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Am I the only one? I've become the type of parent that I said I've never become! Argh!

ChristinaR1967 profile image
15 Replies

Where do I begin? My son is 14, my only child. He has ADHD inattentive type. We tried methylphenidate and Vyvanse, but both made him very sick and didn't help. he is now in the 9th grade and doing pretty decent for the most part, but missing assignments and things like that. He recently had a 504 put in place and I hope that helps.

Well, about that parent thing. I catch myself doing his school work! I know that doesn't help him and I know I can't keep doing it, but the evenings are so hard to get him to do homework! he's working hard in school, and he doesn't want to do anything when he gets home. It's really hard. So sometimes I will complete his worksheets, Etc. Things he didn't finish that day.

I just never thought I would be a parent like this. We pay for a private math tutor and he does well with her, but he always tries to get out of the meetings. It's like he does not want to do anything after school is over!

my husband is old school and doesn't understand ADHD, so he doesn't help me as much. His answer is to take away all his privileges, but I tried to explain to him it's deeper than that.

I just feel lost and now he is having these moments where he doesn't want to go to school, it's like he's okay with 3 to 4 day school week and always wants one extra day off.

I'm feeling worry and frustration. I work in the school system and I know how kids can fall through the cracks. I also know that I cannot enable him, but I feel like if I don't do these things he will completely fail.

I'm just a mess right now and I just want to do what's good for my son.

15 Replies

See Book Reports below. I absolutely feel your pain and so does everyone else here! My daughter HATES school. I LOVED school. It is so frustrating to try and help them and not push them too hard, but push them enough so that you are helping them learn how to work hard, but then they are not motivated by grades or anything school oriented or even success! We are working on medications right now. Today she started on Concerta 36.

(btw, does anyone else think that they need a medication for the PARENTS of kids with ADHD? Where's the love?) We are working on an IEP as well. 504 accommodations just weren't enough for her.

I honestly don't care if she just passes. It was hard for me to come to terms with that. I want her to engage and learn, which she also doesn't seem to care about, but I think that comes from not understanding and being lost in class. Am I going to be able to reverse that? I don't know. One week she went a whole WEEK with COMPLETED math homework in her binder and didn't turn it in. She has great support at school, from counselors, therapists, her tutor and hopefully medications.

II have NO idea what is going to happen in the future and I can take some LONG walks in my head: What if the police call me when she's 16 (because I promise you she is NOT leaving my sight before then). What if she just leaves when she's 17 and gets pregnant and marries the wrong guy? What if I have to pull her out of a drug house - will my insurance cover all that if she's past the age of 21? What if she just works at a convenience store (not that there's anything wrong with that) forever (although at least there she'll get a meal, a hot dog and endless thirstbuster - do they have a discount for food and a retirement program?) . What if she ends up just hating me for the rest of her life and won't even talk to me again?

SEE? and then I think. WAIT. All that could happen to any NORMAL kid too, and does. So, calm down. Day by Day we will do our best and I will love her the best I can and do everything I can and tonight we will snuggle in bed after struggling through an analogies worksheet and watch some reality show where we can laugh and she will fall asleep and we will do it all again tomorrow.


ChristinaR1967 profile image
ChristinaR1967 in reply to

I read your "project" post. You are a gifted writer and you really put on paper what it's like having a child with ADHD. Thank you so much for your reply. I feel lost, like I'm such an enabler and a pushover. These teen years have been so challenging. When my son was in primary school, although he struggled with inattention, he was still an honor student and loved going to school. He was a happy, smiling little boy who loves life. Now he's become this teenager with apathy and no motivation. It's been tough. I feel like I'm making mistakes, but I can't sit back and let him fail. We homeschooled 6th and 7th grade and it was great. However, socially, he wants to be at high school and I want him to be there as well. I want him to have the traditional experiences in high school, so homeschooling isn't an option at this point. I let him stay home again today, which worries me with his attendance. He works really hard at school and he comes home exhausted. He fell asleep about 6 p.m. yesterday and I tried to wake him up about 8 p.m., but he just rolled over. Then he woke up at 3 a.m. and couldnt go back to sleep! So this morning he was tired and cranky, and he claims he felt sick. I'm not sure. He had the horrible flu at the beginning of this year and that plays on my emotions. I truly wish I could find a support group where I could go in person and vent. I have thought about starting one, because this is a journey where you need a lot of support as a parent. I am thankful for this site and thankful to parents like you that I'm not alone.

in reply to ChristinaR1967

I hear you about the support group. It's kind of astonishing that we have no parents groups, although I think CHADD or ADDitude has online support groups. There aren't even any teen support groups where I live! And then I think part of maybe what he's experiencing is normal teenage boy stuff? Ugh. It's so hard to differentiate between manipulation and real I really can't do this because I can't pay attention and now I'm frustrated. Hang in there!

in reply to

Impactadhd is also an excellent online support group

seller profile image
seller in reply to

Camos - I've been saying the same thing for years.....this is the only place I found really consistent parent support. I did try a local CHADD group, but by the time I really needed help, my kid was a teen and all the CHADD topics were for younger kids. Actually, I keep thinking that perhaps I will try and do some volunteer education in our local high school. Our high school experience was a total nightmare and it would certainly be helpful if the teachers had some kind of ADHD education instead of thinking that our kids are delinquents who deliberately don't do their work and act out!

Pennywink profile image
Pennywink in reply to ChristinaR1967

I live in a larger city, but we do have a local CHADD group that meets monthly, and a whole (and expensive) private school for students struggling with ADHD and /or dyslexia. They also offer workshops / lectures from time to time that are open to the public.

So, depending on where you’re at, you may have some options. The CHADD website or Facebook page may be a good place to start your search (though I had to do some digging on mine, as the local group’s regular website is not up to date.)

Perhaps a local hospital or children’s hospital with a behavioral health unit may also have some local resources? Or your prescribing doctor may have some info.

Hope you are able to find something!

Crunchby profile image
Crunchby in reply to

Omg, that's one of the funniest post I've read here! Hopefully she will a discount on the little packs of gas-X, she will need it after eating all those day old hot dogs. :). Thx for the chuckle, same concerns here, although I've fallen just short of rescuing her from a drug house, but not ruling that one out now.

Pennywink profile image

Sorry to hear about your struggles & your sons. Have you added reduced / no homework added to his 504? Especially if it’s mostly busy work.

Also, have you explored tools to help him do his homework? People with ADHD tend to be time-blind, so an analog timer can help. And build in mini-breaks (like, for every 15 take a 5 mins break. Though sometimes getting them to come back from the break can be a chore.) Also, their ability to break down a project into steps is lacking and can make tasks overwhelming - so having a visual list breaking down what needs to be done helps, especially to remind hem what they should be doing if they do zone out / get distracted. Incentivizing getting the work done, especially in the beginning until it moves into “habit”, or whenever there are bumps in the road, helps. My son responds better to “if you get your work done by 5:00, you can have 30 mins of media time” than to “if you aren’t done by 5:00, I’ll take away your 30 min media time.” Even though the cause / effect is the same, phrasing it as granting a privilege versus taking away their rightful perk is helpful. Also, just checking in occasionally for a progress report. But instead of “why are you only 1/2 through your math?!?”, it works better with our son to say “Good job getting 1/2 through your math! Now let’s get the other half done.”

I recommend Smart But Scattered Teens by Peg Dawson. 😊

corster profile image

Oh my, I’m sorry but you should absolutely not be doing his homework in high school! Now he knows mommy will get it done for him every time so why should he ever be accountable himself to do it? You say he’s s good student at school, so why worry if homework isn’t getting done? If he fails, he can go to summer school. I get that you care about your child but doing his homework is worse than the consequences your husband wants to impose. Sits not like he’s a little kid in elementary school who needs homework help.

anirush profile image

My almost 14 year old grandson does not do homework but will stay after school for tutorials to work one-on-one with the teachers to catch up. he does this on his own and has done really well this year. He says he prefers to work with the teachers in a small group

We also started him on welbutrin this year because he did not seem to take joy in anything. His mother suffered from depression in high school so it does run in the family.

He is also on intuniv and seroquel. His teachers tell me hes not the same kid that he was 2 years ago when he used to be the class clown constantly in trouble.

Janice_H profile image

Hi Christina, I know how you feel and am going through all of these same things with the exception of having a husband. I am raising an 11 y.o. boy with ADHD and am a single mom. You are right - - it is difficult, frustrating, troubling and tiring but we WILL pull through this tough time.

I think the reason your son does not want to go to the tutor is because the work is challenging. It is also tiring focusing on school work for 6 hours, then having to spend time with a tutor. He is missing extra curricular activities and social time. Try and keep him encouraged about going and work fun activities into every weekend if he continues to work hard.

Also, consider getting your son to see a therapist. He feels inadequate because of his learning disability and just wants to feel normal. He is also going through puberty and there are lots of hormonal changes at this time. Peer pressure can bring teens down too. He sees himself as a disappointment to his father and perhaps even you. Having a therapist will allow him to express his concerns and begin to feel better about himself.

You are an amazing mother! Don't ever doubt that. Continue to be his advocate but try to have him be responsible for his own assignments. Your son WILL graduate and become a successful adult and it will be because of your continued love, support, encouragement and un-waivering advocacy. Hugs

reg2018 profile image

I have four teenage boys and three of them have ADHD. Their ages are 18, 14, and 13. I can tell you that in many ways I dragged that 18 year old through school trying to get him to complete work and get it handed it. His senior year was so freaking hard. But we made it. I never did his homework, but many times I sat next to him, making sure he was doing his homework and walking him through the steps.

For my 13 year old, he has a lower IQ, so at times when he has to write book reports or papers it can sometimes feel pretty close to doing his homework, because he also struggles with comprehension and I have to walk him through things several times. I'm basically giving him the answer, but then saying, "How would you say it in your words?"

I totally understand all of the fears that we have with our kids. They are there and they are real. But sometimes our kids can surprise us. My oldest made it through school and is now serving as a missionary for our church. He's been gone for three months and to my knowledge hasn't gotten hopelessly lost or done anything too stupid—that I know of. The worst thing he's done is dropped his phone in a pool. :) And somehow I'm not surprised at that.

seller profile image

I've been reading the posts below, along with your post and I wanted to give you my ADHD son is now 24, and I can relate to almost everything you and other parents posted about this issue. My first piece of advice is to lower your expectations considerably. I still cannot believe the amount of oversight that ADHD kids need and not just with school. And I have to say I didn't really believe it when I read that ADHD kids are 3-4 years behind their non-ADHD peers, but I can now see that it's completely true. Please don't worry about the amount of help you give your kid. I can't count the number of work sheets, book reports, etc. that I did for my son! We also had tutors (which did help), but my son hated school by the time he graduated from high school. (The details around graduation are another story!) My son would not have been able to any type of schoolwork without his meds and we gave him a booster dose of methylphenidate for evening homework. I would encourage you to try different stimulants, at different doses until you find one that works because your son will definitely need this additional help as he gets older. ADHD kids have problems with impulse control along with concentration and the medication helps with these issues. This means that things like drinking, taking drugs, driving safely, etc are really impacted by ADHD and medication is really the only thing that helps. Our boys have almost no insight into their behavior and don't really "grow" a brain until about age 25. We started to see some maturity around age 23 - he returned to college and asked to go back on his Vyvanse and he has shown more ability to manage his own affairs, like his part-time job, etc. (Don't ask about money management!) I hope this is not too depressing....but I think I would have been better prepared if I'd known not to treat my son like he was the same maturity level as I was at his age.....and that it's okay that we help our kids a lot more because they need that help. And as to the punishments.....I have to say they almost never work. And caused some of the worst fights at our house. If you do take away his phone or whatever, it needs to be immediate and short. Be prepared for the sullen moods, sarcastic remarks, etc. but do know that it was a pleasant surprise to realize that our son did internalize the values we taught just took a lot longer to see this. Let me know if you want to chat more. It's a really rough time and seems to go on forever!

ng24 profile image
ng24 in reply to seller

Thank you for sharing about your older son. My son is a Sr with inattentive ADD. Sr year is hard! I am just hoping that he passes. Keeping him focused is hard. Band, punishment does not work! In many ways he is a few years behind his peers in executive function. I understand this and have to remind myself daily

foreverbeach11 profile image

Hi Christina. I can hear in your post that you love your son dearly and want him to be successful. I’m sorry your family is going through this difficult time. Have you considered the ramifications of you doing your son’s homework? I have seen the same thing happen in the school I work in and the student is really the one that can suffer. Have you considered asking that your son have time during the school day to do his homework? This way he could get the help he needs without you doing his work. I know it’s difficult and you want the best for him. Have you thought about you and your son going to counseling? Maybe a counselor would be able to give you some strategies on how to handle your son when he doesn’t want to go to school or do his homework. Wishing you the best.

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