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Parenting Children with ADHD: How it Affects Your Marriage

 

Maintaining a strong relationship with your partner takes work. Between conflicting work schedules, daily household responsibilities and raising a family, it’s normal to get swept up in the craziness of our everyday lives.

Having a child with ADHD brings with it a new set of challenges. Even the most healthy, loving marriage will be tested, which is why it’s important you are both on the same page and are committed to making it work.

This starts with understanding ADHD and knowing how it affects your child. As a neurobiological disorder, ADHD impacts focus, self-control and other skills connected to brain processing. This disorder is often hereditary.
While the symptoms of ADHD vary from person to person, the main symptoms are inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity. The three types of ADHD in children are hyperactive/impulsive, inattentive, and combined type (hyperactive/impulsive and inattentive).

Many kids with ADHD have learning problems in school. Their slower processing speed makes it difficult to focus and complete tasks. Making friends can also be a challenge due to slower emotional development. While most children don’t completely outgrow ADHD, their symptoms typically lessen with age. If you’re unsure your child has ADHD, take this online child ADHD screening test.

As a parent, it’s natural to put your child’s needs before your own. However, it’s important to make your relationship a priority. Here are several techniques to get your relationship back on track:

Replace frustration with compassion

When your child acts up and your patience is wearing thin, your initial instinct may be to take out your anger on your spouse. However, when you approach the conversation in attack mode, your partner will go on the defensive and be less receptive to hearing what you have to say.

Rather than pointing the finger at your partner, acknowledge that you’re both dealing with the same struggles. The sooner you can both release your anger and accept the situation, the sooner you can come together to support your child.

Learn how to compromise

Let’s say your child got into another fight at school or didn’t hand in his homework assignment. This is the third time this week you’ve had to speak to his teacher and you’re emotionally drained.

Instead of focusing on your own wants and needs, think of ways you can find a solution together. Brainstorm ideas for how to split parenting responsibilities and work as a team. Create a plan of action for your child’s behavior so you both agree on how to deal with each situation.

That being said, it’s okay for you and your spouse to disagree in front of your children. In fact, it’s beneficial for your child to see how you solve problems and come together to find solutions. The reason many kids don’t know how to compromise is because their parents aren’t showing them how.

Also, take time to show appreciation when your partner does something caring and supportive. Even if it’s something as simple as making dinner because you’ve had a long day or putting the kids to sleep while you take a bath. Remember, you two are a team and you’re in this together.

Provide structure and set boundaries

To help reduce distraction and improve organization, establish a routine. For example, set up a specific time when your child does homework every day. You can also give them a household chore to be responsible for – taking the garbage out before school or walking the dog in the morning. Giving children a sense of responsibility is vital to their mental and emotional development.

When it comes to disciplining your child, make sure you and your spouse are on the same page. Be sure to reward positive behaviors and have consequences for negative behavior. Correcting their behavior should be done in a way that’s supportive rather than critical.

Openly discuss your relationship concerns

Communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. If something is bothering you, be honest and express your feelings in a calm and respectful way. Make sure your emotions are under control and you approach the conversation with an open mind.

Really listen to what your partner has to say. The truth is many of us think we are listening when, in fact, we are thinking about what to say next and waiting for our turn to speak. Disconnect from your devices and give your spouse your undivided attention.

Don’t try to fix everything at once. Start small and pick one thing at a time to focus on. For example, if you’re looking for ways to rekindle romance, plan a date night once a week, and schedule time for just the two of you.
The stronger your relationship is, the better parents you will be. A healthy, loving home environment goes hand-in-hand with a child’s emotional health. In fact, studies show children whose parents have a happy marriage are less likely to have behavioral or academic problems.

Life is filled with ups and downs, and it’s normal to have days where you feel frustrated and stressed with your spouse. It’s how you deal with those challenges that makes or breaks your relationship.

Parenting Children with ADHD: How it Affects Your Marriage

Kaitlin Vogel

From covering health and wellness content to neuroscience to relationships and dating advice, I’m committed to creating content that matters. My goal is for readers to walk away feeling empowered and motivated – whether it’s to pursue their dream job, strengthen the connection with their partner, or follow mindfulness strategies to relieve stress and anxiety.


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APA Reference
Vogel, K. (2018). Parenting Children with ADHD: How it Affects Your Marriage. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 20, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/change-your-mind/2018/08/parenting-children-with-adhd-how-it-affects-your-marriage/

 

Last updated: 27 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Aug 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.