I don’t know what I was expecting when we decided to have kids all those years ago. The idyllic parts of my childhood unfolding before my eyes in little half clones? A social science experiment to explore the foundations of humanity? A series of proteges to mold into my image? Whatever it was, it was probably stupid and naive, cause this shit is hard.
I have three kids all in that glorious teenage/tweenage series of years. All three come with their own challenges, which I won’t out on their behalf, save one fact, with their permission; they got ADHD. You know, the super popular thing adults like to self diagnose on Instagram and TikTok? That is what they have.
It is a real, and unique struggle for each of them. ADHD is a spectrum of things that manifest uniquely in people, and each of my kids struggle with different parts of the whole situation. This, in turn, requires their family to adjust, react, and support them in many different ways tailored to that individual kid. They get to have it their way like at Burger King. It is a struggle as a parent, and these days, I am the primary caregiver (I work from home these last few years), so I am often swinging between elation to frustration at any given moment each day.
Despite the struggle, the thing that I despise the most (and my long rambling point), is the absolute cultural co-opting of every selfish behavior by adults as the very serious struggle of ADHD. Executive disfunction is a real challenge. Focus is a real challenge. Impulse control is a real challenge. ADHD induced Anxiety is a real challenge. You, the adult posting quips on Instagram or the dumpster fire Elon made about being a mess does not make it ADHD.
Being a parent of kids with neurodiversity is hard enough as it is in this country. We are shit at supporting folks with mental issues. I am old enough to remember when Ronny cut funding and they bussed folks from their care centers down state to Chicago. We either lock people away, ignore them, dismiss them, or blame them for everything. As a family we have faced the indifference of the system relatively recently, and it shocked lots of people outside our home as to the cruelty of those whose job it is to help people.
Adults using popular tracks to gain clout online as they say or post quips about ADHD to mask the holes in their lives could maybe stop. They create a misconception around the very real challenges kids with the actual diagnosis face. They dismiss the real trauma these kids have to navigate and reinforce mental health stereotypes that we have carried since the Victorian era.
Maybe they should stop being selfish assholes.