Unable to Finish Projects


I have a 20-year-old daughter who can't finish writing a paper for a course. It could be her perfectionism or anxiety. She writes but never gets around to finishing it. What can I do?

College girl with ADHD has trouble finishing papers because of her perfectionism.

Perfectionism and anxiety are powerful deterrents to getting work done. Your daughter may find it helpful to exercise daily before starting her writing, or to spend several minutes doing deep-breathing exercises and stretching to ease her mind and body. I encourage you to ask your daughter what she feels like when she is on the verge of finishing, and talk about shifting her thoughts toward how great it will feel to have the work done.

If there is a writing center at your daughter's college, it's a good place to go for help. The staff at a writing center can help your daughter identify strategies to help her complete the paper and ease her need to strive for perfection. Another option is to suggest to your daughter that she meet with her professors to talk about her difficulty and to ask for ideas and guidance. Continue to encourage her efforts and listen to her concerns. Together you may come up with an answer.

Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, MCC, SCAC, BCC is the foremost expert on youth and ADHD coaching. She is a coach, mentor, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, JST Coaching, provides training programs to coaches, educators and mental health professionals worldwide. Jodi earned her degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her first book, Empowering Youth With ADHD (2010), is the core of the JST Coach training programs and a highly acclaimed tool for parents and professionals alike.
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