My husband was diagnosed with ADD about a year ago. My experiences echo so many posts, but what I want to talk about is how his ADD has affected his relationship with our teenage son, and I want to know if others have had similar experiences. The idea of posting to this forum came to me when I started searching for sources for teenagers, boys, specifically, who have to deal with ADD dads, specifically. I found no sources for kids. All are for parents dealing with ADD kids. I want to help my son, and I want to help other families, too, before it gets to this point, if possible. I am a writer, and I have the inkling to start a book. Here is a quick and shortened summary of what my fourteen-year-old son has experienced:
His dad has never followed through with any promises to do things with him
His dad has never been consistent with rules his son should live by
His dad has lied to his mother and been unfaithful, which caused his son to lose respect for his father, hope in life, and trust in the world
His dad's unfaithfulness caused my husband to lose his good job, which has caused severe financial stress in the home
His dad's deceptive and secretive credit card spending had already been the cause for always having to say "no" to the kids for extras
Due to our lives turning upside down this past year, my son doesn't care about anything and is very depressed
My son has lots of anger toward his dad and it isn't getting better
My son doesn't trust his dad
My son sees no purpose, so wants to escape into video games.
When my son was younger, he would just handle his dad's absent ways (focused on self, enclosed in his home office, drinking, not doing anything with the kids except for occasional TV) and wish for more
Now that my son is older, what he lost with his dad is to him, and he is mad and sad
When children are young, they take what they can get. As they get older, they respond. I wonder how many ADD dads might force themselves to make changes in their habits if they could see the pain and distance that will surface in their sons in the future? This is where the wives and mothers of ADD husbands who have boys, especially come in (I'm focusing on boys because the father-son bond is different that the father-daughter bond--not stronger, just different. The dad is their role model, who boys usually want to emulate. I have two sons and one ADD daughter--that is another story). I want to get a survey, if you will, of parents who have seen their teenage children respond to their parents (I can broaden it to daughters and moms if people out their have stories to share that can help) in negative ways. We know, as parents of young children, how they are affected. We see the neglect, inconsistency, anger, etc. But that isn't what I'm honing in on, though that is the precursor to the teenager. I'm honing in on the aftermath: the teenager who wakes up and realizes the crap he/she has been dealt, and in some cases, like in my son's, can't cope so well--especially if everything is undone in their worlds.
Think about it: We know how we feel, as spouses when we have been neglected, mentally played with, lied to, possibly betrayed, financially burdened, etc, etc. The child feels those things, too, and the scars are deep. The saying, "kids are resilient" irks me. Yes, they survive, just like we do, but they aren't happy and they may not really live. And they don't forget. The sadness is in their bones, just like it is in ours.
So, does anyone relate? I have two book ideas. One would be for teenagers, written for them to help them with their struggles; the other would be called something like, Why ADD Dads Lose Their Sons in hopes the dads would care enough to read it and attempt to make changes before it's too late.
Thank you for listening.