Parenting is one of the biggest time management challenges that exists.
Parenting children with ADHD, who themselves struggle with time management? That generally won’t make things any easier.
There’s a new study out that emphasizes how having a child with ADHD has implications for how parents spend their time. In the study, researchers surveyed parents of 1,600 children with ADHD and 11,923 without, looking at how those parents were involved in different aspects of their children’s lives.
One interesting finding was that parents of children with ADHD tended to invest more time in several aspects of their children’s education than parents of children without ADHD. Those included:
- Working with their children on time management skills
- Helping their children with homework
- Talking to their children about school
For parents of children with ADHD, those findings might not come as much of a surprise. If you have a child with a condition that makes traditional classroom learning more difficult, naturally you’re going to put more time into helping your child with school if you can.
Of course, the most basic rule of time management is that you can’t add time to one activity without taking time away from a different one. So while parents of children with ADHD put more time into some areas of their children’s education, that apparently came at the expense of other areas.
In particular, parents of children with ADHD tended to spend less time attending school events, going to the library, or participating in sports with their children.
That’s not to say parents of children with ADHD didn’t do anything besides homework with their kids. For a wide range of activities, from playing board games to visiting museums, the researchers found that parents of children with ADHD invested about the same amount of time as other parents.
The main takeaway from this study seems to be that for activities related to supporting one’s child in school, having a child with ADHD does lead to an additional time investment.
I think that’s important for two reasons:
- Simply to acknowledge how hard parents of kids with ADHD work. They deserve some credit!
- More practically, in order to create programs that can support parents of kids with ADHD and help them manage the additional challenges they face
What wasn’t central to this study but what could further factor into some of these differences is that many parents of children with ADHD have ADHD themselves. That creates a situation of having to cope with your own ADHD symptoms and your child’s ADHD symptoms, which is where resources like therapy, coaching and support groups can all become invaluable!