Son, Sophomore in High School

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    • #40026
      Penny Williams

      This discussion was originally started by user hockeydad in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.


      I am new to this group.

      My 15 year old son has an IEP at school and we are just recently trying different medication to see which affects him less. So far, teachers have said there is a positive difference as to concentration. Issue is at home however. As a father, I still have to get used to the anger as the medicine wears off at the end of the day. My son and I have butted heads when he gets fresh and lashed out at me.(not physically) I have to get used to this which is tough.

      My wife has to constantly remind him about doing school work/assignments which generates friction at home. His grades have been pretty good (overall about B average). My son hates being badgered and resents it and butts heads with my wife constantly.

      Without the badgering we are afraid the work may not get done. I am trying a different approach tonight. My son said that the work was done and he studied for tests which I am not sure of.  I am going to leave it at that and see what happens at school. I told him that I was trying to treat him as an adult.

      Has anyone else dealt with these issues?

      I am also worried about college for him.

      Looking for some feedback and venting as well.

    • #42280
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user Lean~In in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Check out the article, then vent as you need:

      Note: You do not have to get used to ANGER. Set your limit. Respect is expected. Let him know your limits and the consequences for outbursts. If this is a learned behavior, then maybe he has mastered your lesson already.

      Get some exercise. Shoot some hoops. Run. Tennis? Chess? Hockey? You do not have to be good. (Read Mary Oliver’s poem, Wild Geese)

      My question: Why would you treat him like an adult? He’s not. He is a young man learning to adjust to the growing list of responsibilities, family, friends, school and after school work.

      Even adults have someone tracking them. Teach him. Show him what you do. Show him how to make lists, use a ledger, plan a week, color code a calendar. Ask him what it would feel like to be in control, on track, without your Dad on his back? Would he want to feel good, feel that way, on a regular basis?

      Suggestion: Sit together – make a plan.

      Ask HIM for suggestions. What would work best for him when planning homework, after school activities etc? Be prepared to have your list of suggestions, ADHD methods and Apps, which you can present. There are many here on this site. ASK HIM. Get his input. What would work best for him?

      A once a week family Conference clears the way. There will be difficulties but the idea of a Conference, it sounds adult-like. smile Stay on topic. Bring a list. By the way, he can call/request a conference too. It’s an official way to discuss an school issue, personal difficulty or share a celebration.

      Bring it to a close with: “What can we learn from this meeting?” by restating the facts. Write it down. File it. Show him.

      AND PLEASE do not weigh him down with the college stuff. It’s his life and it’s tough. The trend these days in business is to ‘be in the moment’. This is important. He will not know his passion until his curiosity is triggered. Take him camping, to the beach, to museums, etc. Drive through a college campus if you must. Libraries are beautiful. Concerts/performances will inspire. It won’t be long until he will not travel willing with you anyway. Sorry, ADHD or not.

    • #42281
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user hockeydad in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Lean, thanks.

      We don’t weigh him down with college. I never bring it up to him .He has enough on his plate right now.

      This was just my own worry, wanting the best for him and ability for him to go to college

      We do have a good relationship, go to the movies (we both like action and sci fi movies) and the periodic Rangers game at Madison Square Garden.

      He is basically a good, respectful kid and doesn’t have any behavioral issues at school. He is into computers and about a year ago voiced interest in building his own computer. He researched the parts and I invested in him. We went to the local computer store and he picked out all the necessary parts. Short of some hiccups and periodic virus the computer runs smoothly.

      Its just been rough recently with trying the meds and the fighting to remind him to do homework / study along with the constant push back.

      I guess typical teenage boy into the computer games and electronics which doesn’t help the ADHD.

      I like the idea about house conference and will see if he is amenable to that.

    • #42282
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I wouldn’t accept anger when the medication wears off. To me, that signals that it may very well be the wrong ADHD medication for him. You shouldn’t have to live with that, nor should your son. Talk to the prescribing doctor about that.

      My son is 14 and is much more sensitive to being micro-managed and “nagged” than he used to be. He’s becoming very resistant to that too. As a result, I’ve stepped back some. I remind him to do homework and have him to it at the same time every day. I don’t hover over him and I don’t check it anymore (unless he finishes in less than 5 minutes, signaling that he probably wrote down anything and called it done). he struggles with getting assignments home and back to school and turned in without loosing them. As a result of all of this, my gifted IQ son has mostly C’s in his classes. I’ve had to accept that C’s are ok for him, because he has so many learning challenges, even though he’s very smart.

      Your son is trying to assert his independence (as is mine). They are at the age where they want to be able to do for themselves, and succeed at that.

      So, rather than mico-manage and nag, we have to create the scaffolding they need to succeed—teaching them strategies to work around ADHD. One we use is doing homework at the same time every day. If you son has a phone, help him set up daily alarms and reminders and the like.

      Here’s more on helping teens with ADHD gain independence:

      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #42283
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user parentcoachjoyce in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      It’s hard to find the balance between being helpful and being enabling but I think that there is a lot to be said for letting him handle school and let the natural consequences be the “bad guy” instead of you.

      Here’s an article I wrote about my opinion (as a former school counselor, parent of an ADHD son and a Parent Coach/consultant) re: how involved parents should be in school stuff:

      Just some food for thought.

    • #42284
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user hockeydad in ADDitude’s now-retired community.


      This new medication doesn’t seem to be getting him angry ….maybe just irritable, but not sure how much is his age as well. He is now on Dexmethyphenidate. I am trying a different strategy after having read some of the articles posted to this thread:

      1. My son said last night that he studied for his test and did his homework. We didn’t badger him after reminding him once…My wife and I said OK and left it at that. He got a 60 on his Italian test,but surprisingly texted my wife ” guess i need to go for Italian extra help.

      2. He didn’t do well on his English test and said that he would read chapters twice in the book now. We have an in class support teacher but he didn’t think he could help with these chapters. We disagree but my wife kept silent and let it be. I am going to talk to him later that if the next go around is a failed grade, he HAS to use the in class support teacher.

      My son is smart. He researched all of the parts needed to build a computer about a year ago. I held my breath, invested in the cost and the computer has been up and running since then(short of some hiccups and a virus)

      It’s really tough trying to lower my expectations. College is not that far off ( he is a HS sophomore). I am a firm believer that education is needed to get ahead in this world. I have a masters degree. My daughter is attending Penn State. I just want the best for my son.

      Sorry for venting at length but finding the right balance between expecting alot V acceptance and “letting go more often” is rough.

    • #42285
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user wsllbe in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I’m so conflicted about the idea of natural consequences (maybe because there is so much conflicting advice out there). On the one hand, “trial by fire” hinges on the attitude that suffering the consequences will motivate the individual to do better next time. But, what if they can’t? If someone in a wheelchair were in a fire, it would behoove them to get up and run out of the building -but they can’t. In this view, letting them suffer the consequences/get the bad grades/face the teacher’s reaction… might just lead to low self esteem.

      My son is super-smart too, but, whether it be due to his ADD or the fact that he is 14, logic is not always a strong point. I’m worried that, if allowed to bomb, he’s not going to deduce that he should accept that help his parents, teachers, advisor, a tutor, etc… are offering.” I think he might turn around and just think “I’m a dumb loser.” Right now, I’ll be forced to see how this approach works because he does refuse the help and nagging doesn’t lead to more doing of homework, just more lying (on his part) and anger (on everyone’s part). So, we are hands off right now. He’s in the middle of mid-terms. Wish us luck!

    • #42286
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user parentcoachjoyce in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I understand the concern about failure causing a dive in self esteem, but I think self esteem is in part built by proving to yourself that you can do hard things; maybe failing the first time doesn’t feel great, but if after putting in effort and learning from mistakes you succeed, it feels pretty good. What can make a huge difference is the messages he tells himself after he fails (which you can help with). Another thing to consider is that when you have to bounce back from consequences, it helps build resilience, which is something a lot of kids lack but is so important in adulthood. When parents shield kids from failure, they can’t build resilience.

      I think a teen’s self esteem could also suffer just as much if his/her parents are doing a lot of things for them and bailing them out of things (not that you do this, just an example.) I have talked to many kids who told me they felt like a “loser” because their parents were coming to school collecting all their work, constantly checking up on them, emailing teachers, etc. Many of them started rebelling and getting lazy because they didn’t have to worry; they knew that if they slacked off mom or dad would step in.

      I think there is a benefit to allowing kids to “fail” while still “in the shallow end” but this can be done in a very controlled environment. For example, you let him forget his lunch/gym clothes, etc. and don’t bring it to school, but you don’t let him run into the street. One lesson is harmless, the other is not. As far as how to handle failure, if he fails an assignment and then has to stay in during recess or do summer school or some other type of school-related consequence, you could ask him, “what do you think you need to do differently next time to do better on that assignment?” Then it can be a very valuable lesson and he can then prove to himself he can do it (a big boost to self esteem). The other good thing about allowing consequences to happen is that then the consequences are the bad guy, not you. So you say, “I trust you will do well on your midterms. Let me know if you need any help.” Then when he fails and has a consequence, you can respond with empathy and just say, “wow, son, that really sucks. I feel so bad for you. What do you think you’ll do differently next time?”. (You can also have rewards at home that he is working toward, like “I’m happy to provide a cell phone to anyone who gets good grades”. You then let him be involved in a discussion about what he considers “good grades”; something you can agree with. And then, he knows exactly what he is working toward and is not surprised (or mad at you) when he doesn’t achieve it and can’t get the reward. You never say “I told you so”; you just say, “wow, that’s sad. Hopefully next time you’ll do it! I believe you can! Let me know what I can do to help you!”

      Hope this helps!

      Joyce Mabe
      Parenting coach, licensed school counselor, mom of adult son with ADHD

    • #42288
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I agree 100% with @wsllbe —

      “‘trial by fire’ hinges on the attitude that suffering the consequences will motivate the individual to do better next time. But, what if they can’t?”

      Punishment (punishing consequences) doesn’t address the reason for the unwanted behavior, so it doesn’t change that behavior long-term. Just failing/punishing and never addressing the root cause will lead to worsening self-esteem.

      I also agree with Coach Joyce that we can’t do everything for our kids either, as that leads to learned helplessness. I think the middle ground is teaching skills and coping mechanisms that address the root issue, while supporting (reminders, etc) that these skills and coping mechanisms are implemented.

      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #42290
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user biomom in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I too have a 15-year-old son with severe ADHD. He’s a sophomore in high school and very intelligent (I know, we all say that about our kids, but he really is smart!); however, he does poorly in most of his classes. Sometimes he refuses to do his homework and other times he just has trouble keeping track of what he’s supposed to be doing in school. I also have a 17-year-old son who’s a senior in high school and has relatively mild ADD. Like hockeydad, I’ve been very concerned about my kids’ futures in college. My husband and I are both university professors with Ph.D.s, so of course we place a very high premium on higher education and always expected our kids to attend good colleges.

      Both of my sons have decided that they want to go to 2 years of community college before transferring to a 4-year college. This was initially very difficult for me to accept, and I still struggle with it at times. It’s become very clear, though, that it’s the right path for both of them, for several reasons. So, I’m learning that I have to stop projecting onto them my own expectations and hopes for their futures and let them find their own way. It’s tough for me but, I’m convinced, the right thing for them.

    • #47102

      We are having a meeting tomorrow with my daughters teachers about dropping her IEP, she is 12 and in 6th grade and has ADD, she only is in special education in Math. Her Math grade has been an A+ and her NWEA and other test scores have been right where they should be for her grade. They wanted to do a 45 day trial out because they said she is no longer discrepant from her peers and have met her goals, so we did the 45 day trial out already, where she didn’t get any help with Math, her grade dropped from an A+ to a B and it was causing lots of anxiety, I e-mailed her special ed teacher and told her my concerns and she agreed that she was struggling and thought it was best to not try the trial out at this time.

      A week went by and my daughter said that the teacher told her she was going to go to TLC instead, it’s a room where any child can go to and get help with homework, her teacher decided to go this route with her instead, but my daughter just isn’t getting the help she needs in that rom and is basically struggling on her own to understand the Math, her special ed. teacher (who I might add is in her 1st year of teaching) is now telling me that she feels my daughter is really adjusting well to the changes and that she is ready to move to a 504 plan. I brought up the fact that she went down a full grade, but she said that that was to be expected and a B is still good for going from one on one to almost no help at all but the TLC room.

      I don’t feel that the very end of 6th grade is the time to kick her off her IEP. 6th grade Math has been manageable, but I have a feeling 7th grade Math will be even harder and I was basically told that she won’t qualify for an IEP again because they have changed the guidelines since she was accepted, so tomorrow is the meeting and I want to go prepared with reasons why she should keep it at least until next year and see how 7th grade goes. I know they will bring up how good she is doing, but she is a perfectionist and causes herself a great deal of anxiety trying to study and remember everything, it doesn’t come easy for her at all, and her anxiety has been through the roof with this, it seems the minute a child is excelling from help from a teachers aide who explains things the way she understands, they want to pull the plug on it and let her struggle, what can I do?

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