How to help a kid with ADHD when my own ADHD gets in the way

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    • #83792

      Recently, as my son’s 504 Plan was up for revision, I dove deep into the resources offered here. I’ve found a lot of great information, listened to fantastic webinars, and built quite a research library of information. He is smart enough but completely lacks intrinsic motivation. He cares little for school and is way behind where he probably should be based on age (13, 7th grade) and ability. The problem is my own ADHD keeps me from being able to follow through and help him. I listen to all this advice on how to help a kid with school/learning issues but the problem is, they’re designed for neuro-typical parents, with fully engaged executive functions. I am not that parent. On top of it, due to some family dynamic intricacies, I can’t risk being punitive parent. I don’t think being punitive would work anyways. He’d be more likely to rebel and push back than if I found a way to accentuate the positives rather than punish the negatives.

      How does an ADHD parent help an ADHD kid, especially an unmotivated ADHD kid? The typical stuff, (i.e. setting up a neat and tidy homework space, setting a strict schedule, checking grades/school websites for assignments daily, constant contact with teachers, etc) is all stuff that I’m not good at either. I feel like I’m absolutely failing him because I’m just as bad as he is. The only difference is I was intrinsically motivated in school, I wanted to be a high achiever. He doesn’t care and that’s not something that can be taught or enforced.

      What are your ADHD parenting tips, tricks, and techniques to help your ADHD child?

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by gemineye80.
      • This topic was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by gemineye80.
    • #83841

      I wish I could help. i am in the same boat with my daughter. I was a high achiever, but definitely high ADD also, not getting close to my potential but just basically making good grades without trying that much in high school and then college was hard but I made it, cramming all night right before the exams. All I feel like I do is push push push my daughter. We just spent over an hour studying vocabulary words, about half of which was her whining. She cares but she feels defeated, and I can tell things are more difficult academically for her than they were for me. She just feels as if she is not good, and has a bad memory and just said, “I can’t” several times. She’s made some pretty bad grades on these tests for vocabulary also. My husband thinks we should just leave her alone and let her fail and then I think he believes she will step it up herself then after falling on her face. I am not sure in this situation with the ADD. I don’t know what to do or how to tell her to study except to use flash cards, but she’s been trying those. The test is always tricky according to her. She’s in 6th grade.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by sssscs.
    • #83846

      I’m sorry you’re having such a difficult time with this. My humble opinion is this
      1. You must be able to help yourself first!
      I mean if you think about it why do even airplanes tell you to get your own mask on first? Then help the ones next to you. Same rule applies here. Your son needs you to be health first!
      2. Respect his individuality, help him flourish it. I don’t know for sure but you both might have different struggles, coping, etc, in respect to the ADHD minds of yours.
      3. Relate to him. I’m not at all implying that you don’t, or don’t know how. It just sounds like along with the ADHD he’s in a rough spot being 13. School, girls, puberty….
      Please know I mean this with the utt most respect to you and your family. And with that said I think it is/was a brave thing to air you laundry this way. Good luck!

    • #83871
      Penny Williams

      “Smart enough,” “doesn’t care,” and “unmotivated” are three red flag words for parents of kids with ADHD.

      First, recognize that ADHD is a developmental disorder that causes development to be behind as much as 30% in some areas. That means, parenting your child is really parenting about a 10-year-old. That’s where your expectations of him should lie.

      The ADHD brain builds motivation through interest and urgency, not importance.

      Secrets of Your ADHD Brain

      Kids with ADHD struggle to force them to do school work they aren’t interested in for this reason. It’s their brain. With this knowledge, the question then becomes, “How do I create interest in tasks he seems unmotivated to complete?” And, understanding that he isn’t always going to have motivation for things that simply need to be done.

      The phrase “smart enough” works me into a tizzy. My son has heard this in school all his life, but it’s an inaccurate phrase. Intelligence is in a different part of the brain from functioning (executive functions, attention, etc…). One can be highly intelligent and completely incapable of completing tasks that are outside of their current functioning. For instance, my son has a gifted IQ. He gets several C’s and D’s because he has severe executive functioning deficits and learning disabilities that prevent him from being able to show what he knows in the traditional ways mainstream public education expects.

      As for helping your child when you yourself have ADHD, check out Terry Matlen’s book, “The Queen of Distraction.” It’s packed full of short and simple tips and tricks for this, and other things in life.

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

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