Five-year-old girl's father is 'questioning her diagnoses' of ADHD and ODD

Photo: Xavier_S / iStock
Photo: Xavier_S / iStock 

A mum on Reddit is asking for advice about her partner, who won't accept that their daughter has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

She says that the dad - who doesn't have custody of the girl - has been questioning the "psychologist's credentials" and denying that their daughter has any issues when all she wants to do is support the five-year-old girl to tackle her issues.

She begins the post, "My daughter had her intake appointment with a psychologist that works with children and adults. After answering many questions and going through symptoms, she diagnosed my daughter with ADHD and ODD. She only had one criteria that she didn't meet for ODD. One."

He is battling her all the way, however.

"Her father has been skeptical ever since her pediatrician suspected ADHD. He was extremely unhappy that he was going to go forward with medication before advising she also be evaluated at the behavioral clinic to get an accurate diagnosis."

She adds that she is also taking immediate action and getting her daughter some therapy, "in the hopes that she can learn coping mechanisms and feel more in control of her emotions."

She writes, "When I told him about her diagnoses, he immediately questioned my psychologist's credentials and asked if our daughter was 'hitting other kids her age and she always behaves for us when we have her!'"

She tells him this is not uncommon.

"I explained to him that my psychologist and multiple online sources state that it is normal for symptoms to only present at home and is not an indication of my parenting skills. He said nothing in reply."

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A meeting is planned, however, "I worry that he's going to dismiss anything that I present to him."

She adds that she has videos of the girl's behaviour to show to the therapist and that although they aren't "perfect parents" they're doing their very best.

She's worried he will thwart the process saying, "I just want to help her."

If he's sounding removed from the process, it's because the mum has sole custody and she says it's "it is my decision in the end", and she says that him attending appointments with them is "difficult" due to his work.

People give their advice and thoughts.

"From my own experience (child with autism) and the experiences of several other parents of children with varying diagnoses, it's more common than you'd think for dads to have difficulty accepting these things."

They add, "All you can really do is listen to your doctors and therapists, and keep advocating for your kid. Hopefully, dad will see the positive impacts as time goes on."

This person astutely observes, "He doesn't have to agree with the diagnosis to make it a valid diagnosis," while another writes, "Some people just don't want to believe their child has mental health issues. I'd say that maybe he's in denial."

Another suggests the mum phrases it like this: "I trust these doctors because they are experts and this is their field. I don't know how to answer your questions because I am not a doctor. Daughter's doctors' contact information is as follows. You can make appointments to ask them your questions or call or email them. If you don't think their diagnosis is correct, you can get a second opinion."

And someone advocated for dad too.

"Getting a second diagnosis is the golden rule in medicine. You don't know that you DIDN'T walk into a ADD happy doc. I mean, it isn't impossible. In the spirit of compromise and equal parenting suggest to him that he find a doctor to go through for a second opinion," and asks why considering drug-free options is really that bad of an idea.

She replied that she was getting a second opinion through the hospital's behaviour clinic, adding also that, "She'll already be going to therapy, but from what I remember as a child, medication was the only thing that helped me. I don't know how it will be for her with both of these conditions. That's why I'm taking her to be seen by so many people, you know?"