May 30, 2020 at 3:41 pm #172999
My wife’s 40 year-old son was diagnosed in his 20s with ADD (or, as it is now referred to – “inattentive ADHD”). He has been in counseling a couple of times and has been prescribed and takes Adderall and another drug.
For the last ~18 months, he has been living with us. He displays many of the symptoms I’ve read about: forgetfulness, disorganization, lack of attention, extreme slovenliness. However, he also brushes he teeth and showers daily and does his own laundry every week. He makes sure he gets a haircut regularly. His bathroom and bedroom, however are so filthy, I can’t bring myself to enter either one.
He is also gay although, he once suggested to his mother that he might be transgender (or, maybe that he definitely is – not sure) and at one time considered some form of gender reassignment.
Some background: He initially moved in with us several years ago and stayed for a year due to unemployment and depression. Before that, he had lived in an apartment paid for by his father for ~2 years and then lived with his aunt and uncle for another year or two before they moved out of town. In his 20s, he lived with roommates, but I don’t believe he’s ever been able to live on his own income.
He is now living with us because, although he has been employed for ~3 years as a kind of office assistant at the same financial management firm, his wages are low and he only works 3 days a week and consequently can’t afford rent. He loves the field and so is trying to pass an exam so he can get the certification credential required for him to become fully employed in finance.
Unfortunately, he failed the test twice for lack of study and consequently, he lack’s confidence in his ability to pass it. That said, he has been studying again (occasionally) and plans to take the exam again.
He is diligent about his job. He is well-groomed and always dresses appropriately and arrives on time or before the required start time and sometimes also works late. He even helps out from time to time on weekends via remote internet connectivity. His employer says he is doing a great job but that he must acquire his certification to continue being employed.
He has no real friends other than some acquaintances who live out of state and with whom he interacts with via social media. He doesn’t socialize with anyone else other than his family (his father, his uncle and his uncle’s wife) who live in the area. This may be a result of the fact that he seems very insecure and as a result, to tries to obscure his insecurity by presenting himself as well-informed about (no exaggeration here) EVERYTHING – and is extremely opinionated, even though a good deal of his “knowledge” is acquired by accessing information via the internet (Google, etc.) to which he is constantly connected via his mobile phone, his tablet or his PC. Part of his intellectual arrogance seems also to be related to the fact that his father has PhD in one of the biological sciences and his father’s side of the family seems also to be rather insecure about their inherent intellectuality with a bit too much emphasis on how smart they all are.
I would like to be more understanding about his disability. And while his mother is much more understanding that I am, I have become very resentful, even angry (although I try to keep the anger to myself). However, neither of us are especially fond of having to live with and care for a 40-year-old child as we are in our early 70s and getting ready to retire and travel next year. Making things more awkward and contributing to my resentfulness, is that my wife and I are very politically liberal. He is a Republican and a Trump supporter.
The reason I described him as a child is because, although he is very responsible when it comes to his job, doing his laundry, brushing his teeth and personal grooming, that’s the extent of it. His mother and I do all the grocery shopping and, except for his morning coffee and microwaved sausage, she cooks all his meals for him – and she and I clean up afterwards. (Infrequently, he will bring his dirty dishes in to the kitchen and sometimes puts them in the dishwasher but leaves food on the bottom of the sink.)
We clean the apartment and although if specifically asked to every couple of months, he will clean his bathroom and his bedroom. Otherwise, he volunteers to do nothing. Instead, he sits on the deck for 2-3 hours at a time with his phone and his vape. In the house, when he’s not chatting with his mother, he sits in a chair reading articles or email on his phone.
I am resentful because he seems to be more than willing and capable of doing lots things related to his job and that benefit him but entirely unwilling to do anything else unless specifically requested to do so. His mother tells me that’s because he is very sensitive and so feels insecure around me. She rarely asks him to help with anything and I have given up.
It appears to me that he is entirely uninterested in doing anything to help around the house. It makes me angry to think of all the things we have been doing for him on a daily basis for the last year and a half and watch him vaping on the deck, sitting on his bed and/or playing video games, while we cook or clean – evidently not caring that he has made the relationship between his mother and me more difficult and being perfectly happy to let us take care of him in our near-retirement while he does virtually nothing to help out.
Bottom line: The difference between his behavior that is related to work which is very responsible and proactive and his behavior in the home suggest to me that while ADHD clearly accounts for much of his behavior, I want to know if simple laziness may in fact account for the part of it that is related to his behavior at home.
And yes – I’m aware of the argument that none of the behaviors associated with ADHD have anything to do with laziness. That’s the reason for the title of this post. Tell me how I’m getting this wrong. Or not.
May 30, 2020 at 4:50 pm #173004
First of all your resentment is understandable.
Adhd is not a disability it is more of difference in thinking that stems from difference in serotonin production.
Reading your description sounds like people have been taking care of him and he hasn’t learned to be totally self sufficient. It is possible for him to be self sufficient. However the methods of teaching that need to be adjusted. Direct him with clear short direction. For example please gather the dishes and clean them everyday. Remind him to do them as needed remind him to clear the food from the sink.
Remind him to study for that test if there is real opportunity for him.
I am a 44 years old who was diagnosed at 42 clearly I made to a good job and house and family yet I still struggle and I know everyone struggles as well.
May 31, 2020 at 8:52 am #173025
If you want professional help for him I can offer coaching, a behavior plan and counseling.
June 1, 2020 at 11:56 am #173048
It sounds like the structure and routine necessary to succeed at work are really helping him take initiative and do what he needs to, but the lack of the same structure and routine at home make it hard for him to meet expectations.
My suggestion is to sit down with him and put together a structured plan based on a written list of responsibilities. So, every Saturday morning, he cleans the bathroom (set a specific time). Each night he tidies his bedroom before going to bed. Every Sunday afternoon, he dusts and vacuums his bedroom. Maybe every Wednesday night he puts clean sheets on his bed. He studies for the finance exam for 30 minutes every day following dinner, ets…
Make a written weekly calendar with this routine and have him put it in his phone with alerts as reminders. Or, there are apps to help you build and stick to routines that could be useful.
I would ban political discussions in the house for everyone’s sanity. I’ve had to refuse to discuss politics with someone in my own family for the same reason (not someone that lives with me, thankfully).
All of this is setting boundaries for you and your household and helping him to succeed despite his neurological differences.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
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