Feeling Guilty About Your ADHD Child

As a parent of a child with ADHD, the best way to deal with guilt is to educate yourself about ADHD and your child's legal rights.

"There is nothing wrong with this child. He is just lazy and doesn't apply himself."

"If you would simply apply some discipline to this child, you wouldn't have these problems."

"ADHD is crap. It's just an excuse for poor parenting."

"Drugging your child is just a cop out, so you don't have to parent him."

Sound familiar? Got those bags packed for that guilt trip you always seem to be leaving on? Well you're not the only one and it's time we all stopped blaming ourselves for our children's ADHD diagnosis, and it's time we stopped listening to what others are saying and learn to trust our instincts and believe in the decisions we've made for our child.

Comments like this come from all sorts of people. Family members, teachers, friends, and even strangers. When remarks like this come from professionals, it often leaves us second guessing ourselves and the choices we've made for our children. When these remarks come from family members, they seem to cut straight to the core, hitting us right in the heart.

I've been hearing comments like these for over 11 years now and I've heard them from everyone. From the child's father, family members and his teachers. While I don't always hear the words, I see plenty of disapproving stares and glares from strangers when my child acts out in public places.

One thing I've come to realize is that you are never going to stop the comments. Every year brings new teachers and other staff members. If you're a single parent, boyfriends will come and go, all leaving their two cents worth. And family members seem to feel it's their God-given right to express their opinions to you.

I learned this the hard way recently when after 6 years of diagnosis, treatment and hardships with my son, I really felt my family understood. I really thought they knew how hard it was to raise this child and how hard it was fighting to get him the services he needed from the schools to make him a successful student. Then on Easter Sunday, the well-meaning male members of my family announced to me that I am raising a "mama's boy" and that "I am my child's biggest disability, not this ADHD crap."

So what is the answer to dealing with the guilt? What can you do to ease the pain?

I have found that the best possible way to deal with the guilt is to educate yourself. If you educate yourself, then you're making the best possible decisions you can for yourself and your child. If you are doing the BEST that you can, then What's to feel guilty about? Guilt thrives on doubt. So replace doubt with confidence by educating yourself about attention deficit disorder and by knowing your rights!

1. Learn what your rights, and your child's rights, are when it comes to special education. There are federal laws in place that protect your child's right to a free and appropriate education. Get a copy of these rules and regulations from your nearest CHADD office or local Protection and Advocacy Agency. Check the internet for the updates and changes to IDEA.

2. Network with other parents and share experiences and exchange ideas. Get support and understanding from parents who are going through some of the same things you are. Check with your local CHADD office, church or clergymen, or start your own support group. The internet has become one of the biggest and most convenient sources for information and support. also offers support through chat groups and bulletin boards and best of all, it's convenient and open 24-hours a day.

3. Another helpful resource are listserv's. Through a listserv, parents get together and carry on discussions, ask for help, exchange information and support each other via email. Listservs have a way of becoming small communities, where soon you feel like you know the people you are communicating with.

Information is everywhere you look. Libraries, bookstores, newspapers and magazines. Use it to your advantage and learn all you can about the latest treatment on ADHD and special education. Knowledge is power! And with power, you gain control.

As for the pain, it's impossible for a mother to ever stop feeling the pain. I think the best we can ever hope for is to know that we're doing the best we can, and realize, that nobody, not teachers, family members, no one knows our child like we do and nobody will ever love them like we do. And because they are our children, we will love them no matter what. And as along as we are doing the best we can, then deep down, in our hearts, WE KNOW that we are doing the right thing. 

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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, October 6). Feeling Guilty About Your ADHD Child, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Last Updated: February 13, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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