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Overly critical parents could be worsening their child’s ADHD, study shows

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Posted at 8:46 PM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 22:46:22-05

WEST JORDAN, Utah – A new study shows the way children are treated with ADHD by their parents could be prolonging their symptoms.

A study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology suggest parents who consistently criticize their children with ADHD could be prolonging the symptoms beyond their teen years, a time when it should be declining.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a chemical imbalance that impacts 6.4 million children in the U.S. They feel anxiety and struggle to stay focused.

“I think a lot of parents have difficulty coping with it,” said Jessica Youmans, a social worker at a treatment facility called New Beginnings in West Jordan.

Youmans said parents are often overwhelmed, and out of frustration they criticize their child rather than the behavior, and that echoes a key finding in the study.

Researchers point out if symptoms persist into adulthood it could lead to serious addictions.

“If they’re not managed, it can lead to more intense behaviors like criminal activity,” Youmans said.

Fifteen-year-old Mandi Kinsey was diagnosed with ADHD as a child.

“I’ll walk into a room and I have 10 other things on my mind and I’m like, ‘crap, what was I doing?’” Mandi explained.

The high school sophomore has learned to manage the symptoms with a lot of help from her mom.

“Right now, I’m 3.9 GPA without my mom, I probably wouldn’t be this high because she teaches me to do better,” Mandi said.

Mandi’s mom Julie Kinsey said she’s learned through trial and error, to be patient and consistent and it’s paid off.

“I’m like every other parent, some days are hard and I get stressed about it and stuff, not sure if I’m doing something right,” Kinsey said.

Overall, Kinsey said, “positive approaches, I think, work better.”

Read the full study here.