When Parent and Child have A.D.H.D. or A.D.D.

Parenting a child with ADHD (and/or ADD) can be tough, but when a parent has the disorder too, the situation can feel almost impossible. Since it is thought to be genetic, dealing with double ADHD is a reality for many families. The good news is that there are steps you can take to control the chaos and be more effective as a parent.

Get Treatment

When a parent’s symptoms of ADHD mix with their child’s, there can be fireworks. As parents we often put our kids’ needs before our own, but one of the most important things you can do for them is to get your own ADHD treated. Having it under control — and keeping it that way — will make it much easier to deal with things like the endless pile of laundry.

Educate Yourself

Parenting’s a tough job any way you slice it. Parenting a kid with ADHD is even harder, so you may need a little extra help. Attend a parenting class geared specifically toward ADHD, join a support group, or read one of the many excellent books on the topic, like The Gift of ADHD Activity Book: 101 Ways to Turn Your Child’s Problems Into Strengths by Lara Honos-Webb.

Understand Where He’s Coming From

Kids with ADHD aren’t trying to drive you nuts — they’re just wired that way. Think of it as a brain short circuit rather than willful bad behavior. Understanding that your child has a disability he’s often unable to control will go a long way toward helping you be more patient.

Remember What It’s Like

Chances are you’ve been in your child’s shoes. Think about how you felt growing up with ADHD (even if you weren’t diagnosed at the time) — remember the feelings of failure and frustration? Recalling your own struggles can help jolt things into perspective when you’re banging your head against the wall.

Make It Routine

Consistency is key for ADHD families, so make sure a schedule’s firmly in place — and then follow it to a T. The more predictable your family life is, the easier it is for you and your child to get stuff done.

Share the Burden

If you have a spouse who doesn’t have ADHD, let him or her takes on the tasks that are harder for you to do well. However, be sure you are on the same page about expectations, rules, and discipline, even if one of you plays “bad cop” more often.

The ADHD File

Put together a binder of all child’s medical records and educational plans related to the ADHD, and automatically file things as they come in. No more rifling through piles of paper — everything will all be in one place when you need it for a meeting with the teacher or your family physician.

Outsource Your Paperwork

Does the paper wrangling in the previous tip sound like it would involve Herculean effort? Hire a highly-organized friend to help you pull together and file all of your child’s paperwork. Then all you’d need to do is maintain.

Published by

Dr. Gnap

Dr. Gnap is a family practice physician and behavioral medicine specialist in suburban Chicago.  Dr. Gnap developed the Inner Control™ Program in 1970 and has worked with thousands of people to improve and correct medical, emotional, behavioral and learning problems including performance.  He started the Inner Control program because so many patients asked, “what more can be done along with traditional treatment methods?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *