3 min read   •   June 6, 2019
Lorian Phillips; Clinical Psychologist

So far, I have written about some of the difficulties experienced in raising and parenting one’s ADHD/ADD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder/attention deficit disorder) child.

Right now, it’s time to look at the many positives that ADHD children have – but please bear in mind that every child is different – they may all have the same diagnosis but they are all still their own people with their own temperaments, characteristics, personalities, etc. so the list that follows is a generalisation, and not necessarily applicable to all.

Firstly, the ADHD symptom of hyperfocus is incredibly useful. When our children are interested in something, we all know how difficult it is to tear them away. When this is something important for their wellbeing and development such as a wonderful hobby, a subject they are incredibly interested in or learning a new skill, this hyperfocus is a total gift and keeps them on track for hours on end.

Secondly, we often hear how adventurous, curious and hyperactive the ADHD child is – these are very positive qualities when channelled constructively. If one reads any book about entrepreneurs, successful businesspeople, etc. these are the qualities that are often used to describe them. Being curious means wanting to find out about things and pushing for more knowledge, the sense of adventure will direct the curiosity to exploration and experimentation and the busyness means that the person has the energy to do so. Within the context of work and life, these are very positive qualities when used effectively.

Thirdly, the resourcefulness, innovativeness and inventiveness of these kids can be incredible. I have watched my one son use his artistic talent to sell his works online, get commissions from others and therefore earn money on the side (this was at 16 years old). This is a good example of using these characteristics to think out of the box, in a lateral way.

And lastly, our children are often incredibly forgiving, good-hearted and gregarious. I believe that this stands them in good stead in their dealings with others. I can only be grateful for these qualities when I think back to my early struggles with my eldest son and how awful I was at times, and how close and connected we are today. Thank goodness for his forgiving, good-hearted nature!

It’s important to be aware of the positives of these ADHD/ADD symptoms when we are caught in the morass of frustration and sometimes despair.

We only need to think of Albert Einstein who was repeatedly seen as a poor student by his teachers and who only began to talk after the age of two. Today, he is recognised as having been ADHD. One of my favourite quotes by him is, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”. This is often what happens with the ADD child in the school environment and it is often only after school that all of the so-called negative characteristics of ADHD are viewed in the positive light I have described above.

Remember too Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Justin Timberlake, Michael Phelps as beautiful examples of ADHD people, and then go and give your child a big hug!