7 Surprising Questions from Dads with (and Without) ADHD
Here, the ADDitude editors answer questions from real dads (neurodivergent and otherwise) about navigating parenting, discipline, schedules, emotions, and routines in an ADHD household.
During a recent ADDitude webinar for dads with (and without) ADHD, we received hundreds of questions from fathers (and some mothers) about understanding ADHD behaviors, managing dysregulated emotions, establishing routines, improving relationships, and more. Here are some of those questions answered by ADDitude editors — with links to relevant resources.
Q1: “My wife and child have ADHD. As a father without ADHD, how do I practice patience and minimize stress?”
The impact of ADHD on marriage and family relationships is real. By working to truly understand the condition, you’ll be better equipped to support your family – and yourself.
- Understand: Secrets of the ADHD Brain
- Read: Dear Fathers, Don’t Let a Condition Your Child Didn’t Choose Define Your Relationship
- Appreciate: “What I Love About My Wife with ADHD”
Q2: “How do I tell the difference between my child’s bad behavior and their ADHD symptoms?”
All behavior is communication. Understand what challenge or skill deficit is causing your child to act out, and how ADHD symptoms may be contributing to their struggle. It’s also worth noting that up to 25% of boys and 10% of girls with ADHD also have oppositional defiant disorder, which brings its own set of strategies and considerations.
- Read: Never Punish a Child for Behavior Outside Their Control
- Understand: What’s Really Behind Your Child’s “Bad” Behavior?
- Learn: How to Discipline a Child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
Q3: “How do I discourage bad behavior from my child without undermining confidence or implementing too-harsh consequences?”
Balancing praise and rewards with fair, consistent consequences is key. But, it’s important to avoid punishing a child for behavior that is out of their control. Focus on skill building above punishment.
- Read: The Science of Reward and Punishment for Children with ADHD
- Explore: 10 Rewards to Motivate Your Child
- Consider: The Secret to Better Behavior? No Punishment at All
Q4: “My distress triggers my child. How can I control my emotions — and their direct impact on my child?”
Your child needs love, encouragement, quality time, and an established sense of trust. If you’re feeling angry or frustrated, serve as a role model for peaceful conflict resolution. Wait to talk things out until you feel calm and in control of your emotions.
- Learn: How Parents’ Mental Health Is Absorbed by Their Kids
- For Dads: How to Have a Calm, Loving Relationship with Your Child
- For Dads: Men with ADHD Are Asking, “Why Am I So Angry?”
Q5: “How can I help my child establish and maintain a routine when I struggle with this myself?”
Positive change starts with you. Download this free guide for adults to get control of your life and schedule. Understand how to stack new habits effectively. Then, try these reliable schedules to manage your child’s morning, after school, and bedtime routines.
Q6: “What are common signs of ADHD in adults, specifically among men?”
The hyperactive and impulsive symptoms of ADHD in men and boys may be more recognizable, but inattentive ADHD exists in both genders.
- Take: The Inattentive ADHD Symptom Test for Adults
- Take: The Hyperactive and Impulsive ADHD Symptom Test for Adults
- Learn: How ADHD Is Diagnosed in Adults
Q7: “How do I manage my child’s ADHD from childhood, to adolescence, to teenage years and beyond?”
Check out ADDitude’s free guide, The Ages & Stages of ADHD: Key Solutions from Childhood to Adulthood.
The content for this article was based on questions submitted by live attendees during the ADDitude ADHD Experts webinar titled, “For Dads with (and Without) ADHD: How to Understand and Support Your Kids” [Video Replay & Podcast #405] with Brendan Mahan, M.Ed., M.S., which was broadcast live on June 15, 2022.
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