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How to Talk to Your Parents about ADHD

Talking to your parents about ADHD can be hard. By preparing for the conversation and following these tips, you can have a positive talk about ADHD.

If you’re a teen with ADHD symptoms and are unsure of how to talk to your parents about ADHD, you’re not alone. A common complaint among adolescents who are having difficulties in school and in other areas of their lives is, “My parents don’t believe I have ADHD.”

This can be really frustrating, but try not to get discouraged. There are ways to talk to your parents about ADHD. Here are some ways you can do just that so you can begin to manage your symptoms of ADHD.

Preparing to Talk to Your Parents about ADHD

If you want your conversation with your parents to go well, it’s a good idea to do some prep work first. Laying some groundwork will make the journey go more smoothly.

Lay the foundation well before the actual conversation about ADHD. Without mentioning ADHD, talk about frustrations and difficulties you are having. When you bring them up during the ADHD conversation, they won’t be new and thus won’t catch your parents off guard.

Know your goals. What do you want out of the conversation? Do you just need your parents to listen and understand? Do you want them to support your desire to see a doctor or therapist? Do you want them to hire a tutor to help you learn to study? Knowing precisely what you want to achieve in your conversation will help keep you focused as you talk.

Predict potential emotional reactions you may have so you can manage them. ADHD can make people quick to anger, so if you’re aware of things that might make you fly off the handle, you can either steer clear of those topics or recognize your feelings when they happen and breathe deeply to slow down your emotional reactions.

Pick a good time to ask your parents if you can talk about something important to you. Wait until they’re not distracted. Pick a time that works for everyone and a place that is comfortable and distraction-free.

Once you’ve completed these steps, it’s time to tell your parents about ADHD.

Tips for How to Talk to Your Parents about ADHD

Talking to your parents about ADHD symptoms you’re experiencing and difficulties you’re having is a very good idea because it will help move you forward toward help and support for ADHD. You might find some or all of the following tips useful.

  • Be clear and direct so your parents know exactly what you’re experiencing. It might be helpful to write down a list of your concerns so you can refer to them.
  • Listen to your parents, and understand their point of view. Listening to them shows them you’re serious and allows you to respond to their concerns.
  • Let them ask you questions, and give honest responses.
  • Avoid getting angry by paying attention to your thoughts and emotions, breathing, and asking for a break if necessary.
  • Print out an ADHD symptoms checklist and highlight areas that affect you. Talk to your parents about how these areas are keeping you from being successful and working toward your goals.
  • Suggest a trial period. Ask them to let you see a doctor or therapist to try ADHD treatment for a few months. You can all see how it goes and re-evaluate things after the trial period.

Quite often, parents resist acknowledging ADHD because they don’t want to see their son or daughter labeled or put on medication. The best way to know why your parents dislike the idea of you having ADHD is to ask them. They can share their concerns with you. Then, you can acknowledge their concerns and explain why it will be helpful for you to be evaluated for ADHD and ADHD treatment.

Talking to your parents about ADHD can feel intimidating at first, but with some prep work and using these tips, you just might find that the discussion is a positive one that leads to ADHD help.

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2017, October 13). How to Talk to Your Parents about ADHD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/adhd/how-to-talk-to-your-parents-about-adhd

Last Updated: June 19, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD