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Co-Parenting a Child with ADHD: How to Make It Easier

by | Feb 28, 2024 | 0 comments

Co-Parenting a Child with ADHD - child holding a sign that says ADHD

The term “narcissism” on this blog is used to describe a specific set of personality traits. It is not intended to be used as a professional diagnosis.

Co-Parenting a Child with ADHDCo-parenting can present some unique challenges, so I can just imagine what it’s like when your child has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Now, I’m going to preface this article by saying that I have no personal experience parenting a child with ADHD.

I used to work with Autistic preschoolers, and many of them also had ADHD.

But while I am aware of what ADHD in children looks like, I can’t say I know what it’s like day-to-day.

That being said, I do know about co-parenting!

And if your child has ADHD and you are in a co-parenting situation (especially with a narcissistic co-parent), I want to help you out.

Let’s take what we know about ADHD and apply it to a co-parenting situation.

This way, we can explore those unique challenges and help you create a more harmonious situation for your kiddo!

ADHD and Divorce

Divorce or separation can be particularly hard for kids with ADHD. The disruption of routines and the emotional stress associated with parental conflict can make ADHD symptoms worse.

This can lead to increased impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention.

Children with ADHD may struggle to cope with changes in their family structure. Their academics and social functioning may be impacted.

How to Co-Parent a Child with ADHD

Successful co-parenting of a child with ADHD is all about cooperation, consistency, and empathy.

Here are some things you can do to help support your child while co-parenting:

Maintain Consistent Routines

Between you and your ex, it’s important to establish consistent daily routines for your child. This includes mealtimes, bedtimes, and homework schedules. This will help reduce stress and provide structure for your kiddo.

Open Communication

Keep lines of communication open with your co-parent and discuss any concerns or challenges related to your child’s ADHD. Listen to your ex’s perspectives and work together to find solutions that benefit your child.

Coordination of Treatments

Collaborate with healthcare professionals, teachers, and therapists to make sure your child receives appropriate treatment and support for their ADHD.

Share information about medication, therapy, and educational interventions with your co-parent so there is consistency between households.

Expectations and Boundaries

Set clear expectations and boundaries for your child’s behavior, both at home and at their other parent’s house. Consistency in discipline and rules will help reduce confusion and reinforce positive behavior.

ADHD Co-Parenting Issues

Despite your best efforts, you may encounter some challenges with your co-parent.

That’s okay! There’s no guidebook on raising a child with ADHD, and you and your ex will need some time to adjust to a routine that works.

Here are some common ADHD co-parenting issues with the other parent that may arise and how you can address them:

  • Inconsistent Discipline: If you’re having trouble keeping discipline consistent, talk to your ex and write down a set of rules and consequences for both households.
  • Communication Breakdowns: Set aside regular times for check-in meetings or use communication tools like email or co-parenting apps to improve communication.
  • Disagreements About Treatment: Have a meeting that involves you, your ex, and a healthcare professional. Come up with a treatment plan that works for your child and provide your ex with an outline.
  • Financial Strain: If you’re finding that money is tight, look into insurance coverage for treatments, community support programs, or financial assistance options. 

ADHD and Co-Parenting with a Narcissist

Co-Parenting a Child with ADHD - annoyed woman holding phone

Okay, so here’s where my expertise comes in. I may not know firsthand what it’s like to parent a child with ADHD, but I know how to co-parent with a narcissist!

If you are trying to co-parent with a narcissist, then you’ve seen how they do whatever they can to manipulate the situation in their favor.

Unfortunately, they will use their children to do this – and when that child has special needs, the situation becomes more dire.

But unless your ex is abusing your child or blatantly disobeying a court order, there’s not much you can do legally.

What you can do is advocate for your child and do what you need to do on your end to ensure your child has a consistent and stable life.

Here are some things a narcissistic co-parent may do when it comes to their child’s ADHD:

Undermine Treatment Efforts

A narcissistic co-parent may resist or undermine efforts to seek appropriate treatment and support for the child’s ADHD.

They may refuse to adhere to medication schedules, downplay the importance of therapy or other interventions, or actively sabotage efforts to implement strategies for managing ADHD symptoms effectively.

To address efforts to undermine treatment efforts, you need to prioritize open communication with healthcare professionals and educators involved in the child’s care.

Collaborating with these professionals can help ensure that the child receives consistent support and interventions, even in the face of resistance from the narcissistic co-parent.

Use the ADHD as Leverage

In some cases, a narcissistic co-parent may weaponize the child’s ADHD diagnosis as a means of exerting control or gaining leverage in the co-parenting relationship.

They may use the child’s ADHD symptoms or treatment needs as a bargaining chip, threatening to withhold support or cooperation unless their own demands are met.

If the narcissistic co-parent attempts to use the child’s ADHD diagnosis as leverage, you need to remain focused on the child’s needs and well-being.

This may involve seeking mediation or legal intervention to enforce custody and visitation agreements, ensuring that the child’s treatment plan is followed consistently across both households.

You should provide reassurance and validation to the child, emphasizing their worth and value beyond their ADHD diagnosis.

Prioritize Their Own Needs

Narcissistic co-parents may prioritize their own needs and desires over those of their child, leading to neglect or inconsistency in managing the child’s ADHD.

They may prioritize their own schedules, activities, or preferences over the child’s treatment plan, academic needs, or therapy appointments.

When the narcissistic co-parent prioritizes their own needs over those of the child, it’s essential for you to advocate fiercely for the child’s best interests.

This may involve seeking legal assistance to establish clear custody arrangements and parenting plans that prioritize the child’s well-being.

You should also do everything you can to provide a stable and nurturing environment for the child, emphasizing consistency, routine, and emotional support.

Lack of Empathy

Narcissistic co-parents may lack empathy for their child’s struggles with ADHD and may be unwilling to accommodate their needs.

This can manifest in dismissing the child’s challenges, belittling their experiences, or refusing to acknowledge the importance of their ADHD diagnosis and treatment.

To counteract the lack of empathy from the narcissistic co-parent, you need to prioritize building a strong support network for the child.

This network can include trusted family members, friends, teachers, or mental health professionals who can offer empathy, understanding, and validation to the child.

Co-Parenting a Child with ADHD

I can imagine having a child diagnosed with ADHD has helped you develop patience, compassion, and resilience. And it’s those three things that will help you through co-parenting – especially if you are dealing with a narcissist!

Just remember that you can advocate for your child, whether it’s in court or with medical professionals. If your child with ADHD is being mistreated in a co-parenting situation, keep fighting to have your child’s voice heard.

And do whatever you can in your own household to create a consistent, safe, and loving environment. ♥️

Are you trying to co-parent, and your child has ADHD? Any tips to share? Throw them in the comments below!

Co-Parenting a Child with ADHD Co-Parenting a Child with ADHD

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