ROBIN RAPS WITH: Dr. Edward “Ned” Hallowell, Later Dad, Author, ADHD Pioneer
I’d like to start by saying it is a pleasure to speak with you today, and I appreciate your taking the time out of your “crazy busy” schedule. We regularly feature later moms on our site, but with Father’s Day soon approaching, I wanted to take the opportunity to chat with a later father. I admire your work and was delighted to discover you became a dad at age 40.
ROBIN: YOU ARE A LATER DAD…HOW DID THAT COME TO BE…..AND HOW HAS IT BEEN FOR YOU?
DR. HALLOWELL: It’s been wonderful. It came to be because during my 30s, I was dating various women. I had a pretty crazy childhood. People were loving, but it was chaotic. So, my goal was always to have children and give them the happy childhood I didn’t have. I really love women and loved going out with them but just didn’t find the one I wanted to marry. I was a serial monogamist…enjoyed tremendously the many relationships I had during my 30s…I just knew a little voice would go off when I met the woman I’d like to have children with…and that happened when I was 39. I met Sue…she was 34 at the time….we’ve been married going on 24 years now. I became a dad at 40, and my wife was 35. We have three fantastic children. Lucy is 23. Jack is 20, and Tucker is 17.
Being an older dad has really kept me young. I adore my children. I love spending time with them…it’s always a treat.
And, my wife and I have been so happy together because I got all the dating I needed to do out of my system during my 30s.
In medical school and residency, I was so busy, I didn’t have much time for serious dating and getting into relationships. By the time I got married and said “okay, now let’s make a family,” I hadn’t written any books and was living in an apartment. Since I’ve gotten married, I’m working on my 19th book. The stability of the marriage and having children enabled me to develop a whole other part of my career, not to mention my romantic life.
ROBIN: THERE’S THE SAYING “IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD,” BUT MANY LATER MOMS DON’T HAVE THAT. FOR EXAMPLE, MY MOM PASSED AWAY, AND MY DAD IS A SENIOR WITH HEALTH CHALLENGES….SO WHAT WOULD YOU ADVISE TO THOSE LIVING THE SANDWICH GENERATION?
DR. HALLOWELL: Make friends. Often the grandparents aren’t available. Find your community. Join parenting groups, like Motherhood Later. Look into synagogues and churches. Find substitutes. If your parents or in-laws aren’t available, look for others.
ROBIN: WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE CHALLENGES AND POSITIVES OF LATER IN LIFE PARENTING?
DR. HALLOWELL: I’m 62, but feel like I’m 32. I don’t see challenges with it. It was great even when my kids were younger. I was so thrilled to become a parent and eager to do it. My wife was a really fantastic mom. She jumped into motherhood big time. If I married a different women, it might have been difficult. But, Sue was so great at it. I was very lucky. Marrying the right person makes a difference.
For some people who aren’t ready to do it, it can be pretty tough. But, for me, the shift in priorities was great. I needed to do it.
ROBIN: EVERYONE IS SO BUSY THESE DAYS…CAN YOU OFFER ANY WORDS OF WISDOM TO MOMS RE: HOW THEY CAN ENJOY THEIR LIFE AND CHILDREN DESPITE ALL THEY HAVE ON THEIR PLATE?
DR: HALLOWELL: I wrote a book CRAZYBUSY: OVERSTRETCHED, OVERBOOKED, AND ABOUT TO SNAP!…. and commented on this extensively. It’s a matter of prioritizing and making time for what matters most to you.
ROBIN: BUT, HOW DO PEOPLE SWITCH GEARS WHEN MULTI-TASKING AND EXPERIENCING STRESS, ESPECIALLY WITH ALL THE TECHNOLOGY IN OUR LIVES?
DR. HALLOWELL: If you take back control that you’ve given away, that’s what works best. If you commit to doing it, you can do it. Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.
ROBIN: YOU ARE A FOREMOST EXPERT ON CHILDREN WITH ADHD, IS THERE ANYTHING GOING ON IN THIS ARENA THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE? AND, DO YOU TAKE A POSITION RE: ADHD MEDICATION?
DR. HALLOWELL: The thing I stress so much is to adopt a strength based approach. This is not a disorder….but a gift that’s hard to unwrap. I don’t treat disabilities. I help people unwrap their gifts. It comes with phenomenal strengths associated with it. Re: medication….if it works, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t use it. I take a very commonsense position. When it works, it’s a Godsend.
ROBIN: ANY CLOSING WORDS?
DR. HALLOWELL: Above all, enjoy your children! That’s the key.
ROBIN: IN MY EXPERIENCE, LATER PARENTS ARE SOME OF THE MOST GRATEFUL PEOPLE KNOW. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIME TODAY.
DR. HALLOWELL: I think it’s wonderful what you’re doing. You’re a female mensch!
Edward Hallowell, M.D., Ed.D. (Honorary), is a child and adult psychiatrist, NY Times bestselling author, world-renowned speaker and leading authority in the field of ADHD. He was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School from 1983 to 2004, graduated from Harvard College and Tulane School of Medicine, and is the founder of The Hallowell Centers for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Sudbury, MA and New York City. Dr. Hallowell has authored 18 books and is a highly recognized speaker around the world. His books and lectures focus on various psychological, family and social topics and offer groundbreaking advice on ADHD, raising happy children, and staying connected in this crazybusy world. He has been featured on Dr. Oz, Oprah, Good Morning America and interviewed for The New York Times, Newsweek, Time Magazine, and many other popular publications. More about Dr. Hallowell @ http://www.crazybusywithdrhallowell.com/