My Child Has an ADHD Diagnosis. Now What?


Your child’s ADHD diagnosis can feel scary at first, but I’m here to help you!

The reaction I got from telling my son he has ADHD was surprising, to say the least.

When I was diagnosed, I was 16. 

My mom didn’t need to give me an analogy as I was aware of what this was, although now, at age 37, I know so much more than I ever did then.

I’ll share my own story later, but in the meantime, here’s a GREAT article from a fellow Indianapolis Moms writer about overlooked signs of ADHD in women and girls:

I took a deep breath and then proceeded to tell him the analogy I had practiced and prepared for this exact moment guided by an article I read sharing Dr. Hallowel’s kid-friendly explanation, which compares the child’s fast-moving brain to a Ferrari that has the brakes of a bicycle, and that expert guidance, helpful strategies, and potentially medication help make those brakes match the speed of the Ferrari.

You can find a full explanation here. It’s a good one for kids who have never heard of ADHD before.

I explained it to him proudly, just as I had rehearsed.

He gave me a little shrug, a look out the window for a quick brain processing like he always does when he gets new information, then his eyes came into focus like he realized something and said:

 “Wait, that’s what your brain has right, Mom?”

I nodded.

And he said, “Oh, okay!! Can I go play now?”

I nodded again, left wondering if I passed this new “parenting test,” which was “Did I share this news correctly or not?” because, on top of all the responsibilities of parenthood, we also have “tests” being hurled at us from every direction that we’ve never studied for, taken the class, or know what’s expected of us and sometimes don’t get the grade back for years…but I digress.

However, being almost two years removed from this day, I can share that my super clever explanation, while helpful for his 7-year-old brain, wasn’t the main reason why this process went so smoothly.

It was showing him exactly who I was and how my brain operated every day, in little moments, since he could remember.

Since I made the choice to stay off my meds while I had kids (instead of going back and forth) I had to lean HEAVILY on my strategies to survive.

One strategy became enlisting Will to help me remember.

Every time we got into the car, it’d be a chorus of reminder questions from his tiny voice:

“Mommie, did you remember your phone?”

“Mommie, did you bring more pull-ups?”

“Mommie, does Bo have his shoes on?”

(Which I forgot so many times I’ve lost count!) 

I explained that Mommie’s brain works differently. 

While it can zero in and focus on things that make it happy, like coloring with him, playing with superhero figures makes it hard for my brain to stay focused for long. Or why we needed dance breaks to shake Mommie’s brain, which needed some help getting her mind off something. Or that Mommie sometimes cries because she just needs to since her brain struggles with emotions. 

He’s seen ADHD in real life, and it became so normalized to him that when he got his diagnosis, it didn’t feel as big as I predicted it would be. So, while you may not have ADHD yourself or talk about it with your kids, if you find yourself in the same situation as I was, here are some tips:

Point out famous people they know and admire that have ADHD. 

It is so helpful for kids to understand that this diagnosis only means that they will now know how to HARNESS their brilliance, not feel like it’s a handicap to “overcome.” Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, Emma Watson, and even Albert Einstein have been reported to have ADHD, so they have to realize that this isn’t the end for them. It’s just the beginning. 

Point out people in real life who have ADHD.

My son loved knowing his two older cousins also have ADHD, and just like knowing my brain is the same, it made him feel less alone. The more people you can point out who have ADHD, the more normalized it becomes.

Find a great psychologist to guide you through this process

We were in such amazing hands with Dr. Jenny Tarbox at Bloom Psychology. Not only did she do the testing, deliver the results, meet with us several times, and suggest medication options, but she also left us with countless strategies to help support him. I can’t recommend Bloom more!

While I’m not a specialist, a doctor, or have any degrees in psychology (although my degree in Early Childhood Education has helped!), my DMs on Instagram are always open to help you as a parent with a child who has ADHD or if you, yourself, have any questions or potentially feel like you may have ADHD.

It’s all a process, but the more you have a community around you who supports you and loves your child, I promise you it will all be okay. And even though I watch way too much Bravo and forget where I put my airpods 46 times a day, I think I turned out okay. 

And your child will, too.

Any more strategies or helpful tips? Share them below!


  1. Love these tips! It can feel so hard, and you definitely want them to have a positive outlook on it. I think that’s one way that finding someone famous or well known definitely helps!


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