Reply To: Husband short fuse with or ADHD child

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Let’s put ourselves in your husband’s place. When you two decided to have children, there were certain expectations. Nobody bargained for a kid whose frame of reference is so alien to yours (unless you are dealing with ADHD yourselves) that you can barely relate. All those rules he had in his mind about cause-and-effect (here you can read “discipline”) are not valid. No amount of punishment makes any difference. The onslaught of “unacceptable” behaviors, the complaints from teachers, the snubbing by parents of other children, the avoidance by peers, are interminable. And it’s on 24/7. It’s relentless. There is NEVER anything positive about the parenting experience. He comes home tired and there is no way he can relax. The kid has totally unprovoked meltdowns during which ALL of you feel completely helpless. There are tantrums, too. When the kid has a tantrum in a restaurant or a grocery store, or a family gathering, everybody looks at the two of as if it was your fault. He thinks “I must be a bad parent,” “I should be able to fix this,” but “I don’t know what to do!” “I must be imperfect because I created an imperfect kid.” How do many men react when they feel they have no control, when they are helpless? With anger! That’s the model we have seen, that’s what we have been sold for centuries. I will tell you, dear Gia, the solution: education! I know it sounds like a cliché or a cop-out. But, trust me. It is the ONLY solution. Once he understands more, he will be more amenable to want to learn how to manage his anger. There is a lot of information on the Internet. Get it. Get Hallowell and Ratey’s “Driven to Distraction.” Get educated yourself. ADHD rarely comes in isolation. There are ALWAYS co-morbid conditions: almost always Oppositional-Defiant Disorder, anxiety, depression, and even elements of behaviors on the autistic spectrum. Unless your husband does his homework he will NEVER understand what’s going on. If he doesn’t understand, you will have bigger problems than dealing just with your kid. It wouldn’t hurt to see a therapist who specializes in working with families of children with ADHD. You, as the mother, have no choice. YOU cannot bail out. You have to remain a strong advocate for your kid’s needs. Those needs, it turns out, are not negotiable.