| FYI |

Five Things I Wish You Knew about Having a Sibling with ADHD 

When he’s out of control… so is everything around him, and that’s really hard

ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is not one basic diagnosis, but a huge, wide range that can be as simple as having trouble focusing (which affects the person, but not his or her siblings) to being super hyperactive and impulsive (which REALLY affects siblings). We’re here to talk about the end of the range that does affect siblings.


There’s a saying that a house only functions as well as its least functioning inhabitant. That means that if one of our siblings is not functioning well in school, or in relationships, or in his behavior at home, that affects the whole family, and this is something that really impacts us. When my sibling with ADHD is under control, the whole house runs well and functions well. When he’s out of control… so is everything around him, and that’s really hard.


Kids with ADHD often need medication to help them function at their best. But it’s really hurtful (and quite rude) when friends, relatives, or neighbors say things like, “Shouldn’t he be on medication or something?” or, “Does he take anything to calm him down?” Yes, even adults have said things like this to me or my siblings (and even to my parents) and not only is it totally inappropriate to make comments like that, but it’s totally socially off!


When he’s calm, my brother is the most amazing, creative, fun, and charming kid. Sometimes he is just not regulated and he’s very wild and can get angry, hurt kids, or not have the ability to control his behavior. It’s very confusing to live with someone who can be like two different people. When he’s calm and regulated he’s so sweet and helpful; he feels terrible about his behavior when he’s not in control. He never wants to act badly — he always wants to be good, but this is how Hashem created him.


Sometimes I have to tell myself (especially when I’m embarrassed in front of friends, or when he touches my stuff or fights with me) that this is how Hashem made my brother, and it’s not in his control. I may have a cousin with a medical condition or a neighbor with a developmental delay; even though ADHD may not be as visible or obvious, it’s a challenge just like those. Hashem gave my brother (and us all) this challenge, and we have to accept it and learn to live with it.



(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 936)

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