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Couples With One ADHD Partner

Will he be able to handle a family?

I’ve been married to my ADHD husband for 1 1/2 years.  Definitely not long enough for us to have really experienced every in and out of his ADHD, but long enough for me to have a general understanding of what I’m in for.  He was just diagnosed with ADHD a few months ago so we’re still going through the process of trying to figure out which meds work best for him.  I will say that he has been very involved and pro-active (well, as much as he can be) about his treatment and therapy.  After reading a few of these blogs I feel very fortunate that he is a very high functioning ADHDer.  He handles all our finances and does a great job and doesn’t overspend.  Every once in a while he’ll surprise me with something nice like a special coffee or flowers.  He really isn’t as bad as a lot of stories on here!

His biggest problem is angry outbursts…all the time.  Probably two a day on average in the 4-ish hours we see each other after work and before bed.  I’m confident he’ll never lay a hand on me, but the emotional abuse is almost impossible to deal with.  I’ve already noticed an improvement with the meds he’s taken and hope that once we really find the right one he’ll be even better.  There was even one full week that we didn’t have a single fight.  That’s HUGE!!

Here’s my main concern:

We’ve been trying to start a family for a few months now.  I am more than ready for kids and he has really shown me a true desire for them as well.  After reading a lot of these blogs I’m understanding that ADHDers are not good with kids.  The thought of him lashing out in anger at our future kids makes me sick to my stomach.  I’ve been telling myself that by the time we get pregnant and get through 9 months he’ll have found the right medication and be much better.  But will that be enough?  Do even the most high functioning and level of ADHDers handle kids very well?  I so badly want to believe that he’ll be a great dad - but I just don’t know anymore.  I don’t trust that he will be a present father.  I can deal with being the main caretaker; I’ve already taken on that role.  I can change every diaper - I cannot stop him from an emotional, irrational outburst.


My husband, who has very severe difficulties with things such as communication, finances, keeping a job, and being nice to me, was a great father when our children were young.  He does not, however, have a problem with inappropriate expressions of anger; I would be concerned about that, too.  But I wouldn’t say that your husband can’t be a good father.  He’ll need to work on it, though.

Posted by rosered on Jul 30, 2014 at 3:31pm

My partner does have emotional outbursts but these tend to be because I’m too good at pushing buttons - he feels backed into corners because I’m asking him stuff he gets frustrated about. Like you, I’m not worried about anything violent but the rows are annoying. I went to a counseller and she recommended “How to talk to teenagers so they listen and listen so they talk” Worth reading.

But he’s very good with children, understanding and takes a keen interests. My main worry about having children is whether he could look after them as I’m main earner. He’d feed, clean and look after them well but I’d be worried about them being left on train or not getting places. As I have health issues as well, I don’t think we’d cope with children but I’m not worried when he babies sits other people’s.
May be more difficult when they get older and start challenging him so would need work then.

Posted by hilaauk on Jul 30, 2014 at 3:41pm

My husbands difficulties are keeping a job, finances, follow through and on and on and some of the outbursts no doubt , but they don’t seem to be near the level you are saying w/your husband (unless it is first thing in the am to which i have learned after 17 years just NOT to talk to him or talk to him the minimal amount as he will just act out and project it onto me and say it was me and I guess truly believe it who knows right ) smile We have two kids, 3 and 5 adn he is a FUN FANTASTIC father. I too, saw for a while, the outbursts (especially first thing in the am when he is MOST irritable) with them and it upset me tremendously, Interestingly, we had dialogs for life (13 of our 17 years ) about how it hurt me and it never changed, but when i let him see or hear how he was towards teh kids, on a good day where he could hear it accurately, it gave him great motivation to change, b/c somehow we are wired to NOT EVER want to HURT our own kids. So i think it could help you possibly motivate him to figure out the cause and fix it or better yet to scare him enough into it vs. hurting his child. I hope that made sense. GOOD LUCK. Kids are the BEST thing in the WORLD so if you want it GO FOR IT and just make sure you have tools in place to safely communicate if and when his outbursts effect you or your kid and even you and your kid seeing his treatment towards you and learning from example how to treat a lady, a wife , one day. Maybe that will really jolt him out of it . My husband STILL has those, no doubt, but much less frequent. good luck

Posted by bffj on Jul 30, 2014 at 3:59pm

Many people with ADHD find that a combination of impulsive behavior and constant frustration results in angry outbursts. 
See more at:

Posted by CullyRay on Jul 30, 2014 at 7:04pm

He is working so hard at managing his ADHD that I feel like he is probably willing to work on the anger too. It might be a good idea to wait until he has that under control too before starting a family though. Kids add an unfathomable amount of stress to life and relationships, which will make it harder to get a handle on anger.

The following articles have some strategies for anger management in ADHD Adults.

And some personal experience stories:

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:26pm

I agree with Penny. It is much wiser to wait until the anger no longer controls him.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on Aug 01, 2014 at 9:49pm

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