OBJECTIVE : The aim of this South African study was to explore parents’ experiences of living with a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). METHODS : A qualitative research design was followed. Purposive sampling was used to select ten parents living with children diagnosed with ADHD receiving outpatient treatment at a psychiatric facility. Data, collected through unstructured individual interviews, were analysed using open coding. Measures to ensure trustworthiness and ethical research practices were applied. RESULTS : Five themes emerged: burden of care; emotional effects; social effects; impact of the educational challenges, and attempts to cope with the burden of care. CONCLUSION : Parents living with a child with ADHD experience stress as they struggle to cope with the child’s symptoms amidst the stigmatising attitudes from family and community members. Parents experience burdensome emotions and impaired social and occupational functioning. Health care practitioners need to take note of the challenges inherent to parenting a child with ADHD in order to provide multi-disciplinary interventions aimed at empowering and supporting parents.