When our son Javi was diagnosed with ADHD, I never dreamed that our biggest challenge would be my husband. It is hard for this thick-skinned, no-nonsense man to understand that our son can't "just" eat or "just" accomplish his tasks faster. So I developed some strategies to help my husband be a nurturing force in his son’s life.
I spend lots of time making it possible for them to participate in sports activities together. My husband coaches Javi's football team and takes him to basketball practice. I give them a reprieve from their chores, so they can toss a ball around.
I don't excuse my husband from participating in doctor's appointments. We either take turns going to therapy, or we go to the sessions together. When we are both participants in managing Javi's disorder, neither of us feels overwhelmed or left out.
Fathers of children with ADHD are less likely to confide their feelings to others. They feel like strangers in a strange land. But for almost every mother of a child with ADHD, there's a husband, boyfriend, or a father figure standing right beside her. I encourage these guys to open up to each other. It's hilarious to listen to men cut up as they share those heartbreaking-in-the-moment-but-ridiculous-now stories!
This article appears in the Winter 2012 issue of ADDitude.
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To connect with other dads raising kids with attention deficit, visit the Parents of ADHD Children support group on ADDConnect.