Mothers often comment that their child with ADHD behaves better with his/her father. Children with ADHD do tend to be less negative and more likely to stay on task when with their fathers rather than with their mothers. The cause of this interaction is unclear but may be due to a few explanations.
Oftentimes, the mother stays at home more than the father, resulting in the mother assuming the role of disciplinarian. Of course the child will have a more stressed relationship with the disciplinarian of the household. Another explanation resides in the manner in which males and females communicate disapproval. Mothers are more likely to express disapproval of her child’s actions through verbal explanations, which may not resonate with children whose ADHD limits their language skills. Fathers, on the other hand, are more apt to express disapproval with immediate punishment and fewer verbal explanations, which may lead to better parent-child compliance. Also, the typically larger and more imposing size of the father may elicit better behavior from a child.
Due to this difference in behavior, many fathers believe that the mothers have a problem with disciplining the child as apposed to the child having disciplinary problems. Usually, if the father begins to take responsibility for the daily management of the child, the family begins to realize that the issue of noncompliance is not directed toward one specific parent or gender.
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written by: Brianna Malinowski, Jay Gordon, Ph.D
Barkley, R. A. (2013). Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents. New York, NY: Guilford Publications.
Image retrieved from: http://cliparts.co/father-and-child-images on Sept. 9, 2015