Marriage and raising ADHD kids

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Marriage and raising ADHD kids
Sat, 09-27-2003 - 3:04pm
My marriage is excellent..and yet the one thing that wrecks us at times- is raising my ADHD son. It is one of the hardest things we face as a couple. I find that it is so hard to agree with him on a lot of things..and our backgrounds are different because I am a teacher and see things in a whole other light. Also i know that my son being ADHD means that at times there are things NOT worth making an issue over. For instance earlier, my son wanted a bath and hubby started the water. The water got halfway in the tub and my son said "No dad i wanted a shower".. and my husband refused. He let the tub finish filling and told him he had to take a tub. Me, I'd have thought - i just want the kid clean and would have opened the drain and ran the shower. There are far more issues to stand my ground on than that. So in the end my son is crying and upset and in his room and hubby is mad when he comes to me and I disagree. I just hate this sometimes. And i know at times my son sees that we disagree no matter how hard we try to hide it. There are times when my husband will verbally tell a consequence for if something continues--and it is the stupidest consequence in the world to me. I mean it doesn't go with what is going on, or it's not a likely consequence to follow through on! And i am just getting so frustrated and i know HE is going to feel he can't do anything right (hubby)..and I hate that. He's a really great dad but he just figures "He should do it because I said so" and that's that. It's far more complicated than that with these kids, and there are perfectly good ways of handling them..that make sense to the kid too. I am feeling overwhelmed by this today. I am starting to wonder if we need marriage counseling just to deal with the parenting differences we have.
Avatar for keke0116
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 09-27-2003 - 3:26pm

Having parents on the same page is very important ... whether a child has ADHD or not.


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Avatar for kathy_in_ga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 09-27-2003 - 7:49pm
I agree with you on the shower thing. Usually when Joiner says he wants something we have to ask a 2nd time to clarify it. A lot of times Joiner will say something, but mean something else. Also, as far as consequences this is what we do. I have a list of behaviors & a list of consequences, using his favorite thing first his nitendo. If he displays one of the behaviors, he looses the first consequence. The next behavior the next consequence & so on. This way everyone knows what is going on. We all know what will be taken away & why. We don't list every little thing, we just work on certain things. It's very important that you not disagree in front of your DS.
Avatar for sheila3xblessed
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 09-27-2003 - 10:02pm
I could have typed that same thing. Our ADHD son has put major strain on the whole family, especially our marriage. Like you, my DH and I are so different and we never seem to agree on things regarding the kids. In your case, I too would have let him take a shower. What's the big deal? It's not something worth fighting over. I'm going to try therapy for our whole family. Our first appt. is Oct. 14 and I can't wait.
Avatar for littleroses
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sun, 09-28-2003 - 2:02pm
I really thought you brought up a good point. My dh and I also have a great marriage. We've been together since we were 19 and now we're 31. The only mountain in our marriage has been our kids. Truly. One is ADHD and very hard to deal with. The other is really sweet, only she is on the autism spectrum. We could end up caring for her for the rest of our lives, which we're more than willing to do, but it's profoundly sad to have to accept that possibility for her at 5 years old.

My husband definitely has a different parenting style than me. Over time, like myself, I have learned to pick which battles are important. Kids, like any human like to feel they have a choice and some sort of control in their lives. It's not just a pissing contest, but conceding to your child that he is competent enough to make decisions like that. He does not get to decide many other things, but little decisions help him build confidence. I understand that the fear is your son will build up brattiness instead, but he would get bored eventually of that particular decision making anyway. After awhile, picking bath vs. shower would be no big deal.

How I learned to deal with my dh is to simply step out of it. He is also the parent of my children. He's not mom and the kids know he is different. (They know how to soften him up too! haha) It's really hard to bite my tongue because I am a stay at home mom and spend all my time with my kids. I am pretty sure I am the expert of them and it's hard to convince myself otherwise. But, if I intervene, I take away his authority and a chance for my dh to learn something that took myself time to learn. I also don't want my dh to resent me for always telling him how to be a parent. I don't want to be bossy. If I do strongly disagree, I might later bring it up, but I decided I can't referee his relationship with the kids. He is ultimately not harming them. He is slowly seeing on his own that some decisions don't matter. Although last week he made dd put on regular clothes when we went out instead of wearing her princess costume. I would have let her wear the princess costume...but whatever.

The biggest impact it's had on our marriage is that we are embarrassed to take our daughter anywhere! We feel totally homebound. We don't go to social events like company picnics or whatever. She always says odd things that don't sound very conversational. We were in a dog contest last week and one of the contestants had on a costume. My daughter said, "My dog would rip that to shreds." Instead of it sounding like our dog would be unable to wear a costume, it sounded like our dog would attack their dog in that costume. My dd is so blunt and says off things that people are alienated by her. It's hard to confess that we stay home all the time so we don't have to deal with that aspect. Not to mention her being so active that she'd bounce off the walls, fall out of her chair a million times, rub her head on the carpet, lick the table. haha. Maybe if she was 3, but the when the girl is almost 10, people start looking at you and it's so uncomfortable. So, being homebound has been a sad sort of fate we have accepted as a married couple. Sometimes, we go out to eat or go to a kids movie.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2003
Sun, 09-28-2003 - 7:53pm
I think we're married to the same man! And so is one of my co-workers! Truly - I think this is a man issue. Their egos just cannot let kids have their way - my theory is especially boy children.

OK - maybe just some sour grapes over this - but come on - we did go to counseling, too. It was very helpful. We haven't been for several months, but I can tell it is time to go back. We're going again in the next couple of weeks. I think we need a tune-up!

Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-01-2003
Mon, 09-29-2003 - 8:57am
The kids (specifically the ADD kid and the one with other stuff) are the only thing dh and I ever have flack over and it has almost broken us up on several occassions. What makes it even harder is that these are my sons from a previous marriage. DH loves them both dearly and has been their father since the oldest was 7 (now 21) and the other one was 3 (now 17). Since their bio father was never involved, dh is really the only father they ever knew. But we have the same kinds of problems. Some things I have found just werent worth the fighting over and dh made big deals out of them. What I have finally come to believe is that because there is just so much that we have no control over, this is one way of him aserting some control.

As they got older, the 17 year old has given us so much flack that I really didnt think my marriage was going to survive. DH wanted me to throw him out and let him live with the ex (we did try that but it was not a safe alternative). SInce there are no alternatives, I feel responsible at least until he is 18 (4 months away). I have tried to help him but as in most states, after the age of 14, he calls the shots as far as medication and treatment is concerned and he refuses both. So..... he has till January to be under some kind of treatment or he is out of my house. Of course it will be difficult for all of us but for the sake of the rest of my family, I have to do it. He has more than AD/HD going on but that has for the most part been the hardest thing. Otherwise, my marriage is wonderful. Dh is my best friend and after being married for 11 years, I still cant wait to see him every day. I love being with him and cant wait for the day when we are kidless.