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I was punished a lot as a teenager for my bad performance in school (to the point my parents took the door off my bedroom) and my behavior did not change with regard to how diligent of a student I became or how honest I was about my performance in school. They tried corporal punishment, taking away privileges, leaving me in a room with only my homework and forbidding me to leave, ect. They were pretty unhappy when they came back to that room hours later and found I hadn’t finished a single assignment, and I cried because meeting their expectation, for me, was hopeless. And retrospectively I’m not upset about any of it. They were faced with a weird crisis that I didn’t have intellectual deficits, performed well on tests, but was failing school and they were worried about my ongoing success as an adult.
As an adult, things changed. I still have very symptomatic ADHD that impacts many areas of my life, but I decided personally that I was going to sink or swim. I wanted to do a lot of things that you can’t do if you have no job and live with mom and dad, so there was some basic biological forces that were telling me I needed to figure something out. One thing I knew about myself, and ADHD, is that I perform super well in any subject matter that fascinates me, both in the classroom and in the workplace. Does he like the outdoors? Computers? Puzzles? is he creative? Is he really patient with difficult people? He likely has some strength that is in some way marketable, and being reminded of that and giving him encouragement may be a game changer for him. And it might be a lengthy process before he succeeds, but it’s something he needs to start working on.