How to deal with people using ADHD as an excuse

Alicia - posted on 08/02/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )




My son has ADHD & a temper problem he is on medicine for both of these issues but my ex husband uses these conditions as an excuse for my sons behavior. Let me explain my ex told his new wife & me that we needed to be more understanding & not as hard on him because of his issues. For example my daughter came home & told me that her brother can hit her & his other siblings at thier dads house & she gets questioned what did you do to make him mad, you know not to bother him. My problem is I don't want my son to use these conditions as a crutch cause at my house he has to answer for his behavior. Yes I a certain way I deal with him but that is becasue of his personality he doesn't get away with throwing things cause he is mad,hitting,getting into stuff he isnt suppose to cause he was bored or picking on his sister to amuse himself. How do I teach my son that his issues are not a crutch when his father lets him use them as a crutch at his house????? Please any suggestions are welcome.


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[deleted account]

Have u had his dad sit with the Dr. my husband had started out doing that then I made him take out daughter to the Dr to ask the questions he wanted to know. it seemed to help with the consistency with her. The Dr. explained to him that being consistent and not treating her as if she had a problem would help her more than letting her get away with everything.It seemed to help now we r both on the same page with her we have explained to her that yes she has this issue but she still needs to be responsible for what she does so she needs to stop and think about things before she reacts especially when she is angry with someone because it could end up bad for her. If having the dad talk to the Dr doesn't help well all u can do is be consistent at your house and hope your son makes the right decisions since u can't be with him 24/7

Cherie - posted on 08/14/2010




I wish I could help. My step son also has ADHD and everytime he is misbehaving, his mom tells him that his medicine isnt working. He blames everything on his pills not working. Its a normal reaction to want to shelter your children but kids with ADD and ADHD have to learn that their behavior is a result of them doing something not a pill or a disorder. My son is punished for his misdeeds like all of the other kids. It sounds like his father needs the crutch more than the child does.

Anne - posted on 08/13/2010




I can understand this all too well, although I'm afraid for a while I was the one making allowances for our son's ADHD. Then I read the book "Boundaries with Kids" by Cloud and Townsend, and realized I wasn't doing him any favors!!! Basically what I learned from that was that the world wasn't going to make allowances for him when he's older (in a job or a marriage, for instance) and isn't our job as parents to prepare our children for the "real world".

Do you have the kind of relationship with your ex where you might suggest he read this book? Or read it yourself and mention the topics and examples the authors bring up? I tell you, it changed everything for hte better in our household, that's for sure!!!

Danielle - posted on 08/07/2010




In any situation it's hard to teach your children one thing when the other parent does the opposite. No matter what happens at their dads house, you have to stay consistent with the rules at your house. Try having your ex talk to your son's counselor. Maybe he will get a better understanding and hopefully some ideas on how better to handle situations when they arise.

Juliet - posted on 08/06/2010




I find this interesting because my oldest son does this as well. The doctor dianosed him with oppositional defiance disorder. I'm curious as to how do u deal with the fact that he does hit them to amuse himself?

Phyllis - posted on 08/04/2010




My son was out playing and on a whim picked up a rock and went next door and smashed all the windows out of the neighbors tool shed. When asked, he merely shrugged and said he was bored. When I tried to ground him and make him pay for damages out of his allowance, my husband stepped in, right in front of him, and ungrounded him gave his allowance back and said WE would pay for it, it was ok because he has ADHD so its not his fault. Then sent him back out to play. He did not do it out of anger. I did not punish him in anger, I was applying an appropriate consequence. I fail to see how my husband could be "also right"

Vicki - posted on 08/02/2010




It is easy to go down the path of worrying that one parent is undoing the good the other parent has done, but it is also not helpful to think that way. Kids learn very quickly that different rules apply in different settings, as well as in different environments. I think both you and your ex have valid points of concern. Your son should not use his diagnosis as an excuse for all of his bad behavior. He needs to learn to control his anger, even if that means removing himself (or having a parent remove him) from the heat of conflict until he can cool down.

Your ex is also correct. In the brain of a child with ADHD, when he is very angry or, as we call it in our house -in the red zone -it is impossible to think clearly or make good choices. Our job as parents is to help our children recognize the escalation before they reach boiling point (so it can stop now), and to protect them from themselves when they do reach the red zone. Anger cannot be met with anger. ADHD kids are not capable of controlling their impulse when in the red zone, so we can't really punish them for it. With understanding and love, we can patiently help them learn how to regulate their own emotions, and make better choices, and learn from their mistakes.

Phyllis - posted on 08/02/2010




I have a similar issue with my husband. He feels that we should not medicate or go to therapy; that we should just excuse bad behavior because of the ADHD/ODD. He is ADHD himself and was never medicated and was allowed to run wild. I can't get through to him that he is not doing our child any favors by letting him get away with things, because the school and other authorities certainly won't! My husband works away for weeks at a time, so all I can do is "re-train' BOTH of my kids after he leaves for work. It takes a few days, then we are ok for a few weeks, until hubby comes home and it starts all over again. Half the problem is that when he is home, I will discipline my son and hubby will tell me I am being unfair etc RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY SON as I am trying to discipline him. Then my job is 10 times harder! Sorry I can't help, but you are not alone!

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