Is it ADD or is he an A$$

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    • #82804

      I am so frustrated with 20yo son. He failed out of his first college. We had him back home and take a few classes locally while getting more help. We have spent literally $12000 last year on therapy and medications. He is back enrolled full time but commuting to school. He seems to like it a lot, joined a club and has made friends. But when it comes to getting up and on the road to school it is ridiculous. Today, the weather was bad and I woke him early because it was going to take over an hour to get to school. He had 1.5 hours to get dressed – without showering I might add.

      He was late – I lost it! It is so disrespectful to me, my husband and the professor. He is failing due to tardies!! Then don’t even get me started on late and missed assignments.

      He says he wants to go to school and get a degree but why is he so passive aggressive? He is ruining our family life, our finances are tapped out because insurance doesn’t cover treatment and putting great stress on our marriage. We have been to some of the best doctors and therapist in our area. Son will not use any of the techniques and is constantly “forgetting” to take medicine. At therapist suggestion, I turn off his phone and internet so that he can’t be lost online, but he just flat out refuses to get moving. And its for everything! He is late for school, dates, meeting friends, forget about a job- who would hire someone late to the interview? We are waiting for him to go to church, dinner – it never ends! He was diagnosed with mild depression (doctor says its situational since he failed out) and anxiety. We are still wasting money on doctors, psychologists and medications! I don’t need a medical degree to tell him to write down what he needs to do, or set an alarm to wake up. Son has 4 alarm clocks – they only work if you set them and then only if you decide to get moving.

      Can someone please tell me it eventually clicks? My other children are so frustrated by the tension in our house. No one helps my husband and me with techniques to manage the stress of this illness on our lives. We have been told that we have our expectations to high. I am sorry at age 20 you should be able to get yourself up and keep a calendar of events. Truly that is my only expectation – be on time for one day of his life! My only thought now is that it is not ADD, but a serious case of laziness. We have coddled and accommodated him to long. He has had a coach or doctor since he was 12 years old!

      I can’t kick him out because he has no job or friends to live with. All his friends are away at school or live at home. I am tired of wasting my time and money. I feel like this is an illness of no solutions but every doctor or coach lines to take your money – he is being treated and we are going broke with absolutely no change in our lives except more stress.

    • #82809

      This sounds like my 17 yo. son. My therapist recommended following : if not attending school he must get a job and contribute financially to house – pay own car insurance, gas etc., rent , some utilities, food- as if he had own apartment. Once he realizes what no education gets you working at fast food places and similar low paying jobs then he will finally be MOTIVATED to go to school. I met Russell Barkley once and he said adhd should be renamed Motivational Deficit disorder because that is more the issue than attention. Let me know your thoughts when you get a chance – we are struggling with same thing except he’s a junior in high school.


    • #82820

      We do limit the car to school and make him buy gas- but it is such as catch 22. We want him to have a college experience – making friends and being part of the campus, but he needs a car to get there. This summer we told him he had to have a full time job and schedule. As of now, he hasn’t been called for one interview. My husband wants him to work in our office, but I nixed that. I am not supervising him 24/7.

      They can call it motivational disorder, but what is the solution? Seriously, I feel like the therapist prey on parents who are desperate for help. Lots of sessions but same ideas but the kids never change. They need to come up with a medication that is sustaining through the morning – maybe its like a injection so they have in their system all day.

      Its a self defeating illness – one you where get no empathy and lots of advice, but no success.

    • #82848

      I would look for a “transition school” in your area. Transition to college is what it is. There are many colleges & community colleges that have them. I would not go private too expense. Look at

      Our son just turned 20 in JAN. He started a transition school last AUG. Only one more year to go, but thank goodness the college we chose offers to help the student if he continues on with his/her degree. He has been doing well, but our mtg “this week” we found out he forgot to login for his online class (how can you forget a class??) he will probably have to take it over.. don’t even get me started!

      Our son has Asperger’s very similar to ADHD my very good old boss & friend has a 27 year old daughter with ADHD, we talk all the time. We live in CA and one of our colleges has a “specific college counselor meets with the students with disabilities” you may want to check if any of your colleges have such a program. The student checks in with the counselor depending on what is needed. It seems to work for some students. It is very frustrating, we are in your same shoes. I am not siding with your son, but kids/students w/disabilities have totally different wired brains.

      Our son will actually shut totally down if things get too stressful or if everyone is upset. Remember they are always 1-2 years behind developmentally and what we expect out of them will not occur until they are in their late 20’s (per our son’s psychologist).

      Don’t give up you are all he has, you need to help him advocate get him on track. It is difficult, but hang in there. You may want to pull him out of college and have him volunteer until you can locate a college that will help him through to learn the skills he needs.

    • #82851

      Also, have him work with Dept of Rehab in your area. They help get kids trained and a job. Also look up CA Conservation Core, for an understanding what it is. I believe other states have the same type of program. He may just need to be taught a job and work and call it a day. Their are also living accommodations for young adults and adults you need to start looking into these things to get him in the right direction.

    • #82852

      He’s not ruining anything, you are reacting as if he can change. That creates conflict in the house. He must find a discipline. Give him nothing more and toss him out on his butt until he does. If you won’t do this because of __________________ (fill in excuse here) you are simply enabling him. This is not a judgment of your parenting, it is just basic human behavior.

      A discipline is simply an interest that triggers a dopamine response that drives self-motivation. It doesn’t have to make money today, but it should when he is skilled.

      NOTE: He will not do anything as long as you coddle him. Ever. Then when you die he is screwed.

    • #82825

      I know it’s hard! I’ve been where you are so I know that what you are doing to ‘help’ your son is very well-meaning and comes from a place of love and caring but the fact is that the more you try to help him in the ways you have been doing, the less motivated he will be to change what he’s doing (and instead of ‘helping’, you are actually hampering his ability to learn and grow). Plus, the more you push, the more he’s going to push back, either passive-aggressively or otherwise because that’s human nature when someone tries to get us to do something we don’t see the need or reason to do.

      I know that a lot of experts say that ADHD is a motivational disorder problem but I think that what’s more important to keep in mind re: motivation regardless of whether ADHD is in the picture or not: motivation is an inside job. Motivation is not something that can be forced upon us by someone else; it’s a desire and drive that must come from within.

      For your son to be motivated, he has to have a strong desire within himself to achieve something, AND the willingness to do what it takes to get there.

      In my experience with my own son and with the kids of parents I work with, motivation didn’t just magically “click” in place. What had to happen was that they had be allowed to take ownership of their choices and actions and then be allowed to experience the natural and logical consequences of those actions. In doing so, they learned a very important lesson: “Every action I take and choice I make has results; I choose the action, therefore I choose the result. And if I want different results, I need to take different actions.”

      While it’s true that sometimes kids or even young adults with ADHD may not have the skills or ability to do take those “different actions” without help or support, it’s important that parents wait until their kids ask for and are ready to accept that help and support–which usually doesn’t happen until they are given the time and space to experience consequences and get to where they realize that they want different results badly enough that they are willing to change what they’re doing and ask for and willingly accept that help.

      I know it’s hard to not be involved and want to intervene and ‘help’ when he’s right there under your roof. I think that him living with you is not good for him or for you in terms of having any hope of things changing or you being able to shift from enabling to empowering him. I’m not suggesting you kick him out. But one thing you might want to consider is to help him find an alternative living arrangement (even if you subsidize his rent and living expenses for a short time, you’ll still be paying much less than what you’re paying to support him now). When he’s on his own, he decides when he gets up, whether or not he goes to school on time, etc. You don’t have the daily stress of seeing it and trying to change him, and he is allowed the time and space to figure out things for himself and learn from his choices and results and gets to where he’s willing to ask for and accept help if he can’t get there on his own.

      In the meantime, I suggest you some one on one help and support for yourself—it’s not easy to shift from being enabling to empowering! And it will be really hard to stand back and watch him have some failures and/or not follow the path you envisioned for him. But it’s important work. In the long run, he’ll be so much better off for it, and so will you (think about how much less stress you’ll have in your home and how much better your relationship will be with your son if you can let go of the daily struggle for control!)

      One final thought: I firmly believe that each person has their own path and they have to get there in their own way, in their own time. I encourage you to find a way to like him and enjoy being around him even if he doesn’t do what you wish he would do. Your relationship with him is more important than what goals he achieves. (And the side benefit of having a strong relationship is this: the more he feels respected and accepted despite his flaws the more likely it will be that he will trust you and be willing to come to you for help, input and support.)

      Hope this helps!

      Joyce Mabe, Parenting Coach, school counselor, author, mom of adult son with ADHD

    • #82854

      Sorry I’m not understanding all of your message. I am not going to argue over this and I’m sorry if I worded my reply incorrectly. I just wanted to give some advice and give some knowledge I’ve learned.. like (colleges in almost every state), what to look for in a college, or have him volunteer until a college is found that can teach him the skills he needs, plus the other options I mentioned that may work/help him.

      We do not coddle our son nor do we enable him. Many times these kids need to fail to move forward. I am totally aware they do NOT get over or recover from their disabilities, but parents cannot give up on their kids, the young adult will end up on the street and parents do not live forever as we both know and that is why I continue to push/move forward to find another option if things are not working. I also found a knowledgeable person to help us get natural medications instead of pharmaceutical medications because our son was losing weight and not eating. Possibly the medications your son was taking were not correct yet, they may make him feel worse, and could be why he does not want to take them. He may be depressed and angry with everything like everyone else is and why he procrastinates and does not get going. Read some of the websites articles: [How to Motivate a Teenager with ADHD] [Free Download: Transform Your Teen’s Apathy Into Engagement] [Inside Your Teen’s ADHD Mind] I hope you can find some answers I wish I would have found this website sooner than today!

    • #82863
      Penny Williams

      It’s time to change your mindset about your son’s behavior (your current perspective isn’t working anyway).

      Remember, ADHD is a developmental delay, as much as 30% behind same-age peers in many areas, especially executive functioning. That means, at 20, he’s functioning more like 14-16 in a lot of ways. Not by choice, but due to ADHD.

      Grow Up Already! Why It Takes So Long to Mature

      It is so disrespectful to me, my husband and the professor.

      You cannot view symptoms of ADHD as disrespect. This is the physiological way his brain functions, not character flaws. Being late, not getting started, getting lost in tasks… all are symptoms of executive function deficits, which is part of ADHD. Coping strategies for executive functioning are key.

      Sit down and have a collaborative conversation together about this problem (being late to class, moving too slowly in the morning) and how to resolve it in a way that is helpful and agreeable to all. “I see that you’re really struggling to get to classes on time and it’s negatively impacting your grades. I know you want to do well with your classes, so let’s talk about what might help you get to class on time.”

      Free Webinar Replay: The Teen Brain on ADHD: A Parent’s Guide to Boosting Executive Functions and Building Independence — Together

      He is ruining our family life…

      This breaks my heart. I know it can feel like this, but it’s really important to reframe your thinking on this. Negative thinking attracts negative feelings, which creates negative outcomes. He’s truly not choosing to burden you.

      Lastly, when parents of kids with ADHD find themselves using the word “refuse” it’s a red flag. Again, as Ross Greene PhD says, “Kids do well if they can.” So, what is really the problem behind these behaviors?

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

    • #82871

      I have predominantly Inattentive ADHD. I’ve also Aided in a classroom with a 6 year old that was majorly hyperactive. He acted like a kid who didn’t care to be at school and was one who even hurt animals. (Just saying he had extreme problems.) Once he was diagnosed and got the right combination of medication in him he was a totally different child. I know of a teen who is not medicated but he does extreme exercising to help him or he can’t focus.

      You may or may not have your sons type of brain wiring. Have you gotten to know what is happening in his unique brain? Now that he is a Young Adult, talking at a calmer moment asking him what it’s like living inside his brain? Ari Tuckman has some books that maybe helpful. He may not be sleeping well enough with busy mind at night so that getting up in the morning is almost impossible. Classes later in the day or night may be more conducive. What about waking to his favorite music something that will light up his brain and put a smile on his face. Is there a launch pad with everything ready the night before to head out the door with. He could have the “one-more-thing-itist” thing going on, or the trying to find something before leaving issue. Many have no sense of time (time blindness) and wear watches with alarms to help remember or vibration to be more aware of time passing. He also might get distracted inside or outside his brain taking longer on something then he would otherwise. I’ve heard about some parents of younger kids let them sleep in the clothes they would be wearing the next day to bed, it’s an alternative. His life needs to be structured the way his brain operates not the way neurotypical brains do. When he learns what really works for his brain, what supports he needs to prop up the Executive Function of the brain it will get easier. I truly understand the frustration as I know how it was for my parents with me, but imagine if you can being the one living inside that brain. How would you want others responding to you especially the people most important if you had his brain wiring. Please know he is not purposely trying to get on your last nerve even if it feels like it. He is not ADHD but he is your beautiful son with ADHD. ADHD does not disappear and you may need to morn that you can’t take that away and the dream image you have for him. There can be other positive images in place of. Do all you can to find and express as much love and support of him and his talents as possible. Make time together enjoying each other and put the ADHD struggle on the shelf for a while.

      As per other comments about other schools, know that people like Tom Cruise also went to one of these colleges. There are also service at college to help with challenges. He could also have an ADHD Coach even via face to face online texts and calls. Good luck.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Marrimem.
    • #82891

      To Penny, we have sat down numerous times to review expectations and issues. We have done it as a family and with therapist. In fact, Marrimen, we have actually have had counseling with Ari Tuckman. There is nothing I can do but let him fail and pray. Today, I left for work, he was awake. Just called him and he missed class because it took 2 hours to leave the house. He fell back to sleep.

      I calmly called him and said, he has to decide, is this a pattern he enjoys? He has to start making choices – whether to rollover and go back to sleep, stay on his laptop all night or go to school. He just gets upset and says he is an idiot. I reassured him he is not an idiot, far from it. Incredibly intelligent but makes poor choices. I suggested that next time he decides to rollover and go back to sleep think of 5 bad results from his choice. If he is okay with all the results than go ahead and sleep. If not, get up and make the decision to go to school or work. He also told me he didn’t take medicines. Again, I said what do you think the benefit is of not taking medicine. I got the “I don’t know”. Then what is the benefit of taking it? Same answer. He suppose to meet with a counselor today, go the learning resources, etc, but i know he won’t he will sit and stare and the cell phone and waste another day.

      We have set the expectation that he will pay us for every class he fails due to cuts. Right now, he looks like he will owe us full tuition. I can’t tell my husband he missed class because that will ignite the fuse. To be honest, I want to go home and cry. This is a miserable life for all of us!

      • #83337
        Penny Williams

        I challenge you to change your thinking. Don’t think of it as a “choice” anymore. Think of each thing as something his different/ADHD brain struggles with. What tools/strategies will help him?

        Honestly, it sounds like school isn’t right for him, at least not yet. The motivating factor for college, getting a degree to get a job, is 4 years in the future. It’s not immediate enough to spark the ADHD brain.

        I know it’s hard and I know it sucks. You just have to keep changing your approach or change what he’s expected to do until something is working. I was just interviewing an ADHD expert yesterday and he was describing the after high school journey they had with his own son. Tried college, didn’t fit. Tried gap year program, didn’t fit. Tried 2 or 3 different trade school programs, didn’t fit. Yet, now he has a full-time job he’s doing well at and is happy. And this is the child of a psychologist. It’s hard for all of us when raising kids with these challenges.

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

    • #82896

      What is happening inside him that he feels inside “I’m an idiot”. What are his experiences. Just hear him, reflect back to him, so your experiencing ______. Do I understand what you said. How does that make you feel? Show empathy. I hear you, that’s is hard to deal with or that’s rough. Just let him be heard. Let his pain be heard. He has already hear your pain. Share yours instead with a friend etc. but not with him. Don’t try to convince him he’s not an idiot or say things that you think might fix it. He knows already your response, or he can ask you. After many times of listening you may hear things you want to know and understand him better.

    • #82933

      L – I’d like to add that I’m so sorry this mighty challenge has brought so much pain to your family. It’s sound like you like so many families want to help their children grow to all they can be and the frustration for long awaited answers is so trying!! I’m sure you have been braving this with your family for so long and as you say at great expense. Hopeful one day you will find in your son a Dr Hallwell or the guy who developed Jet Blue airlines (he still struggles with his esteem though brilliant) or just someone who can make it with a much happier satisfying life. Prayers for your family!

    • #82944

      I understand how frustrating being a parent of a child with ADHD can be. My son is 14 and he was diagnosed when he was 9. The thing is, his diagnosis led me to realize that I had been living with ADHD my entire life. Throughout school I was always in trouble for not paying attention, being late, forgetting things etc. I was labeled a bad kid because everyone thought I was doing these things on purpose and I just needed to make a decision to do better. People said they have given up on me, they were wasting their time, I was lazy and all of the other negative hurtful comments most of us are very familiar with. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I do what people say I should be able to do? Since everyone else had given up on me I felt like I should also give up on myself. I tried to go to college after I barely graduated from high school. Of course, I had the same issues so I failed out.

      My son suffers with similar trouble, even though I know exactly how it feels I still get frustrated. However, I would never tell him he is wasting my time, my money, he is “forgetting” or anything else like that. When he forgets to bring is homework, doesn’t write down all of the instructions to a school assignment, or gets in trouble I get extremely frustrated. I do my best not to let my frustrations show but I’m sure they do, at least a little. Instead of yelling, calling him names or intentionally making him feel worse I discuss the situation, relate the ADHD symptoms to his ADHD and look for ways to handle the ways h disability manifests itself. Both of us take medication and work together to try to overcome the challenges but they still happen. I am making my second attempt at college, going into elementary education because I want to help students who have learning disabilities. Many of these children are mistreated at home and school, they have no support. Nothing you do can make your son feel worse than he probably does, we are our worst critics but comments like yours just reinforce his beliefs. He needs emotional support, it is not coddling, it is helping your child who has a disability. Any disability is hard for a family but a parent would never tell a child with down syndrome to just stop having downs syndrome. That parent would be considered a horrible parent by most people.

      I am 43, diagnosed with ADHD 5 years ago, take medication, see a therapist, constantly look for techniques to improve but I can’t just choose to get better. Neither can my son and neither can your son. I am still late, always in a rush, unorganized but I am an adult with a diagnosis. I at least know what is wrong with me and I do my best to improve. Just last week I was getting ready to get in the shower, noticed it needed to be cleaned so I started cleaning it. Fifteen minutes later I realized what I was doing and I had to rush so we weren’t late. Fortunately, I have a fantastic support system at home. My wife does not have ADHD, she doesn’t fully understand it but she does see the struggles It causes in my life.

      Instead of complaining about his “lack of effort” and “laziness” try helping him. Setting alarms and criticizing him when he is still late is not considered helping. That contributes to his feelings of incompetence and worthlessness. Every college has a disability services office that can help establish accommodations for your son. I now receive accommodations for ADHD because it is a disability, not a choice. You could help your son by contacting that office at his school. You could then show him your support by advocating for him in the meetings with the disability office. They can customize a plan that deals with his tardies because they are related to ADHD and not disrespect.

      This is a much longer response than I planned but your post created a wide variety of feelings. It made me extremely angry, deeply sad for your son and it made me think of all of the other people with ADHD who receive this type of treatment. If you and your husband want help for yourselves to seek help instead of blaming your son. You are the parent, take some initiative. The way you talk about your son in your post is horrible. Everything is judgmental and condescending. I hope this isn’t the way you talk to him but I have a feeling that it is. Instead of insisting that your son change without your emotional support you need to change your perceptions of your son’s disabilities.

      • #83318

        You’ve probably heard the phrase: Oppositional Defiant. I find that I become this way when forced to do most anything. Some kind of
        weird inner dignity pops up (to my own amazement!)…that makes me want to say NO!

        I believe in cooperation but I don’t believe in being CO-OPTED. I have ADD and have an inordinate need to be self directed and to do things when I’m “in the mood.”
        For me, it is like “catching a wave” to ride the big one into shore.

        I encourage you to read the book: You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy. It helped me understand my disorder and come to terms with things.

        Also, the right medication made a huge difference.

        For instance, before any medication (I was in my mid-40’s!)…I couldn’t use a hair dryer successfully. I couldn’t play croquet, I couldn’t bowl except endless gutter balls. These things required a kind of coordination that my brain couldn’t master.

        Within a few days of being on Wellbutrin (though I’ve since changed to something gentler for me: generic Lexipro)…..I was suddenly able to learn to use the
        hairdryer and brush at the same time. Some kind of inner coordination system HAD NOT BEEN HOOKED UP FOR ME!

        Speaking of hooking up….check into Brain Gym….it is a form of kinesthesiology…they are centered in California and have some books and workshops. Those were helpful to me too!

        The word STRUGGLE in the middle name of a person like me. Each day I struggle to get the dishes done (though I know we need clean dishes and I have resorted to paper plates more often than my ecologically oriented nature would prefer)….and struggle to sweep the floor …and many days these don’t get done. I(OMG and the world doesn’t come to an end! And it isn’t so pretty around here…so sorry! Those hoarding shows are probably full of people with ADD issues).

        The part of my brain that works well can write a beautiful song in 5 minutes. (I did it at 7 years old just as easily).
        The part of my brain that works well can write a poem, or create a play, or find a way to heal someone of a misunderstanding in their lives….but
        it isn’t VISIBLE and MEASURABLE and DESIRABLE to the linear, left brained world.

        It seems you are yelling at your “DEAF” son for not being able to hear your words. In truth, he can’t HEAR (let in and apply) your desires. You might as well ask
        a spider to make a lemon pie. (Dr. Suess wrote a great story about this many years ago).

        I am great with self-directed, self-motivated, small energy burst events.

        When he was younger, did you see him use great gusto to make a fort? Or to build a go-cart?

        He doesn’t need the college experience in the way you think he does. He needs a happier family experience.

        Having ADD is hard enough without feeling hated by your family. We beat ourselves up enough anyway.

        He might also benefit from cranial sacral therapy. I had a big breakthrough with that one time. (I was a forceps delivery and this can cause long term brain issues).
        It doesn’t work for everyone, but it could be helpful.

        He may be hyper-sensitive and want to retreat. I can’t stand noisy places like TGIF bars, or sports events, or even living in an apartment that shares walls and “energy” with neighbors.

        We live in the country on a few acres back from the highway and this is one of the few places I can rest and relax and restore myself.

        Many kids with Sensory Processing Disorder (and he may have it too), do well in a closet with headphones, in the dark to keep out excessive input. It is like the whole world is constantly SCREAMING at US!

        I am a world class clairvoyant and have been professionally tested and written about in a book by Judith Pennington: Your Psychic Soul. My brain waves are unique which is why I can do what I do professionally. But it is also why I cannot do “normal stuff” to please the rest of you with much success. (They are detailed in her book). It is possible your son has similar unique brain waves and struggles with the basics but is off the charts in other areas.

        My last point: My anthropology teacher asked the question: “Would it serve the world to have all mongoloid children euthanized at birth since they are not so intelligent?” He said NO! The world might become so stressful, that they alone would be able to manage the overwhelm successfully and be the only ones who could survive on this planet.

        Your boy may be an “indigo child.” (Hypersensitive and aware to things you know not of).

        There is a book by Marci Calhoun: Are You Really Too Sensitive?

        I suspect your son may fall into that category.

        It is a double edged sword. “What is wrong with me is what is right with me.”

        Again, I implore you to watch the movie, Temple Grandin. It is deeply eye-opening. Every time I watch it (and it has been at least 5 times), I cry.
        Because I feel validated and understood in a way that I find no where else.

        Did I mention that I accurately predicted where Skylab fell in l979: Perth, Australia. It is documented in the newspaper on my website.

        I met a NASA scientist who told me “they had no idea where it would land.” But I got it from a dream.

        Life is full of mysteries and your son is one of them.

        Love and blessings,
        Linda Schiller-Hanna

    • #82961

      I am very insulted that anyone would think I not supportive of my child. I have been his biggest advocate since kindergarten when he struggled for the first time. It took 8 years of testing and doctors to determine he had ADD. I have defended him to angry teachers, administrators and the like. But my post is about frustration. More directed at the false hope of getting well. The neurologist says he will grow out of it. The psychologist says he needs to make it a priority to change and 5 alarm clocks. The psychiatrist says he needs more medicine and to grow up. My sons says he needs nothing. He is tired of help.

      We have struck a deal, son has to go to the psychologist/coach each week and we will not hassle him about school work, his room, his eating habits. But getting up for school and work is a non negotiable. If I am paying tuition, because he says he wants a degree, it is reasonable to expect he go on time. It is not like when we were in school and you could cut class and still get an “a” if you turn in work. Attendance can count for 25% of a grade.

      If after 8 years of coaching and scaffolding we can’t get past getting up on time, there is more than ADD. Of course colleges have learning resources. In fact, I sent him to a high school that specializes in learning differences. We have been coached as a family- we provide support and encouragement but we are at the end of our ropes. We had him re-assessed so that he could use the disability services at college. But, that only works if you show up to your resource appointments, remember to tell instructors you have extended time or go the writing center. ADHDx2, your child is 14, you have no idea what is ahead and how college is a huge struggle on their way to “adulting”.

      When your children are in grade school through high school you can be the empathetic parent because the schools have to keep them enrolled, you can rely on the system to help and make sure they graduate – everyone involved has the same end game. As a parent goal is to have your child be self sufficient productive member of society. But in the real world of work and college, every person needs to find the drive to be better and master life skills. Do you want your child to have 17 jobs by the time they are 30? There are plenty of successful people with ADHD, so I know some people have the determination to change. But if I don’t provide the scaffolding – even now that he in 20, he will fail and he will be depressed. It is a vicious cycle.

      My point is that with all this help, why is he refusing to use the tools and resources. It makes me wonder if its a different problem Why is it on this forum no one has any success stories. What actually works????

      • #83342
        Penny Williams

        “Refuse” is a big red-flag word for parents of kids with ADHD/autism. Kids/young adults want to do well. He isn’t consciously refusing, but rather struggling in some way under the surface. It absolutely looks like refusal, 110%, but there’s an underlying reason.

        What actually works is him discovering his interests and passions and using those to drive his actions. He needs some successes. Right now he’s drowning in all the failures (not getting up, not getting to class, failing classes, mom and dad are angry, etc.). It really sounds like he’s given up. 🙁

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

    • #83076

      He also may have an addiction to what he’s spends all night doing on the Internet, for which we are susceptible, for which get out of bed is near impossible due to lack of sleep which we all understand. My friend had a boyfriend who was always 1 1/2 HRs late for their dates. She decided to tell him to come 1 1/2 HRs ahead of when she wanted to be ready and it worked for them. I know this won’t work in every situation but you did mention dates too and there may be occassions that that may be workable for your family.

    • #83087

      I am assuming he already had a sleep study but just in case he hasn’t you might want to consider offering him that. A lot of people with adhd have sleep disorders also which make the adhd symptoms worse. Some people have a REM disorder (or something like that) which they take medicine for and it helps with more refreshing sleep. There are a bunch of sleep issues you can have which I had never even heard of until my son and I went to see a sleep doctor.

      I have ADHD /depression and mild sleep apnea and it is soooo hard for me to get going in the mornings. My 17 yo son has missed so much school this year for a myriad of reasons. One of those is his difficulty getting up in am and he actually said to me one day “at least you get up and go to a job that gives you a paycheck- what do I get by going to school?” And he knows the answer is he gets to go to college which then gets him the job he wants to have and the lifestyle he wants. The problem is that is so many years away that for a teen brain, let alone one with ADHD, is not going to get much of a dopamine “hit” (motivation) from that alone. As you know to those of with ADHD time looks like this to us: Now and Now – that’s about it.

      The other thing you may want to look into, if you haven’t already, is how much of his lack of motivation is not only ADHD related but the depression part. That requires different medications-if he is willing to do that. Addressing my son’s depression in addition to adhd meds has helped a little bit I will say.

      And also I was just reading about MTHFR and its effects on serotonin/dopamine. My husband and I each did the 23 and me gene testing and both have the variant for MTHFR. I watched a you tube video today about it – fascinating. I’m going to talk to his pediatrician next week. You might want to just google that and see if you can relate to any of those symptoms.

    • #83096

      I don’t have any answers for you, unfortunately, but can offer maybe a little hope. My kid is a senior, so we are just about to enter the stage you are in now. My son with ADHD does the absolute minimum he can at all times, so I totally get your frustration. He’s actually suspended right now for being late to school so many times. He wants to go to college, but doesn’t do the work he needs to do to get there. He doesn’t connect the boring work he has to put up with now to the reward that will come later. That’s too abstract and his brain doesn’t do abstract very well. His dad and I want him to have the college experience, but that may not be in the cards for him, at least right away. That’s been a tough one to deal with because we had to let go of that dream we had for him.

      I’m not all doom and gloom though, in fact I feel generally optimistic. I think having ADHD myself gives me some perspective and some hope, because I’ve been able to improve in many areas of my own life. Two of my three sons have ADHD, and I don’t see any reason they can’t have the same success. I needed to develop certain qualities first, before I was able to really make changes, and I’m pretty sure I did not have those qualities at 18 or 20. By my mid-20s I had experienced enough failure (and humiliation), to start to be honest with myself that it wasn’t just a bad teacher or job or roommate that was my problem. I resisted taking responsibility, but finally did because I didn’t want to have a crap life. I was afraid that things were going in that direction. That was essentially what motivated me, and I think that’s what will motivate my son too. He just hasn’t had enough life experience to see how his behavior has a real life effect. It’s hard to do that when you are young and inexperienced, especially when you have developmental issues like ADHD.

      One notable difference between me and my kids is that I didn’t have family I could rely on. That was a bad thing, of course, but I think I made changes at a younger age because of that reality. I knew there would be no rescue. My kids (and yours) have family that loves them and is there for them, and that’s a good thing, but I wonder if they don’t feel the fear of consequences enough. Maybe we need to figure out how far we are willing to go in supporting our adult children? I’ll always be there for my kids if they are going through a difficult or dark period, that’s a given. But I know that for me, if my kid lives at home after high school, he has to contribute, especially financially, and even then there are limits to how long he can live here. I will resent him otherwise. I don’t know how that might play out, but he seems to understand that there are limits and that I don’t have endless patience.

      I think this is one of the hardest parts of having kids. Trying to guess how much to help them, when to let them fail. Really, it’s kind of impossible. There’s no immediate feedback letting you know if you are on the right track either! There’s no way I’m going to get it right every time, so I just do my best and call it a day. It can be demoralizing when your child is struggling, in spite of all your effort. When I get to that point, I try to take the long view. It’s slooooow, but there is progress.

    • #83097

      By the way I forgot to mention we are also getting a neuropsych eval done – finally – basically the only test the kid has never had. It is going to help us sort of put final pieces of puzzle together as to how his brain works and what strategies he can use to help him. (my personal opinion -anyone suspected of having adhd/autism spectrum/learning disabilities/or struggling to be successful and unable to figure out why- should have a neuropsych eval done)

      And what Penny said about Dr. Greene is so true – kids do well if they can. So if a kid is struggling we have to find out why. That is why we are finally getting the neuropsych eval because up until now our son has also seen psychiatrist (for 10 years now sees child psych one of best in our area anyway for medication mgmt only though), has had several therapists over the years – but he refuses to talk pretty much, did a stint at our local psych hospital in an intensive 4 wk ouptatient group therapy program – just made him realize there are other kids out there like him but other than that didnt really do too much.

      Learned helplessness – look that up if you haven’t – we were told we have at times allowed this to manifest in our son over the years. We are better now with therapy but it is soooo easy to let it happen.

      I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know because it sounds like we are in very similar situations.

      I had posted earlier in this thread about my therapist’s advice on what to do with my 17yo son and his school refusal this year. I actually had an appt with her yesterday and this was her latest advice – slightly different from what i originally posted. Hoping some of this can help in your situation

      Sit our son down and say in the most loving, supportive and therapeutic way possible – your dad and I love you very much but we have realized something this year, we can’t make you do things you don’t want to do. We are not going to fight with you anymore (this whole year has been constant fighting which his 2 younger sisters have had to witness as well as take a backseat to because of all the time we have had to spend on our son, and I was afraid at one point I was going to lose my job because I called in so much having to deal with his school refusal, meetings at school constantly to figure out what to do, a 4 day inpatient hospitalization and the 4 week intensive outpt program we had to drive 2 hrs to 3 x/wk so I had miss work for that). Always fighting with you to go to school has strained our relationship with you and we don’t want that anymore. You are 17 years old and you should be able to make your own decisions and choices. But due to your significant struggles this year attending school that going back next year is just not an option. So we have decided that next year you can choose to do one of the following:

      – drop out of school completely – but you have to have a full time job if you choose this
      – obtain your high school diploma in alternative way – but must hold part time job as well (GED program or our local community college he can also do this)
      – go full time to the local comm college – do not need to have a job if choose this – apparently you can finish your diploma that way and start taking college courses
      – go to special program at the high school for kids with attendance issues/mental health issues etc – basically kids like him – 24 kids, a psychologist, 1 teacher and TA per class of 8, later start to day, daily therapy and meditation, etc etc (he has already told his he will not choose this option as it is “social suicide”)

      So when I asked her what if he says no to all of them and says he’s just going to drop out then because he doesn’t like any of those options – she said we tell him that we will never kick you out and we will never not feed you but if you decide to drop out (and not work) and just sit home – then you won’t be able to have any privileges – tv, video games, cell , car to drive.

      So, we haven’t had this talk with him yet and like I said not sure if this would work for you or not. Also if anyone has any comments on this plan don’t be shy – bc I’m still tossed up myself.
      Her feeling is that once he sees what sitting home and doing nothing feels like it won’t be long before he picks one of the 4 options. And when I bring up the working full time and how he wants to be an astrophysicist how is that helping him attain his goals she said that after awhile when he realizes what not having a high school diploma gets you in the way of work options he will make a different choice. He will then likely FINALLY have that MOTIVATION to go to school.

      I guess my hesitation though is that it’s still not teaching him the skills he needs – dealing with feeling overwhelmed or not wanting to get up in the morning to go to school etc – so have to think more on this. I posted a question by the way not long ago here about my son and a very nice young man responded to it – you should read it – it gave me some hope for my son.

      • #83420

        When you have put so much time into them it is heartbreaking to see them fail, especially as you know they are drowning in their failures. Its very hard work keeping them motivated especially if there’s other kids in the household who need help and I find extra difficult having ADHD myself also. I cant say for sure what works, though I do know that he loves going to work. Find an employment agency for disabled persons who can tap into his special interests and find a job that suits and an employer who is willing to look after them and draw them out. Disability and Autism organisations may be able to give you some contacts.
        Last parent interview ended with me in tears because I felt like we had both failed the teachers and everyone has put in hard work, but one teacher said helpfuly, it eventually ends – look ahead past the end of school its nearly gone, and focus on getting him into a job he’ll want to get out of bed for everyday.

    • #83115

      Eric Tivers has a podicast and shared a couple of things. This guy had roommates and his alarms kept going off but he wasn’t getting up to take care of them before waking all his roommates. I believe Eric as his coach or another coach found out he drank coffee in the morning. So he got to all ready to go and automatically turn on and was to purposely not put the pot under until he got up in the morning to do it. If he didn’t he would have a giant mess to clean up in the morning. (Out of the box thinking here). It didn’t take long before he got tired of cleaning up the messes and made it in. His reward or consequences were very close to the act itself.

      Eric had a hard time getting off of his computer at night. He set an alarm to go off near to where his wife was sleeping. He had to go some distance to turn the alarm off before waking his wife. He set another two alarms by him the first as a warning it was time to wrap up what he was doing and the other to give him time to get to the alarm near his wife. Doing this allowed him to interrput himself when he got hyper focused on the computer instead of going to bed at night.

    • #83116

      Pear things together to remember. I use a bowl every morning, putting the bottle of medication in it for the next morning, or mug, or next to tooth brush. Leaving text or othe type messages to your on cellphone if you know your in the habit of checking at a certain approximate time everyday.

    • #83200

      I don’t have time to read everything in this thread, but I’m responding to your original post:

      First of all, he has what they call “time optimism” or something. I have that for sure. I very often find myself rushing to make it to an appointment.
      People without this usually say things like “just leave 10 minutes earlier” “Then just start earlier” “Take a bus before the one you need to take” etc. BUT, you simply cannot trick your own mind.

      If I try to plan ahead and give myself more time than usual, I find that I suddenly have a lot of extra time on my hands. And start doing something else until I’m in a hurry again. It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s hard to fix. I’m pointing this out as you mention he had 1.5 hours to get ready and still wasn’t. Which understandably enough doesn’t make sense to people without ADD or ADHD.

      “He was late – I lost it! It is so disrespectful to me, my husband and the professor.”
      Let me add that he is probably not trying to be disrespectful at all, and I’m pretty sure he feels bad about it. At least I always do. I hate it with a passion, but it keeps happening still. Over time, this will feed on his self-esteem.

      I am also terrible at getting up in the morning, and have a pretty bad insomnia on top. I’m extremely slow in the morning, but fast in the evening.

      “Son will not use any of the techniques and is constantly “forgetting” to take medicine.”

      Maybe… He gets some side effects from his current medicines? Or what could be the reason for him “forgetting” to take them? Also, are the meds really helping him then? Techniques I can imagine are a bit more hard to get motivated for. He will need some drive and intrinsic motivation to make progress with this. Why does he go to college? Is he studying something he finds interesting? Probably not.

      “He was diagnosed with mild depression (doctor says its situational since he failed out) and anxiety.”
      Same here. It can make minor things like responding to a text or email feel overwhelming. It paralyzes you, feeds the anxiety, and ends in more depression. Depression messes up your seratonin levels, making you feel less joy, care less, and drains your energy. The combination eats your self-esteem over time if you are unable to fix it.

      “We have been told that we have our expectations to high. I am sorry at age 20 you should be able to get yourself up and keep a calendar of events. Truly that is my only expectation – be on time for one day of his life! My only thought now is that it is not ADD, but a serious case of laziness. We have coddled and accommodated him to long.”

      You sound like both my dad and my girlfriend. They have zero understanding for mental health issues whatsoever. I completely feel your frustration, but doing the same thing for 8 years with no results also doesn’t sound very smart to me. If you keep telling him he is lazy, he will push you away for sure, it will lower his self-esteem (also happened to me), and he will start thinking that he might actually just be lazy as well. I am just going through this myself. I just recently realized I have ADD. I (am trying) to run my own business, but I have failed to make much progress over time. I set goals, make todo-lists, plan, plan, think, plan, make some steps, fall back, crash, get depression back, more anxiety and rinse and repeat for 2 years. I also started to think I might just be lazy. Maybe I’m not cut out for this. Maybe I should just get a normal job. Maybe I’m not as good as I thought.

      Tell him he is lazy over and over, and it’s bound to happen with him as well. He will believe it more and more over time, until there is zero ambitions left in him.

      My suggestions

      1. Have a proper talk with him about what he wants in life, and how he plans on getting there.

      2. Try to make new routines that work. It seems like nothing is working now, so it’s worth a shot.

      3. Reward instead of punish. He’s a millenial. And has a depression and anxiety. Punishing him will only make things worse. Try finding a little reward for being on time for a whole week. – Yeah, I know. “I shouldn’t have to do this, he is 20 years old for Christs sake!” Eliminate the “shouldn’t have to do this and that because x”. If he gets motivated by the reward, maybe he will be able to find systems that might work for him, on his own.

      4. Consider finding a new career path.

      5. Help him find something he gets excited about and loves doing. Possibly something creative.
      – I knew I get easily addicted to things. I used to be addicted to playing video games, tried to stop, but ended up getting hooked on making music instead. Better to be addicted to doing something productive, right? I struggle with focusing on boring things, but when making music, I can go in a state of deep focus for hours and hours at a time.

      6. Reevaluate the whole situation. You’re spending lots of money on things that aren’t helping. It’s not sustainable. Tell him it’s extremely expensive doing what you are doing, and that you consider stopping with a lot of it since it’s not helping. Ask him what he thinks might help.
      Also, look for alternative solutions. Like a life coach or something similar. Because to me, it sounds like he lacks motivation for doing anything.

      7. Try a different diet. Have him stay away from sugar and carbs, especially in the morning. I stopped having breakfast, and replaced it with “bulletproof coffee”, and it’s working quite well. On a general note, “fixing” his diet and keeping him away from sugar and carbs, only works if he wants to make progress himself. This applies to the techniques as well. You need to make him want to make progress himself.

      P.S. Keep in mind that a lot of entrepeneurs probably have ADD ;o)

    • #83265

      lroche: I didn’t read every single word of this long thread but I think I did see you mention that your son I’d medicated.. Could the solution lie in changing to a different medication and/or dosage? My son was diagnosed at 5 with ADHD and has been medicated now 14. His medication was and is our near perfect solution. I know every child is different but for our son that is the key. He’s far from perfect of course but motivation and drive are not a problem as long as he’s medicated. Also rarely struggles with being tardy anywhere. The only thing we have added to his life (forced) besides the meds is a diet free of artificial ingredients and daily exercise. He takes Concerta btw, 54mg plus a booster of 10mg Methylin in am and after school.

    • #83276

      At the risk of suggesting something that worked for me….but it took a while to figure it out….
      I had to find out what my strengths were as far as abilities and what my work style was.
      I had similar issues in “normal school” and “normal jobs”.

      My little sister suggested that I read the book: What Color Is Your Parachute? by Bolles. It is a self-administered test of interests, etc.
      I discovered that my strengths were these: counseling, teaching, music, writing and art.

      I was in my late 20’s and working as a medical transcriber. Although I was good at it, I hated it and was late most days and had trouble coping in an office

      I had the rare good fortune of a knack for intuition. I took a course in psychic development and found my “NICHE”. I have been sane-fully God Employed” (I.e. self-employed) ever since. I pick my own hours, days off, and schedule. I work from home in my own (fairly messy) office…but its mine and no one’s business. (I work by phone so no one sees it but me).

      I have also written music, had my own TV and radio shows, created my own psychic development school, founded a healing center to help folks with HIV/AIDS, written a book, and
      painted things that sold.

      Your ‘out of the box” kids need to be let OUT OF THE BOX. Give them space and tools to be their creative unique and amazing selves. This is not what you want to hear,
      but it surely worked for me.

      I am now 70 and still work. I love my life.

      Be sure to watch Temple Grandin movie to understand that we need different structure and different ways to cope with life.

      I do take medication (generic Lexipro), and have been helped by many other things such as Brain Gym, Various sound healing systems, biofeedback, herbs, etc.
      It is a balancing act.

      You need to CHANGE your standards on these kids. Its like asking a jelly fish to fly a plane. They don’t have the tools for it.

      If they are night owls, let them go to night school…..

      Check into Sensory Processing Disorder as well. Some of the tools for those kids have helped me too. I made a heavy vest out of a fisherman’s vest and put stones in the pockets. I made a heavy blanket out of a quilt, and sewed rice in the seams to weigh it down. (It should weigh 10%) of a person’s body weight. You can get them on Amazon too.

      This child has come into your life to drive you crazy, NOT, but to make you let them be themselves if you can.

      I know We’re not EASY, or NEAT, or STRUCTURED…but we are creative, fun, passionate and interesting.

      I’ve been a clown for the Red Cross, taught swimming at the Y, helped organize an anti-fracking group in our community and countless other things. But FREE LANCE is
      my style.

      God bless you who struggle with kids like us.

      My parents took off and drank and left us to fend for ourselves.

      All 3 of us were a bit “weird” but we survived.

      I hope you can hang in there and love them for who they really are.

      Good luck to you all.

    • #83279

      Best case scenario is for him to check in to a behavioural hospital for a month to learn coping and living skills.

      Otherwise, can you get him to groups that discuss coping and living skills? A living skill could be as simple as going to the grocery store to buy groceries. It also can serve as a coping skill.

      Online you can google coping and living skills with exercises. Process groups combined with cognitive behaviour groups is best I believe.

      Local mental health facilities in your county charge reduced rates for therapists and psychologists based on income, maybe even his income. Groups are normally free.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by TrapperMA.
      • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by TrapperMA.
      • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by TrapperMA.
      • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by TrapperMA.
    • #83309

      He is lazy but not intentionally. Oh it seems like it T-R-U-S-T me it does. I say that because I have a 26 yr old that acts like he’s 16. It is hard to watch him play video games, surf the internet etc but can’t remember to do the basics. When he says he forgot he did. To us it is like rain drops on a windshield once the wiper goes across, it is as though they were never there. I tackled my sons issues as though he was a little kid because he thinks and acts like one. Results are not always immediate but worth it.

      MEDS: if possible when you wake him up – give meds right then – have water and med in hand. I’m sure you may have done a med study effectiveness symptoms etc (small book with notes) let him do a quick voice memo to record how he’s feeling (reward 1/2 hr extra online time per day)

      LATE: I’m leaving at xxx. Give 2 min warning and make sure you pull off at xxx.

      NO FOLLOW THRU: Biggest help – Give him clearly defined, bold color coded must do’s and corresponding consequences. Make them short step by step and doable. (His level of doable – this is not a to-do list for you. If YOU have to watch it and work it then it is too complex) Laminate a few copies and post them. Move them around from time to time so he doesn’t become blind to them. (These are his consequences. Remember not to create a punishment for yourself/family. i.e. spending your time looking for lost items, we all stay home bc he didn’t do x,y and z, or bust budget by paying for retake of classes) I know it seems like c’mon this is ridiculous but think of this as his “planner” (don’t get any ideas about him writing stuff down – lol Get him a small laminated 3×5 card for his wallet or pocket)

      NIGHT OWL: 2nd or 3rd shift job/Night school if not an option, consider turning off internet access and collect mobile devices until he’s up and ready in the morning.

      DOESN’T GIVE A ****: IT IS A LIE – He cares !! he can’t fit in the box he’s expected to so It is easier to do nothing. He’ll suffer through whatever you dish out because he knows there’s another 24 hrs ahead.

      Think of how you were feeling when you wrote this post. He feels that way everyday but can’t shake himself out of it. Give yourself a day off and him. That is hard to do but you need a Non-ADD/ADHD day. No Mom wants their kid to go down in flames but if you can get him to see the value in having a few drops of water in his life’s toolbox he’ll be ok. It’s not you (or him) it’s ADD. I wish you luck and joy along the way. ((Hugs))

      Just Us
      Mom/3 kids/Hubs
      We are all ADDjusting To Life

    • #83312

      Hullo, I’m a 41 Yr old, diagnosed with ADHD at 39. I would suggest that your son’s serious about doing well but perhaps like me his time perception is quite different to your own. It’s a lot like the feeling of leaving the theatre and suddenly it’s dark outside, giving you that feeling of immediate dislocation. He most likely finds time management like a game where everyone else was given the rulebook and he wasn’t. I’d advise against the tough love methods as it might well simply make him feel completely isolated. I think it’s worth remembering that good school grades are not the end objective but getting your son into a career path that utilises the areas he can hyperfocus on and excel at. Probably he could be successful doing something he’s not fond of but I’d warn that the anxiety and stress will almost certainly give him problems later on. He’s probably got superpowers in some areas be it music, art or physics- the things he can get absorbed in (ironically the ones he most likely loses track of time when engaged in) and I would suggest that this is what he’ll be happiest doing with his life, this is his motivation to get the grades and be Da Vinci or Einstein. I guarantee he’ll put in way more hours than other students without even trying, even if he is late! Good luck! Your son is probably exceptional but needs to be motivated by stuff he loves not simply willpower

    • #83313

      DOESN’T GIVE A ****: IT IS A LIE – He cares !! he can’t fit in the box he’s expected to so It is easier to do nothing. He’ll suffer through whatever you dish out because he knows there’s another 24 hrs ahead.

      Think of how you were feeling when you wrote this post. He feels that way everyday but can’t shake himself out of it. Give yourself a day off and him. That is hard to do but you need a Non-ADD/ADHD day. No Mom wants their kid to go down in flames but if you can get him to see the value in having a few drops of water in his life’s toolbox he’ll be ok. It’s not you (or him) it’s ADD. I wish you luck and joy along the way. ((Hugs))

      This. Read this over and over until it sinks in. Not feeling understood and heard over and over is a terrible feeling, for both of you. “he can’t fit in the box he’s expected to so It is easier to do nothing” this is so true. It will probably feel incredibly counter-intuitive, but give him some space. I’m sure he’s feeling a lot of pressure as well, making everything he does harder.

    • #83316

      Don’t know if others have suggested it, but perhaps depression & anxiety are also contributing factors. Feeling sleepy, tired all the time, unmotivated… ADHD and mood disorders have overlapping symptoms, so it’s hard to tell which is which, but it’s worth looking into it with a therapist. Even if depression is situational, doesn’t mean it should be untreated. Plus, some antidepressants have a positive effect on ADHD symptoms.

    • #83356

      Some really great, heartfelt options. Over the past week, I have just let him be on his own path with a little prompting to get up. Problem is that the only thing he is obsessed on is video game and online inappropriate sites. We have talked with Therapist about this and we do try to turn off internet when we can. If you are addicted to something that robs you of your time and morals, its just as bad as a drug.

      We are trying new medications and yet another highly recommended doctor. New Doc thinks we have been using the wrong medicine for years. I don’t think he is taking medication because he said it didn’t make a difference. I think he is use to the stimulants and can “feel” them working. We let him make the decision to see the doctor and he made the appointment and went himself. So I do know he wants to change but he thinks its all in a pill.

      This is the end of the semester and I hope he has some success – for his sake not ours. Of course we have no idea of what his grades are because 3 of the 5 college professors have not posted 1 grade the entire semester! He needs to find a new obsession and interests or nothing will change.

      We have made arrangements for him to live on campus next fall and we are looking forward to him trying to be on his own. It just heartbreaking to see his friends moving forward in school and he is standing still.

    • #83365

      Ah, that’s good to hear! Seems like you are increasing your understanding of his ADD, and I am sure he will both make steps and appreciate it =)

      I was also obsessed with video games. (Still like them, but replaced my addiction for gaming, with music production)

      On the other hand, a career in video games is actually possible in the time we live in.
      Turning off the internet when he needs to study might help. Then it won’t be a choice/distraction for him, and he will have to do something else. But I would try to talk with him and agree on the times and rules for this so he gets a sense of being listened to. And also, he won’t be able to complain later since he was part of the decision himself.

      The fact that he went to the doctor himself is a good sign. Let’s hope the new pills will work better. As for a magic bullet… The pill will rather help him find the right path. He will still need to walk it himself. I am trying out ADD pills for the first time in my life this week, and even though I was hoping I would suddenly get an urge to be productive for a whole day, I still find myself sometimes doing other things. So it obviously needs to be supplemented with some techniques and routines.

      As for finding an obsession for him, feel free to send him my way if he is interested in music =)
      I have managed to get to a professional/semi-professional level in 2 years or so, way, waaay faster than most people. And I attribute it to replacing my gaming addiction with a kind of music production addiction/obsession.

    • #83405

      The basic problem I see here is that you are treating his ADHD as something that should be ‘fixed’, so that he can be ‘normal’. That will never, ever happen. Expecting him to keep a schedule like a ‘normal’ person is simply unreasonable if you know he has ADHD. Meds and techniques should not be for making him like other people, they should be for making him the best version of himself, which might be very different from what you imagine he should be.

      You should try doing things differently.

      If he has trouble getting going in the morning, have you ever tried bringing him breakfast (or at least coffee) in bed? If you think he’s just lazy, of course you won’t feel like doing that, but if you entertain the idea that he might really have a hard time getting going in the morning, such a treatment might just make everybody’s lives easier. (Personally I’ve set my microwave’s timer to cook me oatmeal while I’m still in bed and struggling awake. Eating something kick-starts my lethargic morning brain.)

    • #83426

      I’ve had ADD all my life, didn’t realize what it was until I was in my late 20’s. You can spend unlimited funds on him and it won’t ever change a thing. Behavior changes when the consequences outweigh the benefits. It’s what worked for me.

    • #84585

      Well, if failed 3 classes because he skipped or didn’t turn in papers. What a waste of time and money. He has to move on- nothing ever changes. I am making him pay us back for school, but he can’t get a job because he is late for every damn thing. I guess I have to prepare that I will have him at home forever. Just defeated. no more doctors, no more school. just letting thing go – I am done.

    • #84610

      Oh god I am so sorry you are going through this. This is my fear with my 17 yo son. My therapist suggested this: either they are in school or have a job. If they are not doing either of those we tell them we will provide a home and food but no privileges like cell phones, computers, iPads, gaming devices.

      Is this something you think you could do?

    • #84780

      The original post author’s gotten some great advice from Penny and others, but I have to chime in on this thread.

      I’m in my 60s and am not happy to say that I’m never on time for anything. The first thought in my head when my children were diagnosed was: so that’s why we were always late to church! That’s why my father would weed his garden – and then leave the weeds in a pile beside the garden where they rooted again. That’s why he would read something for the classes he taught, take notes longhand on what he read, and then describe the material to my mother while she was trying to pull dinner together. Today that’s called ‘multi-sensory learning’.

      There’s nothing I can’t forget – my own birthday (twice), time to pay taxes (three times), my own age (yes, for real and I wasn’t trying to make myself a year older), my brother’s existence (twice, yes, can you believe it – as an adult!), and forget about paying bills on time. As a single mother of two, I didn’t have the cash flow to sign up for auto bill pay systems until just a couple years ago. I can know that today is Wednesday and yet forget that May 25th, Friday, is this week. If I wrote everything done in a book, no one would believe it. I surround myself with clocks and a watch and never know what time it is.

      I hate that I’m virtually never on time in the morning. I would love to get to work on time! Possibly just like your son/everyone else, I try EVERY DAY but it almost never happens. I set my alarm as early as it’s reasonable for me to aim for, keep my clock far enough away that I can’t turn off the alarm easily, don’t wear make-up, don’t pack a lunch, comb my wet hair and dash for the door…and still.

      It’s almost impossible to describe what it’s like to have ADHD to someone else, especially someone with a neural-typical brain. Yes, it seems cruel that this and depression and dyslexia are invisible conditions. And yes, I can’t let myself think about my children and my sister’s children’s futures because I’d never get over the worry and anxiety. But the good news is that they’re diagnosed and three out of four are medicated. Knowledge is power! ADHD, depression and dyslexia are sprinkled all over our family trees, probably for thousands of years, but no one had a name for them until my kids were diagnosed 15 years ago.

      All I can do at this point is try to explain, flag, interpret and advise so that my kids will hopefully be better prepared to deal with the world than my generation. I’m so grateful that we can tolerate medication that enables us to function without as much anxiety, melancholy, and anger as we would otherwise. I’m especially grateful that I have a job with health insurance. I try to remember the words of the first educational advocate I had to hire, that ADHD isn’t about not knowing, it’s about not doing, and try to remain compassionate toward others.

    • #84850

      Hi my 22 year old son is ADD inattentive. I just read (most of) this very interesting and sometimes heartbreaking thread, and wanted to respond to the original poster’s question about why there aren’t any success stories out there. I think many of us parents of ADD/ADHD kids keep hoping we’ll find the right therapist/coach/medication/school/whatever that will make things dramatically better. And then when it doesn’t happen, despite our herculean efforts, we get angry and depressed. I know, I did! The reality, I finally came to believe, is that quick fixes rarely happen, it’s a slow process with a lot of two steps forward, one step back — and sometimes three steps back. As a parent, I’ve also had to take a hard look at myself and my expectations for my son, some of which were unrealistic and put harmful pressure on him.
      Like so many ADD kids, my son is very bright, so I assumed if I could just get him through high school (which required nonstop battling over homework, etc.) he would do ok in college. Wrong. He got into a very good college and didn’t even last a semester. Gradually I came to understand that sitting in a classroom and doing assignments are utter torture for him — on the other hand, he has good people skills that could serve him well in many professions. So, after several false starts he ended up in a vocational-oriented degree program in the hotel business.
      Even that has not been easy — his executive functioning is still terrible and he is prone to a lot of ‘magical thinking’ about how to get where he wants to go. But I do see progress–not dramatic, but progress all the same. Barring an unforeseen disaster (I can never rule that out!) he will graduate this year. He’s currently doing a work internship in a foreign country and seems to be thriving.
      My suggestion would be this: Find a quiet moment when you are not angry, to talk to your son and say, “Hey, seems like school is not going well,” and see if you can create an opening to discuss alternatives like maybe getting a job or even volunteering for awhile (my son volunteered in an animal shelter). I think it’s important not to present getting a job as a punishment, and not to assume that he’ll fail there because he failed in school. My son who was a disaster about cutting classes and not doing homework, has held several jobs and has always been totally reliable. I think it’s because he loves being part of a team and doesn’t want to let co-workers down.
      Don’t get me wrong, I’m a believer in tough love. Staying home and playing video games isn’t an option, and I’m not shelling out big money for something my son wants unless he’s taking clear steps toward his goal.
      Forgive me for this rambling answer, but I empathize SO MUCH with what you’re going through. All the best and let us know how it goes.

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