Reply To: Help! My daughter is messing up in school

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Hi there! 22 y/o with ADHD, diagnosed at 12. I can relate; I struggled in math and reading for a LONG time, especially at 10, actually. 5th grade was probably the hardest year for me, probably because it was right before I was diagnosed and put on meds. However, even today I still struggle with reading and math compared to some of my peers (I am obviously fluent but my reading/writing speed is lacking and comprehension is hard when there are lots of new or infrequently-used words in a text). It may be something she struggles with for a long time or for her whole life, and I think that’s okay! No one is good at everything, and she definitly has her strengths. I don’t know what they are, but you do! I’m studying education at university right now, and my prof always says “anyone can learn anything given enough time.” I agree; we can learn anything with the right amount of time, but we don’t always have that time, and sometimes just being average or even a bit below average in certain areas is okay and even worth it if that time could be better spent helping her further develop something she likes/is good at. This doesn’t mean give up on her ever being able to excel in math or english; keep working on it and maybe in time it will happen! Just don’t move ahead until she masters the level she’s at. How will the house stand if the foundation is faulty? You wouldn’t build a 2nd floor if the ground floor is only 80% finished.
As a child and all through highschool, I really struggled with feeling like wasn’t smart or had no value or wasn’t as good of a person just because I got C’s in math and English. THIS IS NOT TRUE. I am a strong and capable person, worthy of love and respect and equal opportunities, and I have strengths and weaknesses like everyone else.
Biggest advice: don’t get upset with her or blame her for her bad grades. this will not help anything, and will make her feel like she’s done something wrong or even that she can’t do anything right, and only serves to make her doubt her abilities. Encourage her, congratulate her on what she does do well, and stay positive when she messes up or doesn’t do well, saying things like “don’t worry about the grade! all you need to do is your best, and keep doing what you can to make your best better. better is the goal, not an A.” my whole mindset changed when my parents started talking to me like that in highschool. I was no longer defined by my failures or shortcomings, but by my successes and my passions, and scraping by in math no longer made me feel like a loser.

ALSO, not sure if she struggles with this, but if not today, the time will likely come (esp. in highschool/college with less/no parental accountability) when she struggles to get her work done on time, even in classes she excels in and loves. this is probably not her being lazy or rebellious. ADHD makes it INCREDIBLY hard to organize our time, focus on things we don’t like, or even figure out how to start a task. be patient, kind, and offer to help. offer accountability, as a friend who wants her to succeed, not as an angry parent who doesn’t know why she can’t “just do it” (as my mother all too often said to me).

patience, encouragement, and praise are SO SO important when it comes to adhd. I know it’s hard, and probably confusing trying to figure out how to help her, but it will all work out in the end. Maybe she’ll become a math wizard, or an author, but more likely she’ll become something else that’s great that doesn’t require her to have the top test scores in the state. Take school assessment scores with a grain of salt and keep pluggin away at progress, however slowly she needs 🙂

I hope this was a little helpful/encouraging!
You’ve got this! and so does she!!!