Apathy! Smart 5th grade boy doesn't care

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    • #107068

      Well that pretty much says it all. Teacher just said he is “by far” giving the most minimal effort of all of 5th grade.

      He was diagnosed 2-3 mos. ago. We’re still zeroing in on perfect meds dose but we are close and school is SO much better than before (he goes to a University Model school – part homeschool, part at-school).

      He tests very bright (98th %ile for IQ) but he definitely is comfortable doing the minimum or less to get by (or less) & sees nothing wrong with that. My hubs & I are at a loss, what is going on? Any input appreciated.

    • #107082

      He sounds bored.

      Is there any reason he needs to do more at this point? What’s in it for him?

      What kind of career goals, if any, does he have? Are they related in any way to what his school wants from him?

      Is he chatty or quiet? How long can you not talk? If he’s chatty, listen carefully to what he says for the next few weeks. He’ll tell you what he needs. If he’s quiet, spend as much time with him as you can, not talking. Do something that’s easy to interrupt when he wants to talk. In both cases, once he trusts that you won’t nag, judge, lecture or discipline, he’ll likely tell you why he does what he does.

      By the time I was his age about 100 people had told me I was bad for things totally out of my control and related to ADHD. Most assumed I was too young to know what I needed. It takes time to rebuild trust. Trust is pretty much only going to be rebuilt by parents behaving in a trustworthy manner consistently, over time

      Like it or not, it’s pretty much on us parents, which can be very difficult if parent also had ADHD!

    • #107243

      My son was diagnosed in first grade and was doing OK (not great) until around the 5th grade. At that point it was not only school that he was having difficulty with but he was having great difficulties socializing. As we learned over the next few years other symptoms can coexist with ADHD; for him anxiety. He is now 17 and will graduate in this spring. He can’t wait to leave the school environment and will focus on a job and part-time college classes in his area of interest, music, after graduation. The hardest part for me as a parent was to let go of my expectations for my son and see him for who he is.

      A lot of changes begin to take place at this stage in a child’s life with adolescence right around the corner. On top of that he may be having an emotional reaction to his new diagnosis. I would recommend observing him on the whole: look at his behavior in school, with friends, with family, etc. Try not to put a spot light on his school performance (unless warranted) or overreact to grades. Be available to talk to him anytime without judgement. Don’t forget doing fun things and normal family functions (meals especially) to facilitate communication. Reach out to teachers to see if they have ideas that may help make projects more interesting (that tap into his interests). Don’t make it all about school; if he has hobbies make sure you support that too. If you feel he is having difficulties beyond the norm don’t hesitate to get help. You are on this journey with your son so hang in there and be patient; treat him with respect and cherish the the person that he is.

    • #107246
      Penny Williams

      Some people just don’t see the need to push themselves really hard to get A’s when B’s will do just fine. I don’t have ADHD, but I was that student. I was in honors classes in high school, could have made straight A’s if I worked harder, but I was happy with a B for half the effort. My friend had to get A’s on everything and all she did was study.

      I will also put out there that teachers often misinterpret symptoms of ADHD as a lack of motivation or laziness, especially when the student is extra smart. What they don’t often realize is that intelligence is not the sole predictor of capability. ADHD impairs functioning.

      It does also impair motivation. The ADHD brain is motivated by interest and urgency, NOT importance. If he’s not interested, his brain isn’t going to kick in motivation to do even better because it’s important.

      Secrets of Your ADHD Brain

      And, I don’t think the effort matters if he is academically successful.

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

    • #107312

      Thank you everybody for your input! I still have a lot to learn about this journey!

    • #108722
      Dr. Eric

      For starters, let’s not mind-read.

      For a gifted child with ADHD, there are a ton of reasons for not looking like you care.
      – Genuine lack of engagement with what is going on, especially if it is not higher order.
      – Inattention
      – Giving up or avoidance due to frustration.
      – Other problems, such as depression… nothing that we can resolve in a chatroom. Discuss with your professionals.

      Also, ADD’ers have a hard time connecting long term goals to the things that they should be doing today.
      Using long terms goals and dreams as a motivator is generally not going to work.

      I am a fan of the resources for the gifted or twice exceptional at sengifted.org which stands for “social emotional needs of the gifted.” (I am not affiliated.)

      For example, they used to have a “gifted versus ADHD” checklist.

      They have revamped the website the last time that I used it.
      It wasn’t very user-friendly.
      In the old format, I found that Google site search worked better than navigating or browsing the site.

    • #108779

      Thank you so much for your comments & for sharing this resource!

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