The Lancet medical journal *recently revealed that ADHD children have a gene that predisposes them to ADHD.

Their “findings provide genetic evidence of an increased rate of large CNVs in individuals with ADHD and suggest that ADHD is not purely a social construct.” In a nutshell, the presence of CNV proves that ADHD is not the result of poor parenting, unstructured environment, too much sugar or a myriad of other reasons. This research proves what many have known all along — that ADHD may run in families. This has far reaching implications for families with ADHD. Given the genetic link, chances are either one or both parents may have ADHD. This has at least five interesting implications for most families, particularly in regard to organization and time management:

1. Parent and child may likely be learning organizing skills together. This means that parents and children may be concurrently trying to organize themselves and better manage their time. This can be encouraging to the child but it does mean the parent should have a definite plan of action for themselves and the children. The parent should have a definite plan to guide the child in the organizing process so that the child feels secure. This plan could be in the form of a book or therapist plan.

2. ADHD parents may have already developed some coping mechanisms that have worked over time. Some of these may be quite positive but some may not. These coping mechanisms are likely to be mimicked by the child. It is imperative that a parent stop and ask him/herself are they being effective. Again, the parent needs a blueprint to work from that the child can reproduce. For instance, if the parent remembers by putting post-it notes around the home, is this a method the parent really wants the child to duplicate? The parent really needs a solid plan.

3. If a child in the family is not ADHD they may assume a parental-like role in the organizing/time management issues of the home. Unconsciously, ADHD family members may lean on other family members who are not attention-challenged. This can cause major breakdowns in the parent-child relationship, especially if a young child takes the lead in the organizing process. It is essential that the parent guide the plan with all their children.

4. A parent who seems to be hopelessly disorganized may not represent a proven authority for the child to go to for organizing guidance. It is essential that the child see the parent putting organization skills to practical use with the entire family.

5. Finally, little everyday activities like doing homework can become a major issue and foster stress in the parent/child relationship. Parents of children with ADHD need to accept that organization issues are real and need to be addressed early.

Cheryl R. Carter is the author of Organize Your ADD/ADHD Child; the book offers practical solutions for parents and is useful for anyone working with ADD/ADHD children and families. Visit for more info.

*The Lancet’s recent report on the genetic link in ADHD:

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2010.

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