Question from mom of high school boy - ADHD Parents Toge...

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Question from mom of high school boy

Rainbowkids3
Rainbowkids3
10 Replies

Hi. I am new to this group, but really need advice on school issues with my 11th grade son. I have a lot to ask, but want to start with the most pressing issue. Should we give immediate consequences (taking away phone/electronics) for zeros on school work, or let things fall where they may until his report card? In the past, we have given consequences (which end up almost weekly) but he is begging us to let him handle it at this point. He wants to be completely on his own and in charge of his schooling. He doesn't want to accept help from his spec. ed. teachers, he does not want to use "tools" and systems he has been given to help stay on track, and he says he can handle it if everyone would let him do it himself. We have only had one week of school and he already has a zero. School work always becomes an explosive battle. I feel like we are forcing him through. So the specific question is... do we enforce no zeros, or let it go and leave it up to him to fail or not fail at this point. He is 17 with adhd and odd. Thanks.

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Lovinit

What does a 0 mean? Does it mean he didn’t do it? He doesn’t want special ed help, in high school I tested out of special ed, I didn’t want to look like a dummy to the other students, I struggled, copied from someone next to me in class often our brains learn differently and it’s hard when we aren’t taught something to the way we learn. Still figuring that out 37

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Onthemove1971

NO! The tools are there and need to be used. Or you never would have gotten the IEP or 504 plan (Remember how hard you worked for that). If he were doing what he should then he wouldn't need the tools and would not have zeros.

How about a better compromise is you won't punish him if he uses his tools and changes the zeros?

Honestly, he has so little time before he is an adult that he is "in training" for whatever is next in life and you hope it is to use the "tools" given.

Good luck, they always want to negotiate!

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dubst3pM4UL

I agree with Onthemove. and yeah they do always want to negotiate!

My son did manage to finish out high school pretty well but managed to mostly flunk out of community college because of the "handling it on his own" strategy.

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nurse_nelly

Does he struggle in school or just not care to do his work? Does he take medicine? I would look into his meds first. Maybe he needs a change? Maybe he needs a low dose instead of a high dose. My 12 year old was taking a mood stabilizer along with long acting concerta and failed 3 classes last year. Now he is ONLY taking Regular release Ritalin 10mg twice daily and NOTHING else. So far so good. He still has a few meltdowns at times but NOTHING like it had been. He also has ADHD and ODD. Does he play sports or do any extracurricular activities? I would also talk to the school counselor and see what her thoughts are about getting his work done. Maybe he needs to stay after school everyday for an hour or so to complete it. My 12 year old has a IEP in which he HAS to get all his work done at school or he has to stay after. I also have a 16 year old who grew out of his ADHD and is doing great and has been since the 8th grade. Honestly, he is a junior in High School. I would let him figure it out on his own. If he doesn't start now you will be raising him until he is 40. I have a brother who is 3 years older than me and he struggled in school. My parents did EVERYTHING for him. Now he lives off them- in their rental house rent free for the last 8 years with his 2 kids and girlfriend. With that being said, I would NOT let him go out and hang with friends UNLESS it is a school activity.

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seller

Unfortunately, I have to say that he will probably be unable to handle it all himself. But these boys really want to try! You don't mention if he's on ADHD meds? That can certainly help. How did he do in high school before? Was he passing and did he get help? I can tell you that you definitely don't want him to fail high school, so that's not an option. Could he get a tutor and you would be out of the homework battle? The problem with getting bad grades is that it can be really hard to bring them up. My son is now 23, but I can remember high school as one long battle, which got worse when he was a junior. (And continued until he was about 22!) The issue I have with the natural consequences is that it almost always ends up being a consequence for the parents as well!! So allowing your child to flunk a subject or 2 means either summer school (yet another battle for you!) or staying in high school an extra semester. (Not a terrible idea for our immature boys, but they would probably just drop out). I think I would give him a few weeks to do his own work, but with lots of oversight. And know that this will most likely not work and you will just have to struggle on through the rest of the year. I do have to say that we had very little success with punishment....I'm not sure what even works with our boys. I do say don't let him drive....you really lose control at that point.

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Rainbowkids3

Thanks for all the suggestions. Yes, he's been on meds since 5th grade. He goes to "Ed Support" which is like a tutorial special ed class during one of his class periods. The teacher does have them check their grades and missing assignments. He has had this class and help from teachers all of high school, but he still slacks, doesn't use the tools given to him, and doesn't turn in work. He has passed everything so far, but always just barely. Us and the teachers always hvg to "kick him in the butt." 😩 So tired of the fight. But DEFINITELY want him to finish highschool. He is 17, and not driving yet 👍.. although that's hard for us too... anyway, as a little background.. he is adopted and his birthmother didn't make it past 9th grade. He is very smart, just lacks executive functioning skills, hates school, hates taking help, and i think doesn't believe in himself. I wish he cld see how he could make things easier by just using some of the tools he is given. Nothing seems to motivate him.

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seller
seller
in reply to Rainbowkids3

My son is also adopted, but we know nothing about his birth family. (But I bet there's some ADHD somewhere!) If you can just hang in there for a few more years.....try not to take anything he says and does personally...! Our boys have NO insight into their behavior, so don't look for much to change for awhile. My son was exactly the same - hated school, hated any help, and was really just a complete ass for awhile! He did pass high school because I was on him constantly and we finally got him a tutor he liked. I wish I could have insisted on no homework - that would have so much easier. My advice is to lower your expectations and just work on getting him to graduate. Don't let him drive! They aren't ready and we have the tickets to prove it! (Plus 2 totaled cars) A positive note: my son is now 23 and finally in college....all on his own! And wants NO help from anyone!

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Adhd-mom

I also have an 11th grade son who certainly has a lot of potential and it it stressful to see him not use the tools/resources that are available and the less than stellar performance . I also feel that years of “talk about school” in a negative way has impacted our relationship. We just started going to counseling together so I can also learn how to “pass the baton” so he can develop into an independent individual and we can learn to talk civilly to each other. From the counseling/ my research this is what I found (trying to keep this short lol). #1 Mindset. What type of mindset does your child have (fixed or growth: many YouTube videos in this, take a look). If your child has a fixed mindset then no matter what strategies they know or are taught, they likely won’t use them. The goal is to teach a growth mindset before doing anything else! I then genuinely don’t believe that that can learn then they won’t put forth the effort to do so. I wish I knew this years ago!! #2 ADHD kids need to learn about their brain (learn all they can about how ADHD effects their brain). After they learn that they are more likely to identify with certain aspects of their condition and take steps to help themselves (Jessica McCabes How to ADHD YouTube channel would be good for this). #3 Focus on one change at a time.

So that just a few. I wish I knew this years ago. The language you use with your kid is so important. Over the years, by the way I asked things I think I actually mistakenly fostered a fixed mindset. Meanwhile, I was just trying to help. Wish I started the above 3 steps earlier but now that I know I can tell you that after just a few weeks I can see a change already. I just signed up for a parenting ADHD class to learn how to coach my kid. So far so good.

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Adhd-mom
Adhd-mom
in reply to Adhd-mom

One more thing. Reasearch has shown that a strength based approach and worked better for ADHD kids as opposed to punishment with respect to academics.

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lrt1

Would he be willing to compromise? The fact is that shortly he will be an adult and able to do what he wishes, so working with him rather than against him might be the only way - i.e. no punishments but instead he can earn his "adulthood" and freedom from parental control. Maybe approach the situation as a positive in that yes, he wants to be an adult and take charge, but he needs to prove that he can handle it. Let him select one item he wants to be in charge of (i.e. one class or one responsibility) and identify the next he one he wants. Tell him that if he can be responsible - do the work and do it well on his own for a period of time (and actually allow him to do this on his own even if there are a few mistakes in the learning process) - then he also gains to be in control of the next item on the list. This allows him earn his control rather than be punished all the time - a positive goal. Plus it gives him a manageable amount to initially focus on doing himself (i.e. getting control of all aspects of his life at once is too much, but just one item or class at a time is a more doable achievement and then earning a second once he is good at managing the first). Just an idea, but with teens it generally works best to attempt to work toward goals rather than punishments. Plus it can help your relationship which is important as they will soon be 18 year old legal adults with no requirement to speak to us at all!

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