My Forum Comments
Wow, no, not even close to being alone, and I hope some of the wisdom in these responses makes sense for you too. My kids are older now but we’ve been though a lot of what everyone describes. Throw in a lot of shame and anxiety, stir with dyslexia, add a twist of divorce, and pour over ice cubes of mother ignorance. When the kids were little and all three of us were undiagnosed, I used to put myself in Time-Out in the bathroom, just to give myself a little mental space!
The suggestions from JWK include some that I’ve tried – and as an adult with ADHD, I’m not able to consistent, which is a big problem of course – and endorse. Setting the outside limits and yet allowing some choice is a good one – we’re packing lunches, but you can decide which kind of sandwich.
If I had to pick one behavior I adopted that I believe is important and was also effective in giving the right message to my kids, it would be modeling accountability. I really tried to recognize a good idea, a thoughtful gesture, and to the degree that I could compliment my child in front of others, all the better. The idea is not to go overboard but to recognize everyone in the family equally.
The hard part is taking accountability for my anger, for my actions, but it’s the most important. Reading “The Dance of Anger” made a huge impression on me when my second child was an infant. I’m not proud when I say that I lost my temper a lot and while I carried everyone’s emotions as a single parent 24/7, I didn’t want to use that as an excuse. The book makes the point that other people don’t ‘make’ us mad, we get mad in reaction to other people or situations. In other words, targeting the behavior and not the person – only you’re the person.
I worked hard to examine my feelings so that I could isolate what triggered my responses. After I’d calmed down, I would apologize to the kids for losing my temper since I don’t like it when someone yells or screams at me either. But I would also try to tell them why or what was upsetting me. Sometimes it took a while, and I’d come back a day later to say that I was wrong to lose my temper with you because what was really bothering me was something at work, or ____ (fill in the blank). As a single parent working full-time and scrambling to pick the kids up after work before getting hit with a late fee, it didn’t take much for me to lose it by the time I got home.
So if I can offer this to help ease your way, please know that the more you and the other adults in your family’s life model the behavior you’d like to see your children display and the more you hold yourself equally accountable for your own emotions, the better it will be in the long run. A lot of the time it’s going to be what the kids did or didn’t do that causes anger and frustration, but the key is to own your own reactions. God knows I walked this tightrope every day for years and it’s SO hard! I know I made a LOT of mistakes and bad decisions, but I really tried to keep at this one. My kids are now in their early 20s and reflect back at me to help me keep my cool. Hang in there!
Bravo to you in your efforts toward sobriety! I know the feeling of being reborn as an adult with a diagnosis and medication; I try to describe it to other people as ‘that was then, this is now’. I also know the feeling of regret and sadness over missing diagnostic opportunities when we were growing up.
While you may still pass through some dark times, I hope your new understanding of yourself will sustain you and your family.May 24, 2018 at 12:13 pm in reply to: My ADD high school graduate can she survive college? #84826
I really feel your pain, been there except that our situation was actually worse since our school system refused to see either of my kids as eligible for an IEP even after an additional diagnosis of dyslexia. There are a few pointers for you and your child to consider.
1) It’s almost too late for her to enroll for the fall, so she’ll need some assistance in researching what’s actually available for her. This might be a silver lining situation since she should be able to enroll in your closest community college to begin with.
*Be sure to check with the office at your high school about how to order transcripts. People go on vacation, there may be a charge for them, you have to provide the address for each one ordered, and may have to have the request signed by your child. *If you’re looking at more than the local community college, try to locate a copy of Kiplinger’s college guide of schools specific for the learning disabled (sorry, can’t remember the title). It’s a great resource with detailed descriptions of the type of support available at schools across the country. Depending on where you live, there can be schools with strong LD support that aren’t prohibitively expensive.
*Check to see if the LD program triggers an additional cost. Most are offered as part of the school’s general overhead, but some are separate and can be expensive.
2) Check the dates on her most recent neuro-psych testing since most colleges ask that the data be recent, with three years being the most common cut-off threshold. You may not need to have a 100% repetition of all testing so check with the school(s) to see what they require.
3) Be sure you/all are communicating with the school’s admissions office, the financial aid office and the office that coordinates modifications and accommodations for kids with LD. The names of these offices vary a lot and sometimes you have to really search a website to make sure you’re looking at the right place.
I arranged for my daughter to meet the LD support staff whenever we made a campus visit (although we did this during her junior year) so that she was speaking directly with them. At first, she didn’t even know what to ask about since our high school only allowed her to have more time on tests and didn’t take off for spelling. After being on a few campuses however, she was able to discuss available options more confidently. In our case, she learned infinitely more about accommodations from the college level offices than she did during 12 years in our school system.
4) I’m not especially bothered by a new grad not being particularly drawn to one area of study or another. Given the estimate that kids with LD lag a bit in development and may not have experienced a lot of personal success in school, there may be reasons why they aren’t sure.
I wasn’t at all confident that either of my children would be able to handle school either, especially because they had a hard time understanding their middle school and high school coursework. One was able to negotiate her way through and one is still working on his degree, but both already exceeded my hopes for them academically. I think as parents we have to let our children try for things while still serving as the launch pad and enabler. Each child has their own constellation of issues and strengths so the necessary supports are going to vary too.
I ditto the last post, please find out more detail from the school. It might be that you can help negotiate a way for him to attend. It will be hard not to get defensive, but if you can manage that it may help ease the situation.
If not, I also think that if you or another family member can go on the trip, it would be a benefit for you. I really couldn’t go to as many classroom things as I wanted to, but it was such a huge help for me to see my kid’s classmates, see my kid interact with others, see the teachers while they are working, etc.
It’s hugely important to find out what he’ll be doing if left behind, and who else might be left behind too. Maybe you could give him a reward for good behavior away from the class, so that he’s able to feel solid about the day after. Good luck!
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.