just a quick check list at the pediatrician’s office - so he likely really does have it.

Posted by OopsForgotAgain on Aug 06, 2014 at 4:27am

I think everyone feels they need to defend their decisions. Even your description seems to be defending giving your son medication (“We only give it sometimes! Not all of the time!”). Of course, I could be reading into it incorrectly, but my point stands that when it comes to ADHD, most of us feel defensive about our decisions that we make for OUR child, because we know that someone has something to say. My FIL claimed that ADHD is caused by watching too much television. When I told a girlfriend that we began medicating our daughter, her following statement was about how I should talk to her friend who is dealing with her child’s ADHD though nutrition. I was hurt because I tell very few people about my child’s ADHD and felt judged. Especially since she knew what we went through to get to that step.

I think your husband did the right thing by letting your friend know that her advice isn’t wanted. I think it is okay to rebuff persistent hens who like to stick their beaks where it doesn’t belong. In part, I keep my child’s ADHD under wraps specifically because I don’t want people to feel I am now available for their opinions.

We parents work hard to make our child/children’s lives the best they can be and come to our own conclusions about how that is done, regardless of if everyone agrees.

Posted by momodoodle on Aug 06, 2014 at 1:17pm

People who don’t know any better (ignorant on the subject) often say things they don’t know are offensive. Just ADHD is such a polarizing subject in our society, people say terrible things about it all the time (

Here are some snappy comebacks you can use when it happens again: Taking the chance to educate someone about ADHD helps the entire ADHD community.

Ultimately, you have to develop a thick skin to this type of thing. Tell those in your inner circle that you are not willing to discuss the personal decision of your child’s treatment, but also take the opportunity to educate them on the facts, where appropriate.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Aug 06, 2014 at 1:53pm

It’s all true. The bottom line is that there are so many stereotypes out there, and so much misinformation. People without personal experience shouldn’t make judgement calls on those who have to make the tough choices. Also, there needs to be recognition for the fact that each case has unique elements, and ultimately it’s the parents, who deal with the child every day, who know what’s best for that particular child.

Posted by OopsForgotAgain on Aug 06, 2014 at 3:41pm

Of course we encounter well meaning, but misguided attempts at help. Just so you know, recent neuroimaging research suggests that treatment with stimulant medication actually helps grow underdeveloped structures in the ADHD brain. I told my mother-in-law that and she said that was just my opinion. So, for some people not even scientific evidence is enough to sway them. I have found that the best policy is just to avoid the subject whenever possible unless we are speaking to a doctor, a therapist and teachers during IEP meetings. Sometimes I talk to my hairdresser about it, but she has a kid with ADHD too. It sucks that I can’t talk about it publicly, but I don’t wanna get into any arguments as it is a very controversial topic and everybody has an opinion well founded or not.

Good luck!
Sue H in PC, Ohio

Posted by SueH on Aug 06, 2014 at 4:49pm

OopsForgotAgain - you didn’t offend, and I appreciate your perspective.  And you’re right about all the misinformation out there.  I did a research paper last year on ADHD for my final class and almost gave it to my MIL to read to stop her “just cut the red dye out of his diet, and he’ll be fine” comments. 

And those snappy comebacks are great!  I’m going to keep a couple of those in my back pocket for future reference. 

Thanks everyone!  It’s nice to know I’m not alone and that’s it’s okay to neither defend nor discuss the subject no matter who it is.  I think generally people thing they’re being helpful but really they’re not.

Posted by KWalling on Aug 06, 2014 at 5:45pm

My son was diagnosed with ADHD in 1st grade.  My husband and I were reluctant to put him on medicine because of all the negative things we had heard about ADHD medicine.  After listening and talking to the staff who diagnosed our son, we decided to try him on a low dose of Concerta. 

The difference in my son before and after taking the Concerta was huge.  We started receiving positive feedback (the teacher, the dentist, etc…) and his tests and grades soared after taking it.  He was getting in less trouble at school.

My son is currently taking Ritalin LA (Concerta and Ritalin LA both have methylphenidate in it).  The only problem we have encountered with either drug is that my son loses his appetite after taking it.  We try to feed him a big breakfast before taking it. 

We have received a lot of criticism for our choice of medicating our son especially from family and friends.  Our son is doing better academically and socially after taking the medicine.  He pays more attention to his surroundings (ie. watching traffic instead of looking at the butterfly).  He also is able to concentrate on his passions (art, computers, etc…).

We have heard a lot of ignorant comments (cut out the red dye, watch his diet, discipline more, etc…).  It is especially painful to hear from family and friends who you are hoping will support your child.  I try to educate people but some people are not open-minded about it. 

I am going to continue to advocate for my son.  I am trying to talk more about ADHD to try to educate others about it so maybe others will understand it better.

Good luck with your son.

Posted by Nick's Mom 8 on Aug 08, 2014 at 3:04pm

Unfortunately, it’s not just parents who get these kinds of responses.
I was diagnosed with ADHD last year. Finally, my whole life makes sense.
I’ve been picky with who I choose to tell. My boss was super supportive and shared his struggles with depression and his decision to try medication. A friend from college shared her struggles with OCD and her decision to try and then stick with medication.
But, far and away, when I mention my new diagnosis, people begin to bash medication. I even had a few friends flat out tell me how mad they would be at me if I started taking medication. Really? I’m sorry, I’m a grown adult, I think I can make decisions about my own care with out your misinformed opinions. It’s super frustrating and at times demoralizing. I was just looking for support, not criticism.
At the end of the day, people will always feel entitled to tell you their opinion. And, I think you should keep on as you’ve done so far! We’ve got this and don’t need your input, thankyouverymuch.

Posted by sarac on Aug 08, 2014 at 3:54pm

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