How can ADHD affect parenting?

Having ADHD can make being a parent even harder than it normally is but that doesn't make you a bad parent - often it means you'll come up with creative solutions, have lots of energy and be kind and compassionate to your family. Being aware of the effect ADHD can have on parenting can give insight into how best to manage it.

ADHD-related difficulties with memory, planning and impulsivity can lead to inconsistency in disciplining and problems with prioritising and switching between parenting tasks. For example, it might be difficult to stop playing with your child and start getting ready for bed.

Challenges with managing emotions and behaviours can lead to over-reacting or difficulties in recognising if you're getting inappropriately annoyed.

Difficulties with staying motivated can lead to inconsistent parenting. However, it can also mean that you'll be in tune and understanding of your child if they experience the same and offer them advice on what helps you

What can I do?

  • Talk to your family about your ADHD. Educate them about what it is and how it can affect you. It might be helpful to watch a video that explains it simply and then chatting through it and answering any questions they might have.
  • Ask for help – from your family themselves and your support network around you.
  • Try to create a routine for you and your family. Writing it down and hanging it up can be helpful so it seems more real and set. Be prepared to be flexible about it but have it as a helpful guide. This can also help you prepare for the week and not get surprised by an upcoming evening class or sports training. Read more about getting organised here.
  • Read about communicating effectively here. This applies to tough conversations you need to have with your child, as well as your partner. Solve problems together without accusing.
  • Parents with ADHD will frequently have children with ADHD. ADHD Ireland have a parent training course you might be interested in trying.. It will be advertised under their events page. Parenting with ADHD can be an isolating experience and you may feel as if you are alone in your struggles. ADHD Ireland also provide support groups, where you can share and receive support from other people like you. Read more about it on their website
  • You can find additional parenting supports from the HSE here and here, from TUSLA here and Barnardos here.