ADHD can look different from one child to the next. But one universal quality of children with ADHD seems to be that they can uniquely frustrate parents to their limits—I speak with authority on this point as an ADHD former child myself, with a rich history in this particular area of the parent/ADHD child relationships.
In addition to the frustrations of dealing with the difficult, sometimes inscrutable behaviors of a child with ADHD, I know it can be hard to watch your child struggle with behaviors they can’t always control, and cope with the anxiety and self-doubt that so often accompany their challenges.
The good news is, you aren’t helpless. There’s a lot parents can do to understand children with ADHD better and help them thrive, despite the different ways their minds works. And there is a lot of help out there for you along the way.
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These ADHD books for parents offer some great starting points.
There is still a big gap in addressing ADHD diagnosis in minority populations. There is a significant shortage of ADHD books for parents written by or for people of color on this topic. To learn more about this glaring gap in diagnosis for minorities with ADHD, some great places to start are Race and ADHD: How People of Color get Left Behind, Culturally Competent Approaches to ADHD: Issues in African-American Populations, and “ADHD In Minority Youth: Are Misdiagnoses the New Norm?”
ADHD Books for Parents
ADHD Explained: What Every Parent Needs to Know by Dr. Nekeshia Hammond
Consider this your starting line for ADHD books for children. If your child just been diagnosed with ADHD—or even if you only suspect your child may have it—this book will give you a foundation to work from to understand how your child’s mind works differently, banish myths about ADHD, and help your child find success.
Positive Behavior, Social Skills and Self-Esteem: A Parent’s Guide to Preschool ADHD by Esta M. Rapoport
Even more than most young kids, kids with ADHD hear “no” a lot. And our ability to meet these demands is, well, limited, even for a child. It impacts our relationships with peers, teachers, and parents alike, and can really tear down a child’s self-esteem.
This book focuses on developing parenting techniques to foster better habits in your young child with ADHD, and build confidence that can set up your child not only to thrive in preschool, but throughout life.
Would You Teach a Fish to Climb a Tree? A Different Take on Kids with ADD, ADHD, OCD and Autism by Dr. Dain Heer, Gary M. Douglas, and Anne Maxwell, LCSW
Einstein famously said that everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will believe it is stupid. This book leans into the idea that children with ADHD—as well as autism and OCD—are gifted, just in different ways than we’re used to measuring. As an ADHD kid who routinely scored high on AP tests but could barely pass the correlating classes, and who became deflated over years of being scolded for not living up to my potential, the approach of treating kids with learning disorders as gifted brings tears to my eyes.
Such an approach can quite seriously change lives, and the books and tools that help parents, teachers and other key adults in a child’s life accomplish this are something I consider worth special priority.
Teenagers with ADD, ADHD and Executive Function Deficits: A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Chris A. Zeigler Dendy
If you thought typical teens were a handful, try one with ADHD. Impulse control issues make teens with ADHD more susceptible than their peers to drinking, drug use, and many other risk factors that could put them in danger and impact their life far beyond graduation. It can also be a challenging time to navigate the education system and ensure they have what they need to succeed in school.
This book lays outs strategies for advocacy, support and resilience to help your teen through these years.
Raising Girls with ADHD: Secrets for Parenting Healthy, Happy Daughters by James Forgan and Mary Anne Richey
It’s not fully clear why, but ADHD looks different in girls than boys. It can mean girls are prone to delayed diagnosis of their learning disorder, which is correlated with additional academic challenges and low self-esteem.
(Pssst, yes, there is also a companion book about ADHD in boys by the same duo.)
Boys Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD by Penny Williams
Most of these ADHD books for parents focus on how a parent can better support their child, but parents need support, too. You aren’t alone, and this book offers the raw and personal story of a mother as she navigates the ups and downs of raising her child with ADHD. It’s sure to offer catharsis and perspective, as well as some support and tools.
The ADD/ADHD Checklist: A Practical Reference for Parents and Teachers by Sandra F. Rief
If your child has ADHD, you will have battles with your child’s teachers at some point. The education system is not made for them. At some point, a teacher is likely to tell your or your child that their ADHD is not real, or that your child is just lazy, stupid, or doesn’t care enough. It comes in many forms, but your child will need you to advocate for them—and they will need your help to learn to advocate for themselves. This book offers tools to help you navigate the challenges fo the education system so your child can get the support they need in the classroom.
Parent Child Excursions: ADHD, Anxiety, and Autism by Dan Shapiro and John Watkins-Chow
This book redefines ADHD, autism, and anxiety in terms of issues with “stopping” and “going” mechanisms within your child’s mind. It offers ways to help your child strengthen self-control and balance in self-managing functions they struggle with because of how they’re wired. Of note, this book includes a section on sexuality and gender variation for children with these disabilities.