As a mental health therapist, I often witness parents making three mistakes when their children are diagnosed with ADHD or ADD. If you are a parent of a child or adolescent diagnosed with ADHD, read on to find out if you are currently making these mistakes, and what alternative approaches to take.

Mistake # 1: Thinking ADHD doesn’t really exist and it’s all your fault (or that of the "other" parent).

So it has finally come to this, after numerous times in detention, poor grades in school, behavioral problems at home and in school, the proverbial straw which broke the camel’s back has finally landed you and your child in the office of a mental health clinician, where the diagnosis has been rendered. You don't believe in ADHD and believe you should implement stricter forms of discipline. In most cases, one parent will blame the disciplinary styles of the other parent for the child's problems.

ADHD is a biological problem, caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters (chemicals used by the brain to control behavior), or an abnormal glucose metabolism in the central nervous system. ADHD is also documented and supported by over 95 years of research. Dismissing a diagnosis of ADHD is a costly mistake for any parent to make, because as your child gets older, so do his responsibilities, along with the natural and logical consequences of not following through on those responsibilities. If his symptoms are not properly addressed, his troubles are going to become much worse and more intolerable.

Mistake # 2: Believing that medication cures ADHD.

Medication works in enabling a child to maintain and exhibit concentration, control and goal-directed effort on tasks, but only for a short period of time. Medication also works to temporarily reduce aggression, disruptive behavior and hyperactivity. It is not a cure. In severe cases, to achieve long-term positive effects from typical ADHD medications, a combination of therapeutic services and medications needs to be implemented. It is a costly mistake when parents place their children on medication but make no fundamental changes in the family structure and dynamics.

Mistake # 3: Believing that there is little that parents, teachers and guardians can do to help address behavioral issues of children with ADHD.

This is another costly mistake which goes hand in hand with mistake # 2. Believing there is little one can do to address the behavioral issues and symptoms associated with ADHD is only going to make the behavior and symptoms worse. It usually leads to an overindulged adolescent, whose behavior routinely inconveniences everyone in the household and shows little empathy towards loved ones.


The most effective measures I have witnessed and routinely suggested to parents for addressing their children’s symptoms are as follows:

Parents need to educate themselves on the latest research relating to the causes of ADHD. The spirit behind this rule is for parents to develop an understanding of what their child is going through, in light of their need to be firm in addressing behavioral problems.

Depending on the severity of symptoms, medications might be recommended. However, whether or not medication is prescribed in the treatment process, parents and their child need to learn cognitive strategies to create the type of consistent, structured environment which children diagnosed with ADHD have been known to thrive in. Notice I underlined “parents”; ADHD or otherwise, as long as a parent is a primary caretaker of a minor, in order to implement change in the child’s life, the family milieu has to make significant changes. Once a consistent regimen has been established in the home, parents can then play the role of case managers in discussing with teachers and school authorities what methods are most effective in addressing the needs of their children.

Children with ADHD can be successful in school and can learn to self-manage and engage positively on a consistent basis. Through the services of a mental health therapist, parents can internalize cognitive behavioral strategies, for themselves and their child, to help establish positive consistency in the household.

Author's Bio: 

Ugo Uche is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Life Coach who specializes with parenting and ADHD. He also owns a private practice, Road 2 Resolutions. For more information about Ugo please visit