To describe experiences of everyday life in families with a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a highly prevalent, clinically heterogeneous disorder characterised by behavioural symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity that creates impairments for the child and affects the family life. The impairments vary with age and context, and the same symptoms do not necessarily have the same effects in different contexts and persons.
A qualitative design with a phenomenographic approach.
Family members, mothers, fathers, siblings and children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (n = 17) were interviewed individually.
The findings include two descriptive categories 'safeguarding a functioning family' and 'fighting for acceptance and inclusion'. To create a stable and structured family life to avoid conflicts within the family and manage their daily life were crucial. The child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and their parents developed special skills and strategies to live with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the family sphere and the social context. To apply for help before the problems in the family become too severe and to share responsibility with professionals, who have competence, to meet the families in their worries were stressed. The striving in the family strengthened the companionship in the families, and they conceived growth.
This study contributes to knowledge of the parents, siblings and children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder experiences of everyday life with a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. All family members need support before their problems become too severe.
There is a need of family-focused approach with a dialogue with family members to share the view of their situation and identify their individual resources and needs. Nurses should help these families with family supervision.