Do you remember what it was like to grow up as a kid and feel misunderstood? Having your emotions feel like they don’t matter, and trying to express yourself makes it seem like you’re just acting out. Now imagine that all these emotions and reactions your having aren’t up to you, that it’s being caused by a disconnect between your brain and central nervous system. Imagine that you had ADHD.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that develops when the brain and central nervous system suffer impairments related to growth and development. Children with ADHD can have trouble keeping attention and can appear restless and act impulsively. A lot of people, including other parents, can see this as just a misbehaving or naughty child, when really it couldn’t be farther from the truth.

A child with ADHD is just like any other child, they just experience the world differently than other children their age. It’s not fair to label them as bad kids because they act differently than other children. Here’s what you should know about ADHD children, things that they want you to know to better understand them and see them for what they are: children just growing up.

What Kids With ADHD Wish You Knew

Children, no matter the age or ability, have trouble expressing themselves. Here’s what these kids would tell you if they could.

I’m Not A Bad Kid

They don’t mean to be a distraction to others, or to upset those around them. They just have different reactions to different stimuli, that doesn’t make them a bad or troubled child, just different.

I Try My Best To Fit In

Children with ADHD know that they aren’t just like other children their age, but they still want to be accepted. They want to be seen just like everyone else, and treated that way too.

I Want To Be Understood

This is true with every child, but especially important for children with ADHD. If you understood what they were going through and what they’re life was like, you would see how hard life can be for them and see where they’re coming from.

I Wish You Knew Why I Can’t Sit Still

Many children with ADHD have trouble keeping still when they’re listening or focusing. That’s because the foot tapping or humming actually helps them to focus and pay attention to tasks, it’s not just a side effect.

I Know That I’m Different

Criticizing children with ADHD doesn’t affect them the same way it would other children. They understand that they’re brain is wired differently, and they would do anything to change it. Being harsh on them makes them feel worse about themselves.

I’m Not Doing It On Purpose

Many of these kids’ behaviors are completely involuntary and can’t be controlled. Understand that they aren’t trying to be difficult, it’s just the way they deal with the world.

I Don’t Always Have Control

Imagine not being able to do all the things that you want to, and the only thing stopping you is you. That’s how a lot of these kids feel, they want to do the right thing but their body just doesn’t listen to them.

When You’re Frustrated, I Probably Feel Worse

When these kids are frustrated, it’s because they’re trying to do what they’re supposed to but their struggling against their own bodies. Your frustration with them only makes it worse, and all they need is to know that it will be alright.

Don’t Put Me In Situations I Can’t Handle

These kids develop slower than their peers and can struggle with situations that seem commonplace for everyone else. Understand what they can handle, and help them with what they can’t.

I Want To Be Treated Like Everyone Else

Kids with ADHD know that they’re different, but they would give anything to be just like everyone else. They wanted to be treated with love and care, and not met with frustration and anger. They would give anything to be what everyone else considers ‘normal’, but they can’t. Only you can make them feel like they belong.