Ask the Experts

A New Child in the Picture

“I’ve always given my seven-year-old, who has ADHD, lots of individual attention-helping with homework and monitoring play dates. My husband and I just had a second child, so I don’t have as much time to spend with my son. Help!”

Having to share mom and dad with a new sibling is worrisome to any youngster, and especially to an ADHD child. Find ways to build more structure into your son’s day, such as signing him up for after-school activities. Encourage him to embrace his new role by giving him some special “big brother” tasks and letting him help with the baby.

You and your husband can also work to balance your day, so that each of you spends some one-on-one time with your older child. Nail down this balancing act, and you’ll have an easier time continuing activities as before, including those you mention, helping with homework and monitoring play dates.

Finally, many parents of special-needs children feel guilty because a new child “takes time away” from older siblings. If you feel that way, the older child will pick up on this. Remember that adding to your family is a wonderful gift to all of you.

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