Before we had our oldest child tested for ADHD, they repeatedly insisted to us that they had ADHD. Our understanding of ADHD was limited at the time, and while we did realize that it wasn’t just about being distracted, our understanding still centred around hyperactivity and academic performance.
In an effort to change our minds and to convince us to arrange for testing, our child would often give us examples of their behaviour that they thought were manifestations of their ADHD. We often responded in disagreement, saying such things as, “That behaviour is just normal. We did the same thing when we were your age.”
Here’s the thing though.
Now that I have been diagnosed with ADHD, I can recognize that the behaviours our child was highlighting for us were indeed ADHD symptoms.
The reason why I didn’t recognize them before is because it didn’t cross my mind that I had ADHD. I mean, I did relatively well in school, I wasn’t hyper, I didn’t fit any of the stereotype I had created in my mind (or seen reflected in society).
Because I didn’t have ADHD—in my mind—my behaviour wasn’t ADHD behaviour; it was just common behaviour. And if my behaviour was normal, and my child mimicked my behaviour, then their behaviour must be normal, too.
This is why it’s important for parents of children who think they have ADHD to be open to the possibility. Just because you don’t recognize your child’s behaviour as ADHD behaviour doesn’t mean it isn’t. Especially if you don’t truly understand the complexity of ADHD behaviour.
For every 4 children diagnosed with ADHD, 1 of them has at least one parent who also has ADHD. The connection between ADHD parents and ADHD children is pretty strong.
Be open to your child having it. Not only because it shows support for their concerns, but also because it shows you’re willing to accept it if you have it, too.