Reply To: Husband is a great source of stress


I’ve been both the dad and the kid. When my son (who does not have ADHD) was fifteen he wrote a poem about me called “Vinegar Tongue”. A decade later, it still hurts. Meanwhile, it took me until I was almost 50 to forgive my mother for the yelling and screaming that was her only way of coping with a son with severe ADHD who was constantly forgetting to do his chores.

I agree completely with taberwards about considering counseling. Without it my son would hate me and I’d be divorced.

Finally, I wonder if dad might himself be undiagnosed with ADHD which would help explain the trouble controlling his emotions. See this article by Thomas Brown called “The Mystery of ADHD Motivation, Solved” from which this excerpt comes:

The Mystery of ADHD Motivation, Solved

Stuck in Emotion
A woman told me that she dreaded Wednesday evenings. For her family, that was the night after their Wednesday morning trash pickup. She had two teenage sons, and her husband asked their boys to take on the job of dragging the trash cans down to the foot of their driveway every Tuesday evening, and then to bring the emptied cans back up the driveway each Wednesday afternoon. Many times they forgot to bring the trash cans back in.

The mother explained that any time her husband got home from work on Wednesday evening and saw the trash cans still at the base of the driveway, he would become enraged and scream at them, saying they were losers, irresponsible, ungrateful for what they had been given, unwilling to help the family by doing the simple chore of bringing the trash cans back up to the house once a week.

The mother explained that, each time her husband scolded their sons so harshly, he would later calm down and mumble an apology to the boys. She said, “I know he loves them both and would give his life for either one of them, but when he gets wound up in one of those Wednesday-night episodes, he gets so enraged that he seems to forget that those are his sons whom he loves and wants to protect. All he knows in that moment is that he is furious with both of them for not having done that chore.”

Any parent can lose his or her temper with a child occasionally, but most parents, most of the time, can express their frustration to the child without such an intense verbal attack. Their working memory allows them to hold in mind their love, even while their anger is taking up a lot of space in their head.