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Hyperactive: Is It Bad Parenting?

Many parents nowadays are aware of their child’s capability and the differences of the other children with the same age.They are trying their best in preparing or providing the needs of their child. They are more concern and worry if their child presented with more active behavior. Active or hyperactive are commonly used for that kind of behavior. However, in medical term it is called as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a child developmental problem.  Children with ADHD may present with poor attention skills and hyperactive behaviour. The children may have either hyperactive or poor attention skills.

The myths of ADHD

ADHD is related to bad parenting. However, this is not true. The symptoms may be worse if the parent does not care or neglect the ADHD symptoms. Actually, it is not. However, the symptoms are worse if the parents are not concern or neglect the ADHD child.

Cause factors

The specific cause of ADHD is still unknown. However, there are several factors which are believed to contribute the ADHD symptoms become worse. The factors could be due to environmental factors, genetic, dietary and social.

  • Environmental

    About 9% to 20% of the variance of the ADHD symptoms are exploded by environmental factors. The possibilities are smoking exposure, alcohol or lead exposure.

  • Genetic

    About 75% of children with ADHD are inherited. The hyperactivity is concurrently with other factors.

  • Dietary

    Food colouring and artificial food flavouring are identified as one of the factors the ADHD symptoms become worse.

  • Social

    Dysfunctional family and poor education may contribute the hyperactivity of the child. Besides, the adoption issues and child abuse may also cause the worsening of hyperactivity.

The characteristics of ADHD child

Based on DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and Mental Disorder-4th Edition) which are commonly used in United State of America showed: –

Children with ADHD are classified into three groups viz

  • ADHD, combined
  • ADHD, attentive predominant
  • ADHD, hyperactive-compulsive predominant

DSM-IV is also guiding us that the attention problems are consists of:

  1. Different condition
  2. Measured by objective and behavior
  3. Abnormalities due to biological/ organic

Six (or more) of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level :

  • Inattention
    • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork work, or other activities
    • Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
    • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
    • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish school work, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behaviour or failure to understand instructions)
    • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
    • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
    • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
    • Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
    • Is often forgetful in daily activities
  • Hyperactivity
    • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
    • Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
    • Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
    • Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
    • Is often ‘on the go’ or often acts as if ‘driven by a motor’
  • Impulsivity
    • Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
    • Often has difficulty awaiting turn
    • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)
  • Some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment were present before age 7 years.
  • Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g., at school [or work] and at home).
  • There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.
  • The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorder and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorders, or a Personality Disorder).


How to handle ADHD children?

Every child is unique. The ADHD child is also different to another. Bad parenting might develop worse symptoms of ADHD.

Therefore, the parents need to identify the symptoms that are presented by children and deal with it.

There are some suggestions of the management: –

  • Psychosocial

    This area is more applicable to the pre-school children with mild ADHD. There are multiple therapeutic approaches and does not only involve the parent but it also involve behavior modification, family therapy, school intervention social skills and parenting skills.

  • Medications
    • The non-stimulant medications prescribed by the psychiatrist may help ADHD child to reduce its symptoms, such as hyperactivity. For the instance, Ritalin. However, this option is not encouraging. It is the last option as the long term effectiveness is yet unknown. 


  1. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder Wikipedia the free encyclopedia.htm 2012
  2. Is bad parenting the cause of ADHD among children Today Parent.htm 2012
  3. Is ADHD the Result Of Bad Parenting?.htm 2011
  4. Can Bad Parenting Cause ADHD.  ADHD Center EverydayHealth.com.htm 2010
  5. Myth Busting Bad Parenting Causes ADHD.htm 2008
Last Reviewed : 28 August 2020
Writer / Translator : Haryani bt. Harun
Accreditor : Nurshahira bt. Razali
Reviewer : Nadwah bt. Onwi