In my fifteen years of private practice working with children with ADHD, one of the common concerns that I observed by parents was the fear that they had done something, or failed to do something, that caused their child's ADHD. I guess it is normal to blame yourself when your child is having problems.
However, it is important for parents to know that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not the result of "bad parenting" or obnoxious, willful defiance on the part of the child. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a medical condition, caused by genetic factors that result in certain neurological differences.
Yes, a child may be willfully defiant whether he has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or not. But defiance, rebelliousness, and selfishness are usually "moral" issues, not neurological issues. Make no excuses for "immoral," "selfish," or "destructive" behaviors, whether from individuals with ADD ADHD or not. Parents need to step up and correct these behavior problems whether a child has ADHD or not.
It may also be true that the parents may need further training. We are constantly amazed at how many young parents today grew up in homes where their parents were gone all day. We now see "grown up latch key kids" trying to parent as best as they can, but without having had the benefit of growing up with good parental role models. This is a problem in any family, but especially when there is a child in the home who is inattentive, impulsive, and possibly hyperactive.
Parents should consider becoming a part of a parenting class offered by a local therapist, or a local church. These classes can be a good investment of your time. More information about Attention Deficit Disorder is available at the ADHD Information Library.
Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., is a family therapist who has been working with ADHD children and their families since 1986. He is the clinical director of the ADHD Information Library's family of seven web sites, including http://www.newideas.net, helping over 350,000 parents and teachers learn more about ADHD each year. Dr. Cowan also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of VAXA International of Tampa, FL., is President of the Board of Directors for KAXL 88.3 FM in central California, and is President of NewIdeas.net Incorporated.