• Dr Max Davie


Updated: Jul 22, 2020

I get asked this question a fair amount, but I’m willing to bet that parents think it a lot more than they verbalize it.

The simple answer is no. Blame, shame and guilt are part of being a parent, I know, but leave them aside.

The way I see it, there are two parts to having ADHD. Firstly, there’s that fizziness of the brain, that makes thoughts come in an uncontrollable tumble, impulses be so strong that they often bypass rational thought, emotions overwhelm you in moments, and all of this act as a constant background buzz which makes concentrating on a single thing a huge effort. That’s the brain party of ADHD. It’s biology, mainly caused by genetics, but also contributed to by premature birth and sometimes drugs or alcohol in pregnancy.

The other aspect of ADHD is the trouble it causes. If you think about it, there’s nothing wrong in itself with having a fizzy brain - if you child love on an adventure playground (or an XBox) it would be fine! But the thing is that kids with ADHD brains have to live in families, go to schools, and interact with society at large. Other people’s responses, as well as the amount of sleep, food and exercise the child receives, affect the child’s emotions and behaviour.

Let me give an example. A child that goes to a school which gives regular exercise, adapts teaching to the child’s ADHD, and explicitly praises the child’s efforts, will end up with a happier, more compliant pupil than one which is indifferent, rigidly strict and provides no opportunity for exercise. In the same way, families can affect how positive the child feels, how he responds to difficulties, and how he treats other people.

So you can’t change the fact that your child has ADHD, and you didn’t make it happen. But by aiming for a few simple things you can make his or her ADHD less troublesome. I would suggest

  • Positive responses to any positive behaviour

  • A few clear, fair, consistent rules

  • Good sleep

  • Regular meals together

  • Time exercising most or every day.


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