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“I Can’t Cure Their Forgetfulness. I Can Accept it.”

They forgot WHAT? AGAIN?!?! My wife and I used to fume at every overlooked track meet or pair of socks. But all that useless annoyance taught us it’s a lot easier to laugh about all that forgetfulness, and let nature take its course.

Lately, I keep seeing this commercial on TV. An on-the-go mom keeps getting phone alerts — text messages and reminders about a meeting or something to buy at the grocery store. I don’t know if it’s advertising a car or a smart phone, because I always lose interest around when she gets a text message from her son, “Forgot my tuba.” In the next scene, she’s at the school handing him the instrument. Then they hug, smile at each other, and wave goodbye. It’s at this point that I change the channel.

Clearly this mystery product is not meant for me, because this doesn’t happen in my family. I mean, the “I forgot my crap” part happens all the time. But the happy little exchange between the patient parent and the grateful child? That’s just fantasy.

It’s only Wednesday, and this week Laurie and I have received the following text messages:

[Self Test: Could Your Child Have an Executive Function Deficit?]

  • “I forgot black socks for my choir performance tonight.”
  • “I need Oreos tomorrow for a science project.” We emailed the teacher and confirmed this wasn’t made up.
  • “I forgot my shoes.” Somehow, this was for a different choir performance.
  • I turned in that project that was due three weeks ago that you keep getting emails about.”
  • “Remember I have a track meet after school.” This one came from a child who did not inform us he was on the track team, or that his school had a track team.
  • “I didn’t pack my clothes for cheer practice tonight.”
  • “I forgot black socks.” …Again, for yet another choir performance.
  • “I need $5 for dodgeball because all my friends forgot to bring their $1.”

Laurie and I try to be amused when these messages are followed up with, “Sorry. It won’t happen again.” But, it makes for a long week when the mishaps and forgetfulness begin first thing Monday morning.

We used to treat each incident like a character flaw, and discuss ways we could teach our kids to get their acts together and stop being so forgetful. Clearly, that didn’t work.

Instead, we’ve been trying to accept the inevitable and let natural consequences take their toll. We don’t bail them out every single time. And we try not to blow up over every overlooked appointment or forgotten item.

[Discover Your Teen’s Strongest and Weakest Executive Functions]

Maybe that’s how the commercial might have hooked me. Not with a drawn-out list of every text the mom received, but with a more relatable scene. The mom hands her son his tuba while shaking her head. The son smiles and says, “Sorry, I promise I’ll get better.” And then the mom knowingly responds, “Yeah right. I’ll see you again tomorrow with whatever you forgot.”

Updated on December 20, 2018

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  1. I relate to this a lot. My mom knew I had ADHD and she knew it made me hyper, but she had no idea about how it would affect my behavior, so a lot of my childhood was spent being yelled at or scolded, even though I couldn’t control what I forgot or remembered.

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