I'm Dr. Leedom, author of Just Like His Father? a book about parenting kids who have genetic risk for ADHD, addiction and anti-social behavior. Thank you for visiting this web site. It is my life's mission to reach out to parents who have the challenge of raising at-risk children.
I went to the University of Southern California (USC), where I obtained a B.S. in Psychobiology and an M.D. degree four years later. I completed advanced training in psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Yale-New Haven Hospital. In 1989, I was one of twenty psychiatry residents in the country selected for the prestigious APA/ Burroughs Welcome Fellowship. I was a graduate student-researcher in Neuroscience at YaIe for five years. I have been involved in scientific research at USC, UCLA and Yale. When in practice, I devoted my life toward helping people overcome severe depression. To view a list of my scientific publications click on this text.
Life doesn't always go as planned. I never dreamed I would be the mother of an at risk child, or the author of this book. December, 2001, after a short courtship, I made the mistake of my life. I unknowingly married a con artist.
Many ask, How could you marry a con artist? I'm sure I cannot fully explain how I made such a mistake. But, I was a single, working mother who struggled alone for many years trying to provide financially and emotionally for my daughters. I married someone I thought was a kindred spirit, a widower who wanted the best for his then 14 year old son. Together, the five of us seemed to make a functional family.
Shortly after our marriage I discovered I was expecting. Because I was an older mother, the pregnancy was very difficult. Thankfully, my son was born healthy, November, 2002. The following April, my husband was arrested and remains in prison. It was only after his arrest, that the truth regarding his character became apparent to me.
When I realized that my son's father was likely a psychopath, I trembled with fear. I held my little baby and wondered, What if my son grows up to be like his father? Some of the foremost researchers in the genetics of antisocial behavior are at USC. I knew from lectures I had attended that this disorder has a strong genetic basis. But, I said to myself, It can't be 100% genetic! therefore I knew there must be some answers for parents looking to care for at risk children in the best possible way.
I studied the scientific literature for nearly three years. As I studied the literature, I was both reassured and concerned. I discovered that certain temperamental attributes are associated with genetic risk. Unfortunately, my own son did have a number of these attributes. I have used the techniques described in this book to mother my own son. I believe that the mothering I have done has acted to lessen his temperamental risk.
It is my sincere desire to reach out to other parents who share my life challenge. Although we don't want our concerns to become a self fulfilling prophesy, realizing that different children require different kinds of parenting will help us better care for our kids. Please feel free to e-mail me and give feedback about the book. People from all over the world visit this site. I am glad to receive your email.