Do Parents Cause ADHD?

Posted on by Kevin.

A recent New York Times Op-Ed  suggested that parents are a significant causative agent in ADHD.  Wow!  I cannot believe this type of neanderthalic diatribe is still filling our newspapers and airways.  A retired professor of psychology, Dr. L. Alan Sroufe, in his Op-Ed, Ritalin Gone Wrong, asserted that too many kids are medicated, and that in many cases, poor parenting leads to the condition.  Again I say, WOW!

To start with, yes, the family does exert a significant impact on how we develop. Family reactions to an ADHD child are known to play a significant role in the child’s development of self- esteem, as well as having a role in the development of certain secondary diagnoses, like Oppositional Defiant Disorder.  Multiple studies confirm this.  I refer inquisitive readers to Joel Nigg’s book What Causes ADHD? [1] and Barkley’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Handbook for Diagnosis and Treatment [2]. These books are good amalgamations of the body of scientific research on ADHD.  When you look deeper, and aspire to find the facts, you will see that any familial role, outside of genetic inheritance, is secondary to the development of ADHD.  Research continues to point to differences in the brain as the precursors of ADHD symptoms, not problem parents.

For example, the ability to delay an impulse, or wait, is impaired in ADHD, and is, in fact, a diagnostic criterion.  Struggling with waiting, or impulsivity, is, in part, linked to a brain region called the caudate. We know this because when victims of trauma suffer damage to the caudate, impulsivity often appears in people with no prior history of this trait.  Research has also shown that many ADHD boys have irregularities in that part of the brain.  The caudate does not change shape because of the actions of one’s parents. There are gene variants strongly associated with caudate difference in ADHD boys as well.  This is just one of numerous examples that make a compelling case for differences in the structure, size, shape, and functioning of the brain as strongly underlying ADHD.

Further, it is well documented that ADHD involves the frontal dopamine circuits of the brain.  Numerous brain imaging scans have demonstrated this, and the most common medications for ADHD, the stimulants, are known to improve the way the brain metabolizes dopamine.  In addition, several variants of dopamine-involved genes are strongly associated with ADHD.  ADHD is a neurobiological condition.  As with any disorder, the way that parents deal with it does impact the way the child grows and develops.  If the parent of a child with diabetes becomes an overprotective hypochondriac, that child might have some secondary “symptoms” that were precipitated by his or her parents’ behavior.  That fact does not change the truth of the physical condition with which the child must cope.  Blaming parents is counterproductive.  What is needed is more awareness and education about ADHD.

One of the treatments for ADHD is medication and the above-mentioned Op-Ed piece asserts that children are being overmedicated.  There is no research to support that.  I can say, anecdotally, that I encounter more parents who fear medication and resist putting their children on it than I do parents who wholeheartedly embrace the practice.  I suspect that there are some children who take ADHD meds who should not be taking them.  This is part of a broader trend.  Many parents are guilty, for example, of insisting their children be put on antibiotics, even when there is no clear-cut symptomology that warrants it, a fact which is contributing to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.  We still don’t have enough data to make an informed opinion about ADHD over-medication.  Obviously, these are powerful drugs, and parents should go into such a decision with great deliberation and awareness of potential side effects.  I am no great proponent of medication, but I have seen ADHD meds transform lives.

I agree with Dr. Sroufe that medication is proving not to be a good long-term strategy for a significant segment of ADHD people.  Trying to find common ground, I believe that parent training, like that offered by groups like CHADD, is highly beneficial.  Few of us have the natural inclinations to effectively handle the atypical behavioral profile of an ADHD child.  Positive and productive responses can be taught, but those responses, as well-intentioned and executed as they may be, cannot reverse the symptoms of ADHD.  They can help to create a more well-adjusted child, and perhaps minimize some of the troubling secondary conditions that arise with the disorder.  Parents are not to blame.  They deserve compassion and understanding.  Most parents of ADHD children who I deal with have spent incredible energies trying to help their children succeed.  Dr. Sroufe’s article does not help them.  It only pushes them further into shame and inadequacy, emotional states that will certainly not help them or their children.

1. Nigg, J. (2006). What Causes ADHD?: Understanding What Goes Wrong and Why,

New York : Guilford Press.

2.  Barkley, R. (2006). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Handbook for

Diagnosis and Treatment. New York : Guilford Press.

The following studies further back up the scientific claims I make in this posting.

Bidwell, L., Willcutt, E., McQueen, M., DeFries, J., Olson, R., Smith, S., Pennington, B. (2011). A family-based association study of DRD4, DAT1, and 5HTT and continuous traits of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Behavior Genetics, 41(1): 165-174.

Depue, B., Burgess, G., Willcutt, E., Bidwell, L., Ruzic, L., Banich, M. (2010).  Symptom-correlated brain regions in young adults with combined-type ADHD: Their organization, variability, and relation to behavioral performance. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging Section, vol. 182 Issue 2, 96-97.

Durston, S., Hulshoff, P., Schnack, H.,  Buitelaar, J., Steenhuis, M., Minderaa, R. et al., (2004).  Magnetic resonance imaging of boys with attention deficit disorder and their unaffected siblings.  Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  43(3): 332-340.

Swanson, J., Floodman, P., Kennedy, J., Spence, M., Moyzis, R., Schuck, S. (2000). Dopamine genes and ADHD.  Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 24.

Tripp, G., Wickens, J. (2010). Neurobiology of ADHD. Neuropharmacology, v. 57 issue 7/8, p. 579-589.

Volkow, N., Wang, G., Fowler, J., Logan, J., Franceschi, D., & Maynard, L. (2002).Relationship between blockade of dopamine transporters by oral methylphenidate and the increases in extracellular dopamine:  Therapeutic implications.  Synapse, 43: 181-187.

Williams, N., Zaharieva, I., Martin, A., Langley, K., Mantripragada, K., Fossdal, R.,Stefansson, H., Stefansson, K., Magnusson, P.,  Gudmundsson, O., Gustafsson, O., Holmans, P., Owen, M., O’Donovan, M., Thapar, A. (2010). Rare chromosomal deletions and duplications in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a genome-wide analysis. Lancet, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61109-9.

Yang, M., Ishii, J., McCracken, J., McGough, J., Loo, S., Nelson, S., Smalley, S.(2005). Temperament and character profiles and the dopamine D4 receptor gene in ADHD. American Journal of Psychiatry, v. 162, issue 5, 2005, 906-914.




  1. Good read. Thank you for this!

    Posted on by Andrea Conn
  2. Thank you for the insight. As a parent with ADHD and having a child with ADHD, it is a struggle dealing with all the negativity of this disorder. My ADHD child is a son, who does not live with me but his father who does not share my feelings or concerns about our son.

    Posted on by Enid McNatt
    • Enid, thanks for commenting. It is a real struggle to wade through daily negativity that never seems to go away. In my upcoming book, released this June, I discuss this issue and give a lot of practical and easy-to-follow solutions, rooted in my own life, and my work with ADHDers. You are not alone!

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  3. I love your intriguing site. awesome stuff

    Posted on by Nootropics
    • Thank you. We are all about informing the public.

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  4. I met you at the CHADD meeting tonight- that was informative and fun! As I read the comments here, despite your knowledge and enthusiasm, I am feeling a bit discouraged. I need much more than a monthly meeting to be better at parenting my ADHD child. I am tired, frustrated, and I feel very, very alone. Thankfully, there is much more to read here in your website. I am really looking forward to your new book.

    Posted on by V V
    • Yes, we all need more than a monthly meeting. We need to integrate support, community and connection into the fabric of our lives. Here are a few suggestions:
      1) Go to the Oakland County meeting at Way elementary in addition to the Macomb meeting. That meeting has been around longer and so has more people. Then you’d be getting 2 meetings a month. They have a parents and an adult group.
      2) When you go to the Macomb and Oakland meetings, buddy up with some parents. Explicitly state to the group that you want to find some other parents to talk to through the week, to build a mutually-supportive relationship.
      3) Talk to Linda O’Brien about her Parent-to-Parent class. If she is not doing one, talk to Fran Parker, who is the past coordinator of the Oakland County group at Way Elementary.
      4) Reach out to others, and find ways to help others. I know this sounds counterintuitive but I have been amazed at how when I reach out to others in an effort to be of service, my needs for support somehow seem to get met too. Please keep coming back!!!!

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  5. I always wonder where this kind of stuff comes from. You would think this guy would have better things to do in his retirement! But, then, why would the NY Times even print it?

    Thanks, Kevin, for talking about the science, for citing your sources, and for bringing up the chicken and the egg issue (‘Does this child come from a “chaotic home,” or is the home chaotic because…’). I especially want to thank you for your compassion for saying that this kind of “diatribe” just adds to the shame and inadequacy that parents already feel, and can only make matters worse.

    By the time I meet parents, who contact CHADD, they have often been struggling with the decision to try medication for a couple of years. They view medical treatment like an admission of failure. They have often taken a number of different parenting classes, tried herbs, vitamins, diet, spent thousands on “alternative” cure-alls that didn’t help. Some children aren’t even allowed to have a piece of their own birthday cake, because parents have heard that eliminating sugar and artificial coloring is an effective alternative to medical treatment. Even when a parent does consider medication, they are often blamed for wanting to “label” or “drug” their child and are accused of not wanting to deal with their child’s behavior.

    Instead of getting needed support, they are blamed and grow increasingly more isolated. When nothing they try works, they feel like they are flying blind, with nothing to show for their efforts.

    If someone has a problem with substance abuse, they are embraced for seeking treatment, for no longer being “in denial.” If the symptoms of AD/HD weren’t hard enough to deal with, people shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for seeking help from a professional!

    What good does it do to say there is “over-diagnosis?” It implies no one should be diagnosed. We should be concerned about accurate diagnosis not overdiagnosis. At a public hearing, I attended last week, a child psychiatrist stated that, unlike where she used to work in Colorado, Medicaid, here, won’t cover an evaluation for AD/HD. We can’t expect a Primary Care Physician to diagnose AD/HD in no more time than it would take to diagnose a sore throat!

    Medical treatment for AD/HD has been shown to be safe and effective. This should be good news!

    I only hope that Dr. Sroufe just has untreated AD/HD, and doesn’t have some other agenda…

    Posted on by Linda Brauer
    • Linda, your comments on ADHD and Dr. Sroufe make me think of two words: GUEST BLOG. Would you please consider this? You already have a good start with your comments and I could certainly edit, so you wouldn’t have to worry about that. Please let me know. I really appreciate your passion and wisdom!

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
      • What does GUEST BLOG mean?

        Posted on by Linda Brauer
        • We would talk about a blog topic and you would write it, and I would provide editorial service where needed. We would then post it on my site.

          Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  6. Perhaps Dr. Sroufe gets bored easily, so likes to stir things up! Or tends to be oppositional and impulsive, and didn’t realize how rude he would sound,–blaming parents. Fortunately, however, now there are treatments for this! Perhaps, if he’d been treated, he wouldn’t be blaming his problems on his parents. Or maybe he was just a kid who refused to take his medicine! There is a lot of new research out, now, but perhaps he hasn’t been paying attention! To this retired professor of psychology, I say, “Dr. Sroufe, heal thyself!”

    Posted on by Linda Brauer
    • Linda, it seems that he either knows little of the ADHD-related research over the last decade, or deliberately chose to ignore it. Thanks for your comments!

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  7. William Congreve: “He that first cries out stop thief, is often he that has stolen the treasure.”

    Posted on by posts
    • I don’t know if this is spam or not, but I had to approve this comment. I mean who quotes William Congreve? I love it. 🙂

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  8. Hi Kevin,

    I just called you (as you are starting a ADHD meeting) to mention I read your blog in response to Dr. A Sroufe’s
    Jan 28th NY Times article. I am interest in ADHD as a HS Biology teacher and Parent and was researching the topic.

    I read the times article and found myself making corrections to it.

    I agree with your response to it . In conversation you said it was probably printed to
    be contriversial, I guess so for those educated or experienced enough to see through his BS. But what about those that already fear meds as
    part of a treatment for this disorder. Yes, not always the children with a disorder are getting the meds and in some instances meds are over prescribed, but as a psychologist he should get out of his swivel chair and visit schools. Not just poverty areas, but average US schools.

    I feel sorry for all those well off families that according to him bring on
    this condition due to the environment they bring their children up in.

    I have witnessed how medication for ADHD can turn several students’ academic and personal/social life around.

    I will put your blog on my favorites list.

    Bob Engasser
    Bio teacher
    Parent of a daughter w/ ADD

    Posted on by Bob Engasser
    • Bob, I am thrilled you were motivated enough to call me. I am also thrilled that a teacher, like yourself, has such a keen interest in staying updated on the facts concerning ADHD. Would you consider writing a guest blog on the subject? I know you said you had an advanced degree in biology. 1000 words on the neurobiology of ADHD?

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  9. Great insights. Wonderful to have so much information, that we can TRUST in one place. I’m anxious to share it.

    Posted on by Trish Olevnik
    • Thanks for commenting Trish. Anything in particular that you enjoyed?

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  10. Well said Kevin. I appreciate your support of us parents of children that are affected by ADHD. As you know, my children both have variations of the disorder and it has been a learning experience from the beginning. We avoided medication until our oldest child was in 5th grade and then experienced his best year ever in elementary school. Our other child was not recommended to take a stimulant, so he takes Strattera. We chose to put him on it much sooner than the oldest. Prior to putting them on medication, we had taken every type of parenting class, ADHD parenting classes and visited behaviorists. The medication, allowed us to be successful with the tools we learned in those programs.

    Keep up the good work!

    Posted on by Beth Heath
    • Beth, your post went to spam for some reason. I am sorry I have not replied sooner! I appreciate your coming back and being part of the discussion. Thanks for being an example to others; medication is not the magic bullet for most of us. It’s just a part of our available tools that can work. Thanks for your vote of confidence.

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  11. I used to naively believe that bad parenting alone caused the disorder.

    Posted on by John Carter
    • Thanks for your honesty John. ADHD, like many mental health issues, is prone to misunderstanding. We’re all on a journey to change that. Please keep checking back.

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  12. Hi Kevin,
    I agree with the overmedication concept and I agree with you that Dr. Sroufe’s assertion that poor parenting skills are a significant cause of ADHD
    is absurd. I speculate that the good doctor spent to much time studying creative writing and not working enough directly with ADHD children. It is a very complex issue and we have seen a multitude of studies implicating disfunction of several areas of the brain, abnormal neuro-chemistry and dietary causes from Dr. Feingold to more recently a gluten free diet. Nine years ago at my 40th high school reunion, I was talking with a group of mostly medical doctors when I challenged them to remember any ADHD students when we were in all grades of school. After a little thought and surprised expressions, everyone agreed that it was very rare during 1950-1963. I do not remember one case. With no medications available, untreated they would have been easy to remember. There may have been some ADD, but not ADHD. I just wanted to throw this into the mix.

    Posted on by Joel Katz
    • Thank you Joel for your historical perspective. There are a few things going on here in terms of ADHD diagnosis. First of all, there were many different diagnoses that were thrust upon people who would now be called ADHD. I will spare you the boring details, but if you would like to learn about the different terms that have been applied to ADHD people, please see Russell Barkley’s book, referenced below. Another element is that school was in some ways a more intense environment. While I do not support corporal punishment, and other “creative” punishments that were meted out on students, I think school in the “old days” was a more intense place, much more conducive to ADHD children. We do better in intensity. Secondly, I think teachers had much more flexibility in dealing with students who did not fit the norm. They could modify the curriculum, and allow for alternative evaluation. Now, the parameters of school are much more rigid, and with all the “teaching to the test,” teachers now enjoy very little wiggle room. Sociologically, children are also less active nowadays, less prone to spend time outside. ADHD children do much better when they get to be physically active and spend time outside. I also think there are many other sociological shifts that have done a disservice to ADHD children. First of all, we used to all have to sit down for the whole family dinner. This taught patience and instilled the importance of waiting. We used to have to wait a lot when you and I were children. I remember waking up on Saturday morning at 7:45 and WAITING for 15 minutes, watching the colored bars on the TV, because at 8 o’clock, the cartoons would come on. These little waiting rituals are virtually non-existent nowadays. These are just a few of numerous examples. For great treatment on this issue, see Tom Hartmann’s, ADD: A different Perception. Thanks so much for your perspective. You have really added a great deal on this important ADHD discussion.

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  13. How incredibly sad that there are still “professionals” who believe bad parenting causes things like ADHD. I am the parent of a 9 year old girl with Asperger’s Syndrome, and years ago a psychiatrist implied that I was doing something to cause her behavior (this was prior to her diagnosis by a team at Wayne State University). I remember walking out of that office thinking, “HUH? How is this my doing?” Needless to say, I NEVER took my daughter to that office again.
    Medication is not always the answer, but I know in my child’s case, it has made a huge difference. We still deal with anxiety, but to a much lesser degree.
    This was a very interesting post, and thanks to all who shared their thoughts and commented.
    Kevin, you continue to enlighten and inspire.

    Posted on by Pamela
    • Pamela, I am sorry you were the victim of such a primitive mindset. I applaud you for having had the wisdom to seek medical advice elsewhere. Please continue coming back and contributing here. We need all the ADHD and Asperger’s advocates we can get.

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  14. Kevin,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. While society as a whole has made great progress in recognizing the physical reasons behind things such as addiction and ADHD, we’re occasionally reminded of how far we have left to go in educating the public – especially when it’s someone as learned as Dr. Soufe who is making these incorrect suppositions.

    I noted that Dr. Soufe is a “retired” psychologist. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, hopefully the new generation of psychologists will be more open-minded on the subject (and most that I’ve met are). That’s not meant as an insult, just an observation that the field of psychology has been growing by leaps and bounds over the years and constantly changing. As this progress is made, it’s important for people in the field to remaind open-minded to new research and discoveries.

    Furthermore, his attitude doesn’t just push parents away and shame them, but also the children themselves. It was quite a relief for me personally to understand the physical reasoning behind my ADHD and computer gaming addiction. I found out that these weren’t simply willpower problems and character defects, but actual changes in my brain.

    Keep up the good work!

    Posted on by Brett
    • Brett, thanks for pointing out the link between ADHD and addictive behavior. If you read last week’s blog, you would find some research on that link from an ADHD neurobiological perspective. Here’s the link:

      I don’t know what Dr. Sroufe’s agenda is. I read and re-read his Op-Ed and struggled to understand where he was coming from. He is, after all, a scientist and I expected him to be more forthcoming with the facts, i.e., research references. I know it is an opinion page, but I still think he should make some references so that we could cross check his assertions.

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
      • I don’t think he’s a scientist in the way you might think. As I understand it, he picked a group of 200 kids who were from poor families and studied them, and noted the number with ADHD. This is a high risk group for all kinds of problems, some of which may be ADHD. But he calls ADHD a behavior disorder, which we know it is not (though it may potentiate problems with behavior).

        The guy is retired, doesn’t get it, and you give him way too much credit. If it acts like a crackpot, sounds like a crackpot, reads like a crackpot, guess what.

        Posted on by Betsy Davenport, PhD
        • A very sane and succinct summation. Thank you for weighing in. I guess my unspoken issue related to why the Times chose to print it…perhaps to deliberately generate controversy.

          Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  15. Kevin, what you write really rings true for me. I didn’t blame my parents for my ADHD, I blamed myself. It is comforting to know about all this brain research. It really gets me thinking about the neurobiology of ADHD. I think I need to do some more research.

    Posted on by Nick
    • Nick, thanks for stopping by. Yes, I have also found it comforting to know that it is not a matter of my will, but that ADHD is something that derives from my neurobiological environment. The neurobiology of ADHD is something that really needs to get more play in the press and online. That’s why I write so extensively about it. I think it is the way to change how soceity views people with ADHD.

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  16. Well I know there are all kinds of debates as to what causes ADHD. I have read everything from pesticides to artificial food coloring, I do have to admit that bad parenting is a new one on me. My parents aren’t saints, but they are great parents and I still have ADHD. They did their best to try and give me as normal life as they could. Dad personally worked to help me learn to drive after a driving instructor told him I would never learn. I also have met some not so great parents and their children have never been diagnosed with ADHD.
    I am on Adderall, that is just one of the things I use to help cope with my ADHD, Basically it is finding things that work for you or your child.

    Posted on by Beth Donovan
    • Yes, Beth, I quite agree: with ADHD, what works for one person may not work for another. Finding solutions for me has been an ongoing, and delightful, journey. Thanks so much for weighing in.

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  17. all i know is that my child was sent to an EBD school where over time his behaviour towards me in those home got progressively worse ..but of course this is nothing to do with the school enviroment ..but ” me”..and of course being a parent with ADHD myself makes me a parent without any” parenting skills”..regardless of the fact that i have 2 grownup daughters that are sucessfull in life!

    Posted on by Julie Williams
    • Yes, unfortunately, ADHD children do not come with an ADHD tattoo on the back of their neck, nor with a manual. As a society, we need to do a better job of teaching and supporting parents with ADHD kids.

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  18. what i get tired of are those people that continualy say that ADHD is about bad behaviour ..from my experience this is not what it is about ..but for the fact that some bad behaviour in children SUFFERING from ADHD is due to the lack of education of “professionals” who call themselves experts in the subject of EBD ..i see it as these children suffering as a result of ignorance of those in special educational needs..not understanding that frustration and boredom and bullying from peers may be a cause because of lack of understanding on the subject matter..HYPERACTIVITY IS NOT BAD BEHAVIOUR

    Posted on by Julie Williams
    • Julie, I agree totally. I think ADHD offers a lot of strengths that school systems do not usually help children exploit. I live in the USA, and we do a particularly poor job of offering positive, alternative educational options. In Germany, on the other hand, mechanically-oriented, hands-on learners, many of whom are probably ADHD, can start apprenticeships at age 15, and learn valuable skills, experience a workplace that values them, and start off in productive and lucrative careers. We pigeon-hole young people, and often, their greatest gifts go untapped. I am hyperactive for sure, and I have made it work for me.

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
      • it’s mainly because we have a boxed approach, if you don’t fit into the box you’re left outside. i just think if they changed some of the teaching styles it would help. and lets face it many things that could be implemented to help our kids would not damage others but could be of benefit to them too so why not look at that and have a more creative environment?
        i always say you can tell a good teacher, they are the ones who don’t mind trying to find alternative aproaches to ensuring a child understands things. instead of the teacher who thinks it’s my way or no way.

        Posted on by Diana Foster
        • Diana, your comments on this aspect of how the educational system impacts ADHD people makes my heart sing. I am not one who fits in the box either, and my life’s mission is to help people like us find their voice and their strengths so they can succeed.

          Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  19. personally i think the bad behaviour is more of a byproduct caused by lack of understanding, constantly facing negativity and acting out of impulse. but to me even the behaviour can often be impulse due to the natural fight and flight instinct. not sure if i’m explaining it right lol but if you are constantly getting into trouble you expect it, so rather than waiting for an outcome you protect yourself before it happens. but then what do i know lol i’m only a parent who listened to so called professionals for years being accused that it was our fault. 😉
    @steve medication isn’t a wonder pill that solves all our problems. although i guess that is another topic entirely. the flowers kevin mentioned is a good idea but if strapped for cash make a little voucher book. ie draw up a load of voucher and write on them day out for a picnic or cooking her a meal or afternoon coffee and chat. she can then cash her vouchers in with you when she wants. as for feeling guilty she should talk to other moms. most of us have been there. but in all honesty many parents of adhd kids try harder and work harder than many other parents. so she really shouldn’t feel guilty. i felt guilty because my oldest was often pushed to the side due to my youngest causing hell. he turned round and told me a few years ago that when people ask him about his childhood he tells them he had a happy childhood. it made me realise i must have got something right. communication is so important.

    Posted on by Diana Foster
    • Yes, we sort of learn to live up to people’s expectations, Diana. When those expectations are that we will do bad things, that’s often what we do. Also, when we experience failure, many of us go into failure avoidance, not “trying” so that we can tell ourselves we don’t really care, so that we are spared the sting of yet another failure.

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)
      • yes i have seen that with one of my boys, but i have also seen the other side where you keep trying so hard, but never achieve (underachieve) that in turn then leads to low self esteem and confidence. often swinging between both. i think character and co-morbidities tend to play a big part too

        Posted on by Diana Foster
        • Diana, it is often difficult to find the strengths, to find opportunities for your loved one with ADHD to feel worthwhile and useful. And of course, comorbidities tend to make the situation more difficult yet.

          Posted on by Kevin (Author)
      • You hit the nail on the head with that statement! My son doesn’t try to do well with most things. I feel that way he doen’t have to deal with the pain of failure and judgement. My heart hurts for my son, what will life bring him if he doesn’t stop being so afraid. I too have thought his ADHD troubles were my fault, I am starting to see they are not. I will continue to regroup every morning and keep on trying and showing him how much I love him. I am learning so much from Kevin, more than all the 4 years in therapy put together! Thanks for this Blog.

        Posted on by Lauri
        • Thanks for weighing in Lauri. I believe that many ADHD people, like your son, have incredible gifts to give. School is not a place that usually nurtures their gifts. I appreciate your kind words. Please keep reading.

          Posted on by Kevin (Author)
  20. I’m going to tell my mom to check this out; she always blamed herself for causing my ADHD. However, the medications, like Ritalin, Adderall, and Vyvanse, did not work on me. So I’m one of those people that had to figure out strategies on my own.

    Posted on by Steve
    • Steve, maybe consider sending your mother flowers and telling her how much you appreciate everything she tried to do. Parents of ADHD people are often under-appreciated!!!

      Posted on by Kevin (Author)

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