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When ADHD Hits Entire Families

Parenting ADHD Children When You are Also Affected


Updated April 01, 2012

Parenting a Child with ADHD when You Are also Affected

Parents and Children with ADHD

For anyone who has suffered from ADHD, or its related cousin ADD, you know what a roller coaster of a learning disability it is to live with. Parents who have children afflicted with the disorder have tough battles to fight, both in terms of getting your child proper schooling, support, and medication if necessary. What many don't know, however, is that ADHD is highly genetic for every child diagnosed with ADHD, each additional child from the same family has a 60% chance of developing the disorder. The biggest problem, it seems, is that since ADHD is only in the past few years receiving wider attention, children get proper diagnosis but parents often do not. Adult ADD and ADHD are simply not as well-known. Adults are far less likely to have ever been diagnosed with either of these disorders. Consequently, many have never received treatment of any kind. Here are a few tips for parenting children with ADHD when you may be suffering from the disorder yourself.

1. If you haven't yet been tested, be sure to do so.
Since the genetic chances of you and your child sharing an attention deficit disorder are very high, be sure to get screened for it as well. Not only is it important for your own sanity, but it will make you a much better, well-equipped parent.

2. Use the fact that you share the disorder with your child as a point at which you can relate with each other.
Just because both you and your children have ADHD, doesn't mean that all is doom and gloom. Many unaffected parents with ADHD children clash with their kids often simply because they can't understand what their kids are going through. Instead of considering your shared disorder a burden, take up a different perspective and see it as blessing in disguise.

3. Understand and accept your limitations and shortcomings, especially as it relates to parenting.
Just because you have ADHD does not, by any stretch of the imagination, make you a bad parent automatically. It does, however, mean that you will struggle with certain aspects of parenting, just as you will struggle with aspects of any other serious undertaking. Understanding your limitations like, perhaps, your tendency to forget things or your tendency for your temper to erupt without warning is very important in being the best parent that you can possibly be. Accepting these limitations is the first important step in carrying out the next step, which is asking for help.

4. Enlist the added support of an unaffected family member, like a spouse or parent.
With parents and kids who are afflicted with the same learning disability, it is especially important for other family members to step up to the challenge. If your spouse or other close family member is unaffected, be sure to ask for help with things that present you with particular challenges. For example, if your child is medicated and you have a tendency to forget to administer medication, ask an unaffected family member to remind you. Never underestimate the power of familial support.

5. A sense of humor can go a long way in staying optimistic.
Make no mistake about it ADHD, or any learning disability for that matter, is a devastating disorder to live with. But keeping a sense of humor, cutting yourself and your child a break, is especially important in coping.

This guest contribution was submitted by Kitty Holman, who specializes in writing about nursing colleges. Questions and comments can be sent to: kitty.holman20@gmail.com.

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