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Jun 13

Can my child’s ADHD break my marriage?


VOXXI Blogs I met my husband when we were very young – we were high school sweethearts all the way. When we could legally do so, we made it official and then started a family. Not too long after, we had our first child, Kennedy. From my personal experience and observations, having children brings two people closer or drives them apart – either way, things definitely change.

When they’re babies, you can’t ever get enough alone time and the nighttime waking will make anyone irritable. Then toddlerhood has you in a constant state of pre-panic attack from all the falling, running off, climbing, and general ‘everywhereness’ of children that age – oh! and those are the so called “easy years!” Strong couples usually prevail, and sadly many married people barely end up nearly managing to be functional parents together- if they can. So, what happens when you add a high needs child with a disorder that spells out pure and utter chaos? Relationships are pushed to their absolute limits!

I once read a statistic that said married parents of an ADHD child were twice as likely to divorce by the time the child turned 8. My child is 8, and even though my marriage is nowhere near being close to the threat of divorce – I understand why this statistic is true.

Factors that could cause distress in relationships

When you have a child with ADHD, you can expect to have those toddler-like issues for many years past the toddler age group.
adhd2 Can my childs ADHD break my marriage? Having children is a wonderful thing, although it puts an additional strain on your relationship. But what about if your child has ADHD? Children with ADHD are very immature and self-destructive. Imagine having a child that’s in a perpetual state of the “terrible twos,” it gets to be overwhelming.

They don’t pay attention while they’re in motion and have a high tendency towards injuring themselves. My son has broken more bones just walking than anyone I know. He’s also very messy because of his lack of attention. He leaves everything scattered while playing and eating, which extends beyond the normal 8 year-old boy mess. These things alone put a lot of strain on me as an individual since my focus and attention are so monopolized by my attempts to contain the chaos.

One major factor that I feel puts a huge stress on marriages is the disagreement on how to handle a child with a learning disability. You and you’re spouse are probably not going to agree entirely on issues like discipline, how to address behavior problems at school, or medications. Some times the wrong decision can have negative implications, and then resentment and blame over a bad parenting decision become part of the martial equations.

My tips for coping

While I am proud to say that I feel like my marriage has survived the really hard parts of figuring out how to function under the added stress, it is a constant ‘practice’ to keep the wrecking ball at bay. Strong couples usually prevail the arrival of children, and sadly many married people end up just nearly managing to be functional parents together- if they can. So, what happens when you add a high needs child with a disorder that spells out pure and utter chaos? Relationships are pushed to their absolute limits!

At least once a week, we escape together. It doesn’t really matter what we do, we just do it without my son. He gets a day or two to get totally spoiled rotten by his grandparents, and we can enjoy the things other parents of children Kennedy’s age and childless couples take for granted. If you are having a hard time in a strained marriage – take regular breaks together.

My other major marriage protector is that we talk to each other about how we’re being affected by the situation, and how it makes us feel. It’s so good to know that you’re not alone in it, and your spouse knows how it feels to parent a high needs child, particularly your high needs ADHD child, better than any of your friends of family.

The hardest thing I have to force myself to do is – agree to disagree. I am a woman that wants people to follow my lead. I’m the alpha (in my mind), and I don’t like to be questioned – in other words, I’m a woman!

That attitude can bring any relationship to its knees, and when it comes to parenting, having that attitude with your spouse just makes you a bully. So, I have to accept that my husband has every right to disagree with me, and to ‘think’ he’s right, because all in all, we’re both trying to do the right thing for our son.

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