I need to hear the good things.

When you have ADHD, you get negative feedback ALL DAY LONG.  If I come home and hear the same negative things, I will start to think I am a "bad kid" - and I don't want to be a bad kid.  I need to hear "It's ok.  You're learning.  You're getting better".


I need a reason to keep trying.


I am motivated more by a positive tone.

When you ask me to do something, or want me to change my behavior, I am more likely to do what you say if you tell me in a positive tone.  I mean you don't scream "I LOVE YOU!"


Also, parents and kids are not motivated by the same things.  For example, parents might want everything to

Tell, don't yell.

If you need to discipline me or correct my behavior, don't yell at me.  If you do, I won't "hear" what you are saying.  My mind will just go blank.  Its like when kids play rap or heavy metal music. All parents hear is noise and they can't understand the lyrics.  In fact, I will do anything and say anything to make you stop yelling.

Punishing me for things I can't control only makes me mad at you.

Just like I didn't go to the plate and strike out on purpose, I don't go to school wanting to fail a test or get distracted during teaching time.  Having to suffer the natural consequences of those miscues is really bad enough.  You piling more consequences on me won't really accomplish anything good.  I should be punished if I break a rule or endanger myself or someone else.

Make sure I know how to do what you are asking.

Tell me what I should be doing instead of focusing on what I am doing wrong.  When Mom coached me in softball she never said, "Don't miss the ball".  Instead, she told me "Hold the bat this way," and "Stand with your feet like this," and finally "Hit the ball".  Even with all that coaching there were still times I missed the ball.  But no matter what it looked like from the dugout, I was always trying my best. I never struck out on purpose.

I'm not a robot.

I don't come pre-programmed to do everything right.  Take the time to teach me and then give me time to learn.  Even then, I still won't be perfect every time.

Mary and son Silas Smith.  Silas is a 21 year old Fine Arts Major at the University of North Texas. While he still faces the unique challenges that come with his ADHD and dyslexia, he is thriving in his process of learning to live as an independent young adult. 

What Your ADHD Child Wants to Tell You

Excerpts taken from Silas Smith's Presentation at ADHD - What You Don't Know...Really Can Hurt,

October 5 & 19, 2014.


They say "out of the mouths of babes often times come gems". That was certainly true of

Silas Smith's presentation at our recent ADHD awareness event. His assignment - "make

a list of things ADHD kids want their parents to know." What he mined from that task

was a treasure chest of what every parent needs to remember when interacting with their

child.  Here's what he had to say.