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Top 5 Books on ADHD for Parents

There are so many books on how to parent our children with ADHD. I didn’t know quite where to start.  And with all the best intentions, I cannot find the time to read them all.  Having spoken to several parents and having read a fair few myself, I thought I would compile a list of my Top 5 Books on ADHD for Parents.  I’m sure everyone has their favourites!  This is also very dependent on the age of your child with ADHD, and their specific diagnosis. 

Below are the books that came out top with parents who gave me their feedback. I have written a brief overview of the books and listed some of the quotes as to why they were found to be so helpful. No particular order.

Top 5 Books on ADHD for Parents by Parents

The Explosive Child – Dr Ross Greene


Dr Ross Greene is an expert on children, particularly ‘explosive’ ones as he terms.  These are children who react to situations in what only can be described as extreme frustration and angst.  Parents are at a loss, feeling scared, alone, and desperate for some help.  Dr Greene doesn’t believe that these children are ‘naughty’ or ‘bad’ or that the parents must be weak and with poor parenting styles.  No, he believes Explosive Children simply require help with certain skills; namely problem solving, adaptability and frustration tolerance.


“The Explosive Child is a must for the many parents, teachers, and professionals who attempt to guide, teach, and work with difficult, hard-to-manage, and easily frustrated children. .A must-read for our children’s sake and ours.” — Thomas H. Ollendick

“A truly remarkable book. . . . Dr. Greene skilfully provides us with both a framework and practical interventions for minimizing struggles with these children and enhancing their development. . . . What comes across on every page of this wonderful book is a genuine caring and compassion for these youngsters and their families.” — Robert Brooks, Ph.D. , author of The Self-Esteem Teacher

“An insightful, sensitive portrayal of children who need help—and how to help them.” — Myrna B. Shure

“A user-friendly, practical guide for parents trying to help difficult, explosive children. This book will be of enormous benefit to such children and their families.” — Michael Jellinek

“All parents should read this book, especially those with children who are out of control. Ross Greene presents a loving, rational, and research-based approach to dealing with problems that most parents have either felt were their own fault or were unsolvable. I could not recommend this book more highly.” — Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of Driven to Distraction


I found this book really useful. Because my daughter has ADHD and ODD, explosive is the exact word I would use for her! The book breaks down an ADHD child’s behaviours in a very logical and understandable way. It explains that rather than seeing your child as misbehaving, view more that they simply haven’t developed the skills yet to deal with that particular situation. This book guides you on how. It was an eye-opener.

How Not to Murder Your ADHD Kid – Sarah Templeton


How not to Murder your ADHD Kid

This book is written by Sarah Templeton who is a therapist and has ADHD herself (diagnosed at 51).  She has worked with hundreds of parents of ADHD children.  This book has a very easy-to-use format and allows you to skip to chapters that are relevant to you and your family.  It had been recommended by ADHD psychiatrists, paediatricians, parents, teachers, SEN teachers and ADHD teens.  It’s for anyone that lives with, teaches, cares for or encounters a child with ADHD.

She gives clear examples of what works and what doesn’t; what ADHD is and where it came from.  She has worked in English prisons which is where she recognised how many children with undiagnosed or unmanaged ADHD can fail terribly in school leading to a downward spiral in life.  Hence, she is passionate about helping children before it gets to this stage.


“Sarah understands ADHD from the inside out and is passionate about turning kids’ lives around.” Dr Helen Read, Psychiatrist, THE ADHD Consultancy

“I have recommended Sarah a number of times to clients needing ADHD Therapy – for her ‘no nonsense’, ‘say it as it is’ approach.” Soli Lazarus B.Ed (Hons) Psychology, Yellow Sun

“You won’t find another book like this.  Written by an experienced counsellor with ADHD who really understands ADHD kids and how to get the best out of them.” Dr Sawhney, ADHD Specialist Paediatrician


Personally, this is my favourite so far.  I think it’s brilliant.  Probably because I like humour to get through my day and this has loads of that.  The insight that she has from having ADHD herself really helps to put the points across.  This is my new go-to book for sure.

Other feedback I received has also given high praise to this book and said how much this book has helped them recognise the signs and symptoms of ADHD in them.  It is genetic after all. 

At the back of the book, there are many more testimonials from so many other readers.  The age range of the children discussed here is between 10 and 37 years old (Not including adults who are reading this for themselves to help with their diagnosis including a lady of 62!).

Driven to Distraction – Drs Hallowell and Ratey


Dr Hallowell is an American Psychiatrist who specialises in ADHD.  He has written many books, this one is co-authored by Dr Ratey told through their experiences with patients, both children and adults.  The book offers coping tools, treatment options – for children and adults.  Notably, it focuses on many of the positives and strengths that ADHD brings.


“A very readable, highly informative and helpful book.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Conversational in tone, encyclopedic in content, and, best of all, utterly convincing because of its grounding in clinical experience, Driven to Distraction should make Attention Deficit Disorder comprehensible even to the most distractible reader.”—Peter D. Kramer, M.D., author of Listening to Prozac 
“This is an important and much-needed book! Wise, practical, and reassuring.” —Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., author of Endangered Minds and Different Learners
“The first comprehensive book on the subject for the lay reader.” —The Boston Globe


I’ll be honest, I have not yet read this myself, but it is on my to-do list. The feedback I have received makes me want to read it! One fellow parent wrote, ‘One of the most important books about ADHD. Very helpful and informative for parents with children with ADHD. Totally recommend it’. I like this comment, ‘Still reading, but so far, it’s been fantastic for me to recognise why my parents had such a difficult time with me. It’s SO therapeutic to read accounts of how ADD(/ADHD) has affected others’ lives–those who have it and those around them–and it’s quite refreshing to discover the positive aspects of ADD, as well as what things help an ADD child/adult to thrive.’ It’s nice to hear from another perspective I think.

What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew – Dr Sharon Saline


This book, written by the very experienced Psychologist Dr Sharon Saline, is aimed at helping children with ADHD succeed in school and life.  It won the 2018 Best Book Awards in Parenting and Family and was also the Mom’s Choice Book award in the same year.

Subjects and strategies discussed include setting mutual goals; easing academic struggles; tackling everyday challenges which include tantrums to backchat.


“Short enough for a busy parent to actually read and use; utterly reliable and authoritative but never pedantic; wise, kind, and teeming with the chirping voices of children who have ADHD; this cornucopia of a book will feed you over and over again. Wonderfully written, infused with positive energy and solid information. All parents of children who have ADHD should buy it.” (Edward Hallowell, MD, best-selling author of Delivered from Distraction)

“We have many effective treatments and strategies to help kids with ADHD better manage daily life, but this book will provide that equally important intervention: feeling understood. I love how this book helps parents create a deeper relationship with their kids so that the whole family can thrive.” (Ari Tuckman, PsyD, MBA, author of More Attention, Less Deficit and Understand Your Brain, Get More Done)

“When I give presentations for parents of children with ADHD and executive skill challenges, my message to them is Most of these kids turn out fine! This book is an excellent blueprint for parents who want to make that happen. Dr. Saline is a skilled therapist who has learned to listen to her clients. This book teaches us to do the same.” (Peg Dawson, EdD, psychologist and author of Smart but Scattered) 


Quoted by my friend, a fellow ADHD mum, ‘This book is a great read.  I like the parts where children with ADHD talk about their thoughts and feelings, and how certain things we do as parents make them feel.  It was quite enlightening!’.

Other feedback was how helpful this book was in understanding their child more.

As it states on the cover, this book is aimed at children from 6-18 years. One mum noted that as it is written by an American Dr, the parts on the assessment process are obviously targeted at the US way of getting an assessment.  It was still regarded as a useful book to have.

Taking Charge of ADHD – Russel A Barkley PhD


Russel A Barkley is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Psychiatry.  He has written over 27 books and hundreds of scientific papers on ADHD.  Indeed an expert on this subject.  He views ADHD as a disorder of executive functioning and self-regulation. This book includes an eight-step behaviour management plan specifically aimed at six- to 18-year-olds with ADHD. 

Subjects covered are: making sense of your child’s symptoms; learning parent techniques to promote better behaviour from your child; strengthening your child’s academic and social skills; restoring harmony at home.


“This is not just another book. This is a great book….Although aimed at parents, it has something for everyone involved with ADHD kids: teachers, psychologists, doctors, and family. I am not going to lend this book to parents (although I will show it to them) because they need to buy it so they have it on hand to read and reread.” —Pediatric News

“I certainly plan to recommend this book to parents….It empowers parents to take charge of the life of their child with ADHD rather than feel constantly distressed and overwhelmed by the special needs of these unique children.”
—Canadian Medical Association Journal 

“This book features pioneering research that provides new insight into preventing ADHD from becoming a major obstacle in a child’s (and parent’s) life….Parents will appreciate having this book on hand, and teachers will want a copy to show parents who are ready for a resource.” —Intervention in School and Clinic (on the first edition)

“If any professional knows about ADHD, it is Russell A. Barkley….All in all, this is a splendid book.” —Child and Family Behavior Therapy 


I love watching his YouTube videos and would highly recommend you watch them.  I do, however, love books, something to have and hold.  I’m old school.  Some people find his approach authoritarian but, as with all parenting books, I would recommend you take the parts from it that suit you and your family.  My daughter would never, ever do time out!  When people told me to put her in timeout or on the naughty step, I would tell them to first produce a unicorn singing Sinatra.  Do what you can.

This book has had great feedback and my only comment would be that Dr Barkley is pro medication.  I am too, so it is not an issue for me, but I totally understand that many parents aren’t so they may not agree with his advice on these parts.  Everyone’s choice.

So, I hope you have found this useful.  I know I have so many books that will sit unread and then I’ll find time to read and wish I had included them in this list.  I will shortly be doing a blog on books specifically for the different age groups dealing with ADHD.  Please send me your suggestions to review.  Sometimes, the last thing you want after a challenging day with your children with ADHD is to continue to read about it.  I like to keep a book in my bag so if I’m stuck in the car outside a child’s swim club or piano lesson I can read for 20 mins.  I need to get into audible books as if I ever read a book in bed at night, I will fall asleep!  There are about five half-started books there already!

Anyway, happy reading and let me know your reviews.  Should you buy any of these books from clicking my links in this post I will receive a small commission.  But, I have in no way been paid to write this!  These are just my personal ‘go-to’ books at present.

I have started a private support group on Facebook for parents and carers who need support with their child with ADHD. It’s a friendly place to chat with others. Please do click this link ADHDinchildren to join. And for anyone on Instagram, I’m there too ADHD Mum.

Vicki x

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