A recent Pediatric News (Rettew, David C.. “Discuss ADHD ‘Controversy’ with Parents.” Pediatric News Review) defines ADHD as a dimensional rather than binary entity.  What we have learned in our family’s journey is that it is not a psychiatric diagnosis; for us it is a spectrum of behaviors that we have experienced. For each member of our family, their nonproductive ADHD – Inattentive behaviors is our focus. Battles between parents and adolescents actions are universal.

For us, the group and unique, repetitive school problems led us to seek counseling for each son and the diagnoses of ADHD. We found few “typical” behaviors.  If the spectrum of behaviors could have been simply identified and labeled, our parenting would have been easier.  Finding, adjusting, and fixing are just functions of being nurturing parents.  We never found a box to sort ADD conduct from other adolescent madness.  What we learned from living with our sons and loving them that they do not fit into a box, rather they are DJ, JJ, and RJ.

Making ADHD a psychiatric diagnosis does not tie the spectrum of behaviors to any specific neurological function. Certain studies relate various ADHD actions to specific brain processes. But because of the interactions of families, there cannot be controlled studies. We rely on the experiences reported by professionals and parents to understand why they do the things they do.

Our goal in writing is to raise awareness and facilitate decision-making about how ADHD affects schoolwork, higher education opportunities, and workplace performance in the family. The primary decision factor is developing an informed and professional support system. We want families (i.e., parents and partners) to support the maturation of affected individuals and ultimately the opportunities for all of us to increase success, longevity, and productivity.

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