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Four Signs of ADHD That Present in Girls More Often Than Boys

Four Signs of ADHD That Present in Girls More Often Than Boys

According to a survey of parents in the United States, the total number of children aged 2-17 who are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is about 6 million. Children with ADHD have trouble focusing and behaving, causing challenges in school and at home. 

The most well-known symptoms of ADHD, such as constant fidgeting and talking, aren’t universal however. Many boys exhibit these behaviors, but in girls, ADHD can look quite different. Girls are more likely to display the inattentive aspects of ADHD, while boys tend to show the hyperactive characteristics. 

Because boys’ symptoms are more stereotypical, they are diagnosed more often than girls. The inattentive symptoms of ADHD that are most prevalent in females are more subtle. 

Our team at Penguin Pediatrics, consisting of Dr. Umesh Kodu and Dr. Andrea McKennon, can evaluate, diagnose, and treat pediatric patients with ADHD. Here are four symptoms they see far more often in girls than in boys. Being aware of these symptoms can help you understand your daughter’s behavior and help her get the care she needs. 

Symptoms of ADHD in girls

In boys with ADHD, it’s common for a teacher to raise concerns because they’re disruptive in the classroom. Parents may notice their sons being impulsive and risky. In girls, however, the signs of ADHD aren’t as obvious. 

Girls with ADHD tend to be:


You may notice your daughter daydreams a lot. She is shy and inattentive. She may twirl her hair as she stares into space or pick at her cuticles and skin.

Anxious or sad

Symptoms of ADHD include higher levels of anxiety than normal. A girl with ADHD may also seem sad to the point of depression. 

Unable to maintain friendships

Girls with ADHD may be very talkative and initially make friends easily. They’re unable to maintain these friendships because they’re distracted and inattentive.


Girls with ADHD often have poor self-esteem. They may have perfectionist tendencies and be susceptible to self-harm. Because they fear rejection by peers or friends, they can cling to people — which leads to rejection — only further negatively affecting their esteem. 

What if I suspect my daughter has ADHD?

If you’re concerned that your child has ADHD, talk to our doctors at Penguin Pediatrics. We can do a thorough evaluation to help determine if your daughter (or son) needs treatment and support. 

Boys and girls get similar treatment for ADHD, which usually includes behavior therapy and medication. We customize ADHD treatment according to a child’s age, medical history, symptoms, and your personal considerations. 

Most importantly, you need to support your child. In addition to helping them get the care they need, compliment their successes and let them know that you’re proud of them. You should also make sure they’re eating well and getting exercise. These lifestyle choices can help ease symptoms and make your child feel good about themselves. 

You can also reach out to your child’s teachers and school staff. They may be able to put an individual education program (IEP) in place. This written set of goals helps your child succeed in school. 

Reach out to us at Penguin Pediatrics in Ashburn or Stone Ridge, Virginia, to learn more about ADHD and how to get your child evaluated. Call today or use our online booking tool to schedule your visit.

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