The Weight of ADHD On Your Marriage

If raising a child with ADHD can strain even the sturdiest marriage, imagine what it does to the rest of us. Follow these seven steps to save your relationship when parenting problems threaten to split it apart.

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Parents of ADHD children can face marriage trouble and divorce. James steinberg/

One of the best gifts you can give your children (with ADHD and without) is a happy marriage. This is especially true if one or more of your children has ADD and has trouble forming friendships. Studies suggest that children develop more positive friendships and more successful romantic relationships as adults if they grow up with parents who are happily married.

Achieving wedded bliss, though, may be challenging for parents of children with ADHD. In their study of more than 500 parents, Brian T. Wymbs, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh, and his colleagues found that couples raising children with ADHD are about twice as likely to divorce by the time their children reach eight years of age as couples whose children don't have the condition.

"It's hard to keep a marriage on track when you're managing your child's symptoms from morning to night," says Wymbs. "ADHD is a chronic disorder—it doesn't go away—so there's no escaping its stress on a marriage."

There is some good news. Wymbs's study found that the parents of children older than eight have about the same rate of divorce, regardless of whether their kids have ADHD. Couples who can get through those early years of child rearing, it seems, develop workable strategies to reduce stress on the relationship.

Here are seven ways to keep your marriage strong—and your children happy.

Next: Stop the Blame Game...

This article comes from the Summer 2009 issue of ADDitude.

To read this issue of ADDitude in full, buy the back issue.

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TAGS: ADHD and Marriage

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