While the “double whammy” of you and your offspring sharing a diagnosis will create some challenges, it doesn’t spell doom and gloom for your relationship. To make sure you’re the best parent you can be to your ADHD kid, read more about what it’s like to be an ADHD mom or dad.

The Genetics of ADHD

Although your situation can feel overwhelming at times, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. In fact, it’s not all that uncommon for an ADHD child to have an ADHD parent. When a parent has ADHD, their child has about a 35% chance of developing ADHD as well. There are a number of different genes related to ADHD. The heritability factor of ADHD (how likely it is that the genes will be passed down) is around 0.77 on a scale from 0 to 1.

Some parents have complicated feelings about the fact that their genetics played a role in their child’s ADHD. It can be helpful to view this genetic connection as equal to any other possible physical, cognitive, and emotional traits you may have passed down, like height, intelligence, or personality. It’s something that’s out of your hands and part of what makes your family uniquely connected.

The Pros and Cons

There are benefits and drawbacks to a parent and child both having ADHD. One of the positive outcomes of this situation is Mom or Dad having increased empathy for their child when they are displaying ADHD behaviors. A parent with ADHD can have a deeper understanding of why their kid is acting the way they do. If they’ve already sought treatment, an ADHD parent may also be better equipped to help their child access the resources they need to manage their ADHD effectively.

However, there can also be some downsides to sharing an ADHD diagnosis with your child. Because those with ADHD often struggle with emotional regulation, it might be tougher for the ADHD parent to deal with stressful situations involving their kid. They may even feed off of one another, so when a child is struggling with their ADHD, it can set off symptoms in their ADHD parent as a result.

Challenges When a Parent and Child Both Have ADHD

Thinking about the broader connections between a parent and child who both have ADHD is one thing. But what does parenting an ADHD kid when you have ADHD actually look like? Some of the areas that can be particularly challenging in this situation include:

  • Regulating emotions when a child displays ADHD behaviors
  • Consistency when implementing discipline
  • Managing daily household tasks
  • Remembering details about school schedules and social activities
  • Staying organized and keeping track of kids’ belongings
  • Dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression

It can be tough for parents with ADHD to balance their own needs with those of their child with ADHD. For example, the ADHD parent might be so focused on remembering to give the child their ADHD medication at the correct time each day that they forget about taking their own medication on schedule.

ADHD Parenting Tips

There’s no doubt that a parent and child both having ADHD can be difficult at times. But there are plenty of coping strategies which can be implemented to make life easier for you both. Try the following tips for ADHD parents to see what works for your family.

Get your own ADHD under control

Managing your symptoms should be a top priority when you’re raising a kid with ADHD. If you feel overwhelmed by your ADHD, it will be much harder for you to parent effectively. The better you’re able to handle your own ADHD symptoms, the more you can focus on helping your child deal with theirs while also keeping up with everyday tasks.

Set a good example

For most people, ADHD medication is the most effective way to treat the condition. But taking good care of yourself can also contribute to more manageable symptoms. By prioritizing self-care, you are demonstrating the strategies that your child can use throughout their lives to minimize the negative effects of their ADHD. Some of the healthy behaviors you can model for your kids and involve them in include:

  • Spending time outdoors
  • Exercising regularly
  • Practicing good sleep hygiene
  • Eating nutritious foods
  • Drinking enough water
  • Enjoying fun hobbies

Become their advocate

As a parent with ADHD, you’re better prepared to help them succeed. Work with your child’s teachers and collaborate with their physician, school psychologists, school nurses, and/or guidance counselors to make sure they’re getting the attention they need. Bringing your own experience to the table can help you successfully advocate for your kid.