Friends and Me and ADHD

Peter Jaksa, Ph.D.

Many kids with ADHD are very popular with their friends. Why? There are many reasons for that. Kids with ADHD are lots of fun to play with. They are friendly and loyal. Many kids with ADHD are full of energy and interested in doing different things. They are impulsive and spontaneous, and often have a good sense of humor. Many kids with ADHD are very creative and come up with some neat ideas!

Keep an eye on some things that might get you in trouble. Sometimes kids with ADHD get bored and impatient when playing with other kids. They want things RIGHT NOW! Remember to wait your turn and try to have patience when you need to wait. It can be really annoying when someone gets too pushy or tries to have their way all the time. If you want people to be nice to you, be nice to them. As the old saying goes, if you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive!

If you're a kid who has ADHD, be proud of who you are! Having ADHD does not make you very different from any other kids — and remember that everybody is a little different in their own way. Some of your friends are tall and some are short, some are good at sports and some aren't, some are good at math and some are not, some wear glasses or contacts and some don't, some have ADHD and some don't. The important thing is to appreciate people for what they are, and to treat them with respect. Keep in mind the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want them to treat you. If you're nice to people, most of them will be nice to you too.

If you have ADHD, should you tell your friends about it? Talk to your parents about that and get their advice. ADHD is not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Many kids don't want to treat it like it's some kind of big secret. A good friend will accept you and like you for being yourself. Having ADHD is NOT a reason for any kid not to like you!

Tips on getting along with friends:

  • treat people the way you want them to treat you (the Golden Rule!)
  • don't criticize, it just hurts people's feelings
  • have patience and wait your turn
  • give sincere compliments
  • control your temper
  • if you're wrong about something, admit it — if you argue it just makes it worse
  • always be honest
  • think first before doing anything that might get you in trouble
  • share
  • ask people if they want to do something — don't give direct orders
  • be proud of who you are, and always be yourself!

Text material copyright © 1998, Peter Jaksa, Ph.D. Graphics copyright © 1998 West Essex Psychology Center

About The Author

Peter Jaksa, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 30 years experience working with children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD. Dr. Jaksa is the author of numerous articles and columns about ADHD, including articles published in ADDitude Magazine, Attention Magazine, Organize Magazine, and FOCUS. He has provided interviews to national publications and news organizations including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Chicago Tribune, and Men's Health Magazine. He has presented at national conferences to health care professionals, educators, and the general public. Dr. Jaksa is a contributing writer for ADDitude Magazine and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board.