Eight common misconceptions about ADHD


A parent whose child has ADHD knows in no uncertain terms that their child has ADHD. How can they not know? Poor concentration, extreme hyperactivity, and impulsivity says it all. Normal parenting techniques do not work with this child.

The nature of this neurological disorder can leave the ADHD child misunderstood as the naughty, defiant difficult child who deliberately behaves inappropriately. To the contrary, this is a child with a serious neurological condition. However, no matter how much you try to explain the condition to some people – they are instead, committed to misunderstanding ADHD, and opinions different from their own.

Stereotypes associated with the disorder still exist. From my understanding – it is always the people who have never experienced ADHD at its worst, who will most likely question the ADHD diagnosis.

Misconception number 1#

  • Children diagnosed with ADHD are defiant, head strong, and want to be naughty.

Before a diagnosis of ADHD is made, numerous reports are collated by the child’s class teachers, parent/ or parent’s. A Reports is developed over a period of six months.  This report discusses the child’s hyperactivity, impulsivity and ability to concentrate.

Misconception number 2#

  • ADHD children eat too much sugar:

ADHD is a neurological disorder characterised by the extremity of the behaviour. Silly behaviour exacerbated by sugar will ware off – returning the child without ADHD, to a normal state of mind. However, a child with a severe case of ADHD will be ridiculously hyperactive, too silly, too loud, too distracted, and completely inattentive all throughout the day, with or without sugar.

 Misconception number 3#

  • A Parent whose child has been diagnosed with ADHD doesn’t discipline their child:

Parents with ADHD will tell you that their child is the most disciplined child in the room. Disciplining an ADHD child too much will have the opposite effect, and will cause more trouble than it is worth.

Misconception number 4#

  • ADHD children are spoilt children who have no boundaries: 

There is absolutely no correlation between boundaries and concentration. The brain of an ADHD child is wired differently to that of a non- ADHD child.

ADHD children have lower levels of dopamine, which means they find mundane tasks boring. These children cannot get dressed, cannot tie up their shoe laces – and simply cannot finish a task without medication. Its too hard. Their brains need highly stimulating activities to function.

A Spoilt child may be a difficult child. However, regardless of being spoilt, their brain is designed for concentration and consistency. A spoilt child can make choices around their own behaviour. They can think before they act; which means fewer incidents of impulsivity. Entitlement is a personality trait, and has little do with the way a brain functions.

Misconception number 5# 

  • Medicating children leads to drug addiction:

If a child is not medicated in childhood, consequences can be dire. The result of not medicating your child may include drug addiction and time spent in gaol. Mental health disorders including conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder, or oppositional defiance disorder may result.

Medicated children are not just given medication to stop ADHD symptoms. They are also encouraged to commit to a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy program, which will show the child, while on medication, how to behave.

Misconception number 6#

  • Dysfunctional adults have ADHD children:

ADHD is hereditary. However, there are many dysfunctional adults  with fully functional children. There are also many ADHD adults who do have ADHD children. However, this does not mean that these adults are completely dysfunctional. Dysfunctional behaviour is often largely dependant on upbringing, values handed down, and support. Dysfunctional behaviour also depends on the severity of the ADHD, which can broken down into three types of ADHD.

Three types of ADHD:

Inattentive: An inability to concentrate

Hyperactive/ Impulsive: An extreme amount of energy, and an eagerness to act without thought.

Combined: All three of the above elements.

Misconception number 7#

  • A child with an ADHD diagnosis does not need to be medicated:

There is no evidence that food elimination diets actually work. However, evidence exists that medication improves focus and concentration.

Misconception number 8#

  • There is no proof that ADHD exists:

Numerous studies have been carried out on the ADHD brain. Significant studies suggest that the ADHD brain is smaller in size, has more grey matter around the cerebal cortex, and has smaller frontal lobes than a non- ADHD brain. Other studies show that the ADHD brain has lower levels of dopamine and norepinephrine.

Some organisations, doctors, and neuroscientists still argue that ADHD doesn’t exist. To these people, I guess it is a debatable issue. However, for a parent with a child with a serious strain of ADHD, there is no debate about it.







  1. Value | 14th Apr 18

    Thank you for this! Everytime I hear someone repeat the meme that “ADHD doesn’t exist,” it drives me crazy! I then proceed to educate them.

    There is overlap between ADHD and FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder). FASD is epidemic and underdiagnosed. ONE DRINK during a pregnancy is all it takes to damage a developing child in utero. Alcohol is more teratogenic than cocaine or heroin.

    One FASD/FAS expert told me that about 90% of those diagnosed with ADHD have FASD. (The two may exist comorbidly.) Smaller brain size fits; one sign of FASD is microcephaly (smaller head size).

    Keep on keepin’ on; this blog is awedome!

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