Parents that don't accept it as a "real" thing

What has worked for you to educate your parents on ADHD when they’re convinced it’s something made up by Ritalin salesmen?

My sister was diagnosed in college almost ten years ago, and I was diagnosed last month. My dad hates the idea of us using “meth”. He doesn’t even agree that ADHD is necessarily a psychiatric condition, but instead typically comes down to bad parenting or that “ADHD” is typical young boy behavior that’s being medicated to make parents’ and teachers’ lives easier. With this being his belief system, you can imagine how he reacted when I told him I have ADHD xD .

I don’t necessarily need to change his outlook on the entire field of psychiatry (much as I would like to), but I don’t want to have the same conversation about it for the next 30 years (you know the one: “You still takin’ them pills?” “Yep.” “You really think you need 'em?” and so on). I could just tell him “I’m not gonna talk about it anymore,” and he would probably respect that 92% of the time, but I’d rather get him to at least accept that it’s a real thing and that Adderall et al. are not “poisonous drugs” being foisted on the American public (it’s like people forget they’re schedule II drugs–the most tightly controlled substances you can buy legally).

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See, this is why talking about my adhd diagnosis feels like a second coming out to me. And why I am choosing, as the adult child of parents now aged around 80,not to bother!

I’ve told some of my siblings, my wife and kids, my in-laws and most of my fellow students. Haven’t told my employer yet (we are in the middle of a reorganisation and the interim manager is flexing his axe-swinging arm as it is).

Basically, if your parents don’t (want to) get it, I would recommend leaving it. You can’t change them unless they want to change. They might come round to your way of thinking one day. Until then, try to stop waiting for that. It will just make you sad or angry or something else negative.

And the good news? In spite if everything, my mum made our wedding cake,and my dad said something so beautiful that day it still brings tears to my eyes. Just be yourself, let him see that you are doing this your way. Time will probably help eventually, and if it doesn’t, you’ll have preseved your own sanity by not expecting something he can’t give.


Lust for life, im a teacher too

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I would also recommend leaving it. Your dad doesn’t want to understand right now so it’s probably best to avoid the conversation whenever possible.

I’m in a similar boat with my non believing wife. I keep it to myself now but I’ll be the first to tell you it’s not a good way to be. In your case I hope time will help

I can imagine that having this problem with your partner is worse than with your parents…:confused:

Definitely not fun that’s for sure but stuck between a rock and a hard place. It takes its toll on me but I just smile and pretend everything is OK…

It’s tough. My mom doesn’t want to acknowledge it because she feels like if I really have ADHD then she failed because she didn’t see it. I tried reassuring her that it is difficult to diagnose my flavor of ADHD, but its hard to explain. Nobody thinks I have ADHD. I’m not the stereotype (who is?). I was the daydreamer. The creative kid who was smart and did fine. Until I didn’t.

I have completely lost my mind and decided I just don’t care anymore, lol. I am talking about ADHD with everyone. PTA meeting? Sure, they can all know I have ADHD. It’s good for them to know that a successful mom who helps run school activities and brought so many great changes has ADHD. Facebook? Yeah… I am sharing How to ADHD videos. Family Dinner? I just can’t care. ADHD is my reality. People need to understand neurodiversity. Neurodiversity isn’t just accepting people who aren’t typical. It is recognizing that the human species NEEDS different ways of thinking. We are VITAL to innovation. We have made some of the most important changes in history. We aren’t people with a problem. We are people with a unique set of skills to share and we sometimes struggle because a neurotypical world isn’t set up for us. That’s the world’s problem, not ours. We are pretty amazing just the way we are.


I am really sorry to hear this. Communication is so important to a healthy marriage. I am assuming you are male with “Scott” and “wife” in your name and statement, so feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I think in some ways women have an easier time with expressing what we need from our partners. It’s socially acceptable for us to say “this is what we are feeling.” Its tough for guys. Have you let your wife know that you don’t feel like you are able to communicate your experiences or feelings with her? I deserve not to be isolated in that way. ADHD is hard enough to navigate with support.

Yea I totally hear you. I first started my mental health journey in October of 2016. Started stimulant medications in August of 2017. And now I’m here…

Yes I do tend to talk about ADHD. It just feels different when you have more control of your life, like you are trying to reach enlightenment.

Welcome to the tribe.

… and then I just tripped on my book bag…

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In my humble, and somewhat shallow, opinion, what others think about me is none of my business. If this helps, I am glad. If not, simply disregard and carry on.

I don’t have any advice, but I do have a lot of sympathy. I hope you’re able to find a way to navigate this that’s comfortable for everyone :heart:

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You can’t educate those who don’t want to be educated. If they have specific prejudices, your mentioning a trigger word about one of those prejudices would simply launch them into another tirade on whatever they think is screwed up with the world. It will be like pushing the “repeat” button on your audio player. You have heard it before. N times.

As an adult you don’t need to tell them. You may want their acceptance and understanding (for having been misunderstood many times before) as well as support but it may not happen.

Accept they may never quite “get” you and in spite of that they still love you. Just deepen your bond with them in other ways.


I’m so sorry to hear your wife doesn’t believe either that ADHD exist, or that you have it. Have you been diagnosed? Maybe your psychiatrist would consider sitting with her?

Whatever you do, there are people here who understand and support you.

Thank you for your post! I have suspected for a while now that I have ADHD and yesterday, I finally got my diagnosis! I connected so much in what you said about your mom. When I tried to bring up the subject with my family a couple months ago, there was a very dismissive vibe. Especially from my mom. Until your post I hadn’t considered that her reaction couldnt have been in defence of her parenting. I’d really love for my mom to be supportive of me in this. Maybe she’ll get there eventually.

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Hi Brittany, I love @Tgeb’s post too! That thing about a parent not being able to admit failure is spot on for many parents, especially if they learned the ‘because I’m your mother/father and I say so’ type of parenting. If your parenting style is based on being the boss then it’s especially hard to admit to being wrong. My mother is one of those!

I also really admire tgeb’s ‘out and proud’ stance at PTA meetings etc. I think maybe it helps to be respected for what you do before telling that part of the world though. It’s certainly true that I am far more open with the people who know me better than with newer/more superficial connections.

Sadly, my mother doesn’t come into the ‘people who know me well category’. She seems to still be stuck in the ‘if I wish for it hard enough and ignore any evidence to the contrary, the dream version of my children will be reality and if they do otherwise they should expect severe disapproval’ mode. Ah well, maybe one day, and if not, more her loss than mine.


sigh Moms.

Sounds like you’ve got your head on straight about it. :slight_smile: Keep that up! Your positivity is contagious. Me? I’m not letting her opinion change my decisions. I love that I’ve finally been diagnosed and that it’s not just all in my head.

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