Adult Child in the House: After... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Adult Child in the House


After 4 semesters of college (unsuccessful) my 20 year old son has moved home. With no formal diagnosis of ADD but identified as "impulsive", and no medication, (we tried Intuniv in middle school and was unhappy with effects) he is living with me and my new husband in a 2 bedroom duplex of less than 1000 sq ft. I moved here on the beach after my son went to FAU thinking a small house would be OK all the time knowing in my gut he would be home. Our storage unit is full of furniture from my previous home that I refused to get rid of because we will need it to set up an apartment when the time comes.

I joined this site after struggling emotionally and feeling like a failure after all the parenting I have done only to see that he is not ready for his after-high school future.

This is my first post but have responded to some of you who have posted similar emotions and am grateful for the communication with people who "get it." I can't wait for him to make an accomplishment I can brag about but until that time I am trying to stay positive and encouraging and continue to parent his organization and list-making as he works at a restaurant and saves money for his next venture. What should he do next?

7 Replies

We may have "chatted" son just turned 24 and I can finally see some maturity. I truly believe that ADHD medication is the way to go here....if your son is really ADHD, then I doubt he will be able to do college without medication. My son is now back in jr college (much easier) and realized on his own that he cannot organize himself, study, take notes and tests without that stimulant on-board. I know the feeling about the negative thoughts and wondering when this kid will be ready to be on his own. It's draining and seems to go on forever. I know now that these ADHD boys are rarely ready to be out on their own until maybe 22+, but it's really hard to have them at home. My son has lived in a small apt that we pay for since age 19, when he flunked college the first time. It's near our house and he does his laundry and raids the fridge on a regular basis. This works the best for all of us, but I am ready to have him off my payroll. We are cautiously optimistic that he will finish his degree next summer. But there have been SO many setbacks that I'm almost afraid to hope. As far as what your son should do, I would set up a few rules and enforce them (just a few!). He would have to work and pay some of his bills (my son pays for his cell phone service, internet, gas, and entertainment). I would not allow overnight guests, drinking, etc. And be prepared for a mess, terrible money management, speeding tickets (if he drives), etc. And I strongly recommend getting him out of your house if you have a new husband.....these boys can destroy a household if they are really defiant. My husband and I were on the same page dealing with our son, and we'd been married for years before our son even arrived, but even so, our son caused lots of friction.

BBBwithADD in reply to seller

Yes we have "talked" … I have established a small list of daily chores he is to be aware of...If the trash is full, take it out, if the recycling is full, take it out, if the dishes are clean, put them away, and make your bed. I put a list on the bathroom mirror and so far so good. If something different comes up like yesterday (clean the tub) I told him verbally and he remembered. Not a great job, but it was done. That is what my husband finds hard to deal with. He and I are more OCD personalities (not good mix with ADD) and my husband will sometimes take my son to work to do some "labor" for him for which he is willing to pay $20 an hour. My son's efforts are the same as the tub, he does it, but not well., and not to our expectations. I am working with my husband to lower expectations, the job is done and the result is better than it was before it was done, so he decided to lower his wage to $15 an hour.

QUESTION: I have a resource where I can take him to get "tested". About $500 for the battery of tests/diagnostics. I want to do it to answer my questions and officially decide if my suspicions are correct. (In his youth I never got a "dr." to do a full analysis, just counseling and mostly what I said)

Is it worth it to do at his age?

seller in reply to BBBwithADD

I am a psychiatric nurse, so I diagnosed my son myself when he was 8! But I did bring him to work and had him go through the entire battery when he was about 18, just to see the specifics. There was nothing new - his IQ was fine and he didn't have any additional diagnoses, which I pretty much already knew. So was it worth the money? I can't say. What I can say is that all of us parents with these kids are looking for concrete, specific answers about ADHD. And the sad truth is that there isn't really too much - I am also kind of a control freak and I really thought there had to be something I could do to get my son to act like a mature adult.....but there just isn't. And that's the problem - by age 18 or so , we are tired of dealing with all the ADHD crap, and the difficult behaviors and just want our kids to GROW UP!! And they take forever!! I think your son would benefit greatly from some ADHD medication. He may deny it, but you will see the increase in concentration, organization, etc immediately. (At least for that day - and then the meds will wear off!) And if it drives husband crazy that your son does a less-than-perfect job and does not put forth the effort, then stop having him go along! This will not change for years (and maybe never!). This is why my son does not live with us - I can't stand the mess he makes and I get tired of cleaning up after him. He just doesn't see it and thinks I am OCD! I did find some solace with other moms on this site because no one else can ever really "get it".

Hey, mama! Just wanted to drop in and say hang in there! I know how you’re feeling, just on a different level. My 10 year old girl, Lyla, has ADHD and ASD combined. I know what it’s like to sit back and wait for an accomplishment. I find myself comparing her to other little fourth graders saying “oh, Lyla isn’t able to do _____ on her own yet” “Lyla’s behind because _____” and I’ve recently realized that you just can’t compare children with special needs to typical children. They develop at their own pace, respond to certain situations differently and struggle/excel in different areas. Totally fine! Even at 20 years old and 4 semesters of unsuccessful schooling he is still struggling. He’s struggling with different things than my little girl is, but still struggling. Just think off all the little things he used to struggle with, and has now mastered just with some teaching, experience and age! He’ll get it mama, he’s an adult now. Just relax hun, you’re doing your best. 😊

Thank you for the encouragement!! I look for small blessings, like he does his chores and comes home after work. I thank him for what he does right. I always have.

Hanging in there....

I’m sorry to hear about your struggles. My son is only 6, but I do have my eye out for what future issues may be in store for us.

Would your son perhaps be better suited to a trade school? Cheaper, less lectures, more hands on learning. I’ve read a report that trade skills also pay nicely & are in high demand.

I ask because it is one thing I have my eye out for my little guy. He’s super smart, my little engineer, but ADHD can make traditional learning styles difficult. (I could never pay attention in lectures, so I can’t imagine how that would be for someone with an actual ADHD diagnosis.) Plus he LOVES cars and fixing things around the house. My husband is more of the “after school you go to college” mindset, but whatever best suits my sons learning style and interests is a better option IMHO, 4 year degree or not.

BBBwithADD in reply to Pennywink

Yes, we have totally presented the idea of a technical school. Only he has no real interest in a skill yet. HIs dad is an electrician but learned on the job. (He also did not finish college and I am certain these two have much in common in that respect)

As a teacher, I am totally convinced that not every child is "college bound" and have always known mine was not! Unfortunately the education system is formatted so that "all children will go to college" a huge misfortune for children like ours. He chose to go to college because he wanted that "college experience" and I was not going to say "no".

In high school he was very interested in Coast Guard and being a rescue swimmer (he swam from the age of 6 to the age of 17 and was a state champ). His first attempt at college had hi in the biology field (loves the water and animals) then after failing Biodiversity switched his major to business admin for health admin.

So you can see his interests are all over the place. Right now he excels in surfing and skateboarding...maybe this will lead him to working in a shop, and maybe work up to managing...???? Don't know.

Good for you to know this about your son! Sounds like he has an interest that you can develop into a career.

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