I wanted this topic to be my second post. The problem I am having is that I want to shy away from stereotypical statements. The truth is I am writing so any parent of a kid or kids who are different knows there is someone else who feels as they do, but I also need to speak specifically to my fellow Black/African American parents. The following is solely based upon my personal experience not stereotypes, so obviously this does not apply to all Black/African American people.
My experience is that many Black people are hesitant and even resistant to discussing mental illness period, and especially when it comes to our children. It seems like a parent will call their child bad or unruly faster than they will take the kid to the doctor to get a proper diagnosis. This is related to a cultural stigma with regard to mental illness. However, this is hurting our children. Parents are quick to say ADHD, Autism, ODD and so on are over diagnosed. Kids are over medicated. They need to get out and play. These complaints are generally from parents who do not live with these disorders. I will admit some of the criticism may be true, but there are a lot of kids with legitimate developmental and mental health concerns that need to be addressed. We owe it to our kids to rule out problems.
That being said, the question still remains why does it matter that I am Black. It matters because for many Black parents this is a lonely and embarrassing road. It is full of ugly looks, even from your family, because there is a perception you cannot control your kid. When you look at statistics Black kids do not get the same benefit of the doubt as their Caucasian /White counter parts within many public school system. This results in higher rates of disciplinary actions which subsequently results in higher rates of dropping out. I am not quoting specifics if you do not believe me just google it. The point is many Black parents need to feel there are others who not only understand the day to day of having a different child, but also the social implications that keep us up at night.
My experience is not race specific. There are many parents of many different cultural backgrounds who will relate to almost everything I experience, but it is it time we as Black parents stop silently suffering in isolation and create a community with other parents to better prepare us to help our children.
Black ADHD Mom