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Myths About ADHD

Closeup of teen girl

​​​​The fact that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is classified as a medical disorder doesn't stop a myriad of myths from circulating throughout our culture. We'll tackle a few of the most common myths here so you can learn to separate fact from fiction when it comes to ADHD.

Myth No. 1: ADHD Is Caused by Diet
In 1973, Dr. Ben Feingold told the American Medical Association that a link between food additives and ADHD existed. Dr. Feingold's theory has received so much media attention over the years that people assume it is a fact. The truth is that there is no evidence to prove that cutting sugar out of a child's diet will help him focus and sit still.

Myth No. 2: ADHD Is Willful Disobedience
The symptoms of ADHD can often look like rebellion or a challenge to a parent's authority. Often, however, the child may just be distracted and forget that he was asked to clean his room or do his homework. 

While being distracted and forgetting doesn't excuse not following your instructions, it may help you as a parent to stay calm and not lose control of your emotions around your child. The behavior of a child with ADHD usually is not a challenge to your authority.

Myth No. 3: ADHD Is Caused by Poor Parenting
Many people think that ADHD behaviors are the result of parents being too lenient with their children. It's common for parents or relatives whose children don't have ADHD to tell parents of children who do that they just need to "get tough" with their kids. The truth is that good parents who love their children very much have tried everything from extreme strictness to giving in to their children, and it hasn't relieved the ADHD symptoms. 

One thing all of these myths have in common is the idea that poor parenting choices lead to ADHD. While appropriate parenting is essential for helping a child who has ADHD manage his or her difficulties, a lack of appropriate parenting is not the cause of ADHD. Over time and with the consistent application of coping strategies, parents can ​help children who have ADHD learn how to experience success in school and at home.

For more information, please see the book Great Days Ahead, Parenting Children Who Have ADHD with Hope and Confidence.

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