“Growing up as the non-ADHD kid in a family with ADHD sounds like a challenge.
It was, but not for the reasons you’d think.”
Below, is an excerpt from an article published in ADDitude Magazine where this non-ADHD kid has contributed a couple of pieces over the past couple of years.
(actual picture of me and my dad)
My father had ADHD and bipolar disorder. As a kid, I knew only that he took a yellow and purple pill every morning at breakfast or was scolded by Mom if he forgot. He may have been the man of the house, but we all knew that it was Mom who was in charge. Our family of four had one non-ADHD parent, one with ADHD, one non-ADHD child, and one with ADHD. Truthfully, ADHD caused many challenges, and created chaos in our family.
The Non-ADHD Kid
Dad was a smart man, but he had trouble keeping a job or maintaining one that paid enough. His impulsivity got the best of him, and he overspent. We never seemed to have enough money for things like clothes, but there was always ice cream in the house. He was disorganized and he couldn’t remember where things were or the appointments that he made. Many times I heard Mom’s exasperated tone as she told a person on the other end of the phone, “I don’t know where he is. Hopefully, he’ll be there soon.”
Dad didn’t manage much around the house, so most responsibilities fell to my mother. He also wasn’t around much. So, by default, Mom became the sole disciplinarian. She was the rock of our family, the glue that held everything together, and she resented it. She questioned Dad about things for which he had no answers and would get furious about something he said and madder still about something he didn’t say. He could do no right in her eyes. Then she complained that it was his fault that she was always the “bad guy,” and got mad at him for that, too! Every time she yelled at him, it felt like she was yelling at me.
My Dad, Myself
My dad and I were so much alike. For starters, we looked alike, which wouldn’t be unexpected except that I’m adopted. We both had blond hair, light eyes, light skin. We shared a carefree, sometimes untamed approach to life, which was in sharp contrast to my rigid, stick-to-the-rules mom and sister. Dad and I didn’t care if the dishes weren’t clean, if papers were all over the place, or if our school and work assignments weren’t started until hours before they were due. We didn’t consider what others thought and, with reckless abandon, we did what we wanted. In fact, he and I together pushed the boundaries Mom set, and I thought of him as my best friend.
Please read the remainder of the article at ADDitude Magazine.
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~ Jennie Friedman