Gay Dad Life

Parenting a Child with ADHD

Growing up, I don’t remember anyone being concerned with allergies and the many behavioral problems we hear about today. In fact, the only thing I remember being odd was a boy in my class who was lactose intolerant. Can you imagine not being able to eat ice cream? Perhaps that would have worked in my favor as I was a chunky kid growing up, but that is another topic altogether.

As parents today, we face many worries and challenges that our parents could not have imagined. Peanut allergies, Red Dye 40, gluten-free diets… the list goes on. I took a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school everyday for lunch. Today, many schools will not allow any peanut products to come into their facilities, even for lunch. Have we become overly sensitive to some of these issues that affect a small part of the population? Sometimes it feels like it.

On top of that there are many disorders that can cause concern for parents, especially those who adopt, such as RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

I want to talk about our personal experience with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder).

Our son Jackson was diagnosed with PTSD as well as ADHD shortly after being placed with us. Most of the time, when children are placed into foster care, the back-story is far from pleasant and foster parents are relied upon to help these children through the transition to the next stage of their lives.

The unknowns related to both PTSD and ADHD have been some of the most difficult and stressful aspects of parenthood for me. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a problem of not being able to focus, being overactive, not being able to control behavior, or a combination of these.

After his initial diagnosis, we were torn on the idea of putting him on medication. Eventually we decided to try it the summer before he started Kindergarten. I was concerned that he would not be able to focus at school unless we did something. In the end, I am glad that we did, as I believe it has been helpful to him overall.

Like many parents out there who have a child with ADHD, I have many stories that now, in retrospect, are hilarious. For instance, in our previous house, the master bedroom and bath were in the basement. Directly above the master bath was the bathroom that the boys used. One morning when I was brushing my teeth, a pounding noise started echoing through the wall and as I turned around and looked behind the door, water began pouring out of the top of the doorframe all over the floor. I ran upstairs assuming that the toilet was overflowing and to my surprise the bathroom was empty and the floor was dry. I went to Jackson’s room and there he sat on his bed waiting for me like any other day. What we eventually discovered was that Jackson had poured two glasses of water down the heating vent in the bathroom thinking that the water would simply go outside. I was furious at the time, but today I can look back at this incident and laugh about it.

His impulsivity has been a source of frustration for me, as I have often wanted to bang my head against the wall. Still when you are a parent, the road can be rocky with several potholes that slow you down. When they say that parenthood is not easy, they aren’t kidding. However, it is not always about the child, parenting has a lot to do with you and how you approach it. All kids are different and have unique personalities, as do we parents, and each may need something different in order to be successful.

My advice for anyone out there who may have a child with ADHD is to take a lot of deep breaths, count in your head, meditate, do something to relax your mind and remind yourself not to take their behavior personally. Think about everything from a prospective of how you can help him or her be successful: sticker charts, consistent rewards, and finding outlets to release energy will be key.

As with many other aspects of life, just when you think you are on the right path, there will be a fork in the road and you must decide which way to go. I finally appreciate the difficulty my parents had with my older brother who was disobedient and had little respect for authority. What I have learned is that when you parent a child with ADHD, you need to be proactive and often ready to change your plan or approach at the last minute. What works today may not work tomorrow, let alone next week. Furthermore, children with ADHD can struggle with transitions, often resisting change or being the last to move away from one task to another.

The best advice I can give you is to hang in there and just remember to take it one day at a time.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Photo Essays

How Single Dads Are Celebrating Valentine's Day This Year

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers! We caught up with 8 single gay dads to see how they plan to celebrate Valentine's Day with this year.

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers; it's also a day to celebrate our loved ones. And that's exactly what these single dads are doing.

Within our community, GWK has a large group of admirable, active, and awesome (!) single dads and we want to honor them! On Valentine's Day, they and their kids celebrate their family unit in the sweetest possible ways. We asked the dads to share these moments with us, and, where possible, one of the most heartwarming things they've experienced with their kids on Valentine's Day to date.

Hear their stories below.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Photo Essays

11 Gay Couples Share Secrets to Their Long-Term Relationships This Valentine's Day

This Valentine's Day, we spoke with 11 gay dad couples who've been together for almost a decade or longer to learn what's made their relationships last

You're the peanut butter to my jelly, the gin to my tonic, the strawberries to my cream, the Mr. to my Mr.!

Happy Valentine's Day folks! We're excited to celebrate this day of lurrrrvvve by featuring a few dads in our community who've been together for almost a decade or more! And they're ready to share their secrets to a successful relationship and parenting partnership.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Life

"Worth Every Blood, Sweat, and Tear": Congrats to Gay Dads on Recent Births and Adoptions!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

Gay men go through a lot of ups and downs on the path to parenthood. It can be one of the most emotionally draining times in our lives. But as each of these families who are celebrating births and adoptions this month agree: it's worth every hardship.

Congrats to the dads whose families grew this month!

Keep reading...

What's it Like to Be a Child of the 'Gayby Boom'?

Tosca Langbert, who grew up with two dads, writes a piece for the Harvard Business Review about what it's like being among the first children of the "Gayby Boom" to come of age.

We've previously written about the pressure on LGBTQ parents to appear perfect, given that so many in the United States still feel out families shouldn't exist in the first place. And we know this pressure trickles down to our kids. But In an article for the Harvard Business Review titled 'The Gayby Boom Is Here to Stay," author Tosca Langbert eloquently writes, from her perspective, about the experience of beingone of the first children to come of age during an era when LGBTQ parenthood is far more commonplace. She and her two siblings, she notes, "were raised in a family that was an impossibility only decades ago."

In the article, Langbert said she knew from a young age that her family was different from those of most of her peers, who had one a father and a mother. But otherwise, she writes, she didn't feel like her family differed much. "Like any other parents, Dad sat in the carpool lane after school and taught us how to ride our bikes," she writes, "while Papa took us to the movies on the weekends and separated the whites from the colors."

Despite this mundanity, her family remained something to marvel at for much of her youth. When the family moved into a new neighborhood in 2006, it made the local newspaper, with a headline titled, "Gay Father Tests Tolerance in the Park Cities."

She and her siblings have spent much of their lives, she explained further, having to respond to the question: what's it like having two gay dads? For Langbert, there is only one correct response, which is: Amazing! "Any other response, even if simply accounting for a family's nuanced experience, might as well be an outright admission of failure on behalf of the entire LGBTQ community," she wrote.

Children of the 'Gayby Generation,' are also put in the position of having to come out on behalf of their parents, and "often with mixed results," she wrote. She gave the following anecdote as an example:

"My father was asked to step down from his leadership position in my brother's Boy Scout troop on account of his sexuality. Even though my siblings and I were only fourth graders at the time, we understood that our family was under strict scrutiny, and that even the slightest misstep could beget severe consequences for how competent our fathers were perceived as being. In the face of this pressure, the first generation of 'gaybies' recognized the importance of presenting their families as perfect; doing otherwise would only present ammunition to those already dubious about the rights of LGBTQ parents to raise children."

The entire article, which includes the perspectives of multiple now-grown kids that are part of the "Gayby generation," is well worth a read, which you can access here.


Utah Bill Would Allow Gay Men to Enter Surrogacy Contracts

Rep. Patrice Arent of Utah is sponsoring a bill that will remove a provision that currently prohibits gay men from entering into commercial surrogacy contracts in the state.

Though Utah is not one of the three states that currently prohibit commercial surrogacy contracts, the state's current policy does specifically exclude gay men from doing so. That may soon changed, however, thanks to a bill in the state's legislature that was unanimously voted out of a House Committee that would remove that restriction.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, a Democrat, was created in response to a ruling by the Utah Supreme Court this past August that found the ban on gay men unconstitutional.

Gay men have been excluded from legally entering surrogacy contracts due to a provision in the current law that requires medical evidence "that the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child," Rep. Arent told the Salt Lake Tribune — a requirement that clearly excludes gay male couples.

The state's original surrogacy law dates back to 2005, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state, which accounts for the gendered language. Though the state's Supreme Court already ruled the provision unconstitutional, Rep Arent further told the Tribute that, "People do not look to Supreme Court opinions to figure out the law, they look to the code and the code should be constitutional."


Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

A bill introduced by four Republican state legislators in Colorado that would outlaw same-sex marriage and adoption rights was voted down.

The "Colorado Natural Marriage and Adoption Act," which would have outlawed gay marriage and adoption in the state of Colorado, was voted down in the state legislature this week. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephen Humphrey and three of his conservative colleagues: Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge and Mark Baisley.

If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

The bill, which had little chance of success, particularly in Colorado which has trended more progressive over the past several election cycles, was mostly symbolic, according to Sanridrge. "We all know this bill isn't gonna pass in this current left-wing environment," he told Colorado Public Radio. "It's to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child."

In a sign of how far we've come on the issue of LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights, most Republican legislators in the state did not endorse the bill.

Though the bill had little chance of passage, LGBTQ advocacy groups in the state are taking the threats seriously nonetheless. Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, told LGBTQ Nation that the bills were an attempt to return Colorado to its "hate status" of the 1990s, adding the aggressiveness of the measures were "a bit surprising."

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Dads Talk About Surrogacy Process in New Video for Northwest Surrogacy Center

The Northwest Surrogacy Center interviewed some of their gay dad clients for a video to celebrate their 25th anniversary of creating families through surrogacy!

Image: NWSC Clients

Last year, Northwest Surrogacy Center celebrated 25 years of helping parents realize their dreams. And they celebrated in style by inviting the families they've worked with over the past two and a half decades to join them!

At the party, they took the opportunity to film queer dads and dads-to-be, asking them a couple of questions: how did it feel holding your baby for the first time, and tell us about your relationship with your surrogate.

Watch the video below and get ready for the water works!

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse