Perhaps not surprisingly, research published last year showed that more marriages ended in divorce when the parents had a child diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADHD). The statistic researchers found is eye-opening — such marriages end in divorce at nearly double the rate than marriages …

6 Comments to
A Child’s ADHD Can Stress Your Marriage

Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. The comments below begin with the oldest comments first. Click on the last comments page to jump to the most recent comments.

  1. Also, I have to note a fascinating new play running off Broadway in New York City about ADHD that was mentioned over on the NY Times ‘Well’ blog:

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/05/attention-deficit-on-stage/

    “In the new play “Distracted,” Cynthia Nixon, above with Josh Stamberg, portrays the mother of a child who may or may not have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.”

  2. What about the heritability of ADHD? Could the higher divorce rate be due in part to some of the parents having ADHD themselves?

  3. Hi,

    I think the relationship might be a bit more complex than portrayed in the Washington Post snippet. Parents might for example have below-average communication skills that lead to tensions in their relationship. When they have a kid that has certain predispositions, it might very well develop ADHS because the it’s parent’s relationship was fragile in the first place – instead of the other way around.
    If the parents have problems communicating with each other, displaying symptoms of ADHD might well be the only way for the kid to get some of the attention that is absorbed by its parents’ constant troubles.

    I agree with you that skills should be taught that help the interaction and communication of the family members. Ritalin might not always be the best for the kid. And for the marriage neither.

    On a side note: I enjoy reading this blog a lot. Thanks for the effort. And: English is not my native tongue… I hope I can convey my point…

  4. I agree with Florian to a certain degree. A relationship may fall apart for many reasons and it may not be totally due to the child with ADHD. For example, you may have parents who only wish for positive things to result from their marriage and life together with children. If this doesn’t occur, parents may become resentful and angry and want a divorce for this futil reason. You know…people sometimes want all roses and not the dirt that can come with it so to speak.

    Other explanations may include parents who are too young to be married and dealing with children with developmental disabilities; inexperience plays a role here and overly high expectations of married life.
    For older parents, those in their late 30′s or early-mid 40′s, may be too old to have children with developmental disabilities, have low patience,or tolerance for children period, much less the impulsivity and hyperactivity that comes with ADHD. Thus they may become resentful and want a divorce because of a difficulty to sustain a relationship and help a child through their problems. Or they may want a divorce to lessen overall stress.

    The explanations are endless and I don’t know if it’s quite fair to say children with ADHD weaken a marriage. I know it’s a component, but there are certainly other fundamental components that need to also be expressed and highlighted.

    Perhaps we should mention that a marriage that has been founded on a weak foundation can be susceptible to divorce when raising children with ADHD.

  5. This post was quite intriguing.

  6. My son was diagnosed with ADHD since he was 4 years old. He is 8 years of age turning 9 next month. Raising any child diagnosed with this is most certainly not easy. We were advised to attend workshops on how to deal with the problem to help him through this. If only I took this advise and participated in sessions which I did not as a result of my husband not coming to terms with the diagnosis. I decided to try and live a normal life and come to terms with this. There should be much more support out there for married couples to guide and councell them through this. After all a child and both parents will both benefit from this.

  7. It is definitely hard to deal with a child who has ADHD and keeping marriage alive with a spouse who is not really on board with the idea / in denial of his or her own child has ADHD. My 12 year old daughter was diagnoses of ADHD when she was 8 after months of backing force fights between my husband and I whether taking our daughter to get evaluated for her conditions. She has been on meds ever since but it takes more than just popping pills in her mouth. I want my daughter to not to give herself excuse of her poor performance or choices just because she has ADHD. I want her to learn she could be in charge of herself and be responsible for her own actions. I imagine every married couple has disputes over their differences regarding parenting styles but it is very hard dealing with a child with ADHD plus husband who doesn’t support or willing to adjust parenting styles. We’ve been married for 15 years now, once the our youngest daughter (10 years old) turns 18, I would like to out of this marriage. My goals for the next 6 years to cope my oldest with ADHD, give normal family life as possible for both of our daughters and somehow keep our marriage tolerable.

  8. Wanna know what you news paper people or what ever can suck it i have adhd i this just puts pressure on everyone that reads this.

  9. Having ADHD child is really hard and keeping marriage at the same time but it’s up to both parties to make it work. Time and commitment is the key to keep it still.

Join the Conversation!

Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines.

Post a Comment:


(Required, will be published)

(Required, but will not be published)

(Optional)

Recent Comments
  • thatjournalistdork: I agree that the use of “said” does get boring and annoying, but it is proper AP...
  • lisa: I am at a loss,my baby sister who is smart,and loving phoned me one day and starting crying,I hope that I was...
  • Ocean: Dear Sally, I can feel your pain when I read your blog. Please don’t be sad, this dark period will...
  • cynths: Thanks for this.
  • masa: I normally don’t struggle with this but right now I’m on some meds that are notorious for...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code