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You Asked: My Boyfriend Has ADHD

Dear Sugar,

My fiancé and I have been together for three years. I love him dearly, but he has ADHD. While his symptoms aren't severe enough to impact me (other than his occasional forgetfulness and constant pacing), I am worried about our future. He occasionally brings up the possibility of having children once we are married, but every time he mentions it, I get worried. I feel as if I almost don't even want to have children with him after reading that a third of all fathers with ADHD have children with ADHD. I don't know how I would deal with that behavior and academic issues in a child when I was always a straight A student. Is it horrible to think this? And what can I do to get it out of my mind?

— Concerned Cara

To see DearSugar's answer,

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Dear Concerned Cara,

It's easy to read about worst-case scenarios on the Internet and end up in a tizzy over what may happen, but frankly, every time anyone has a child there's a chance that something could go wrong, and it may or may not be ADHD. Either way, it doesn't mean she won't have behavioral problems or bring home a perfect report card. My point is that while I understand your concerns, there's no point in imagining what could be. Many children are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD every year and the majority of them will grow up to be perfectly happy, functional adults.

While it may be more demanding to raise a child with this diagnosis, all children come with their own set of challenges. There's always a chance that something could go wrong, and it may or may not be ADHD. But either way, it doesn't mean she won't have behavioral problems or guarantee a perfect report card. If you really feel like this is something you may not be able to overcome, voice your concerns to your fiancé. Since he faces this every day, he may be able to open up your perspective on the situation, and certainly he has a right to know if you don't want to have children with him.

You could also join an online forum for mothers of children with ADHD. I'm sure they'll be able to give you plenty of advice and many positive stories. But most importantly Cara, recognize that life is full of oppositions that we're all stronger for when we finally overcome them. So instead of worrying, start educating yourself.

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lexichloe lexichloe 7 years
You're smart to be thinking about your genetic pool before you have kids. Anyone who is wanting to conceive w/ their significant other should take every possible health factor into consideration b/f doing so. I don't think alot of couples face those facts. Thankfully, ADHD is common, and hence more treatable than other health conditions like cancer, heart conditions, etc.
iheartnitz iheartnitz 7 years
My brothers and I, as well as my father, all have ADHD. We were actually all model students, in the gifted program at my school, no issues in school whatsoever. It manifested itself differently in all 3 of us -- I was really hyper; my oldest brother had anger issues when he didn't take his Ritalin.The thing is, although I admit I did have a very mild form of it, ADHD is not a crippling condition. Obviously it may make your children harder to manage than normal children, but the medications on the market DO work. I also want to point out that if my boyfriend didn't want to have children with me just because I have ADHD, I would be heartbroken.
iheartnitz iheartnitz 7 years
My brothers and I, as well as my father, all have ADHD. We were actually all model students, in the gifted program at my school, no issues in school whatsoever. It manifested itself differently in all 3 of us -- I was really hyper; my oldest brother had anger issues when he didn't take his Ritalin. The thing is, although I admit I did have a very mild form of it, ADHD is not a crippling condition. Obviously it may make your children harder to manage than normal children, but the medications on the market DO work. I also want to point out that if my boyfriend didn't want to have children with me just because I have ADHD, I would be heartbroken.
imdamoos imdamoos 7 years
In my private prep school, if you ask, you'll find out that there are so many people with ADD that seems ridiculous to even diagnose people with ADD, because then we'd all be ADD and no one would be "normal" (I do realize that there are people who have severe ADD/ADHD; the term just seems to be getting thrown around and at people).I got diagnose with ADD, but I don't even like to think about it because the fictitious stereotypical kid with ADD is NOT me, or anyone I know who "has" ADD.ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder, but I can pay attention fine, and if I'm not paying attention it's because I'm being lazy or I just don't want to. EVERYONE spaces out when something is boring, or even every now and then, and if you have never spaced out, I feel sorry for you.There is no deficit; I'm not lacking anything, and there's no disorder.I know it sounds cheesy, but if THIS is a disorder (probably named that by someone who didn't have it) I would be--and am--SO afraid to be "normal." I'd be afraid that I wouldn't be able to be funny anymore, or daydream, or create intricate stories, or even have the same experience when I listen to music. Honestly, I'm afraid my head would be empty. And I'm concerned that you aren't afraid of having a normal child.Surely if you had a child with ADD/ADHD you wouldn't tell that child, "I don't want you; you have ADHD"? Sure, it might make things easier, but things can always be easier (and then they start to get boring).
imdamoos imdamoos 7 years
In my private prep school, if you ask, you'll find out that there are so many people with ADD that seems ridiculous to even diagnose people with ADD, because then we'd all be ADD and no one would be "normal" (I do realize that there are people who have severe ADD/ADHD; the term just seems to be getting thrown around and at people). I got diagnose with ADD, but I don't even like to think about it because the fictitious stereotypical kid with ADD is NOT me, or anyone I know who "has" ADD. ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder, but I can pay attention fine, and if I'm not paying attention it's because I'm being lazy or I just don't want to. EVERYONE spaces out when something is boring, or even every now and then, and if you have never spaced out, I feel sorry for you. There is no deficit; I'm not lacking anything, and there's no disorder. I know it sounds cheesy, but if THIS is a disorder (probably named that by someone who didn't have it) I would be--and am--SO afraid to be "normal." I'd be afraid that I wouldn't be able to be funny anymore, or daydream, or create intricate stories, or even have the same experience when I listen to music. Honestly, I'm afraid my head would be empty. And I'm concerned that you aren't afraid of having a normal child. Surely if you had a child with ADD/ADHD you wouldn't tell that child, "I don't want you; you have ADHD"? Sure, it might make things easier, but things can always be easier (and then they start to get boring).
alphaxigirl07 alphaxigirl07 7 years
Listen, as angry as I could get about this post, I realize that you only don't know about the subject and therefore, should definitely look into it. ADD/ADHD is actually really fascinating! There is a LOT that can be learned. Like did you know that people who have ADD/ADHD are very creative? Did you know that people who have ADD/ADHD tend to have higher IQ's? In fact, just like Janine22 said, doctors, psychologists and educators.. all the people who are around with/work with individuals who have ADD/ADHD on a regular basis.. are starting to realize that it may not be an actual disorder or disability. In fact it may be just another form of thinking. Because other people don't think that way, it is seen negatively because we are unsure how to handle it. Also, everyone has a certain disposition. People who are ADD/ADHD just have a different area they need to work on than you do. No one is perfect, let's just remember that.In addition, I didn't realize that I had ADD until mid-way through college. Up until then, I was the girl who was always getting A's and the occasional B. I got honor roll all the time. I have received academic honors. I had to work for these, but I wanted them, so I did it. If you end up having a child, refocus your concern not on the child having ADD/ADHD, but on helping bring that child up in a life that you expect out of them. This is the only way ANY child can excel in life, regardless of disability or not. Without parental support... well, it just doesn't work :)I hope you will take the time to research now.. be sure to not only notice the difficulties people have who have ADD/ADHD, but notice all the wonderful traits they may have as well. Then be sure to let your boyfriend know how much you appreciate HIM as a person, and let him know you are okay with his flaws, just as I am sure he is okay with yours.
alphaxigirl07 alphaxigirl07 7 years
Listen, as angry as I could get about this post, I realize that you only don't know about the subject and therefore, should definitely look into it. ADD/ADHD is actually really fascinating! There is a LOT that can be learned. Like did you know that people who have ADD/ADHD are very creative? Did you know that people who have ADD/ADHD tend to have higher IQ's? In fact, just like Janine22 said, doctors, psychologists and educators.. all the people who are around with/work with individuals who have ADD/ADHD on a regular basis.. are starting to realize that it may not be an actual disorder or disability. In fact it may be just another form of thinking. Because other people don't think that way, it is seen negatively because we are unsure how to handle it. Also, everyone has a certain disposition. People who are ADD/ADHD just have a different area they need to work on than you do. No one is perfect, let's just remember that. In addition, I didn't realize that I had ADD until mid-way through college. Up until then, I was the girl who was always getting A's and the occasional B. I got honor roll all the time. I have received academic honors. I had to work for these, but I wanted them, so I did it. If you end up having a child, refocus your concern not on the child having ADD/ADHD, but on helping bring that child up in a life that you expect out of them. This is the only way ANY child can excel in life, regardless of disability or not. Without parental support... well, it just doesn't work :) I hope you will take the time to research now.. be sure to not only notice the difficulties people have who have ADD/ADHD, but notice all the wonderful traits they may have as well. Then be sure to let your boyfriend know how much you appreciate HIM as a person, and let him know you are okay with his flaws, just as I am sure he is okay with yours.
cerealchan cerealchan 7 years
I've had the same concerns with you as well, but my ADHD boyfriend exhibits almost no ADHD symptoms of all - he has never taken medication because he had to learn how to deal with it himself.IF you really are stressed out about the small possibility of having children with ADHD, you should not turn to medication automatically. I used to be enormously hyperactive and attention deficit, but I certainly wasn't ADHD, I was just being a kid. Basically, you have to find an outlet for the child in order to focus the excess energy on it and be successful. Many athletes such as Michael Phelps and Shawn Johnson exhibit qualities of hyperness, but they were able to Hyperfocus their attention into that. In the end, please, do not fret - there are many things more that you can enjoy in the world, such as having a loving, supportive partner and the possibility of beautiful, unique children. Having a 4.0 is one of many aspects of success, and as long as that isn't your end goal to be all for your hopefully well-rounded and creative children, I think you should not worry. Just please, don't be quick to resort to medication - many great people have learned to cope without it, and refocus into amazing individuals (Michael Phelps.)
cerealchan cerealchan 7 years
I've had the same concerns with you as well, but my ADHD boyfriend exhibits almost no ADHD symptoms of all - he has never taken medication because he had to learn how to deal with it himself. IF you really are stressed out about the small possibility of having children with ADHD, you should not turn to medication automatically. I used to be enormously hyperactive and attention deficit, but I certainly wasn't ADHD, I was just being a kid. Basically, you have to find an outlet for the child in order to focus the excess energy on it and be successful. Many athletes such as Michael Phelps and Shawn Johnson exhibit qualities of hyperness, but they were able to Hyperfocus their attention into that. In the end, please, do not fret - there are many things more that you can enjoy in the world, such as having a loving, supportive partner and the possibility of beautiful, unique children. Having a 4.0 is one of many aspects of success, and as long as that isn't your end goal to be all for your hopefully well-rounded and creative children, I think you should not worry. Just please, don't be quick to resort to medication - many great people have learned to cope without it, and refocus into amazing individuals (Michael Phelps.)
courtneyh courtneyh 7 years
Unlike a lot of women on here, I sympathize with how you're feeling. The problem is that he obviously is NOT controlling his ADHD with medicine or herbs. So first of all you need to address that and HELP him. Second, if you don't want to pass on his ADHD gene-then ADOPT, seems to be plenty of Dear Sugar's around here these days about abortion.How about it? The girls who keep writing in about abortion-you have your baby and give it to this girl. Fair?Joking, obviously,........it seems to me that some people just don't consider their options, when there seems to be many!
courtneyh courtneyh 7 years
Unlike a lot of women on here, I sympathize with how you're feeling. The problem is that he obviously is NOT controlling his ADHD with medicine or herbs. So first of all you need to address that and HELP him. Second, if you don't want to pass on his ADHD gene-then ADOPT, seems to be plenty of Dear Sugar's around here these days about abortion. How about it? The girls who keep writing in about abortion-you have your baby and give it to this girl. Fair? Joking, obviously,........it seems to me that some people just don't consider their options, when there seems to be many!
samischo samischo 7 years
A have a lot of friends with ADD or ADHD, and we all go to a california university. Obviously they had to get near straight A's to get in there and they're all just as smart and capable as me, if not more. Your kids will be fine.
ABear ABear 7 years
I would worry about my kids coming out as judgmental as you are rather than being slightly hyper.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 7 years
I can't believe the poster that said that premature hair loss would be a worse gene than adhd. I'm not saying that adhd is terrible, but seriously, are you that vain? I swear, I just hope my kids are good people who are loving and compassionate. And I hope they have their basic health. And beyond that, we're just lucky.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 7 years
I can't believe the poster that said that premature hair loss would be a worse gene than adhd. I'm not saying that adhd is terrible, but seriously, are you that vain? I swear, I just hope my kids are good people who are loving and compassionate. And I hope they have their basic health. And beyond that, we're just lucky.
CYL CYL 7 years
Amen skigurl!
CYL CYL 7 years
Amen skigurl!
sldc sldc 7 years
Kids and relationships are tons of work.You do not get to pick your childrens' personalities.Put things in perspective: ADHD is hardly a major disability.Ignorant people SHOULD hesitate to breed.
sldc sldc 7 years
Kids and relationships are tons of work. You do not get to pick your childrens' personalities. Put things in perspective: ADHD is hardly a major disability. Ignorant people SHOULD hesitate to breed.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
holy shit you're selfishyou dont' want to have kids with a guy for the one negative trait he might give them because you dont' think you can "handle" it?you dont' deserve to have kids
skigurl skigurl 7 years
holy shit you're selfish you dont' want to have kids with a guy for the one negative trait he might give them because you dont' think you can "handle" it? you dont' deserve to have kids
FourLeafJewel83 FourLeafJewel83 7 years
I think with all the other things out there to be worrying about, ADHD/ADD is a pretty small thing to worry about. Plus, it's not that hard to deal with, and as someone with ADD, it actually makes me really mad to hear anyone say that they don't want to have kids if it means that the kids might have it. ADD is SO minor, and if you're so worried about dealing with that, you might want to think about not having kids, since there are WAY worse things that could happen...
theflyinghorse theflyinghorse 7 years
Wow, I don't even know what to say to that. Real life isn't all sunflowers and rainbows, you would be LUCKY if ADHD was the worst thing that you're children were born with as KJerabek stated earlier. Get a clue!
TidalWave TidalWave 7 years
<i>"especially by video games. This definitely posed a problem when we were over at his house, and when he was on the phone with me."</i> -- you're kidding right? because I sure as heck can't talk on the phone and watch tv or play a video game at the same time and I don't have ad(h)d. OP: if you're a good parent, you won't have anything to worry about.
TidalWave TidalWave 7 years
"especially by video games. This definitely posed a problem when we were over at his house, and when he was on the phone with me." -- you're kidding right? because I sure as heck can't talk on the phone and watch tv or play a video game at the same time and I don't have ad(h)d. OP: if you're a good parent, you won't have anything to worry about.
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