Reply To: Teen Doesn’t Want to Grow Up

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Parents Teens & Young Adults Teen Doesn’t Want to Grow Up Reply To: Teen Doesn’t Want to Grow Up


I will preface my response by saying I do not have kids and that my remarks are from my memories of being that age now that I am in my late-forties.
When I was 15, I realized I did not want to live past age 30. Clearly I have, but I digress. Part of my experience with ADHD (diagnosed after 40) is constantly watching, analyzing and thinking about people and situations to try to figure out how to fit in. My observations of adults at that age in 1985 was that adult life sucked. What I saw was a life of work, work, work, struggle, disappointment and frustration ahead of me. I was emotionally insecure, un-organized and had no sense of direction. Being a teen on the cusp of having to become an adult is very scary. Compound that with ADHD and now, with a constant barrage of information, political divisiveness, sexual identity issues, terrorism/shootings here and abroad to grapple with and the threat that if you go to college you will come out with an entry level job and crushing debt, it is hard to believe any child wants to step out into the world.
Your child has many more resources and people available to assist them in the transition than I did. Use them to the fullest extent you can. Be honest with them in that life is not easy and that they are going to have to work and save and work to get anything they want in life.
My ADHD is mild, I went to college, got kicked out, worked for a few years in menial jobs, struggled, went back to college, made bad decisions, married, changed majors 4 times, got divorced, joined the military, took a semester off, remarried, took a semester off, graduated in 6 yrs, worked and struggled my way up through various jobs, spent 12 honorable years in the service and have since become successful by most American standards. I found a job that I fit into. I am still unorganized and have no sense of life direction.
My success is because I was lucky to find people along the way to help me when I needed it and who tolerated my idiosyncrasies. Free psych counselors in college helped at times. Supportive instructors took me under their wing because I craved knowledge and I let them. I had a supportive family who didn’t always agree with my decisions, but let me make them, celebrating in my successes and were there to help when things didn’t work out so well. Luckiest of all I married a person who is more stable, financially practical and forgiving than I am. If not for her I would be living in van down by the river, but probably be OK with that.
Many kids are scared heading out into the world. Some show it more than others. Some will figure out a way to make it work. Some will need more help and take a bit longer to figure it out. I still haven’t. I just do what I do because it works. I still seek therapy when I need it.
Kids spend alot of time trying to figure out how they are supposed to live and act based on watching what they perceive as the successes of others, they need to figure out what works for them and make the best of it. As they get into their early 20s they will remember then things you taught them and the light will start to come on. The right meds, quality counseling and family support will all help make that happen.
Life is not easy in the best of times, sometimes you just have to chase the squirrels and see what happens.
All the best.