Should We Bring a Child Into Our ADHD Household?

"My husband has been diagnosed with ADHD, and we are planning to start a family soon," one reader writes us. "My big concern is bringing a child into our household, which is like a roller-coaster ride. Though my husband is well-intentioned, his moods and actions are unpredictable, and he's easily distracted. He has many qualities that will make him a great father, but I'm unsure about what to expect once a child arrives."
The Experts | posted by Michele Novotni, Ph.D.

Now would be a good time for your husband to learn to manage his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) as well as he can, before the stress and demands of parenting are added to the mix. He might benefit from talking with an ADD/ADHD coach or therapist to help him become less distracted, more predictable, and better able to regulate his moods. This targeted help may be more beneficial to him than reading books or going online for information.

It would also be a good time for you to learn how you can best support him with his ADD/ADHD challenges. Consider Gina Pera’s book Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?, which is written from a partner's perspective.

One thought: Your husband's moods may not be due to ADD/ADHD. They might be a separate issue to be addressed by a professional. Many people with ADD/ADHD also have co-occurring conditions. Mood issues such as bipolar disorder may explain the "roller-coaster ride" you reference.

Michele Novotni, Ph.D., is the former president and CEO of the national Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), a best-selling author, a psychologist, a coach, a parent of a young adult with ADD/ADHD, an ADDitude magazine writer, and a contributor to ADDitude's new ADHD Experts Blog.

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