Parenting the Mom with ADHD


"How can I help my teenagers to understand my adult ADHD and to see why the rooms in our house are half-painted? I don’t like living with my unfinished projects any more than they do, but I also don’t appreciate it when they try to switch roles and act like the parent."


I always recommend making ADD a family affair. Instead of wishing your kids would just “understand” why you have trouble getting things done, why not try a joint problem-solving approach to actually get things done?

Try these tips:

  1. Make big projects into family projects. Enlist your teens to help you finish off those five rooms. One person can tape the windows, another can move furniture and spread tarps, then each of you can tackle one wall.

  2. Train yourself to ignore distractions. If the phone rings while you’re in the middle of a project, let the answering machine pick up. Likewise, if you’re in the middle of a task and one of the kids asks you to do something, remind them (and yourself) that it’s important to stick with a project until you finish it.

  3. Turn completing chores in a timely fashion into a friendly contest in your household—then reward yourselves with a fun family activity afterward.
Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D., is director of the Chesapeake ADHD Center of Maryland in Silver Spring. She is a psychologist who has practiced for over thirty years, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. She has served on the professional advisory boards of both CHADD and ADDA. She is the co-founder of the National Center for Gender Issues in ADHD, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of girls and women with ADHD. Dr. Nadeau has appeared on the Today Show, the Morning Show, as well as on numerous radio programs is a frequent lecturer both in the US and abroad on topics related to ADHD.
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