ADD and raising kids

I would like to get some advice on an issue that is causing great anxiety for me.I am living with my boyfriend and his biggest ADD problem is forgetting and misplacing things.It has raised a huge red flag for me in that,if I have kids with this man some he going to be able to be a responsible father and help to raise them?Or will he forget about them and their needs to the point of jepardizing their safety because he "forgets" so much.What if he leaves them in the hot car one day,forgets to pick them up at daycare,forgets they are in the bathtub,etc,etc.

I am curious what others have experienced in this department.How is it once you have kids?Do you ever leave your ADD partner alone with your own kids or do you "always" have them in your sight?(We are not engaged or anything yet)but am I overreacting with this or should this be a real concern and how do I handle it?

Also,he is not on any form of medication at all....yet.I was told the meds are very helpful in helping the ADD person focus.So this brings up another issue......He said he would try some meds,but I know he really doesn't want to...he is doing it for me.He even goes back and forth with saying he will try meds,then he won't,etc.So am I wrong by giving him an ultimatum in saying,"Look,In looking into my future with you,I am concerned about all this forgetting and how you will be able to raise kids and still be safe with them.Therefore,I really need you to try this medication,otherwise I don't feel I can stay in this relationship."Yes,it may be manipulation and I can't make someone get on meds...but it also may be the truth.I may honestly end this with him because I also fear that I will be a single parent and never trust him alone with the kids,etc.However if meds help...then I could go into a future with him with a LOT more peace.

So am I jumping the gun and overreacting with worry and anxiety about the future or??Normally I am not a pill pusher and wouldn't force meds on anyone...but in this case....when it is a safety issue...that seems different.The "current" things that he forgets...I can deal with,but you throw kids in the picture and that is different.Any advice?


Kids with my ADHD partner

I knew that my husband had ADHD going into our marriage.   Having kids was a deal breaker for us as far as marriage went – I wanted them and he was scared to have them.  He didn’t want to pass his genes along.  Long story short, we are expecting our third child any day now (my due date was yesterday). 

I also had the benefit of meeting him while we worked at a camp – so I saw how wonderful he was with kids. 

Things change when you have children.  He still wanted to have a lot of “me time” for himself.  Some of that had to go – with two young ones and another on the way, I need help around here.  One thing that he really likes to do is play an online game.  So we set aside one night a week where he games to his hearts content and unless someone is really sick, I leave him alone. It gives him the time he craves and that works for us.  We’ve also set aside a “movie night” for us.  We need time to just hang out with no kids – so after they go to bed, we watch whatever movie we’ve rented that night.  It may not seem like much, but it helps us stay connected.

Safety is a HUGE concern of mine, too.  Our oldest (age 4) is severely allergic to egg.  Twice in the past year he’s let her have something and has forgotten to read the ingredients label on the food.  Once that landed her in the emergency room because her reaction was so bad (swollen throat, vomiting, hives, etc). 

He does not mean to endanger her.  He was simply in a hurry and didn’t read the labels.  Still scary none-the-less.  I know he felt horrible both times it happened.  And is he working on that.  He is trying to get off his meds.  The one he was on was making him a not so nice person and very into himself and not what anyone else wanted.  He was not the person I married when on these meds and we finally had an opportunity to talk about that.  So he is currently on a lower dosage as he tapers off these meds and is working with neurofeedback.  It wasn’t until he was on a dosage that didn’t mess with his personality that we were able to talk about all of this.  He is really working to be conscientious of what the girls need.  He hasn’t forgotten to read a food label since.

He does need to be reminded of things.  He gets so engrossed in what he’s doing with the kids that he loses track of time.  So, either I make meals myself or ask him to do it.  If I ask, he does it.  I need to remind him when our girls need their inhalers and to bring the epi-pen with him every time he takes our oldest somewhere.  But he’s working on remembering those things, too.

At night, I remind him that in the morning the girls need to get dressed, eat, brush teeth and detangle hair.  And I remind him again in the morning.  And then I have to do some letting go myself:  if they don’t have their hair detangled for a day, it’s not the end of the world.  If they don’t have their teeth brushed for a day, I just hope they don’t breathe on anyone, but again, not the end of the world. 

Yes.  I do leave him with our girls.  If I can’t trust him to take care of them, then we may as well not have the kids.  And obviously I do trust him or we wouldn’t be having our third soon.  We’ve devised ways to help him remember things – like the epi-pen – if he takes the girls, he has to take my car because I have the car seats.  So I have a note in there saying, “Do you have the epi-pen?”  Just a little reminder for him – he and I had talked about it extensively and that’s what we came up with to work for us.  If I have to be gone for a period of time that involves meals or taking of medicine, I leave a small list for him.  Just telling him who gets what med at what time and the dosage.  The girls are old enough that if they don’t get fed and get hungry enough, they’ll let him know.   If they don’t eat what I would have made, or eat in front of the TV or eat at a different time, it’s not the end of the world either. 

I had to work on changing my thinking, too.  I can be quite a control freak and I needed to let go of that.  He may not do things the way I’d do them, but that doesn’t make what he does wrong.  It just makes them different.

I guess communication is the biggest thing with us in making sure the girls stay safe.  We talk about things that need to get done and medicines that need to be taken.  And we talk about ways for me to help him remember some of these things.  

He is so wonderful with the girls.  He is patient and loving and kind to them.  We are lucky to have him as their father.  He has the energy to keep up with them.  He gets to their level and plays whatever they’re playing.  He would never forget them in the bathtub (they’re ages 4 and 2 so are never left alone in there) – he gets so engrossed in what they’re playing that I sometimes have to go get them before the water turns to ice!   He can push them on swings to no end.  He’ll run around outside with them.  He teaches them about the plants we’ve planted (tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins).  He can often times see different ways to approach discipline problems we may have as he’s very good at thinking outside the box.  He and I take turns putting the girls down for bed and the girls love the way he reads to them.  He gets into the stories and creates voices for each character in some stories. 

It has taken some work on both of our parts and we continue to talk about and adjust things (and I’m sure there’ll be some huge adjustments when this third baby comes!) but I wouldn’t change a thing about how things are done (I hope that makes sense).  And now I see that I’ve rambled a lot, so I will stop.  I hope this helps a little.    

Thank you and yes...that is

Thank you and yes...that is helpful and encouraging information.I really like the idea of the notes in the car,etc. (I guess watching the "Oprah" episode where she left the child in the car hasn't helped...yet I know ADD or not,that could happen to any of us.) Thanks again.

having kids update

Since I last wrote, I gave birth to our third child.  My husband has been incredible since then, too!  He has been taking care of our other two girls so I can rest and bond with the baby (another girl!).  He takes the oldest girl to preschool and our middle girl on errands with him.  He has not forgotten the bag with medicines in it at all.  He's been taking care of getting dishes done, picking up toys, getting laundry done, giving the girls baths, getting them ready for bed and tucking them in at night.  All without me even having to help or ask. It leads me to believe that if I would have let things go a bit before, he would have done more without me feeling like I have to nag or repeatedly ask.  I just need to let him do things in his own time frame.  And right now it's easy to let stuff go (like dishes and laundry) because I have this beautiful baby to cuddle with!  I just wanted to share how wonderful my husband is being.  


Congratulations on your baby girl!Thank you for the reassuring comment.I am happy that your situation has turned out so peacefully for you.Good for your husband on all he has done! Thanks give us hope!

kids safety

 I have a 2 yr old and a 4 m old and I am terrified to leave them alone with my ADD husband. We have had several accidents one with a ceiling fan where my husband did not realize the fan was on and raised our son to where the fan blades hit his face and several seconds went by before he realized what happened,  my son could of lost an eye. I had to take him to the emergency room for observation, another time he was not paying attention and 6 m ago he rolled down the stairs like a football and my husband just stood there did nothing. He leaves knives, screwdrivers, nails, batteries  all over the house it is a miracle our son has not had more accidents. Then recently I asked him to watch for a second our youngest who is 4 m old in the tub that sits on top of the counter while I put our oldest in the shower, well he quickly got distracted and bent down to the floor to play with the oldest one while he fought me to get into the shower and left the baby unsupervized in the tub thank god!! I was right there and yelled at him to pay attention to the baby. My son could of drowned if I was not right there, it is awful I have nightmares about loosing my kids. I often have to work on weekends saturdays and sundays and I have nannies. to watch the kids I have to pretend my husband does not exist I cant trust him. He refuses to accept he has a problem. I already told him that if something happens again I will divorce him I have to protect my kids. My advice if he is not treated do not trust him I certainly can't. I dont even let him drive he has ran over 15 stops signs with the kids and me in the car. I always have to warn him there is a stop sign ahead .... I just cant see how he continues to risk our lives and that is not enough to accept he has a problem and get treatment. 

Holy crap...that is

Holy crap...that is absolutely terrifying.  That is not manipulation; you are setting a boundary around the safety of your kids.  But now that you have set the boundary, I hope you are prepared to follow through.

My mother, 7 year old son, and I all have ADHD.  I can tell you that for whatever reason, safety always went to the front of the queue with my unmedicated Mom when I was a kid.  She was the Safety Czar, for all of the challenges she went through.  I may not have the same level of paranoia (she was overprotective) as my Mom, but I rarely do stupid things like that (no more than my husband, who is non-ADHD).  I put plug covers on the outlets, we had a safety gate at the top of the stairs, which I installed, I always installed the car seats like they were meant to withstand a hurricane,  started training my then unmedicated ADHD son to stand next to me when I had to take my then infant out of the car BEFORE she was born, and all of the other common sense things.  While I will tell you that neither my Mom nor I have the capacity to remember what we want to remember, we are eternally grateful that our brains have chosen safety of children as an important item.  My husband thinks I remember what I "want to remember," because I frequently forget things he tells me.  I hate making him feel badly, and that is simply not true.  I also forget all kinds of other things, and all of this causes me (and him, naturally) SIGNIFICANT amounts of stress.  I would never want to be like this; it sucks, frankly.  Using my smartphone to remind me of everything has been the biggest adaptive measure to date.  For my ADHD son, I use large signs to remind him of things he frequently forgets (we ADHDers tend to repeat mistakes ad nauseum unless we find work-arounds to retrain ourselves).  For example, he would often run the length of the house with a pounding gate on my DH's day to sleep in, especially before his meds kicked in.  I put large fluorescent signs with "NO RUNNING" and a simple picture of someone running with a strikethough hanging on a chair in the kitchen in his path.  I literally tied a "Don't go upstairs" sign at the bottom of the stairs on the first floor so he wouldn't forget and go back upstairs and wake up my husband.  It was easier than yelling, and provided the visual reminder required.  It also meant if I wasn't paying attention, and he DID go upstairs, my DH wouldn't get mad at me.  Your husband needs to make himself some signs, such as "LOCK THE GATE!!!" but he might not be ready for that if he's bucking meds.  I'm sure your husband is not doing this on purpose; his brain is just not functioning optimally, to say the least.  That said, it is his DUTY AS A FATHER to go on medication.  This WILL NOT cure him, and he should see a therapist specializing in ADHD to help him with areas of difficulty (reputable ADHD experts, such as Melissa Orlov, recommend this).  I can tell you that my therapist has been my saving grace, and because she is not married to me, can see my perspective and yet challenge me in a way that is not emotionally charged.  To say you are forcing him, when he CLEARLY CANNOT HANDLE BASIC PARTS OF PARENTING is totally selfish, and a giant load of crap.  I know it is a blow to the ego to admit a neurological problem that requires many adaptations, but trust me, you can move on and deal with what is, little by little.  

Thanks for the advice. I have

Thanks for the advice. I have several obstacles one is that he is seeing an idiot therapist who he tells him he is ok so he is convinced he does not have a problem and I am exaggerating. We are going to marriage counseling with a guy who is supposed to be an expert on ADD and even though he has pointed out to him that he needs into looking to see if he has it we have been going for close to 6 months and my husband still gets very defensive at the possibility and thus is not open to the idea. The signs are a good idea I need to learn more about this condition without even realizing I had already done some signs like in our bedroom door when our first baby was born since he would forget the baby was sleeping in the room and would slam the door and wake him up. It would make me furious.!!I think it helps you that you are a woman and  your maternal instinct tells you that you have to protect your children and you are aware of your condition and understand it, men in general are not as aware of the dangers overall and then the untreated ADD makes it worse. But things happen all the time  like leaving the stove on, etc etc .  I have a full time job and I cant be around all the time so I have hired nannies almost round the clock to watch over the kids and him. I guess I just have to continue to hope and pray he admits to it and gets treated.