No Such Thing as ADHD

Fall 2010 009Parents of a child with ADHD (myself included!) would love to have a nickel for every time someone has said to them any of the following:

There is no such thing as ADHD.

He’s just being a boy.

You just need to be stricter.  You’re not being tough enough parents.

If ADHD were real, why didn’t it exist when we were kids?

If we all received those due nickels we would be rich.

Of course, when someone says those things to me I’m usually too dumbstruck to respond appropriately.  It isn’t until much later that I often think of what would have been the perfect response, only to forget it by the next time it happens again.  So I thought we could draft responses together so we all know what to say next time.  Here are my first attempts at it.  Please add your comments as well.

The thing is that there is such a thing as a bad kid.  There are kids who have the capability to keep their act together, act politely, communicate effectively but they choose not to.

But that is not my kid.

There is also such a thing as poor parenting.  There are parents who offer no boundaries and no consequences.  There are parents who spoil their children and create children who feel they are entitled to everything whether they behave or not.

But that is not me.  Please don’t misunderstand me -I’m not saying that I am the perfect parent.  But our house is a structured house.  My kids follow specific routines, which I believe gives them security and helps them to feel grounded.  They have a set bedtime and don’t get to eat any dessert if they didn’t finish their dinner.  I bet most parents of children with ADHD would argue that they might even be firmer than “normal” parents.  We use behavioral modification programs, sticker charts and everything you can think of to encourage good choices.  We have to do those things to survive.

I would like to tell these people to walk a mile in my shoes.  Be clear my parenting experience is not the same as yours.  Of course your child is not perfect but most “typical” children don’t require the level of energy and attention my son requires of me to help him get through the day.  I’m sure you’ve experienced your “normal” child getting overstimulated on a playdate.  It is not so uncommon to get overly excited while playing with a friend.  They get a little silly.  They get a little hyper.  They may even get roped into making bad choices.  That is my son most of the time.  The overstimulated, hyper child is the same for me when he is home trying to do his homework.  He doesn’t switch gears like your child does.  There is no down time.

I would like to say to these people who spew misconceptions that there is a difference between my son and other kids.  That is not to say that I don’t think he is wonderful just as he is.    But this ADHD is real.  Make no mistake about it.

What would you say?


Kim Clary Cafiero

Kim is a stay at home mom to two boys. She came to parenthood through adoption and was a teacher and school administrator before taking the plunge to stay home full time. She lives in New Jersey.

Related posts:

adoption, General ADHD, Kim Clary Cafiero, Uncategorized ·

About the author

Kim is a stay at home mom to two boys. She came to parenthood through adoption and was a teacher and school administrator before taking the plunge to stay home full time. She lives in New Jersey.


  1. Jennifer Duffy says:

    I think the hardest for me is when you receive these criticisms from family, the people who should be supporting you the most.

  2. Crys says:

    For this exact reason I kept my son’s diagnosis a closely guarded secret. My closest friends, my dad, my sister-in-law, etc. never knew he had been diagnosed and was being medicated until he was in high school. I basically felt like I was handling it in the best manner I could and didn’t need their opinions. I was already feeling their critical eyes on us when he would behave inappropriately. When I finally started telling people it was because he was ready and was sharing information about his meds. This wouldn’t work for everyone but it reduced our stress level.

    • Asmith says:

      This is my plan with my son, but my problem is who did you get to relate with and talk to about everything. It is an issue that everyone, especially those with ‘normal’ children have such strong thoughts and opinions on, which makes it so hard.

      • Crys says:

        Honestly, I didn’t have a great support system. My husband obviously
        knew but he is out of town for work quite a bit so I was on my own the
        majority of the time. My mom has always known but still would give
        suggestions that weren’t helpful even though she intended them to be.
        She’d say things like ground him, put him in time out, be more
        strict…not realizing how exhausted I was from already doing those
        things. In our situation I came the the realization that I really did
        have to “pick my battles”, otherwise I spent all of my time correcting,
        punishing, working for hours on homework that he was unable to complete and that resulted in a very low quality of parent/child relationship. While he needs help and guidance I did not want our relationship to be 100% negative so I started easing off and deciding what was most important. Clean room-not important, passing school-important, being respectful-important, etc.
        I actually had a friend hand me some research on ADHD and ask if I had
        considered having him evaluated…I didn’t even tell her then because
        what would have helped? People think if you get a diagnosis you can
        suddenly fix it and you can’t!

  3. ASmith says:

    I just found your blog today & love it. This was the first post I came across and I sure needed to hear that someone else feels the same way I do.

  4. MommaG says:

    I am so glad I found this blog. We are going through this. Daily it seems. It’s “nice” to know others are facing the same challenges; well not nice but you know… 🙂

  5. days mom says:

    Family is the worst ive been told to pray harder about it&god will fix it…that he just needs a old fashioned butt yah beating it outta him is so gonna fix his brain makeup..unless you have spent a good amount of time with my child in all settings you dont know jack.

  6. Carrie Bratz says:

    My son has ADHD also. It can be very challenging but he is doing fairly well. I do have him on medicine for it and that was the best thing that I could have done for him. He has come very far in school because of the help that he has. Kids may have been a lot better behaved in the earlier years if they would have treated ADHD.

  7. Rumba Mom says:

    How about you receive the comment from a mother with a child that has the same issues, but chooses not to put her on meds. DO you guys realize how much damage you’re doing to the kids? Yes it’s a huge struggle raising these kids, but please don’t put them on drugs!!!


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The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

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