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When Someone You Love Has ADHD

omeone you love has ADHD

ADHD can mean a lot of different things for different people. Some may be more restless, hyperactive, fidgeting, and constantly on the move. Others may seem constantly one step behind, not seem to listen to what you’re saying, forget things, lose track of things, and always be off-task. Some may have a combination of these, and other elements mixed in.

Regardless of the areas of difficulty, if someone you love has ADHD, there are things that you can do to support them. Here are a few:

Work on understanding

The first step to coping with ADHD is to understand what it really is, and how it can affect a person’s functioning. There are great resources out there, including a few linked below. Read them, talk to your loved one, and try to see if you can learn a little more about what ADHD is and start recognizing how it affects your loved one. They need to understand, but so do you.

Practice your own patience

omeone you love has ADHD

This can be a tall order when you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or exasperated. You may be doing more than you expected with your loved one, such as doing more directing (and re-directing), providing frequent reminders, and having to respond (maybe last minute!) when something has been missed or forgotten. Remember that shame rarely helps us improve our behavior; instead, try to respond with patience and encouragement, and work together to make a plan for what you will do next time.

Help them keep a routine

Having predictable routines and systems in place can be incredibly helpful. Help walk them through a routine the night before work or school, and help them think step by step through their morning (What do you need to do? Are there special things you need to remember tomorrow? Did you get your bag/lunch packed for the morning?). Help them put their keys in the same place when they get home. Help set up reminder systems, calendars, and schedules to stay on track.

Laugh! This is very important if someone you love has ADHD!

Learn to love and enjoy the parts of your loved one that are unique, quirky, and fun. Remembering that they are not trying to annoy you may help you take the little things a bit more lightly. Maybe you’ve learned that they are just *always* going to forget their toothbrush, or that no matter what they do, they are going to spend the last five minutes of the morning rushing around and yelling “I’m so late!” Learn to love the quirks. Help where you can, but also try to accept.

Read More on ADHD

External Books and Resources on ADHD

omeone you love has ADHD
  • www.chadd.org
  • Smart but Scattered, by Peg Dawson, EdD, and Richard Guare, PhD
  • Smart but Scattered, by Peg Dawson, EdD, and Richard Guare, PhD
  • Smart but Stuck, by Thomas Brown, PhD
  • Driven to Distraction, by Edward Hallowell, MD, and John Ratey, MD
  • Delivered from Distraction, by Edward Hallowell, MD, and John Ratey, MD
  • Attention Deficit Disorder, by Thomas Brown, PhD
  • Understanding Girls with ADHD, by Nadeau, Littman, and Quinn

Mollie Burke

Author: Mollie Burke

Dr. Burke is a Psychologist at Hope Springs Behavioral Consultants. Her theoretical orientation is Existential-Humanistic. She acknowledges the inherent struggles, difficulties, and hardships of life. However, her approach also emphasizes the incredible ability of human beings to endure these issues to lead purposeful and intentional lives. Basically, she believes that life is hard, but humans are amazing. (We think she is pretty amazing too.)

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