Adults with ADHD: Six Strategies for Building and Maintaining Healthy Relationships in your Family
ADHD impacts every aspect of one’s life. When you look on the web or bookstore, there is quite a lot of information about “How to Parent” a child with ADHD. But what if YOU, the parent, have ADHD? How do you parent your child? How do you maintain a relationship with your spouse or partner? Keep reading to learn a few tips for maintaining positive and healthy relationships with your child and spouse.
1. Educate Yourself and Your Spouse
The first step in building and maintaining healthy relationships with others is to understand yourself. Research symptoms of ADHD here. If you believe you have ADHD, it may be helpful to find a healthcare professional that can evaluate and diagnose you. Your primary care doctor or Center for Learning can guide you through this process.
2. Take Care of Yourself
Once you have been diagnosed with ADHD, it is important to get help. This may include medication and/or psychotherapy. Your doctor can help you find an appropriate dosage for medication. Your insurance carrier can direct you to clinicians with expertise who participate in your insurance plan. Additionally, make time to exercise and/or meditate. Mindfulness practice can be powerful in increasing focus and attention, as well.
3. Get Organized
If you have ADHD, it is essential to set up systems that work for you and your family. This may include phone reminders such as when it’s time to pay the bills or setting up a system for checking your child’s planner and homework each night. Because organization and time management is a challenge for those with ADHD, work with your partner and child to create structure for daily, weekly, and monthly tasks in your home. Structure and routine lessens conflict over daily tasks and frees you up to spend more time with your loved ones.
4. Schedule Time to Connect
As someone with ADHD, you may become easily distracted and spend hours on the computer or another task rather than connecting with people. Schedule regular date nights with your spouse and one-on-one time with your child doing something they love.
5. Adjust Your Expectations
Don’t try to do it all and don’t expect yourself or those around you to be perfect, either. Be realistic and let the small stuff go. For example, reminding and helping your child to put completed homework in the backpack and organize school materials for the next day may be more important than arguing about having a clean room. Sitting down for a family meal may take precedence over answering emails. There is only so much time in the day; choose carefully.
6. Seek Support
CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders) offers support groups for both those with ADHD and for spouses of those with ADHD. They also offer online parenting workshops. Center for Learning offers Educational Therapy for school-aged individuals geared towards meeting the needs of students with ADHD as well as family and individual therapy. There are many resources available in Orange County to help you.