Reply To: No Passion No Energy No Care

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I am the wife of a man diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, the mom of two boys with ADHD diagnoses, and an college academic coach for a program where 75% of my students have an ADHD diagnosis. I think there are two key points I would make (forgive me if this duplicates others’ comments- I skimmed but did not closely read all the above posts).

Point 1: It’s very clear from recent research that the brains of people with an ADHD diagnosis develop very VERY differently than neurotypical brains, and this is especially true of adolescents. One fact that was startling to me when I read it was that social and emotional development in teens with ADHD can lag as much as 30% behind their neurotypical peers. In my case, it means that my freshmen in college often display social/ emotional skills at a level more typical of freshmen in high school. (Let that sink in a moment) If a kid with an ADHD diagnosis is not showing interest in something like driving, trust their instincts. It may take them a little (or a lot) longer to hit those milestones.

Point 2: Your ADHD kid is not going to follow anything like a traditional path. My younger son (age 9) has had absolutely NO interest in learning to swim. Makes me crazy- we spend 2 weeks each summer on a beach vacation with my extended family all of whom love boating, waterskiing, canoeing, etc. I’ve tried bribing him, I’ve tried begging him, I’ve tried seemingly everything- I gave up, thinking it just wasn’t gonna be his jam. After years of him sitting on the beach, finally last summer he just waded in and started swimming. I learned a valuable lesson- his path is going to be dictated by him, not by anyone else. One of the biggest issues I work with is parents who really can’t understand that their young adult child is not ready for college- they threaten, cajole, bribe, all in an attempt to cram their child into a space they aren’t yet ready to occupy. Letting go of the perception that if your kid doesn’t go directly to college, A) the parents have failed; or B) the child will never go is so so so hard to do, but it’s necessary. Instead of focusing on what your kid is NOT doing that you think he should be, you can find more peace by focusing on what he IS doing that you appreciate.

Just my $.02