10 Common Myths About ADHD

There are a lot of myths about ADHD. You may hear all kinds of misconceptions that can make it hard to know what’s true and how best to support your child.

Knowing the facts can help you feel more confident in your parenting decisions. Here’s the reality behind 10 common myths about ADHD.

Myth #1: ADHD isn’t a real medical condition.

Fact: The National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Psychiatric Association all recognize ADHD as a medical condition.

Research shows that ADHD is hereditary—one out of four people with ADHD have a parent with ADHD. And imaging studies show differences in brain development between kids who have ADHD and kids who don’t.

If your child has ADHD, you know how real it is and how big an impact it can have on everyday living.

Myth #2: ADHD is the result of bad parenting.

Fact: It’s common for kids with ADHD to struggle with certain behaviors. But people who don’t know you or your child may attribute your child’s behavior to a lack of discipline. They don’t realize that your child’s inappropriate comments or constant fidgeting are signs of a medical condition, not of bad parenting.

Myth #3: Kids with ADHD just need to try harder to pay attention.

Fact: Kids with ADHD are often trying as hard as they can to pay attention—sometimes even harder than other kids. It’s not a problem of motivation or “laziness.”

Telling kids with ADHD to “just focus” is like asking someone who’s nearsighted to see farther when they’re not wearing glasses. Studies show there are differences in the pathways (or neural networks) in the brains of kids with ADHD. These networks can take longer to develop or may work less efficiently.

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