Classy Comebacks To Rude Comments About ADHD

Rude questions about ADHD

Have you ever had someone tell you to hit or spank your child?

If you are parent to a child with ADHD you most likely have heard something along the lines of, “He just needs a whoopin.” Or better yet, “He needs a foot up his a$$!”

When you were a child perhaps your parents were given this advice about you! (I know mine were.)

The other day I was talking to an older woman and she was telling me about her granddaughter. Apparently, she is giving her parents some problems around curfews and house rules.

I am one of those people who talk to strangers in the gym about their lives.

Anyway, I explained that my seven-year-old has been a little sassy lately.

We have been dealing with some argumentative and oppositional behavior related to both his Autism spectrum diagnosis and his ADHD.

Can you guess her response?

     “Well maybe he just needs a good spanking! I told my son the same thing about his kids. If he had done it when they were little he wouldn’t be having these problems.”

I was not at all surprised.

I hear rude comments about ADHD nearly every day. Now that I think about it the questions are pretty rude as well.

There is so much misinformation and misunderstanding out there.

Perhaps it would be helpful to have some well-thought-out responses in our back pocket?


Classy comebacks to rude comments about ADHD


Comment: “ADHD is a brain disease right?”

Comeback: It’s not so much a disease as a difference in cognition. The way we absorb information and learn is a little different.  And no, you cannot catch it like a virus.


Comment: “He just needs a whoopin!”

Comeback: Were you spanked/beaten as a child? There is a lot of medical research that says physical punishment doesn’t work.

Or better yet, Can I practice on you?


Comment: “ADHD isn’t real. It was made up by the pharmaceutical industry.”

Comeback: Hmmmm do you think depression is real? If depression is caused by a problem with neurochemicals, is that real?


Comment: “ADHD is just an excuse.”

 Comeback: An excuse for what? I wish it was. I wish I could turn it off, but it’s how my brain works.

Or better yet, What’s your excuse?


Comment: “Medication is a crutch. It doesn’t fix anything.”

Comeback: No. You’re right, medication doesn’t fix ADHD. But are your eyeglasses/contacts a crutch? What would happen if you didn’t use them?


Comment:He is just throwing a fit to get what he wants.”

Comeback: Perhaps.  But meltdowns like this happen with ADHD children when they cannot organize and express their thoughts appropriately.


Comment: “People with ADHD are just lazy.” 

Variations include, “You just don’t put forth the effort because you’re not motivated.”

Comeback: ADHD is not a character flaw. It’s a different in brain structure and chemistry and it is not a choice. And I’m not feeling motivated to discuss this with you.


Comment: “ADHDers are troublemakers who enjoy attention.”

Comeback: Sometimes we say and do things impulsively. We having trouble pausing before we act. And no, we don’t enjoy negative attention.


Comment: “He/She is hyper from all that sugar you let him eat.”

Comeback: Yes, hyperactivity can be exacerbated by too much sugar. But the physical manifestation of hyperactivity would be present even if we ate no sugar at all.


Comment: “You should really parent him/her differently.”

Comeback: I have read all of the parenting books. ADHD cannot be “fixed” by trying different parenting strategies. You need more comprehensive treatment.


Comment: “I’d never let my kid get away with that!”

Comeback: Does your kid have ADHD? I’m guessing not.


Comment: “I’m sure he/she will outgrow it.”

Comeback:  I never outgrew it. Only about 30% of people do outgrow it.


Comment: “Aren’t you afraid of what those drugs could do to your child?”

Comeback: Sure. But I’m more afraid of what will happen if I don’t treat it. Statistically he is at higher risk of delinquency and drug abuse if I don’t treat ADHD.

Many adults with ADHD self-medicate with much more dangerous drugs.


Comment: “Aren’t we all a little bit ADHD?”

Comeback: Nope. It’s not about being forgetful or distracted. It’s a long-term, ongoing pattern of symptoms that impact your quality of life. You having an off day is not the same thing.


Comment: “You are so smart. How could you be ADHD?”

Comeback: You’re such a nice person. How could you be so closed minded?

People with ADHD are not dumb. They have a neurochemical difference in their brains. The reason I don’t seem ADHD is because I have treated the condition.


Please feel free to add your own examples and classy comebacks in the comments below!

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