ADHD Parenting

The ADHD Co-Parenting Guide to Consistent Treatment

Co-parenting children with ADHD requires divorced or separated caregivers to coordinate consistent treatment across households. Here, learn how using a shared calendar and agreeing on expectations can help sync strategies and schedules.

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When parents live apart, that might mean more lost or forgotten items, more taxing transitions, and more changes in routine that spark emotional dysregulation. It might also mean less consistent, reliable ADHD treatment, especially during the holidays, when schedules are really out of whack.

Logistical challenges may tempt parents to cancel therapy sessions over the holidays or summer. But when lots of change is swirling around, that is seldom the best time for a treatment break. Here’s how to ensure uninterrupted care — no matter the time of year.

Co-Parenting Tips for Consistent ADHD Treatment

1. Keep Appointments

I hope your divorce settlement agreement stipulates that the custodial parent agrees to take the child to health care and/or therapy appointments. Winter break might mean you have your child during a time when you typically would not. Consider enlisting the help of the other parent if they’re more available. Access to ADHD treatment is in your child’s best interest.

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2. Use a Shared Calendar

If you’re traveling, be sure to check your child’s shared calendar for regular appointments and reschedule them as needed — but remember to discuss this first with the other parent.

3. Agree on Expectations

Some of the biggest meltdowns occur when a child’s expectations are dashed, and they cannot emotionally manage a big disappointment. An agreement with your co-parent around expectations and consistency in routines across both homes may improve your child’s ability to regulate.

Year-round, consider the following:

  • Together, meet with your child’s providers to determine a cohesive plan that works in both homes regarding bedtime, nutrition, discipline, and reward systems.
  • It may be less confusing if one parent is assigned the management of appointments, doctor communication, prescriptions, and records.
  • Consider whether each home needs a supply of medication or if you feel confident about having it travel back and forth. If your provider and insurance allow, consider duplicate prescriptions — or at least divide the medication so that each parent has an emergency supply should the medication get left behind.
  • If one parent is more involved in the child’s treatment, there may be some fear that the other parent is not well-equipped to deal with the child’s ADHD. Be open to sharing treatment strategies and creating a document for the less experienced parent.

Co-Parenting with ADHD: Next Steps


Merriam R. Sarcia, LMFT, is a licensed therapist. This article was adapted from her book, Divorce & the ADHD Autistic Anxious Child: Creating a Parenting Plan for Your Child’s Unique Needs.(#CommissionsEarned)

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