The struggle can be a LOT to deal with.
It’s not enough that we have the added responsibility of helping and advocating for our children with ADD/ADHD. Helping them learn, focus, build self-esteem, etc. Now we have to worry about how this will negatively impact our marriage? Yep.
In an article about rates and predictors of divorce among parents of kids with ADHD, the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology states that parents who have an ADHD child 8 years of age or younger are about twice as likely to divorce as parents without ADHD kids. YIKES!
And the latest CDC estimates show that approximately 11 percent of kids in the U.S. have ADHD. This means that 1 in 10 families are likely dealing with the relationship issues ADD/ADHD can cause. So it's important to understand how having a child with ADHD can affect your relationship.
Here are some common obstacles to watch out for if your kid has ADD/ADHD:
1. Your child may require a lot more of your time and energy.
This could be spending more time with them directly or spending more time indirectly advocating for them at school, childcare facilities, etc. While it's obviously important, more time and energy with your kids can equal less time and energy for each other.
One of the better ways to overcome this issue is to plan some time for just the two of you every week. Even just 30 minutes of quality time spent together can be beneficial and help ward off the negative impact to your marriage.
2. You will probably be spending more money.
This can come in many forms — from medication, to behavioral therapy, to additional tutoring, etc. Talking with your partner and making decisions about what you can reasonably do — and what you can’t — is important. Remember that you may not be able to do everything you'd like to do to help your child ... and that’s okay.
Even if you're strapped financially, following an actual plan will help to ease some of the stress.
3. You and your spouse may disagree on how to best manage your child's ADHD.
It’s bound to happen — you're two different people, and people don’t always agree. Some will think medication or counseling is a good idea; some will think more “natural” solutions are better; some will think there's no need to intervene at all; some will think your child doesn’t have ADD/ADHD.
This is definitely one of the bigger issues, and while it's not easy to work through a significant disagreement like this, letting your child point you in the right direction is often a good place to start.
First of all, get educated about ADD/ADHD. Find out all you can (from reputable sources!) and then watch your child. How functional is your child on a day-to-day basis? What kinds of emotions is he/she experiencing? How is her/his self-esteem? The video below can is a good place to start identifying your child's ADD/ADHD symptoms.
Letting your child “lead the way” will often help to get you both on the same page. After all, you probably do agree when it comes to how much you love your child and want her/him to experience happiness and success.
4. You may find yourselves blaming each other for your child's behavior.
Sometimes parents become so overwhelmed and frustrated with the challenges of having a child with ADD/ADHD that they blame each other for the child's behavior. While it may be tempting to point blame, this never helps and usually makes the situation worse.
If you think your child may have ADD/ADHD, take this thorough clinical assessment. It will not only indicate whether or not ADD/ADHD may be present, it will also measure how much your child’s life is being impacted by it. You can then use this information to make decisions about what to do next to help your child — and your relationship!