Parents of "at risk" children have to be extra thoughtful about how they care for their children.
The good news is that although genetics play a substantial role in causing these disorders, the environment is still important!
What environmental factors cause these disorders? Science has determined that the general home environment does not contribute substantially to the risk for these disorders, instead the special environment experienced by each individual child predicts these disorders. This means that the way parents treat individual children plays a role in these disorders. The friends a child selects are also very important . Individual differences in toxin exposure, nutrition and childhood illness may also play a role.
Genes code for different temperaments. These temperaments influence a child's ability to love, impulse control and moral reasoning ability. For parenting advice about developing these in your at risk child see Just Like His Father?
What factors are responsible for the link between these three disorders?
Science still does not have complete answers to these questions, however, studies show that genetics is responsible for about 50% of the risk for developing addiction and antisocial behavior and perhaps up to 90% of the risk for developing ADHD. Children with ADHD are at increased risk for addiction and antisocial behavior as adults.
The bad news is that some children inherit genes that make it difficult for them to learn to love, control their impulses and reason morally. Difficulty with ability to love, impulse control and moral reasoning lead to antisocial behavior, addiction and ADHD.
The Good News: Genetics increases risk for these disorders in part by acting on the environment! The behavior of children with these disorders naturally brings out a certain kind of parenting in those trying to care for them. It is likely that some of these parenting practices actually worsen the disorders.