Guest Blogs

Life Is Derpful

Distractions, forgotten dates, missed assignments — there’s so much going on in my son’s teenage brain! Is it ADHD, or just high school?

After spending a weekend catching Enzo lost in one screen or another, calling him over and over to come to dinner, reminding him four times to pick up his towels, and nudging and poking him to complete the tasks on his whiteboard, I get a text Monday morning. “Blindsided by binder check in Chem.”

Blindsided? How so? It was right there on the whiteboard: Go over Chem homework calendar. It says Binder Check right on the date in question. I flip through his planner to see that he wrote the same thing months ago (with me supervising)…but the pages have not been turned since.

I sigh and stop and think. His teacher has explained it’s better to get an F than a zero, and busy, busy Enzo needs every point he can get to pass this class. I turn away from my work and look at my schedule, wondering whether or not to rescue. I try not to do that, and I usually don’t have to, but lately he’s been more distractible. Some might call it…puberty. There is so much more going on in that brain. And so much more that is expected of tenth-graders than there was of ninth-graders…or fifth-graders. But the problems have always been the same.

[The High School Study Guide for Teens with ADHD]

“You should be able to keep track of your things,” his father says on days like this, a teacher who knows his developmental benchmarks, plus has high expectations of his verbal, clever son.

“You know better than that,” I never say — I bite my tongue instead — but he does, and I know that because he rocks it once in a while.

“We’ve already covered that material,” says every single teacher.

It’s hard for adults — or anyone on the “outside” of his brain – to remember he’s got that switch that shuts on and off randomly. “I’m sorry,” says Enzo, over and over again.

[How to Motivate a Teenager with ADHD]

I changed my plans for the day so I could swing by the school with his binder. On my way there, I got a text from him that read, “Brown changed binder check to Wednesday.” I sighed and wondered, is it ADHD? Or just having a teenager?

Later that day, Enzo explained it this way to his ADHD Teen class: “Sometimes life feels like a series of cluster-derps.” At least he got a laugh!