Parenting Conflicts with ADHD Spouse

I have never written anything on a forum before, but I really need to vent, and wonder if anyone else on this forum has the same experience and advice about what to do...

My husband was diagnosed with ADHD about 6 months ago. He's taking amphetamine - and for the first couple of weeks I felt like I had the man I married back. However, we're still having issues -- particularly about parenting our 2 and a half year old daughter. He is so lax with her -- he lets her do whatever she wants and he rarely tells her no. Usually it is rather benign things like one more cookie or watching TV. But in the last week, we have had two major disagreements -- in front of her, which is not good, -- about things she should or shouldn't be able to do.

The first was that we had gotten a little heart pin for making a donation to an organization. It was packaged, and she wanted to play with it. I told her she could, but I wouldn't open it for her because I didn't want her to poke herself with the pin. When he got home from work, she brought it over to him and asked him to open it for her. He started to, and I said, "I told her no earlier," expecting he would say, "Okay" and tell her no as well. Instead, he argued with me about it in front of her and said, "why can't she have it?"
Even after I explained that it isn't safe for a 2 year old to play with, he continued to push the issue. He took it out, removed the poking part, and gave it to her. I was SO angry!!! He totally undermined me! I told him he was just like a child himself, and he got very angry about that. I tried to talk to him about it after she went to bed, and explained that we need to be consistent -- and at least in front of her -- be on the same page. I said if either one of us has made a decision and told her she could or couldn't do something, then the other should back the initial decision. If we have a problem with it, we can discuss it later when she's not around. He agreed and I apologized for calling him a child.

Then, this morning, it happened again! We were having breakfast, and he was putting his amphetamine and vitamins in a pill box. Our daughter asked what he was doing, he told her, and then she asked if she could help. I expected common sense to prevail, but instead of telling her no, he starts to hand her a pill and tells her to put it in the box. I couldn't believe it and was totally incredulous and overrode his decision, which I thought was poor and completely reckless. I explained to both of them that pills are not candy -- they are not to play with. They are dangerous. Our daughter ran into the living room crying. I said to my husband, "what if she put them in her mouth?" He said, "I don't think she would do that." and continued to defend his position.  He left for work, and I am still SO upset about it. I just don't understand why on earth he would think it is okay for a 2 year old to play with pins and pills.

Also, I am in school and he stays home with her when I go to class. I don't think he pays any attention to what she is doing when I'm gone. He said that she wrapped the dog's leash around her neck, AND touched the glass when the gas fireplace was on!!!!!!!! How can I trust him to keep our daughter safe if he doesn't have ANY common sense about safety??!?!!? Is this typical of a parent with ADHD or does he just lack common sense?? What do I do???  I feel so lost and alone -- I don't want to tell any of my friends or family about these incidents because I don't want them to think he's a bad father, because he isn't -- he's wonderful with her usually -- but he is the "fun" parent and I am the enforcer. How do we get on the same page??!!! Help!!!!!! Thanks.

It is OK to disagree, you

It is OK to disagree, you won't both always think the same way and have the same opinions. Her safety should come first and I don't think anyone could argue that. The one thing you both need to consider is that this is probably more of an issue with just seeing things in a completely different way. No, she shouldn't be handling his meds...I can agree with that, but there are many who might not see the big deal if he is standing right there with her, watching her, and making sure she is putting them in the box and not in her mouth. I can see where this could easily make him feel that you have no confidence in his parenting, especially calling him a child, on the other hand I think you're 100% valid in your point that these two situations aren't safe for her. Where you need to come to a common ground is that he needs to understand that even if you don't agree, the simple fact that it makes you uncomfortable for her to be doing something should be enough reason for him to not let her do. Remove her from the situation (with the pills) by saying "come and let's go read a book" or "watch Dora" or something...and then talk to him when you're alone and just say "I hope you understand, but it really makes me uncomfortable. I know you might be OK with it, but please respect that it makes me nervous and don't let her mess with your meds". It does not have to get to the point that you're furious. Maybe that comes from lack of understanding where he is coming from. I have been there and done that. Frustration definitely comes from just not getting "what the hell is he thinking?" but many times it really is just as simple as them not seeing it the way we do. When your daughter's safety is in question, it certainly does amp things up and give you a sense of urgency you otherwise might not have.

There are two issues here...agreeing about things, being consistent AND her safety. One parent should ever undermine the other in the presence of the children (easier said than done, no?) but you don't always have to agree on things either. But the real issue is her safety. I am not sure that it matters WHY as much as how you go about making sure she is safe when you're not home.  If he never tells your daughter no, he thinks she'll grow to love him more. Telling her no would surely make her love him less, right? Wrong. All it does is breed a lack of respect and it teaches them who they go to to get anything they want.

I'm sorry, I don't feel like I have much solid advice to give. You're not alone. I do know that. Parenting issues/disagreeing on things just about cost us our marriage. I hope maybe someone else here can give you some suggestions. (hugs)

responding to Mad Mom

I am with you.  I am so frustrated by my partner and his ADHD.  He is finally going to try some medication, but your posting makes me worried that it won't make a difference on the most important thing - the safety of our child.  The situations you illustrated sounded like a day in our home.   I have thought of separating on many occasions, but my fear for our child always wins out.  What if we separate and he gets partial custody of the child?!  I could never feel safe if he was left alone with her.   She was born with special needs and has been even more delicate than other children.  I guess maybe it is a blessing that she has developed later because of her physical problems... she has had less danger.  Honestly, I NEVER leave her alone with him because I am afraid of what might happen.  Once I went upstairs and left her alone with him and came down and found him prancing around the room with her on his shoulders.  Doesn't sound like a big deal, but this is a child that had very low muscle tone and could barely hold her head up and definitely couldn't hold on to him.  He couldn't understand what the problem was.  He will let her play with anything she wants with, regardless of physical injury that she might experience, or choking hazards, leaves the door to the downstairs staircase open numerous times a day, even though she can't walk well enough to maneuver stairs.  It is horribly frustrating and frightening.  He has 2 younger daughters that were hurt because of his decisions, including a decision to take one ice skating when they were one... he carried her onto the ice so that he could ice skate holding her, and he isn't a great skater... of course he fell with the baby on the ice and they were both injured.  This is why I won't leave him alone with her.  He adores her and would never do anything purposefully to hurt her, but he just can't think things through well.

How scary!! I hate to make

How scary!!

I hate to make it sound like you're preparing to bury him someday, but I might start keeping a journal of things like this because if there is a chance that you might someday divorce, the safety of your child should most definitely be taken into consideration in a custody situation. If you go to court with a lot of accusations, you might not have as much credibility as you would if you start keeping a journal of things you feel he does to endanger her. Even if they aren't intentional, which I'm sure they aren't, it doesn't change the fact that her safety would be at risk, ya know?

My ADHD husband is the opposite...or was when our daughter was younger. Very overprotective. Wouldn't even let me get her ears pierced until she was old enough to ask for them to be done. He would have kept her in a bubble if he had his way. Now that she's older, he feels I am way too protective. Not in situations of her hurting herself so much, but in the fact that I don't like her going out of my sight in the neighborhood because of the fear of pedophiles and such. She's 12.

It is common


 My husband tends to be a little more overprotective.....BUT he sleeps a lot while "watching" our young children. I don't like the kids watching very much TV at all. I really dislike it. But, I give up on this one, because I rather them have the TV on all day then wander out the front door while he is sleeping. Actually he deadbolts that...ok play with the hairdryer by the sink. Whatever. Oh and he does not sleep...he rests on the couch with his eyes closed. He said he never sleeps. But I have come early unexpectedly several times to find his asleep - or his version of resting his eyes. 

        I also think that you might be a first time mom and a little more worried. I agree that he should have stood by you with the pin thing...but he did take out the pointy part somehow. My husband does support me though which I am glad of. The glass with the fireplace. From my experience it never gets harmful hot - somethings people have to learn on their own. Do you think she would have got burned, or touched it and said hot and then knew not to touch it again.  Sherri had a good point about the pills.  I might add that it is a good lesson to say that these are daddies and then explain that she has her own and give her one of her gummy vitamins . I guess I am trying to say that you can't put her in a bubble from the world, and that you can teach her about her world as she interacts with it.

Maybe you could take a parenting course together to get on the same page. We took the Love and Logic 4 course and it helped up back up one another. Google them as they offer courses all over the country.

Lastly, my husband is also a  student and my son goes to the college's child care center. Does your college have one. Ours normally had a long wait list, but because of him being a student and we are lower income my son got in within several months of applying.  Or could you buy class like Kindermusic, Gymboree,  where your husband could take her too while watching her giving you piece of mind.

Good luck....