ADHD in boys

Recognizing ADHD in boys

By Fatima Malik

Traditionally boys are seen as energetic. So if they run around and act out, it can be simply be dismissed as ‘boys will be boys. 

Studies show that boys report more hyperactivity than girls. Read more about detecting ADHD in girls here.

But it is a mistake to assume that all boys with ADHD are hyperactive or impulsive. Some might show symptoms of being inattentive without being disruptive and struggle with social skills.

ADHD Symptoms in boys

The majority of boys with ADHD tend to show symptoms that people most commonly associated with ADHD:

  • Hyperactivity – running, hitting or climbing a tree at inappropriate times.
  • Impulsivity – acting out, usually without warning.
  • Lack of focus – usually in the form of inattentiveness during interactions or conversations etc.
  • Inability to sit still – pent-up energy “bouncing off walls.”
  • Physical aggression – unable to express emotions without being aggressive about it.
  • Talking excessively – over-sharing or obsessively talking about a topic.
  • Frequently interrupting other people’s conversations and activities.

Although in boys, the symptoms of ADHD tend to lessen with age (puberty), they can continue to affect the lives of these children as they grow older. So it is imperative to have these symptoms treated and for the child to be trained in managing their symptoms when they are adults. 

Social Skills and ADHD in boys

Adults with untreated ADHD usually suffer from anxiety, depression and struggle with school, work and maintaining healthy relationships. Since ADHD affects social skills, boys with ADHD tend to suffer from low self-esteem due to experiencing awkward social situations where they feel lost or like an ‘outsider’. 

A person without ADHD would dismiss an awkward social situation as something that just happened without taking responsibility for causing it. 

In reality, a social situation is made up of multiple people with various personalities, opinions, expressions etc., so to assume that something went wrong in a social situation because of one person is unrealistic. However, a child with ADHD becomes self-conscious over time and blames themselves for causing disruptions in a social situation due to their experiences growing up. 

Therefore social skills training is crucial for both boys and girls with ADHD. A child psychologist or a psychotherapist can work with a child and help them understand and better handle social situations without taking on the burden of the outcome. 

So even though there are certain preconceived notions about how boys with ADHD act, there are exceptions to the rule, and it is vital to identify these subtle symptoms and get help early on.


If you’re unsure if your child has ADHD, please call us at 1-866-503-7454.

Professionals are available in officers around Canada. Grande Prairie, Greater Sudbury, Thunder Bay, St. John etc.


Positive Kids
Author: Positive Kids

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