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I'm new to this, and my wife and I are at odds about how to deal with our 10 year olds ADHD condition. It's hard, and I feel disconnected...

Riverun profile image
11 Replies

Our 10 year old was diagnosed with ADHD about the same time COVID hit, just as we went into lock down. She's getting temendous support from the school with speacial assistance and is doing much better scholastically, but my wife and I struggle to be on the same page with how to deal with her behavior at home. We are at odds constantly and our daughter is aware of our disagreements. I feel like I'm unable to engauge without being seen as the heavy. How do you establish reasonable rules and guidelines for a child that by nature is distracted and unfocused, when you partner is at odds with you?

11 Replies
abryans profile image

Hello, I think many of us have had similar struggles. I think that it will never be perfect, but it help if you and your partner to come to basic agreement about your approach with different situations. For example, you agree that if daughter says she has not homework and she really dies, she loses time on her phone (or whatever she likes doing). Even better, agree on positive outcomes for desired behavior- if daughter accurately writes homework assignment, she gets to pick a favorite activity to do with parent(s). It is probably better to avoid disagreeing in front of her as much as you can. No one has to be the heavy- you just have positive results or undesired consequences based on your actions and two parents who support each other (most of the time- hey, no need to go for perfection!)

Aloysia profile image
Aloysia in reply to abryans

I agree. The two of you need to find the time to get on the same page with rewards/consequences. And with what things will trigger a reward/consequence. It's important to only pick a few areas of your child’s life to focus on. You can't work on everything at once. For example, the parents could pick the top 3 things they want to work on with the child and only do rewards/consequences for those. Next month, re-evaluate your top 3 things. Repeat. Since your child is 10, I highly suggest you get her involved in picking the top 3 things to focus on. Perhaps each parent picks one and the child picks one. Your child should also be involved in picking rewards and consequences (then you approve or reject them). I find that my kids often pick a much harsher punishment then I would have. Once you have agreement, type it up, print it out and have everyone sign it. Then post it on the kitchen wall and on her bedroom wall.

Also, if your 10 yr old is doing more than 30-45 min of homework a night, then it is too much. You will need to talk to the teacher to get that reduced. Good luck!

MomAndy profile image

Good advice from the previous people. If you and the other parent really cannot agree, use your time with the school counselor or outside counselor to ask for help at home. Present it as a way to discuss options with someone more removed and with more experience. Good luck.👍🏻

anothermother profile image

A good parent training program you can go through together.

Aspen797 profile image
Aspen797 in reply to anothermother

This. There are many parent training programs online that you can complete together. It removes the “my way” vs “their way” dynamic and changes to a “ learning new tools together” dynamic which is much healthier for all. Triple P Online is one such parenting program.

Momtrying profile image

I’d also recommend both of you reading some books on ADHD. that may help get you on the same page if you both see what exactly is happening in your daughters brain. Russell Barkley has some great books. Even if you don’t get through the whole book (some are lengthy) it was very helpful for me and gave me some perspective when trying to decide what was consequence worthy and what I could let go of. Good luck!

pwb78 profile image

It could be good read this book: Taking Charge of ADHD. I found out the hard way that typical parenting techniques don't work for kids with ADHD or ASD. If you and your partner read this book together, you can decide on a common approach. And really, that's something you just both need to sit down and hash out. This is the approach my husband and I used, and we aren't always on the same page, but we are never really totally at odds now.

lbayley profile image

I agree with the comments on learning together with your wife whether it's reading a book together or watching a video together. If you are getting educated together, it keeps you on a more even playing field instead of one parent feeling they're getting instructed by the other constantly. If reading together is difficult, there are really good videos like other people have mentioned that you can watch together.

HoldingonLou profile image

I think everyposter has great ideas here but Aloysia is my favorite. Keep it simple. Focus on what you can handle and stay united. If you have the plan and write it out then everybody is on the same page. Every day is a learning process.

Danseuse profile image

I totally agree with the comments about learning how to parent and manage a child with ADHD. It can be counterintuitive at times. You two will be in less conflict if you agree on implementing parenting approaches that are based on proven techniques with ADHD kids. Russell Barkey was mentioned above. I’ll attach a great video entitled 30 Essential Ideas for Parents. It’s not a parenting tutorial per se but the more you understand what is going on with your kid the better you can be as a parent. I also started reading a book by another noted ADHD expert, Edward Hallowell who wrote the seminal book, “Driven to Distraction”. At this point, I know a lot about ADHD yet I find this 1994 book so illuminating that I highly recommend it. You’ll see yourself in the case studies of families coping with a child with ADHD. Also, have you joined your local chapter of CHADD? They often have parent groups. Hang in there and best of luck.


Harnessinghope profile image

I agree that it will never be perfect. I have a similar kind of struggle. The people around me tell me to beat my girl’s butt. Literally. No physical force can stop a child from being unfocused and continuing the same behaviors. That can however introduce anxiety into an equation that it may not have been present in.

There are so many ways to connect with your child and ways to hold them accountable with love and acceptance of their diagnoses.

It can be hard to rule out what was purposeful and what was not. But there should definitely be some baseline rules and consequences.

The most important thing to pass on, our kids can see divisions from a mile away. The more you and your wife can connect and at least act like you are in agreement, the better long term situation for your child. It is natural to attempt to take advantage of a situation to get a desired outcome. This can and does happen.

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