How Do I Tell My Child They Have ADHD?
If your child receives an ADHD diagnosis, it can be overwhelming. Worries, concerns, and confusion might start to fill your mind. One of the first worries many parents want to address is how to break the news to their child without hurting their self-image. The following suggestions will help you learn how to empower a child recently diagnosed with ADHD.
“They will feel bad about themselves”
People seeking ADHD parental help often express the fear that an ADHD label might cause their child to view him or herself as “less than” or “damaged.” Children often adopt their parents’ viewpoint. If parents view ADHD predominantly as a problem or disability, their child will take that attitude. If parents consider seeing ADHD as a gift — the gift of extra creativity, energy, passion, and innovative thinking — and take a healthy attitude about the accompanying challenges, their child will adopt that perspective.
In most cases, non-diagnosed ADHD children already feel bad about themselves. For example, they may struggle to keep up with their peers in class. Or they routinely get in trouble at home and in school. People are likely turned off by your child’s behavior. Such interactions mean they routinely face failure, disappointment, and criticism.
A diagnosis often comes with complicated feelings. But for many children with ADHD, some of those feelings include new hope and empowerment. They suddenly realize they are not just “weird,” or “bad.” They have an objective biological difference. This difference is something that is treatable, which means any child with ADHD can improve in the areas or relationships they find difficult.
But how do you frame the diagnosis? How can you help your child learn to view their ADHD positively? Dr. Ned Halowell, ADHD professional psychiatrist and world authority, presents parents with a brilliant ADHD tool: tell your child they have a Ferrari for a brain. ADHD has awarded them a turbocharged, superpower mind designed to win races. Some of history’s most famous leaders, creatives, and superstars owe their creativity and talent to ADHD.
There is only one problem: If someone with ADHD has a Ferrari brain, then they also have bicycle brakes. This pairing makes it hard to channel their attention in the right direction. Those with ADHD must learn how to build stronger brakes. Whether that requires medication, skills-coaching, therapy, or a combination of all three, ADHD treatment is their means of developing the right brakes to keep their turbo engine on track.
“Treatment will give them an excuse”
Some parents are afraid that an ADHD diagnosis means handing their child a ready-made excuse to behave badly or fail to develop into a healthy, functional person. If you have concerns about this happening, contact Yvonne Landau.
She delivers ADHD coaching to help parents discover the balance between empathy and accountability. Parents learn how to communicate to their child to help them understand how a biological condition like ADHD makes certain things harder. She also gives parents the ADHD tools they need to explain that their child must take personal responsibility. Once parents have these tools, they are prepared to help their child face their individual challenges.
Often, it is easier to assume that if things are already hard to just leave your child be. Such an attitude will hurt your child in the long run. Parents must get the right ADHD parental help and learn to validate their child’s struggles while still holding them accountable. Taking these actions will help parents set their ADHD-diagnosed child up for maximum success in life.
For more information on managing ADHD or to obtain ADHD parental tools, contact Yvonne Landau.