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ADHD and Divorce

LD and ADD/ADHD Expert Advice from Eileen S. Marzola, Ed.D.

Q: My father and stepmother have decided to get divorced. They have a five-year-old boy, who takes Adderall for ADHD. My father works at night from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and is home during the day. My stepmother works from about 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Would split custody or a one-parent household be better for my stepbrother? If it's best that one parent has sole custody, would it be better that he's with the parent or a sitter?

A: There's no simple answer to this question. Children with ADHD often do better when there's increased consistency and predictability in their lives, so moving from one parent to another on different days can be unsettling. It's even more, unsettling, however, to have less than adequate care from whoever is taking care of him during waking hours. A loving, attentive babysitter can be a wonderful addition to a child's circle or can be a neglectful nightmare if she plops a child down in front of a TV all day.

Your father and stepmother need to sit down together, perhaps with a counselor or psychologist, to lay out all the possibilities for child care and make the best informed decision possible about the care of their son. Whatever decision is made, however, both parents need to have continued input into their child's life. It's important for everyone to remember that your father and stepmother are divorcing each other, but they are not divorcing their child.

More on: Expert Advice

For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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