I'm new here! :) --- Parenting advice for adult children with ADHD

My husband and I are struggling in dealing with our adult children, all of which have ADHD and social anxiety. Each a little different. The main problem with the boys seems to be VIDEO GAME ADDICTION! It has to be a real thing..... Our oldest is the worst. He is currently unmedicated, his choice, and this is his main activity in life, Gaming..... Ugh! Help!

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5 Replies

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  • Hello,

    I was diagnosed with adhd as an adult, and it has taken me a long time to come to terms with it. When I first found out, people gave me advice but I didn't want to hear it because I was in denial. I didn't make any changes until I was ready to do the work myself. I was angry that I had struggled for so long without an explination, and I felt sorry for myself. Fortunately, I was in a graduate program with other students who were add'ers as well. When they started talking openly about their experiences, then I started to come to terms with my own. I am not saying that I have solved all of my problems or that I completely accept who I am. I continue to struggle with issues related to adhd as well as anxiety. BUT, I feel that my relationships with the people who really matter have become stronger as a result of my own understanding of my condition.

    It sounds like your sons are not addicted to video games, but they are actually doing something called "hyper-focusing" which is a common symptom of adhd. I think that they might need as much positive support from you as they can get because negative attention does not help. I also think they will change once they become interested in educating themselves about adhd.

    Here is a video that really helped me... It is a bit long, (you can fast forward to the parts that are relevant to you) but it definitely helps people without learning disabilities understand a little of what we go through on a daily basis...

    I also like to watch other youtube videos and listen to podcasts about adhd and dyslexia. One of my favorite podcasts is: Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast

    takecontroladhd.com/

    Your sons are lucky to have parents who care so much about their well being. Best of luck to you and your family!

  • Thanks so much for your reply. It sounds like you are doing a great job at recognizing the condition and taking steps to help yourself! That is fantastic! I think I have a complex issue with regard to my kids, because I care too much!!

    A little background: Our son was diagnosed when he was in 1st grade and began medication. I don't really remember when, but at one point I realized what I was learning about sounded a lot like myself! That is when I was diagnosed with ADHD and later social anxiety, and began medication treatment. (Which helped me a lot!) Next our is daughter who had tics, which have gotten better, and ADHD, and depression.... Of course, is being treated, still to this day. Then we had two boys, who have more anxiety, but also ADHD - one of them more ADHD than the other. Both of which are on medication. All have also had therapy over the years. So, we've been dealing with this stuff most of their lives. They are good kids (adults) ages 26, 24, and two are 20. The motivation is what is really lacking. I understand it is up to them to take control of their own lives and live their best life possible. But, what do you do when there is next to no motivation? Our daughter is the best off, as she is doing pretty well.

    The main problem is the boys and the fact that video games are the most important thing in their lives..... The twins went away to college and barely studied or did any work, they mostly gamed and missed classes. I do understand that it was their first year, but they really weren't ready for college from a maturity standpoint. But they wanted to go.

    We brought them home and sent them to the community college, where they didn't really improve. So, this semester they are paying their own way with the perk that we will repay them for certain grades when the courses are completed.

    As for our oldest, he pretty much only games and attends an automotive school. He is not medicated, which makes his impulsivity pretty high. He had kind of been out on his own, living with friends, but is now back at home.... We are now working on conditions for him to live at home with us.

    This is just so exhausting and also affects my husband and my relationship. It would be Great if he would take responsibility for himself and his actions.

    Thank you for sharing the link, I will definitely watch it and look into your other suggestions!!

  • Hello,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with me! It sounds like you really love your family, but it also sounds like your efforts to help everyone are taking a toll on you emotionally.

    To give yourself a much deserved break, it might help to start showing a little tough love towards your children. If they slowly start to gain responsibility for their finances, then that might motivate them to look for a way to support themselves. Often times, it can be easier to think about each day as it comes instead of planning for the future.

    People with ADD tend to have certain strengths, such as our ability to think on our feet and our tendency to be creative problem-solvers. I also believe that people with ADD perform best with movement and hands on experiences.

    Certain jobs require "hands on" work, such as being an electrician, a teacher/childcare worker, an OT/PT/SLP, working in the food industry or being an EMT/Paramedic to name a few. Another point to consider is that it can be extremely hard to focus in a class that is not interesting (especially if you have ADD), but if we are genuinely interested then there is the chance that "hyperfocus" will kick in (the ability to focus really well on the subject matter.) This can be a strength or a weakness, so I believe that awareness is really important.

    I would recommend that you have a conversation with your children about their responsibilities if they choose to live at home. I would tell them to think about their strengths and what interests them, and choose something to pursue. I would encourage them to find part time work related to their interests while taking a certification course (if necessary) part time.

    When I finished college, I started working for a non-profit company. This was not the right fit for me, and I was eventually fired. My confidence was shattered, and feelings of anxiety/depression sank in. Eventually, I found a job working in a daycare (with children with special needs) since I had previous work experience with this population. Having a routine and a purpose really helped build my self confidence, plus I was earning money which helped boost feelings of self efficacy.

    I was introduced to occupational therapy while working at this job. After doing a lot of research, I started to do some observations and eventually started to take per-requisite courses. Long story short, I went to grad school, took my certification exam, and now I am a licensed OT. It was a long journey and I dealt with many struggles along the way, but I think it was worth it. I have a possible job opportunity, and I am doing what I can to prepare myself.

    I believe that my initial experience working at the daycare helped lead me in the right direction. I made plenty of mistakes, but I try to learn from them. I was also fortunate to have a family that encouraged me every step of the way. They would not take no for an answer and they would not let me give up even when I didn't think I could do it any more.

    In retrospect, I would have looked for part time work in environments that were similar to OT while in graduate school (ex: working as an aide in a school, a personal care assistant or a rehab aide in a hospital/skilled nursing facility.)

    Everyone needs a purpose. When people lack a sense of purpose, that leads to feelings of hopelessness and depression. Finding a job can be beneficial in so many ways, especially when trying to improve a person's motivation.

    I really hope this makes sense! Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Again, thank you so much for your reply and all of your insight! It is really helpful!

    I have a basic understanding of tough love, but I think I need to do a little research on that to get some ideas. I/we struggle with how much to expect. For example, our daughter had been hospitalized for a week about 5 yrs. ago for depression. She is involved with an expensive activity that we have been funding for almost 10 years. It is her passion in life. At times I want to tell her she is going to have to take over the payments, because of her not taking responsibility for things around the house, including her room. But my husband brought up his fears of this sending her back into a deep depression..... So, we haven't done this because we don't know how she would really react. We have since given her a timeline of when she is to take over the payments. Which is when she finishes college. (I hope that happens.) This activity is both enjoyable for her and she also works there part time. But, I know you have to use things that are important to each child to take away. So, this is a struggle since this is pretty much the only thing she truly cares about....

    I guess maybe my main question might be, at what age can we expect our kids to leave the nest? How hard do we push them out? Part of me feels they definitely need extra time because of their struggles. I think I try so hard to inform/educate/give chances to our kids because I often look back to when I was a kid and felt my parents could have/should have given me better guidance. I know that isn't fair because I know they did the best they could. Back then, people didn't really know much about this condition. But it's hard to know where to draw the line. I don't want to have 30 yr. old children living at home with us!! I understand they need to feel that they want to move on in life, but I don't see the motivation or even any thoughts going on in some of their heads (the boys) to move in that direction.

    I appreciate this forum where we can get feedback on other people's experiences to help us with our situation! By the way, like I said, I am new to this. Is is typical to only get one reply?

    Thank you again!! I have a lot of 'homework' to do!

  • I had a major addiction to video games in my 20's. I say "had" because I have to stop feeding into the need to escape life through fantasy but I could easily return to it.

    Video game overuse for me was a form of self-medication like drinking etc. I didn't do it because I had no love for my friends or family. I did it because I was carrying around pain that I couldn't face or cope with.

    People with ADHD can have it worse because the ability to focus (hyper-focus) feels better than the usual feeling of being scattered.

    webmd.com/mental-health/add...

    americanaddictioncenters.or...

    vice.com/en_us/article/vdpw...

    For me I had to break the cycle abruptly with my wife's help to come out of the addictive fog. I saw the pain my neglect caused her.