10 Best ADHD Books For Parents (Many You May Not Have Heard Of)

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Do you suspect your child has ADHD? Maybe you have a child with autism, anxiety or a sensory processing disorder?

You may be a homeschool mom trying to teach your ADHD kid, but every lesson feels like an uphill battle.

Regardless, if you’re a parent looking for direction to help your ADHD child, I get it and am here for you.

Today I’ve put together a list of some of the best ADHD books for parents who are ready to equip their child to thrive.

What is ADHD?

Before we jump in to the book list, let’s briefly discuss what we mean by ADHD so that we’re on the same page.

According to ADDitude Magazine,

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder that impacts the parts of the brain that help us plan, focus on, and execute tasks.

cartoon little boy pile of books

The Brain, Behavior, Learning & Life

Some of these books will address ADHD specifically.

However, many will give you a broader foundation of the brain, behavior and learning. Understanding the complex dynamics between the three will take you and your child farther than one diagnostic term ever will.

Practical Strategies To Support The ADHD Brain

Ultimately, my goal is to support you with practical strategies and tools as you parent and educate your child.

Whether your child has an ADHD diagnosis really is irrelevant. If your child has a hard time with:

then you’re in the right place. It’s time to get ready for some good news! So let’s get started.

1. Healing ADD by Dr. Daniel Amen

Healing ADD by Dr. Daniel Amen is a must read for all parents raising a child with ADHD. Quite frankly, this book is a must read for anyone who interacts with children.

You’ll notice that Dr. Amen highlights the term ADD or attention deficit disorder in the title.

While the DSM-V currently labels all ADHD under the term attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Dr. Amen says that there are seven types of ADHD.

In Healing ADD, Dr. Amen explores each one by sharing insight into his innovative research into the ADHD brain.

In the end, understanding that ADHD is much more than one set of symptoms makes a HUGE difference in helping your specific child thrive.

2. Driven To Distraction by Dr. Edward M. Hallowell

Driven to Distraction is a great resource about ADHD in kids. Dr. Hallowell is a renowned expert in ADHD and has dedicated his career to supporting ADHD kids of all ages (preschool to high school to adulthood).

Driven to Distraction offers personal stories from ADHD kids and their families (Hint: ADHD is hereditary).

From the publisher. (Emphasis mine.)

(These true stories) dispel common myths, offer helpful coping tools, and give a thorough accounting of all treatment options as well as tips for dealing with a diagnosed child, partner, or family member. But most importantly, they focus on the positives that can come with this “disorder”—including high energy, intuitiveness, creativity, and enthusiasm.

Driven to Distraction shares some of the best ways to support your child by focusing on your child’s strengths. It’s one of the best ADHD books for parents

3. The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog by Dr. Bruce Perry

While the title may seem out of place, The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog is an invaluable resource for any parent of adoption, autism or ADHD.

I recommend it ALL THE TIME for parents of children with ADHD and other complex backgrounds. This book has taught me more about the brain, learning and teaching than I ever did in graduate school.

Without an understanding of how trauma impacts the brain and thus, learning and behavior, kids with “learning and behavior problems” are doomed.

I cannot more highly recommend The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog.

best books for parents of adhd kids

4. The End of Mental Illness by Dr. Daniel Amen

The End of Mental Illness is a new book and it’s brilliant. Recently, I sent out a recommendation of this book to my subscribers because it is that good!

Here’s my review:

If you’re sick and tired of hearing about all that’s wrong with your kid and want to actually get to the root of the issue so your kid can thrive, read this book.  

So many of the diagnoses and “issues” that people struggle with are not “mental illness” but brain health issues.   Once you understand the brain and behavior, there are so many ways to optimize and restore the brain to health.

I LOVED THIS BOOK and am grateful to God for doctors who are willing to go beyond the managed healthcare paradigm to support our kids and families. It’s so good and so empowering.

5. Anatomy of The Soul by Dr. Curt Thompson

A friend of mine recommended Anatomy of the Soul to me a few years back. After the adoption of our son and years of absolute chaos that followed, she knew we needed help.

The author, Dr. Curt Thompson, is a Christ follower and a psychiatrist. In his book, he weaves together his understanding of the brain and behavior from a Christian worldview.

He offers insight into the often misunderstood child in a Gospel-centered way. Excellent read.

6. The Explosive Child by Dr. Ross Greene

One rainy afternoon, I stumbled upon a beaten copy of The Explosive Child hidden on the children’s literature shelf of my local library. I saw the title and knew I had to read it.

That morning had been filled my son’s explosions and my hubby and I prayed that a change of environment would help. Turns out that the book didn’t even belong to the library.

The Explosive Child is one of the most favored books amongst moms raising kids with ADHD, autism and other cognitive differences.

The subtitle alone explains it: “A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children.”

Dr. Ross Greene takes the concept of unconditional love to a practical level with different ways to approach the hardest behaviors.

7. The Body Keeps The Score by Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk

After reading The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog, I could not wait to dive deeper into the subject of trauma on the brain. The Body Keeps The Score was next on the reading list.

The Body Keeps The Score is about traumatic stress and its impact on the brain, the body and behavior.

Many parents don’t typically think of trauma as a factor in their child’s learning and behavioral issues. However, it often is.

This is especially true if you have an adopted child or a child from foster care. And even if your child is biologically yours, don’t overlook the impacts of trauma.

Think of trauma as those situations that impact a child (or adult) in a way that causes intense emotional or physical distress.

The Messages Our Kids Receive Matter

Many children with ADHD, autism or other differences live in a world that tells them that they are inherently defective. To name a few:

  • teachers who label them as trouble makers,
  • bullying,
  • social isolation,
  • derogatory comments from neighbors, relatives and other members of society,
  • even those frustrating glares or comments of disappointment from mom and dad (guilty as charged)

Chronic exposure to such messaging can have a devastating impact on our kids mental health and well being. This is especially true when children are unable to process through these situations.

In the end, unprocessed “little t” traumas impact brain functioning which impacts learning and behavior.

If you’re interested in learning more about trauma, the brain, and behavior on a deeper level, this is an excellent (but certainly not easy) read.

8. Taking Charge of ADHD by Dr. Russell Barkley

Years ago I listened to one of Dr. Russell Barkley’s lectures on ADHD. I was impressed with his passion and advocation for kids with ADHD.

Taking Charge of ADHD, like Dr. Hollowell’s Driven to Distraction, is one of the classic kids ADHD books for parents.

From the publisher,

This treasured parent resource gives you the science-based information you need about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and its treatment. It also presents a proven eight-step behavior management plan specifically designed for six- to 18-year-olds with ADHD.

If you’re looking for a straight-forward overview of ADHD, Taking Charge of ADHD by clinician Russell A. Barkley is a great start.

9. The Whole Brain Child by Dr. Daniel Siegel

Dr. Daniel Siegel is a powerful leader in childhood development. He and Dr. Bruce Perry of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, share a lot in common and refer to one another’s work often.

While The Whole Brain Child is not specific to ADHD, it’s an excellent read in order to equip parents with an understanding of childhood development and the brain. This is foundational information that can guide any parent of an ADHD child.

One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Siegel is based on a principle that I dive into deeply in my own book, Behind the Behavior. Daniel Siegel says,

Too often we forget that discipline really means to teach, not to punish. A disciple is a student, not a recipient of behavioural consequences.

Dr. Daniel Siegel, The Whole Brain Child

As a Christian mom, I believe this is the true meaning of discipline and is foundational to guiding children well. Regardless, The Whole Brain Child is not to be missed.

10. Behind The Behavior by Lindsay Leiviska, MAT

I can’t help but share my book, Behind the Behavior, as it shares my personal journey of radical transformation in my parenting.

When I first became a mom, I had it all planned out. I was going to be the “good Christian momma” and raise my kids as such.

We homeschooled, memorized Scripture like no one’s business and I tolerated zero crap from my girls. And the pride oozed from skin without me ever realizing it. (Just like a Pharisee, right?)

My “Out of Control” Child Changed Everything

God had other plans for me when He allowed my husband and I to adopt our son. Our lives would never be the same. His volatile and completely uncontrollable behaviors humbled me beyond words.

And those same behaviors saved my family and led me into the world of understanding cognitive differences such as ADHD, autism, and anxiety.

If you’re dealing with an “out of control” kid, this one’s for you. In Behind the Behavior I share our encouragement, dive deeply into Scripture and share the 4 step parenting framework that came out of it all.

Homeschooling The Distracted Child

I have to share one more resource that is sure to help you. If you’re homeschooling your child and need support, please sign up for Homeschooling The Distracted Child.

This homeschool parent training is full of loads of practical tips on how to lean into your ADHD child’s strengths. I speak from my own ADHD journey about how to help children gain self-confidence as learners.

I presented this workshop at the 2020 NCHE Summit for Teaching Exceptional Children and it’s available for you now. If you’re done fighting with your child each homeschool day, definitely check this out.

Be encouraged, Friend. Your child is capable of great things!

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