Navigating Marriage or Co-Parenting When There is ADHD

 ADHD Weekly 2018-03-08

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ADHD runs in families. Mom frequently serves as the frontal lobe for the entire family, doing all the planning, social programming and problem solving for everyone. But what if Mom has ADHD, too? Who does the planning then? This is when getting help from people like professional organizers and coaches can be critical to help set up calendars and plans to assist with managing the family so things don’t get too chaotic.

The married couple is the anchor of the family. You must take care of yourself and your marriage. In the hurried society in which we live, we tend to devote ourselves to our children. However, like on an airplane, we must remember to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first so that we can be around to put it on our children. In the rush to get the lunch/homework/trumpet to the school and to locate the forgotten glasses/cell phone/iPad we may neglect to eat breakfast or to get some needed exercise.


It is also really important to have couple time. Having a date once a week can be very beneficial, even preserving a marriage. Continue to do things you enjoyed doing together before you had children, if at all possible. Don’t be afraid to seek marriage counseling if you need to.

What if you have tried to do all of this, but the marriage is in trouble? Counseling has not helped and there is constant fighting between you and your spouse. Stress can lead to parental conflict. People who are under significant stress can become irritable. Parents can start fighting over things like whether or not the child should take medication, which parent will help with homework and chores.

Having ADHD in the family does add some complications for divorcing families. It was hard enough keeping track of everything while you were all in one house—and now there are two houses.

What can you do to help strengthen your marriage? Or improve your relationship with your former spouse if you are now co-parenting? Keep reading One or More Houses, No Executive Functions by Judith M. Glasser, PhD, in Attention magazine.

Having ADHD affects the entire family—and can make marriage or co-parenting more difficult. What can you do to make this a little bit better when there may be more than one household for your family? We have some suggestions.