Quick Tip

Don't Read That! Why the Media Stokes Parents' Worst Fears

I’m offering two tips today.

Tip 1: For the Media

Please – stop publishing fake news that can be damaging to children. Stop giving airtime to “experts” who deny the existence of a bio-neurological condition, or to propagandists who want to demonize a form of medical treatment. Just stop it.

The evidence of ADHD is apparent in an extraordinary amount of research, and painfully evident in the lives of families coping with it. Stop spreading mistruths, which would be silly if they weren’t so hurtful.

Stop saying ADHD is just too much sugar, food coloring, “bad” parenting, or overindulged kids. The truth is that ADHD is real, and reporting that is less than comprehensive or accurate is tremendously detrimental for families.

 Tip 2: For Parents

Beware of sensational headlines!

The media isn’t coming from a place of compassion – that’s not really its job. Too often, it’s a business looking for ways to create tension and sell newspapers (or the digital equivalent). We have to work hard not to take news stories personally – or comments on Facebook or at the grocery store – because that undermines what we’re doing for our kids.

So-called documentaries on the ‘dangers’ of ADHD medication are another avenue that has been coming up, lately. Check the facts before you freak out. Properly treated ADHD actually reduces risk of drug-abuse and addiction. Well-informed teens who are responsible with their medication should not be stigmatized because unscrupulous students are taking advantage of a situation.

It’s important that you become well-informed to be a medical advocate for your child. As for learning what you need to know from the media? Be a wise consumer.

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