My son is 19 and has not graduated high school

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  megster25 3 months ago.

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  • #67973

    msmichel1
    Participant

    I enrolled him in continuation school his first week was ok then he did not want to get up and go to school anymore is he just lazy or is it no
    Motivation I don’t know I shut of our wifi at home his cell phone broke and I did not get him another one all he wants to do is play video games I don’t know anymore he’s never liked school since preschool but he needs to graduate he has add with a visual and auditory processing disorder I tried to switch him to afternoon classes so he can get up and go but they said that they don’t have classes available for special ed students in the afternoon any suggestions ?

    • This topic was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  msmichel1.
  • #67975

    Pump2Duncan
    Participant

    I’m not sure if I have any advice, in fact I know I don’t. But wanted to give you some support. I’m right there with ya. I H-A-T-E video games. We had a not so great morning because of video games and last week I may have taken every remote control, XBox controller and the console to my closest and locked them up for a few days.

    And it’s not just my ADHD kiddo, my other kiddo is video game obsessed.

  • #67980

    parentcoachjoyce
    Participant

    I know it’s frustrating but until this becomes a problem HE wants to solve, you are not going to have much luck changing him. Right now, him not going to school is a problem for YOU, not him. What makes it a problem for him is when he sees that living the way he’s living is not working for him. Basically he has to see that the consequences of his choices are not worth it and that he will need to do differently to get different results. That comes from within him, not as a result of your pushing, reminding, etc.

    Lots of things could happen that will make him see that HS graduation is necessary, like for example not being able to get a job he wants or to make the kind of money he wants. This may take awhile though because due to the ADHD, he is at least 3-5 years behind in terms of development–so he is basically a 15 or 16 year old in an adult body. BUT that doesn’t mean you have to let him just do whatever in the meantime. It’s totally appropriate for you to start nudging him toward self sufficient living. And to set some ground rules for him being able to live at home as an adult.

    For example, you could say that in order for him to live there he either needs to be in school or working full time and taking his medication and seeing a counselor, etc. It will be his choice whether he does those things, but he needs to feel consequences if he doesn’t (But you will need to be prepared to follow through and ask him to move out if he doesn’t comply). You could also not provide anything other than a roof over his head and basic food unless/until he is in school or working full time and/or paying a token amount of “rent” or you could charge him money for electricity to use his video games. (But again, you need to be prepared to follow through). He needs to experience the consequences of his decisions–that will be the most powerful motivation for him to change. And will help prepare him for adulthood on his own.

    So, as frustrating and hard as it may be, the most important thing you can do right now is set some bound and limits, step back and let him feel the consequences of his decisions and not make it easy for him to just coast along at home. He needs to start moving toward being self sufficient and living on his own. Eventually he will hopefully see that in order to have the kind of life he wants, he will need a diploma. Or, he won’t. Ultimately it’s his choice.

    Hope this helps,
    Joyce Mabe, Parenting Coach, website http://www.parentcoachjoyce.com

  • #68027

    debbikennedy
    Participant

    I also went through this with my son. He has Dyslexia, ADHD and Auditory Processing Disorder. We had to have him enrolled in High School for a extra year to get the credits needed due to the fact that he attended 3 different high schools so credits were different. What we ended up doing was online high school classes. We chose one that met the accrediation of our school district and state.

    This allowed my son to go at this own pace, along with the fact as he did not have to deal with all the high school drama and trauma. He could sleep later and also this would allow his medication to kick in, not to mention we worked his accommodations they way they needed to be. We did not have to fight all the school bs this way. My son got his credits and had much better grades as he did not have to deal with the drama. No he did not attend his high school graduation as that was his choice. The day his class graduated he was in Florida attending a concert of his favorite country group. This meant way more to him than walking across the stage. We still had the family graduation party about a month after the school graduation which allowed the folks he really wanted at his party to attend.

  • #68080

    ADHDmomma
    Keymaster

    Some people are simply not good at school. He can be terrible at school and barely graduate, and go on to be very successful.

    Is an online school or GED a possibility? He needs to get past school that teaches what others think he needs to learn to learning and working in what interests him. The ADHD brain is motivated by interest and urgency, NOT by importance.

    Secrets of Your ADHD Brain

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

  • #68357

    vanilla5326
    Participant

    All this hyperfocus this and hyperfocus that, help, help- what do we do with ADHDers addicted to Video Gaming…so sad, so draining, so tragic. I have a smart chronological 18 year old (actual 14-15 yr old) that truly does not seem interested in doing anything except gaming. He just failed out of his first college class and now lays in bed all day gaming. He games 20 hours a day nonstop?? He is not eating, not checking BG (Type I DM) and not sleeping. I don’t think he would care if he was in jail, as long as he could game?! This Does not feel like hyperfocus.
    3 out of the 4 high school years, he did the same thing despite punishments, rewards, token systems. He did not seem to understand that he cannot game 24/7, therefore, we are just “mean”. Finally, in his senior year he stopped doing anything, so my husband and I did the work just to get him a diploma!?! That was the last thing I ever wanted to do (I do Not want to enable) but the school was just ready for him to “be gone” and would have graduated him with all “D”s, despite no work.
    I am trying to get my hands on his devices the best I can but I can’t- Did I say he’s smart? He is hiding them. He is so dysfunctional, I just could not put him out on the street. Because we stand between him and his devices he tries to tell everyone we are abusive but his psychologist and psychiatrist are the ones that told us to take his devices. He is very adversarial toward us and really avoids talking with us at all. We do not have a lot of options for ADHD treatment in our area. I filled out several applications for minimum wage work and he did go to the interview and is suppose to start tomorrow but I fear he will not do well given his inability to stop gaming. What do we do to help him? Does anyone have any ideas?
    Thanks

    • #68380

      rawriorr
      Participant

      @vanilla

      All this hyperfocus this and hyperfocus that, help, help- what do we do with ADHDers addicted to Video Gaming…so sad, so draining, so tragic. I have a smart chronological 18 year old (actual 14-15 yr old) that truly does not seem interested in doing anything except gaming. He just failed out of his first college class and now lays in bed all day gaming. He games 20 hours a day nonstop?? He is not eating, not checking BG (Type I DM) and not sleeping. I don’t think he would care if he was in jail, as long as he could game?! This Does not feel like hyperfocus.
      3 out of the 4 high school years, he did the same thing despite punishments, rewards, token systems. He did not seem to understand that he cannot game 24/7, therefore, we are just “mean”. Finally, in his senior year he stopped doing anything, so my husband and I did the work just to get him a diploma!?! That was the last thing I ever wanted to do (I do Not want to enable) but the school was just ready for him to “be gone” and would have graduated him with all “D”s, despite no work.
      I am trying to get my hands on his devices the best I can but I can’t- Did I say he’s smart? He is hiding them. He is so dysfunctional, I just could not put him out on the street. Because we stand between him and his devices he tries to tell everyone we are abusive but his psychologist and psychiatrist are the ones that told us to take his devices. He is very adversarial toward us and really avoids talking with us at all. We do not have a lot of options for ADHD treatment in our area. I filled out several applications for minimum wage work and he did go to the interview and is suppose to start tomorrow but I fear he will not do well given his inability to stop gaming. What do we do to help him? Does anyone have any ideas?
      Thanks

      I’m not a parent, and as you can see by my other post, I’m not exactly my most coherent right now but I’ll do my best. There are a few things I can tell you. Take it with a grain of salt, I can only give you a perspective on the other side. I am sorry if it comes off as insensitive from the parental side.

      1. I think you’re trying to do the right thing conceptually but approaching it in a very confrontational way. And maybe that’s fair after having to deal with it so long. But to me, once you know the method you are trying isn’t working, and the constant expression of disappointment from my parents would possibly make me distrustful and even more closed off and distant from them. At a point, I would probably lose sight of their intentions. He’s going to feel very defensive and possibly even develop insecurity issues.

      He is very adversarial toward us and really avoids talking with us at all.

      IS really telling that he’s become disconnected from you and you’re going to lose him at this rate.

      2. Maybe I’m not the most responsible kid, but I never have bad/selfish intentions. I do really love my family and trust their intentions wholeheartedly even if I know they are wrong or out of touch with reality or modern society, I don’t question their motivations and look past the unintentional ignorance or little mistakes. They only want the best for me. Maybe your son doesn’t feel the same about you. You may mean well, but most anything you do is going to come off the wrong way until you fix your relationship. Punishing them and taking away their things isn’t going to help. You’re not solving the problem you’re just removing the outlets they express the problem in. Until they find something that they can become just as interested in (which is hard but not impossible) this will keep happening. If you sour the relationship by accident and he feels he can’t even talk openly with you, he’s going to get trapped in his own head even if he wants to become better.

      3.

      I filled out several applications for minimum wage work and he did go to the interview and is suppose to start tomorrow but I fear he will not do well given his inability to stop gaming.

      This is the one that really made me decide to answer honestly. I can’t express enough how I think this is a dangerous idea no matter how much you think it would help him. You need to be very aware that mundane and repetitive task that are not mentally engaging WILL make him detest work and will set you back on a lot of progress because it will feel disouraging and he will loathe every day he has to go, you might even trigger some depression if you force it. You’re going to unintentionally breed a worse behavior into him. I have quit well-paying jobs in the IT field because they stopped being intellectually stimulating and turned into “labor” instead of problem-solving and I stopped feeling like what I did made a difference or couldn’t be done by someone with 10 minutes of training. Working McDonalds, folding clothes at an apparel store, and doing front-end customer service work is not only understimulating but is also EXTREMELY taxing and mentally draining if I do not feel like my work is helping and impacting others in a meaningful way.

      I can’t tell you how much this applies to your own son. But instead of just trying to force him to be “normal” or do things like most people should be able to and are expected to do is slightly insensitive in a way that will make your attempts not only unsuccessful but harmful. I do not mean in any way to offend or upset you or imply that you’re not being a good parent. You obviously care and are making an effort if you are even here and asking this in the first place. But you do need to adapt to find the right way to benefit them in a way that feels rewarding and that they can be into and get passionate in the same way about.

      I’m no expert, I could be wrong. But the solutions you have expressed would only really cause anxiety and stress for me and would set me back even further, if not cause me to become depressed and shut down altogether.

      Sit down with him (in his most comfortable setting) and just let him know that you’re sorry for not understanding him (if you think you’ve made mistakes or done something that affected him badly but with the best intentions). That you aren’t mad at him, you just want to see him be successful and you were trying to do what you thought was best for him even if it wasn’t ideal. (Be careful you don’t express disappointment, make it about helping him be his best, do not fixate too much on making him resent his own behavior as it might inspire a lot of regret and self-hate). Things like “I care about you and I want to see you be happy.” “I want to be able to help you find a way to express your talent in a way that you enjoy and are passionate about, and that you can make a career out of.”

      Without knowing more about his other interests, or where you live and if it’s populated enough for stuff like meetup.com groups to be an effective tool to help him build some connections and share mutual interests with others to get him more motivated, I can’t help you find what the productive outlets could be, but I hope you can work it out. You may also be able to look into some telemedicine options if there are no local options available for ADHD treatment. It’s probably unfamiliar and I have no personal experience with it, but it can’t hurt to try.

      Good luck
      ___

      • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  rawriorr.
  • #68358

    trish64
    Participant

    We have a strong rule in our house: if you don’t go to school/college then you need to get out of the house, get a job and pay your own way, however, as long as you attend school and are passing you can stay home and we’ll support you.
    My son is only 16 and in his junior year. He’s struggled at times just barely passing but these adhd kids are smart. They think differently and are creative. My son hates school too. He says it’s stupid. His grades suffer in the classes he doesn’t have interest in, however, I’ve stayed on top of things as best I can: I see his grades slip to a danger level, I get extra help for him. If I see he doesn’t study for an exam we have a rule for that too; you don’t get a certain grade then no video games for you for the weekend. My son is totally obsessed with video games. He can spend 15 hours a day playing them during the summer if we don’t limit him. But his obsession is what’s driving him to want to graduate and go to college because he wants to do game development as a career. He’s shown a natural talent in his game dev class at school that I believe the amount he’s played has given him insight as to how a game should run and what make a game visually appealing. perhaps your son needs to do something game related? If he does something he’s passionate about then he’ll hone in on those magic adhd powers and succeed. What does his guidance counselor say? Personally I think you need to do some tough love. And I don’t believe in lazy. A lot of times fear is confused with lazy. A fear of failing so you don’t try. A fear of being out in society so you just stay in your room. The world of video games gives these, sometimes socially awkward, kids a safe place to escape to.
    What about a technical school?

  • #68359

    rawriorr
    Participant

    Please watch this video before you read the rest, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R634ytgt7fw

    Personally, for the longest time (even now) games just give me all the sense of accomplishment and feedback I needed. That isn’t to say I didn’t WANT to be productive and do other things, but I COULDN’T. Most things didn’t stimulate me enough or I couldn’t focus on something or bring myself to be productive. If your son is 19 I have to at least assume that you didn’t grow up in a time with as much stimulation around you in the way that this type of things does. If you can’t empathize that’s fine. Think of it like everything else feels discouraging. And even moreso if your son struggles to focus but wants to, everything else just feels BAD.

    Get your son on the right medication and dietary changes and work on finding something productive that he enjoys. For me, I think it will be programming. It helps if you find a very diverse and versatile subject. Honestly, look through that girl’s channel if you still have trouble empathizing. Just know that it’s not necessarily a “choice”.

  • #68384

    kimatliah
    Participant

    My son turned 18 years old today and is still a freshman in high school – technically. For the last three years, we have had an ongoing battle like you would not believe with attitude, anger, defiance – you name it, we’ve lived through it. My son also went through the video game stage. From age 13 to about mid-16, he played video games night and day, nothing else mattered. The boy who could not sit still for 45 minutes in class would literally sit in front of the television for 8 HOURS STRAIGHT and not even get up to pee.

    In our situation, it was more than just the ADHD that he had going on. He also has been diagnosed with severe panic/anxiety disorder, depression, oppositional defiant disorder and a few others. Due to some impulsive (and bad) choices, he got himself into trouble with the law … and approximately 12 charges later over a period of a year … he was sent to the juvenile detention center for six weeks and then to two different residential treatment centers for a period of 7 months this year. He just came home the beginning of last month – and the change in the son he was before residential and the son that he is now are like night and day.

    He would fight me EVERY DAY on taking his medication … he didn’t want to do anything … he kept saying how much he hated his life (but had everything he could possibly want and all the love and support in the world from everyone he knew). His time in residential was by no means “easy” – we had phone calls on a weekly basis of him fighting or cheeking his medication or destroying property. Somewhere along the line; however, he realized that the treatment centers were his last chance … either he turned it around there or he’d be going to jail when he turned 18 and was looking at 9 months to 2 years depending on the judge’s mood.

    By the sheer grace of God, he was allowed to come home early from his last residential treatment center and he’s been doing wonderful. He takes his medication with no questions asked, he sent out dozens of job applications and finally got a chance to prove himself working at a local restaurant (just brought home his first paycheck this week!), and we are working on getting him enrolled in a GED program. His IEP team wants him to go to a residential day treatment type school … and quite honestly, the first time we toured the school he was triggered like crazy within 5 minutes of being there and could not wait to get out of the building and away from the school. They want us to tour the school again tomorrow with the IEP case manager so .. we shall see how that goes. If all else fails, we will be doing the paperwork to “officially” have him drop out of school so that he can sign up to attend the GED class on his own (which is where he wants to be anyway) so we shall see how that works out.

    The best advice that I can offer is to keep guiding him, keep lifting him up emotionally and help him overcome the obstacles that he needs to with regards to his mental health. It’s been a long hard road for our family (J. was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 5 years old), but honestly – looking back – I wouldn’t trade a minute of it because if I had, I would not have the amazing young man that I have before me today. While my own dream for him would have been to finish high school and walk across the stage to receive his diploma, his dream is to get his GED and move on with his life and forget about the past and start fresh. While he still has a lot of growing up to do – he’s on the right path – and now that he’s ready to finish his education, we plan to support him in getting his GED any way that we can. 🙂 Good luck to you!

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  kimatliah.
  • #68523

    Chanman
    Participant

    My heart goes out to you, because our son has experienced many of the same things. For the first time we found real answers @ Real Battle Ministries. It was founded by a physician, Andrew Doan,MD (http://realbattle.org/our-team/) who himself became addicted to video games & has now done years of research. The biggest key is that video games can become a true addiction, just like gambling, sexual or even drug additions. Video games give immediate gratification & with continued can even alter brain neuropathways that create the additions. Angry outbursts can even be due to this addiction. This addition creates a lack of motivation to do anything else in life, so the addiction has to be addressed & dealt with before his life will change. And, as with any addiction, the person may have to hit bottom to want and accept any help. My son does have adhd, but video game addition can happen to anyone. There is a path to recovery, but only by understanding the true causes of video game addiction & the paths to recovery. Our son is now in college & looking towards the future.

  • #68528

    Abthorn
    Participant

    My 17 year old son found a way out of the nightmare of high school by taking the CHSPE- California High School Proficiency Exam. It is easier than the GED with only math and English (reading comprehension and writing a short essay) but equivalent to diploma in most every way (it does make it harder to get in the military, like with a GED, but if you’re on ADHD meds they won’t take you anyway-at least the Marines). Students are eligible at age 16. The schools are legally supposed to tell students about that option but didn’t in our case. I figured it’s better than watching him suffer anxiety, depression, defeat and failing grades which seem a perfect combination to just drop out with the mountain of credits he still needed. My son passed the CHSPE first try so bam! He’s done. Now that the nightmare is over (which is a relief for both of us) he’s stuck at how to move forward. But I’m confident at this point he will. I agree wholeheartedly with Penny and her views and would figure out how to get past school, CHSPE if in California (or maybe something similar in your state) or the GED.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  Abthorn.
  • #68591

    sydmom
    Participant

    It is hard to get these kids into addiction centers, because most places don’t still understand it. My son is 22. We went through all of this same stuff. Not doing the work in school. He graduated a year early because I pulled him out of school and took him to get his GED. WHICH, he passed with perfect scores. How absurd is that!!?? he is now almost 23 and nothing has changed. He is still playing video games and not working. He can’t hold down a job for more than a few weeks, no matter what shift he takes. I kicked him out several times. He just lands on his grandmothers couch who lets him stay, because quite frankly he would probably just find somewhere else to crash or sleep under a bridge. It seems that this is a much bigger problem than I thought after reading all of these stories. All of these kids seem to be around the same age too… I wish there was an answer, because its such a waste. He is a very kind, nice, and sweet human. Just not productive at all. He also tells me with out hesitation that he is not motivated to go to work or do anything, and that he is not depressed. He just doesn’t want to.

  • #68806

    megster25
    Participant

    Your situation is so similar to mine. My son is 20 and I was a lunatic mom his senior year of high school as it looked as if he wouldn’t graduate. I made it my goal to get him through and he graduated. However, this was followed by a year and a half of community college with steadily failing grades until he quit. He knew he was supposed to get a job but hasn’t gone all out. He did manage to go on two interviews.All his time is spent in his room gaming unless we are eating dinner or going out to dinner or he is doing his minimal chores. He occasionally goes to a movie with me, watches tv with me, attends the occasional family event, and goes out with friends rarely as he mostly communicates with them online. Yet, my son is kind, gentle, extremely intelligent, and has a great sense of humor.

    Now, due to presenting the idea to him, he is supposed to be studying a book I bought him so he can take a test and obtain certification that will allow him to get an IT job, even though this isn’t his passion, programming is. He has been dragging it out so in mid October, I set a goal for him to read two chapters a day, study for a week and then take the test and get an IT job or actually any job. After he gets a job, he will need to be on a good sleep cycle getting to work on time, doing minimal household chores,attending to personal hygeine( he doesn’t brush his teeth and taking more showers now but sometimes only every 2 or3 days), etc.. All this is supposed to be accomplished by this Friday. It’s not happening. This Friday, I will turn off the internet, cable and tv which of course will effect me but I know since he’s my only son, I have a secure job and know I can go to coffee shops to get online I will survive. I will turn everything back on once all his goals are accomplished. In the meantime I’m getting all the knowledge I can about computer gaming addiction. I am prepared for him to have withdrawal symptoms but hoping this doesn’t happen. I’m hoping to compel him to see a psychologist. I am prepared to send him to a rehab center if needed but really can’t do this until next October when I can change my current insurance. I know he will be bored and need things to do but he seems not to have any interests outside of gaming.This is my boldest plan yet and I am so apprehensive and scared. In high school, I often took his keyboard away,and during his senior year he had several absences staying in bed, depressed. When he was younger, in his sophomore and junior years, when I took away his games, he pounded unrelentingly on my bedroom wall when I was trying to sleep, whined, yelled, and cried.

    What I feel good about- I have seen more maturity this past year, I clearly laid out the plan and so he knows whats coming, I have worked on myself these past two years, seeing a therapist myself and so our relationship is better and I am less reactive to him. I feel somewhat prepared for what is to come. I will update my progress, good luck to all of you and your personal struggles with your loved ones. Has anyone else done this and has it worked? Any suggestions?

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