Imagine this scene: Your 7–year–old won’t stop teasing his little sister. You give him a 10 minute time out, but he refuses to comply and has a total meltdown. Or suppose you tell your 13–year–old to do her homework and stop texting her friend or else she will lose TV privileges for the week. She becomes upset and breaks your favorite framed picture. If you’re the parent of a child with ADHD, this might sound all too familiar.
To put it simply, parenting a child who has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder isn’t always easy. Kids with ADHD need special attention because they are special—they are wired differently than their peers. Brain scans show that the brains of ADHD kids look much different when performing certain functions than those of their neurotypical peers. In fact, studies have shown that the thickness of the cortex of their brains is growing at a pace that is three years behind their peers. What does this mean for kids with ADHD? They are thinking and behaving at the same level as children three years their junior do—yet they are expected to respond to situations in an age–appropriate fashion. Kids with ADHD are often scolded and told: “act your age”—but that’s often not possible for them to do.