Having a teen with ADHD can add a lot of stress and tension to the family dynamic, even beyond the teen and their parents. Research shows that families who have a teen with ADHD are different from non-ADHD families. These differences include a variation in parenting strategies and parent-teen relationships. In addition, research shows that families with ADHD face more challenges and family conflict. Simple interactions with siblings or their parents can be challenging for teens with ADHD.Without proper supports in place, everyone in the home can be negatively affected by ADHD.
ADHD in the Family: Tension Between Siblings
Studies have shown that teens with ADHD tend to fight more with their siblings. This is commonly due to the impulsive streak in teens with ADHD. Additionally, siblings of teens with ADHD may get frustrated at the teen’s aggressive or irrational behavior and lash out at them.
Another source of contention between siblings and teens with ADHD can stem from the parents. Parenting a teen with ADHD often takes more time, attention, and energy than parenting a child without ADHD. The additional time helping the teen with ADHD often takes away from a parent’s time with other children. Naturally, this can can cause tension between siblings and cause the other children to become jealous. The other children may feel pushed aside or ignored by the parent and start to resent the teen with ADHD. Additionally, these children may begin acting out as a way to get more attention from their parent.
ADHD in the Family: Strain Between Husband and Wife
Research shows that parents of a teen who has ADHD are three times more likely to separate or divorce as parents of non-ADHD teens. Couples are faced with added stress when their teen has ADHD and face more obstacles as a couple. In such circumstances, many couples see their teen’s situation differently and begin arguing about treatment options, parenting, and support strategies. Additionally, it is common for a couple to be so focused on helping their son or daughter that they begin neglecting their marriage.