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Parents of ADHD Children

Stupid things people say and your very best comebacks

I often don’t say anything when people say ignorant things about ADHD. There’s a huge percentage of people who think it’s just bad parents looking for a quick fix or an excuse for their rotten kids. They don’t know anything about ADHD and a comment here or there from me likely isn’t going to change their mind.

Today I had to go pick up my son for yet another doctor appointment (we just started medication for the first time over the holidays and are needing to get consistent blood pressure readings, so this is the third appointment this week). Well I went by the office and my son wasn’t there so I had to have the secretaries call him down.  While I was waiting, one said “He sure isn’t very good at watching the clocks”. I replied with “yeah, I guess it’s not his strong suit”, but I wish I’d said something better. I mean, I’m sure she didn’t mean anything terrible by it, but it’s a little like saying “gosh, he’s not very good at drawing” about the blind kid, or “he’s not very good at running” about the kid with the crippled leg.  They’d never say that to their mom, but saying it to me is fine?

This wasn’t the worst thing I’ve had said to me (having his previous teacher say it’s just his personality and that he’s lazy was closer to the worst), but I wish I’d had a better comeback for her. Something along the lines of “yeah, well that’s generally how ADHD works” might have been better…

So here’s my question… We’ve all had dumb things said to us… What was your worst? And what was your best comeback?


Oh, BTW, I heard “one of Canada’s foremost ADHD experts” talking on the radio today about the over diagnosis of ADHD in North America ( He basically said it was neglectful parents who ignored their children and allowed too much screen time that caused ADHD (or ADHD symptoms) in kids and that they’re just too stressed out, especially during their first few years of life. *Right*. We get this from the “experts”! How on earth can we expect anything else from the general public! raspberry

(The other “expert” on the show suggested that it was a phenomenon driven by drug companies marketing to hysterical mothers.)

Posted by Rai0414 on Jan 18, 2014 at 2:27pm

My response to the secretary might of been “Yeah, you’d almost think he had ADHD or something!” 

My worst was a teacher, with whom I had had MANY conversations about my daughter’s ADHD, completely described all the symptoms of ADHD in the comments section of her report card. I called the school about this and one of my comments was, “To think we payed someone $1,500 to tell us that, we could have just asked her!” BTW this section was labeled “Strengths and Next Steps for Improvement”!

Rick Green, from says it best,

When someone says, “I don’t believe in ADHD,” I either reply, “How do you feel about Schizophrenia, BiPolar, and Gall Bladder attacks?” Or I ask, “What about all the genes that have been identified with ADHD like DRD 4 and DRD-5.”

Posted by ButterflyGirls on Jan 18, 2014 at 8:40pm

Personally, I think what you said was perfect.  I might have added “We all have our weaknesses.  Mine is ________ (fill in blank).  What’s yours?”  I rarely make an effort to educate relative strangers who make silly comments. I focus my energies on educating people in my family and others who have regular, impactful interactions with my son. like teachers, coaches, Sunday school teachers, his grandparents, etc.  Comments from anyone else I just let roll off my back.  I don’t really care what they think, and as you said, it’s doubtful that anything I say will change their minds.  One of the comments I deal with the most is “He never gets in a hurry does he?” because he gets distracted so easily he never makes it from point A to point B in a timely manner.  I just smile and say “Yeah, he likes to stop and smell the roses.”  And I don’t think that’s such a bad thing really.

Posted by djch45 on Jan 19, 2014 at 12:27am

I don’t get as much comments as I do stares for her behavior or the things she says. Oh boy when I say ALL EYES ON ME I kid you not.

Before my daughter was even diagnosed from maybe 3 years old to about when she was 5yrs old she would have these embarrassing fits of Yelling, Screaming and Crying all because she wouldn’t get what she wanted, like going to the park or if I didn’t have the money on me to buy her something she wanted after daycare like ice cream or a toy. 

She would yell & cry all the way home saying she was hungry, she was tired, she was sleepy, she was sick when I say I had to drag her I am not exaggerating at that time she wasn’t having fits of rage as she is now thank god but it was just very emotional since she was unable to express her self as much.

I would have these strangers tell me pick up your child, call me a bad mother because she was screaming she was hungry, I almost got into a fight with 2 guys because they called me a horrible mother for leaving my child hungry.

I used to tell them to mind their business or you have never seen a child cry? What is she an exhibition?  but now a few years later I just see it as that is my child &  I know what is wrong with her it’s no ones business but mines.  As mothers we tend to be so defensive because of something that we are so insecure about.

I truly think that what you said was just fine.  You don’t need to put your business out there. 

I would have probably just gave her a side smile.

Posted by Lovingmom1119 on Jan 23, 2014 at 11:17pm

My favorite is when people comment on the medication.  His teacher said one day when I forgot his medicine “Wow, it’s amazing how much difference his medicine makes”.  Nah, really?  I thought we were just taking it for fun. 
My second is some variation of “Wow - it must have been a hard decision to medicate him”.  No - he has a neurological disorder that medication can help.  If he had seizures I would make sure he had anti-seizure medication, if he had cancer I would take him to chemo.  So, no deciding to medicate him was not a hard decision.
Normally, I think it comes from ignorant and just hits a nerve with those of us who know better.  So, I try to fight my urge to respond with disdain and sarcasm and just answer honestly to try to educate them.

Posted by Frenchy on Mar 11, 2014 at 12:39am

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