Reply To: Son has no interest, no motivation. I’m out of ideas.

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Parents Teens & Young Adults Son has no interest, no motivation. I’m out of ideas. Reply To: Son has no interest, no motivation. I’m out of ideas.


Those of us with ADD are always going to struggle with low energy, and that makes it difficult to get enthused and stay interested in something that has no purpose other than killing time. Maybe the trick with these unmotivated teens is to find that thing that matters to them. Not something to kill time and make friends, but something where they can see that they made a difference for someone else. When I say “someone,” I don’t only mean humans, though I don’t rule them out, either.

I work a full day, and then spend most of the night rescuing snakes (and occasional toads and mice) from rural highways. Pick up one rattlesnake and watch a car go right through the spot where he was 30 seconds earlier and there’s a feeling that’s hard to put into words. It amounts to looking a living being in the eyes and knowing with absolute certainty that he would have been dead if you hadn’t been there. Many of us with ADD end up feeling like we don’t fit in and therefore we don’t matter. In a moment like that, you KNOW you matter, because you’re holding the living proof in your hands, and that’s a hard feeling to walk away from. Now, I’m not suggesting that you have your teen son go out and dodge cars and grab rattlesnakes! In fact you should probably not mention this post to him…

The general idea, though is to see if you can find something that makes him feel like he’s making a difference, rather than just looking for hobbies to occupy his time. The other thing about giving him a mission is that a shared mission makes people bond more strongly than a shared interest, so despite his best efforts he WILL end up connecting with people.

Lots of words. Sorry! It was hard to get the concept across concisely.