Q: We just found out our 10-year-old grandchild has ADHD. His parents say they won’t allow him to blame anything on his ADHD and won’t take any excuses. What can I do to help him?
Oh gosh, this is so hard. The snarky part of me is thinking that if your grandchild was diagnosed, one of his parents definitely has ADHD. Often, those who deny the condition, or hold unreasonable expectations around it, do so because they are fighting an internal battle we cannot see.
My younger brother proudly states that he doesn’t treat his ADHD. He frequently tells me, “those pills are just a crutch.”
So I asked him, “Why would a person need to use crutches or a brace?”
My brother, looking at me like I’m a moron, said, “So they can hold themselves up and do what they need to do.”
“My point exactly.”
Maybe the best thing you can do to support your grandchild is to get really curious with the parents. Ask them if they are willing to talk more about what they feel ADHD really is, and what it means to them.
Try to gather as much intel as possible by asking questions. If something happens at school, ask them why they think he is struggling.
Don’t try to educate them yourself. They will come to better conclusions on their own if you tread lightly.
In the meantime, tell your grandson you’d be glad to support him in any way you can. My grandparents made a huge difference in my mental health and in my understanding of how ADHD shows up over generations.
Hope this helps!