Reply To: My son is 19 and has not graduated high school

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums School & Learning My son is 19 and has not graduated high school Reply To: My son is 19 and has not graduated high school


My son turned 18 years old today and is still a freshman in high school – technically. For the last three years, we have had an ongoing battle like you would not believe with attitude, anger, defiance – you name it, we’ve lived through it. My son also went through the video game stage. From age 13 to about mid-16, he played video games night and day, nothing else mattered. The boy who could not sit still for 45 minutes in class would literally sit in front of the television for 8 HOURS STRAIGHT and not even get up to pee.

In our situation, it was more than just the ADHD that he had going on. He also has been diagnosed with severe panic/anxiety disorder, depression, oppositional defiant disorder and a few others. Due to some impulsive (and bad) choices, he got himself into trouble with the law … and approximately 12 charges later over a period of a year … he was sent to the juvenile detention center for six weeks and then to two different residential treatment centers for a period of 7 months this year. He just came home the beginning of last month – and the change in the son he was before residential and the son that he is now are like night and day.

He would fight me EVERY DAY on taking his medication … he didn’t want to do anything … he kept saying how much he hated his life (but had everything he could possibly want and all the love and support in the world from everyone he knew). His time in residential was by no means “easy” – we had phone calls on a weekly basis of him fighting or cheeking his medication or destroying property. Somewhere along the line; however, he realized that the treatment centers were his last chance … either he turned it around there or he’d be going to jail when he turned 18 and was looking at 9 months to 2 years depending on the judge’s mood.

By the sheer grace of God, he was allowed to come home early from his last residential treatment center and he’s been doing wonderful. He takes his medication with no questions asked, he sent out dozens of job applications and finally got a chance to prove himself working at a local restaurant (just brought home his first paycheck this week!), and we are working on getting him enrolled in a GED program. His IEP team wants him to go to a residential day treatment type school … and quite honestly, the first time we toured the school he was triggered like crazy within 5 minutes of being there and could not wait to get out of the building and away from the school. They want us to tour the school again tomorrow with the IEP case manager so .. we shall see how that goes. If all else fails, we will be doing the paperwork to “officially” have him drop out of school so that he can sign up to attend the GED class on his own (which is where he wants to be anyway) so we shall see how that works out.

The best advice that I can offer is to keep guiding him, keep lifting him up emotionally and help him overcome the obstacles that he needs to with regards to his mental health. It’s been a long hard road for our family (J. was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 5 years old), but honestly – looking back – I wouldn’t trade a minute of it because if I had, I would not have the amazing young man that I have before me today. While my own dream for him would have been to finish high school and walk across the stage to receive his diploma, his dream is to get his GED and move on with his life and forget about the past and start fresh. While he still has a lot of growing up to do – he’s on the right path – and now that he’s ready to finish his education, we plan to support him in getting his GED any way that we can. 🙂 Good luck to you!

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by kimatliah.