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Parents of ADHD Children

shift work and parenting child with ADHD

I have an eight year old boy with ADHD and I work 12 hour shift work often on some weekends. My son finds it hard to transition from one parent to the other, is mad at me for being gone and Monday mornings are often more difficult. Anyone else with this issue?


Yep. My husband is a federal LEO (Law Enforcement Officer). This is an issue we have been dealing with my soon to be 9-year-old son’s entire life. On top of the shift work (he was on mid-nights for 18 months), my husband is sometimes gone for up to a year at a time. He just got back in August. It really sucks. But, the job pays well and its hard to find a well paying job these days.

My best suggestion to you is to make your shift work as consistent as possible. For instance, if you work mid-nights, ask to your boss to let you stay on that shift all the time. If your off mid-week, ask to be placed on the same two days off every week, be it Monday-Tuesday or Tuesday-Wednesday, whatever you get. You can also ask that your days off not be split, unless you can consistently get a Friday, Saturday or Sunday off every week. If you are a good employee and you explain things to your boss, he or she should accommodate you.

You also need to consistently set aside a certain part of your off-time to spend just with your son. You could tell him, “Tuesday evenings are yours, Bud. After you finish your homework, its just you and me.” Just be sure to consistently follow through with action. This may mean that you get less time to socialize with your friends, but what is more important? Here is another suggestion. When you are spending your one-on-one time with your son, eliminate distractions and turn off your phone. I can’t stress that enough.

You can also surround your son with other trusted male family members. If you have a parent, brother, uncle or cousin you trust, get him to spend time with your son as well. If family members are not available, find a trusted friend or neighbor. You can also hire a male tutor, put him in Cub Scouts or Karate or Sports, anywhere he will be exposed to a positive male role model. This is not meant to replace you, its just added male support for your son.

Finally, talk to your son and without making your job sound horrible, explain to him why you work the hours you do. Focus on the positives of your job, how you like it because you get to help people or protect and serve others. You can also remind your son of all the ways he benefits from your consistent income.

Here is the good news for us. When I married my husband in 2003, he changed shifts every four weeks. His days off we Tue and Wed when he could get it. He has been gone from us twice for a year at a time. Worked mid-nights for 18 months in a row, and family was never less than 2000 miles away. However, next month, we are being transferred to a new station that is 2 hours away from family. Plus, after 14 years of shift work, my husband will be working M-F, 7-5. That means he will never work another night, weekend or holiday again. So, hand in there.

I hope you found this information helpful and encouraging.
Susan in Yuma, soon to be Susan in Port Clinton

Posted by SueH on Nov 20, 2013 at 1:28am

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