When a Child and Parent Both Have ADHD

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, there is a strong chance that you or your spouse has it too -- which you may have already suspected. Can a family thrive when both a parent and child have ADHD? Of course! Conflicts actually may be minimized because of the shared condition, and treatment is obviously important. Two more tips: get outside regularly and limit screen time for everyone.


It's Not Rare

Studies have confirmed what everyone has long suspected: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is at least partially genetic. You could read all day long and still not exhaust the lengthy (and ever-growing) mountain of studies that address the genetics of ADHD. There are studies about specific genes, twin studies, adoption studies, and many others.
However confusing and technical these studies may be, the most important and useful bit of information is this: if you have ADHD, your kids have a high risk for it. And similarly, if your kid has ADHD, there is a higher-than-average chance that you or your spouse has it.
Before you read any further, it's critical to understand one very essential point: ADHD is not entirely genetic. You cannot predict who will have it and who will not based on genetics alone. It is likely the interaction of genes (plural -- not just one gene) with each other and with environmental factors that is to blame.

Double Trouble?

It's easy to imagine how families with both a parent and child with ADHD might run into some unique difficulties. For instance, communication may be greatly hampered when both parent and child have trouble focusing and listening to each other. As another example, kids with ADHD have lots of doctor appointments and usually take one or more medications, and it may be difficult for a parent with ADHD to keep track of all these.
Parents with ADHD may also push their children too hard, trying to help them avoid the struggles, failures, and hurts they experienced when they were children.
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