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Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in the Family

Contributed by: Jennifer Koretsky

As you may know, experts suspect that ADD is genetic. So if one person in your family has ADD, chances are at least one other person does, too!

When you live in a household with more than one ADDer, you often have double the stress, double the overwhelm, and double the chaos! The challenges are even more complicated by the fact that while ADD has some common symptoms and challenges, no two people are alike.

Fortunately, there are some very basic and simple strategies that you can employ to ensure that your ADD household runs smoothly. And these strategies will work if you’re the only ADDer in your home, or if you’re surrounded by other ADDers!

  1. Keep individual stress levels down.
    The more stressed out you are, the harder it is to manage your ADD challenges. Time management, organization, focus, and other challenges become more difficult than ever to control successfully. Consequently, the more stressed out individual family members are, the more difficult it becomes to live with them!
  2. Stress management needs to be a priority for everyone in the home, and that includes non-ADDers, too!
    Focus on individual strengths.
    Everyone has strengths, and everyone has weaknesses. ADDers respond much better to praise than criticism. Acknowledgement of strengths increases self-esteem and provides energy and motivation to continue building on success.
    It’s human nature to respond positively to praise, as opposed to criticism. If you spend a lot of time and energy dwelling on your shortcomings or your child’s, then everyone in the family is being deprived of time that could be spent enjoying natural strengths and talents.
    So shower everyone in the household with praise and recognition to create a happy and positive environment!
  3. Create structure.
    Kids tend to need more structure than adults, but everyone in the household can benefit from some predictability. Structure (in all areas of life) is often difficult for ADDers to set up and maintain.
    But creating structure does not have to be an overwhelming task. Structure in the form of bedtime routines, meal schedules, and fun time can do wonders for adults with ADD who often need a little more help slowing down. And non-ADDers will appreciate knowing when they can count on enjoying some time with their ADDers!

ADD families need not be stressed out and frantic. With some patience and a little work, the home environment can transform from chaos to calm!

Jennifer Koretsky is the author of Odd One Out: The Maverick’s Guide to Adult ADD. She is a Senior Certified AD/HD Coach and the Founder of the ADD Management Group, LLC. Jennifer and her team work with ADD adults who are overwhelmed with everyday life in order to help them simplify, focus, and succeed. For free resources and information on adult ADD, visit

Jennifer Koretsky and Terry Matlen are Co-Founders of the Virtual AD/HD Conference™. Now you can attend an international AD/HD conference without leaving home! Visit to find out more.

Copyright © 2007 Jennifer Koretsky

Posted on June 25, 2008