"My partner, who has attention deficit (ADD/ADHD), isn't good at getting projects done on time, particularly if they are big or difficult," one reader tells us. "Can I help her without feeling like I'm parenting her?"
by Melissa Orlov
Maybe. Spouses and partners often fall into nagging behavior or parenting mode when they instruct their attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) partner about how to do something, or take responsibility for the project that doesn't get done fast enough. Your partner needs to find strategies and a reminder system that works for her. There are many resources to help her get through tough projects, such as Ari Tuckman's More Attention, Less Deficit and Nancy Ratey's The Disorganized Mind. Encourage her to read them, and offer your support only when she asks for it.
The key is to help her get projects done without making her feel like a child. Sit down with her regularly, and make sure you both agree on the most important tasks to accomplish for the week. Brainstorming is another useful approach. If -- and only if -- your partner consents to it, share your ideas about how to tackle a tough task. She can choose to use them or not. Finally, offer to take on tasks that are particularly difficult for her -- exchanging them for some of your tasks, so the workload doesn't fall on your shoulders.