Reply To: ADHD 15 yr old Stepson



ADHD is not that we can’t pay attention. It’s actually the exact opposite. We feel and hear thousands of thoughts a second. We are basically on overload everyday all day. So we may seem distracted but we are paying attention. The ADHD brain is amazing, and inspiring, and creative, however we can also be very hard to deal with.

I have ADHD. I am a 33 year old male and I’m married now, and I have a bachelors degree and work in sales. I wanted to come on here and give you an understanding of what it is like for a boy/man with ADHD. First of all we are often misunderstood quite a bit. I remember being a kid and always feeling confused, and lost and alone. I remember feeling different and knowing that I was different. I remember hearing things like oh he is developmental delayed, or oh he is lazy, or not smart. I would try to avoid saying any of those things. I would try to understand how they feel, and what they are thinking. They are probably not changing clothes because they are occupied with other things they find entertaining. I used to wear the same clothes for a week as a kid, I still do now at times. The way I get past that now is I have a reminder, and I have my wife tell me to remind me to do something if I haven’t done it by a certain time.

I also noticed that you said something about them only doing things thats in it for them. This is still true for me today, I will not do things that I know I need to do because I don’t get anything out of it. This is actually common for people with ADHD. They are most certainly not trying to be defiant. They don’t understand why its a big deal to clean their plates when they are done because in their head they finished the task, and now they are on to something else.

From my experience you can’t discipline a child for doing something they don’t know how to do. What I mean is that if you do not have ADHD and you have a neurotypical brain you can do things that need to be done because that is what you are supposed to do. This is because you can think logically and your parents and society and what not have told you and taught you what to do. With ADHD we can’t do that. We physically and chemically do not have those things in our brain. We are unable to control our impulses and feelings. As we get older sure we can keep them under control at times but it’s not ever going to go away. People with ADHD are different and will never be like neurotypical brains, so trying to discipline them like one is only going to harm them. Their are a lot of good articles on this website to help with disciplining the constructive and right way. So if you discipline a child with ADHD for doing something you think is normal you’re only hurting them. Instead ask them what is going on, and give positive encouragement and reinforcement when they do things right. I also know that if I’m getting a reward at the end of doing something I’m more likely to do it. It has to be a genuine reward and something that they pick. In order for us to want that reward we need clear instructions and detailed. Maybe try something like if you do the dishes and change your clothes then you can have TV for an hour. Something like that where they know why they should do it. Then at the end of the hour stand in front of them at the TV or break their focus from what they are enjoying, and then tell them the next thing that needs to be done. This way they are getting things done, and are still getting what they want.

The reason they can get all A’s is because that topic interests them and they get in what is called hyper focused mode. What that is is where we are literally tuning everything outside and for that brief period of time our brains are working like a neurotypical brain. We can get so much done in this time, and often times we can forget to eat, or bathe. If they are finding something that they enjoy then encourage them to continue to do it, and use it as a reward for doing a basic chore. Another thing I tell myself is that i’m just going to do this one dish. That one dish then turns into 2 and then before long I have finished all of what needs to be done. This is because we were given a simple task, then when we start we get “hyperfocused” to a point and complete that thing.

As far as the taking the seat belts off while in the car, that is normal for ADHD kids. I used to do dumb things when I was a teenager for the rush, because again in our brains we don’t have the proper dopamine or serotonin as neurotypical brains, so when we do impulsive and exciting things it increases those levels. While I’m not saying it’s OK to do that I’m saying that is part of ADHD.

You mentioned the white lies as well. The reason for that is because we don’t like to disappoint people and we take rejection hard so in our heads we tell a lie because at that particular time it makes us feel good. We also will do this to avoid feelings. The reason is because we feel feelings much more intensely than others and when they hit us it can literally consume our entire minds. At times it can even give us physical symptoms such as chest pains, and sweaty hands, at least for me. When we let someone down we think about what are they thinking of us.Do they want to be around us anymore, I can’t believe that I did this. Then we feel immense embarrassment, and then a sense of failure. If we can’t do this then why should we do anything else because all we do is disappoint our loved ones. As I got older I realized that is probably not what people think but I still find myself thinking like that on occasion.

So I hope this has helped answer some of your questions. ADHD people are fascinating and smart and really successful when they have the proper tools to help them succeed. I wish you the best of luck and just remember how lucky you are to be surrounded by such bright young men!

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by Andyn86.