If you or your co-parent has ADHD, or you have one child (or more) with ADHD, then you have likely struggled at some point with trying to get on the same page in terms of parenting. Maybe you're continuing to struggle with it now! That wouldn't be a huge surprise – getting on the same page with parenting ADHD is not easy, and one of the most common questions we get from parents.
According to Guest Expert, Melissa Orlov, even if you and your co-parent want to be equal partners in this parenting world, there are many factors that conspire to make it difficult – especially when ADHD is in the picture. In fact, the challenges you're facing now probably started as early as when your child entered your relationship.
So what do you do about it? CAN you get on the same page with parenting when anyone in the family has ADHD?
Well, it helps to identify and get some clarity about some of the many, predictable challenges that get in the way of sharing responsibilities for family management. For example, in this interview, Melissa talks about issues like "maternal gate-keeping" and our society's values around efficiency.
She also talks about the importance of listening to and understanding to your partner's perspective, instead of trying to convince them to see things your way. In fact, according to research, Orlov explains that 70% of the things that couples disagree over are not actually "resolvable" in the way that we think they should be. This means a couple needs to be able to develop work-arounds with each other – to negotiate terms that they can both live with.
So in order to adopt ADHD-friendly organizational techniques for parenting, you might want to start with some core communication skills – communication skills that will enable you to interact with each other in much healthier ways. Orlov emphasizes that there are very specific skill-sets that parents can learn to interact with each other more effectively. In particular, she speaks about the notion of "conflict intimacy," which involves listening non-defensively and speaking without aggressiveness. It's a skill, she reminds us, that needs to be practiced.
So what's the bottom line? If you are concerned about getting on the same page when parenting in the world of ADHD, this twenty-minute interview paints the stage for how to start. From understanding your partner's position, to learning the emotional parts of negotiation, to practicing conflict intimacy – you can make a difference in the way this dynamic plays out in your family.