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Parents of ADHD Teens and Young Adults

Seeking help and advice for my family

My almost-12 year old son has classic ADHD, with hyperactivity, impulsivity and distractibility all just about equal.  What compounds it is the emotional and social problems that go alongside everything.  Additionallly, he does not seem to learn from his mistakes no matter what the consequences are. 

Right now this is causing the biggest problem at home where his stepfather does not seem to understand the challenges my son is dealing with.  My husband feels that he needs to be disciplined even more severely, and then loses his temper because he thinks my son doesn’t care.

I would appreciate advice.  I have felt like I am caught in the middle for a couple years now - wanting to support my husband and help my son, but wanting to protect my son from my husband’s anger at the same time.  I am torn between sending my boy to his dad where he may or may not have a better situation, or keeping him with me where at least I know I will fight for him…but also keeping a high conflict situation in our house by doing that.


Going through the same thing right now with my 15 yr old son. My husband(his bio dad) and him get into it. I want to protect my son but my husband gets mad at me for not being on his side. He even threatened divorce yesterday.

Posted by Pink ginger on Apr 14, 2014 at 8:23pm

It seems to me that when it gets to this level, it is time for group counseling. If your husband won’t go, then take your son. Some problems are best handled by an outsider. Make sure you get someone who understands ADHD. It is too hard to be the only one who is working towards a better way of life. All three people have made the commitment to be a family and if it isn’t working, then it is time to try a different approach with someone who can look at all sides and give insight when the fog starts rolling in. I have gone to counseling off and on for many years with my family when we got to a place that seemed too hard and we were all at each others throats. I always come away with fresh insight and there are things I was doing to contribute to a bad situation that I wasn’t even aware of.

Posted by hvacgirl on Apr 14, 2014 at 9:35pm

It sounds like your husband needs some education about ADHD, and how it’s showing up in your son.  It’s hard for a spouse to to take that on without sounding like making excuses.

There are some great ADHD coaches out there who work with families and/or parents if you can get your husband to participate in something that may reduce stress and tension in the home—for him as well.  You can find well-trained coaches through the ACO (ADHD Coaches Organization) at http://www.adhdcoaches,org, and search their database by specialty.  Most coaches work over the phone / internet so don’t worry if you can’t find one in your town.

If one-on-one coaching is not an option for your family, one of my favorite resources for parents is a guy named Kirk Martin at “Celebrate Calm”.  He’s a parenting coach who emphasizes calm parenting and helping parents learn how to help not-so-typical kids.  (Remember: parenting is a skill that, like any skill, needs to be sharpened from time to time!  And parents of kids with ADHD need to have their skills sharpened to a whole different level than other parents!)  He and his son travel around the country speaking and doing free workshops at schools, churches, etc.  His content is great and I recommend it highly. 

Best of luck, and I hope you can restore some peace to your home—for everybody’s sake!

Lynne Edris, ACG
Life & ADHD Coach

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Apr 15, 2014 at 1:54am

Just wondering, you list your options as 1) sending your son to live with his father or 2) keeping him with you so you can stick up for him but you didn’t mention
raising your son without his step father and the high conflict in your house. I am not trying to be mean or
suggest you leave your husband I am just pointing it out
so you are aware of all your options for what may be the best option for your son if (big if ) your husband is
unwilling to meet with someone who can support the
three of you to take the pressure off you. Also, do you get some sort of break? Do you take good care of you?
Again I don’t want to sound mean, I just realize the toll this can take on your health so I wanted to remind you to take care of you too and maybe if all 3 of you receive support together it would help.

Posted by teddy123 on Apr 28, 2014 at 4:00pm

My husband and I went through a very difficult period with our ADHD son about 2 1/2 years ago, when he was 11.  My husband believed that our son was choosing to behave impulsively and even accused him of manipulating us.  I knew this wasn’t true.  I was the one reading everything I could about ADHD and tried to explain that he should too.  Finally, after much misery, our son’s counselor suggested that my husband and I go to a marriage/family counselor. It was the best thing we ever did!  She was able to talk my husband off the ledge and help him to understand not only ADHD, but how to better parent a child who has it.  She told us that it was of upmost importance that we were parenting as one, not 2 separate people.  She reminded us that we are the adults.  He is the child.  We should not be expecting an 11 year old child to argue logically with 40 something adults.  Also, that children with ADHD get mental/physical pleasure from fighting.  We made huge progress together and eventually brought our son and his 2 younger siblings in to the counselor.  She gave everyone an opportunity to discuss what it was like living all together.  My younger 2 discussed their concerns about our son and our son got to explain what ADHD was like for him.  It was incredibly eye opening for all of us and overall, a huge success!  I’m not saying everything is perfect now, but at least my family better understands ADHD.  My husband and I are on the same page when it comes to parenting our son and our three children get along well…most of the time.  Good luck!

Posted by Harmony on Apr 30, 2014 at 9:46pm

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