(BlackDoctor.org) — Some children are always out of control. Sometimes it’s naughty behavior, sometimes it’s the result of poor parenting…but sometimes, out-of-control behavior is caused by a mental health disorder known as ADHD.
While bad behavior often accompanies other symptoms of ADHD, bad behavior in isolation is not ADHD. Children with ADHD simply cannot contain their impulses and active behavior like other kids, and these symptoms sometimes resemble bad behavior:
1. Inattention — daydreaming, lack of organization, inability to start or stick with routine tasks
2. Impulsivity — saying and doing things that are inappropriate (interrupting, being disruptive) on a regular basis
3. Hyperactivity — fidgeting, needing to move around, talking excessively
Distinguishing ADHD from bad behavior can be difficult because not only do the symptoms resemble bad behavior, but they can also lead to bad behavior.
Step Back and Observe
Parents should begin observation of their child’s behavior first. To tell the difference between bad behavior and ADHD, observe behavior over time and in different situations such as at home, at school, at a park, at the movies, and at the dinner table. If the behaviors persist over six months and across settings, it could be ADHD.
But it’s important to note that there are 18 criteria for a professional ADHD diagnosis, and none of them are about bad behavior. The most common reason for bad behavior in school is a learning style mismatch between the teacher and the student. 70 percent of those labeled with ADHD are misdiagnosed. If your child is able to follow directions and stay on task at home but not at school, then the issue is the school environment, not the child.