I don't know how to tell my parents I failed this semester

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    • #66834

      I’m a 21 year old, second-year Computer Science student living in Windhoek, Namibia.

      I just came to realise how horribly I’ve been doing in my fourth semester of university and I can’t bring myself to being honest to my parents about it because I don’t know how I’ll go forward after their judgement. I could say that the reason I failed was due to multiple factors:

      – Not being able to be honest with my parents about everything, including what I actually feel about certain subjects, and the things I do academically wrong, heck, I’m bisexual too and I still haven’t been able to tell my parents that
      – Bad time management
      – And being around the wrong people

      I feel like I’ve really run myself through a brick wall with open eyes, because this has been eating at me for a week. The best case scenario is that they’ll allow me to graduate in 4 years instead of 3, but I worry about the extra measures they’ll take to keep me on track. This is also because I’ve been producing music for the past 5 years and I admit that it takes up most of my head-space. My parents and I have always been at different ends about it and I worry that they will attack my music again. We were meant to have an agreement that I’d only make music during holidays, But I let my impulses get the better of me and started producing behind their backs, which is wrong of me. I also worry that this will put me in a situation where my parents won’t allow me to live on my own because of this disaster.

      The worst case scenario is that my parents are so fed up with me they send me away to my grandmother in a remote part of the country where I’ll struggle to have any any ideal opportunity.

      I was diagnosed with ADHD-I at age 11, and during that time my parents really did their best to accommodate it. My mother refused to give my brother and I ADHD medication so she really went out of her way to treat, such as occupational therapy, changing our diet and forcing us to take Omega-3 supplements. I appreciate all the effort the parent put into getting me this far but I feel that things have come to the point that I’ve been thinking that maybe I should be taking ADHD medication all along, especially now.

      I feel stupid for allowing myself to fall into this situation.

    • #66836

      First thing, Be honest with your parents. Second, Never lie with your parents. and last you will never get success without failure. So enjoy the life the way you want.

    • #66840

      Trust me – they’d rather know than not know. My son is prepping for college with ADHD and the absolute worst feeling is hearing that something went wrong and he didn’t tell us.

    • #66876

      First of all you need to stop and breath, do some breathing, and think about what will happen if you are not the person they learn it from. Second music is something that we who have the ability own! No one can ever take it! No one can limit it, it’s always with us. Music comes from our souls, our very selves, so for the rest of your life it will be there. Fix this with your parents and relax about your gift of music, it’s all good and it will all work out fine! Your parents love you, first write out what you want to say, and it’s good you still want to please your parents, so you must be a really good person…right? So they must be really good people to have such a loving person who cares about them. You guys do not sound scary at all 🤗

    • #66912

      LX —

      — You are at a transitional point in your life when you are shifting from doing things your parents want and/or demand that you do to — let’s hope — to doing things that you want to do. Part of growing up and becoming independent is being honest when it’s not easy and … standing on your own two feet.

      — Now is the time to be honest with your parents about “certain subjects.” If you have ADHD — especially if you are unmedicated — you are not going to like or excel at subjects your brain doesn’t want to do. That’s just fact. It does not make sense to keep beating your head against a wall. It’s much better to do something you love, like ….

      — Music. What does it say that you have tons of energy to do this during your free time? Perhaps you have other interests you are also passionate about. It seems that it’s also time for your parents to get honest — honest about who you are and what you love and what you like to do. Chances are, they want you to follow a certain path because they believe that’s the best way for people to succeed. But you are not people. You are you. Sounds like you need a different path.

      — Medication. It’s very admirable how hard your parents worked to try to deal with your ADHD. But you are an adult now and it’s your brain, not theirs. Take medication or don’t, but it’s your choice. (I take a stimulant and it changed my life.)

      — Feeling stupid: Give yourself a break. College is a big challenge to people with ADHD, much more than high school in my opinion. The demands on the executive functions of the brain can overload one’s ability to cope. There’s more work and less structure. More time management and prioritization of tasks. You are up against much more than most other students and much more than you probably realize. All the things to keep up with can sneak up on you especially if you are …

      — being around the wrong people. I take this to mean partying, abusing alcohol and drugs, and/or doing other non-school and non-beneficial activities the wrong people are so well known for. Here is another place to be honest. How big a problem is this? If you think you have a drugs or alcohol problem or the like, changing the people you are with might not help. It also could be the case that you are self-medicating as a way of increasing the dopamine in your brain. When I started taking ADHD meds, I stopped self-medicating and I know others with the same story. However, people can also become dependent on meds. It depends on the person and what they are taking, so educate yourself about that if you choose to take meds. I’m not a doc so I’m not giving advice, just passing along experience in the general area of this issue. Others may have different experiences.

      Go and tell the truth. Resistance is futile.


    • #67909

      I’m a professor, and I can tell you that all learning is a life-long venture. Honesty with yourself regarding exactly what you are struggling with, identification of available resources, and a willingness to ask for additional help are the best place to begin, in my opinion. I understand your struggle and I can tell you from experience that keeping your shame to yourself is UNHEALTHY and UNHELPFUL for you. You need to find people who understand your challenges, and recognize that they will be able to deliver better “social support” for your shame than relatives who may not fully understand what you are going through. For example, the dialogue you are having here in this forum can “supply you” with the moral support and stamina needed to face your fear about being honest with your parents.

      As far as the school work goes, you may be able to find support at the school/university in a disabilities office, or with your class Dean. In any case, you might benefit from taking fewer classes at once, or by establishing a relationship with a faculty member where you meet with them at set intervals to help you stay accountable; when you meet, be sure to get them to sign off on or “validate” a concrete list of steps that you intend to take before the next meeting. Often, in my experience, frustration begins with confusion about exactly how to begin. Like anything else, it takes experience to automatically know how to begin/reach project completion. Being honest with yourself at each step of the way, perhaps by keeping a journal noting feelings/thoughts/physical symptoms at the outset of procrastination. As a first year student, every time I opened a book, I started to feel sleepy. I now recognize that this was my limbic system dealing with anxiety! I now know that studying near my bed, first of all, probably contributed to my desire to return to sleep; exercising prior to studying might have helped with my concentration, or maybe perhaps trying to do my work in a cafe would have been a better choice, etc..

      It would be helpful for you to look at “failure” moreso as a challenging beginning on a very long term endeavor!Two more key bits of advice: study topics that interest you (you’ll have more motivation), and don’t expect perfection! Knowledge is cumulative, and “points” or grades are not a reflection of your potential. Best of luck moving forward! Enjoy learning by making the experience your’s.

    • #67923


      You are not stupid.
      You have nothing to be ashamed of.
      You are exactly as God meant you to be and you are here for a reason and purpose.

      Everyone experiences setbacks. They are given to us to teach us how to move forward, help other and be even better than we would have been without them. This is your moment. When you address these issues you will be catapulted forward beyond anything you dreamed possible, so go through this struggle with courage.

      Become and expert on ADD: Read Dr.Daniel Amen’s books available on Amazon, go to your University counseling center, continue to read this website, read read read
      Become an expert on yourself: gain as much insight into yourself as you possibly can – and accept yourself. ADD was given to you and nothing to be ashamed of.

      Get away from anything/one who is toxic to your development: Drugs, alcohol and the like are not an option for you as they damage your struggling brain and emotions.

      Your Parents:
      Seek counseling at the University and get support, with the GOAL being to help you and to tell your parents of your problems after you have organized a plan to solve it. Perhaps the University can help, advise or support you in this.

      You are a young adult and do not have to reveal everything about your personal life with you parents. Make sure that you are telling them for a purpose not just to unload your guilt and shame. That is not helpful and the burden may make it difficult for them. You can always tell them in time, but the pressing matter now is your school work so I would focus on that issue. (Unless you have an addiction)
      Ask yourself what do they really need to know?:
      • Failing school: YES they need to know this
      • BiSexual: Not so much– or at least not now
      • Drug/Alcohol Use: IF YOU NEED REHAB THEN YES, if not then maybe NO, just stop doing all drugs and alcohol, they are not an option for you

      Additional Option
      Write them a letter telling them everything on your mind. Don’t hold back – write it all down. Then before you send it wait a week and rewrite it deciding what it really needs to contain. Tell them its coming, don’t let it surprise them. A letter is powerful because it gives them time to react privately, reflect on their feelings, recall things from the past that square up with what you are telling them, you get to speak uninterrupted and go into details that may not emerge in person,

      Say “Mom, I’m having some problems. I need your help but I don’t know how to tell you everything so I have written you a letter. Everything in it is 100% true and I hope you will forgive me for any disappointment it may cause you. I love you and need your help.”

      OR – One More Option
      Tell them in person: Stick to the academics and tell them about the ADD only and have a plan ready to propose to them. Tell them that the ADD has caught up with you at the University level and it is no longer working to be unmedicated and unassisted. Tell them you tried your best but you need help. Your approach can still include supplements, nutrition, exercise, AND medication which perhaps as an adult will worry your Mother less than it did when you were 11. Present them with Dr. Daniel Amen’s book on ADD, or other supporting research and ask them to read it. Present them with your specific plan to solve this problem and ask for their support. This shows them that you have done the work of coming up with a solution, you are not placing that burden on them. Offer to pay them back for the failed semester once you graduate and get a job. This is a sign of respect and self-reliance.
      Your mother was born to help you succeed but how you approach her matters.

      God Bless,

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