Reply To: Lack of communication

Penny Williams

It sounds like you’re dealing with a wall of pain and self-loathing. If he passed this semester, I imagine he’d be excited to show you his grades. He’s likely upset with himself for “letting” it fall apart, scared about his future (because he probably thinks failing once means he’ll never get a college degree and never get a decent job), and feeling like a total failure. He’s taking it all very personally and decided he’s a “screw-up” or the like. Of course, none of that is true, but it’s very likely how he’s feeling.

Now, if you pay his tuition, you have every right to see his grades. I know you’re wanting to plan for what comes next, but I’d give him a few days or even a week or more to work through his own feelings and be ready to talk about it. The more you dig in your heels, the more he will match that.

The other thing is that he really has to accept his ADHD, see that college will be more challenging for him, and do what’s necessary to succeed with it (even though it’s not fair and totally sucks). Until that happens, no amount of support and advice from parents will help. He needs to use the disability services and other help that is available to him.

This article offers some very wise expert advice on the subject:

“Mom, I’m Failing the First Semester!”

And here’s a great success story that starts where your son is now:

From Dropping Out of College to Working for Google: How My Son Found Success

Maybe it’s time for a gap year program and then going back to this college, or pursuing a vocational route or whatever will help him access the career he wants.

ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism