A dad's guide to parenting with ADHD
How it started
In March 2016 my wife announced she was pregnant with our first child. I was over the moon but this delight soon changed into concern about how my ADHD would impact my role as a father to my child. I rushed to the internet and spent days searching for tales or tips from other ADHD fathers of their experiences. Sadly, I found nothing other than medical books talking about how to parent ADHD children. But what about fathers with ADHD? This lack of support and positive representation of ADHD fathers had been a real blow for me and further instilled a feeling of isolation and feeling different to other dads.
The isolation of growing up with ADHD
Throughout my childhood and early twenties having ADHD led me to some very lonely places. This was compounded by the fact that there was little to no representation in the public eye representing people with ADHD. Apart from a South Park character, Tweek, who was nothing but the punch lines for many South Park jokes about hyperactivity and poor concentration. In addition, at this time social media just started making waves but people on the platforms weren’t ready to share more than holiday photos or funny memes.
Sharing experiences and finding a community
I remember thinking how lonely this felt and not wanting other ADHD parents to feel this loneliness. So, I set up a social media account called @ADHDFatherUK where I'd share my experiences of being a father with ADHD and offer helpful tips and resources, as well as trying to change the way people looked at ADHD.
Over the past six years I’ve used my planform to highlight ADHD and fatherhood as well as promote positive ADHD representations and role models to ADHD individuals and families, I’ve also used it as a form of journaling my time as a father. In addition to ADHD, I also struggle with depression. It’s very common for people with a form of neurodiversity to have an additional mental health disorder or show symptoms. This brings highs and lows that have come with that from struggling with depression following the birth of my second child, and now I use this platform to share the positive adventures we’ve been on and experienced as a family.
Awareness of ADHD is changing…
In the past few years, we’ve seen a huge increase of ADHD awareness, referrals and acceptance in the ADHD community which has been so amazing. For example, now when people ask about who are famous and successful people with ADHD. I can refer to the likes of Michael Phelps the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time, Simone Biles the most decorated gymnast of all time, Entrepreneur Bill Gates, and the list now goes on and on.
How does ADHD affect my parenting?
Realistically, ADHD has impacted my role as a father in both good ways and bad but I wouldn’t change it for a second.
My ADHD enables me to take positive risks, be fearless at failure, be creative and not afraid of creating change. Yes, there are downsides like any other Neurodiverse condition. But now with a huge community of other ADHD people around me, I am free to be able to seek advice, support and most importantly acceptance.
If you’d like more information on ADHD follow me on Instagram and twitter @adhdfather or follow the link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/