Parenting an ADHD Child: A Father's Perspective
Go to any formal event where there are speeches given, such as
a political dinner or some other gathering. Wait until the third
speech, and then look at any group of twenty-five people. You
will observe three types of people.
Most people will be sitting there politely, trying to hide the
fact they are bored. Then there will be two or three people who
will be fiddling with a pen, doodling on a napkin, or tapping
their fingers. They will look restless and very uneasy sitting
there. Finally, there will be one person who looks like he is
climbing out of his skin. He gets up. He sits down. He plays
with his mobile phone. He looks at his watch. He won't be able
to keep his legs still. If you investigate this person, you
will most likely find a number of things about him. Probably
that person is a CEO of some corporation or some other
high-powered executive. He likely is the busiest, most
successful person at that table. If you look further into that
person's life you also may find that he did not do very well in
school. Why? That person has ADHD.
If you have been reading about ADHD and learning disabilities
for a while, I am sure you have come across all the stories
written by the optimists. You know by now that Thomas Edison
had ADHD, that Leonardo Da Vinci was severely dyslexic, and that
Albert Einstein failed math and couldn't get a teaching position
after he graduated university. You may have heard of the personal
recounts of modern celebrities like Robin Williams or John
Irving. These optimists then try to reassure you. They tell
you that the world is full of such people who, in spite of
their handicaps, rose to greatness. You should know that this
is entirely false. No one ever rose to greatness in spite of
a handicap. These people rose to greatness because of their
Take for example, Helen Keller. She was a person who at a very
young age became blind and deaf. As she strove to overcome her
deficits, she achieved greatness and influenced the world around
her in a way that few in her generation were able to do. It was
her handicap that brought out her greatness. If she had never
become blind or deaf, she probably would have led a very
If your child has ADHD, then there are three things that can
happen. He can let it break him and it will be his downfall. He
can live with it and try to compensate for the trouble it
causes him. Or he can incorporate it into his future and use it
to catapult him to a level that he would never have been able to
achieve if he did not have ADHD. Does this mean he will be
famous? Probably not, but greatness has nothing to do with
fame. A person is great when he takes all the characteristics
and abilities given to him, both good and bad, and directs them
and uses them to benefit himself, his family, and his society.
A warm loving parent, a sensitive spouse, a good neighbor, an
ethical person. You will never hear about these people, but
these are the true heroes our generation. Any child, even a
child with ADHD, can become this type of hero.
Your child has three paths before him. Which path he chooses
will be a result in a large part of how you raise him. Will you
allow his ADHD to destroy him? Or will you instill in him a
sense of self worth that will carry him through this and all
other obstacles in his life?
The statistics regarding the long-term prognosis of ADHD are
not pretty. But, your child is not a statistic. And, he has one
asset that most children with ADHD do not have. He has a parent
that cares enough about him and who wants to help him; enough
to read an article like this one. This already gives him an
advantage way above most children with ADHD.
People tell me I should be more optimistic. I should be more
encouraging to other parents. I should be enthusiastic and
hopeful about their child's future. I really cannot do that.
First of all, I am not an optimist. More importantly, however,
what happens with your child has nothing to do with me. It
really depends upon you.
Your child's future is in your hands. It is your job to mold
and shape your child until he reaches an age in which he has
the understanding and ability to mold and shape himself.
Anthony Kane, MD
ADD ADHD Advances