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Parents of ADHD Teens and Young Adults

Gifted teen making poor choices

Our 15 year old son Gifted ADHD is in deep sleep problems which ultimately result in missing about 1/2 of his school. He started seriquel at bedtime last month but, that combined with the vyvanse isn’t working.We have a good psychiatrist and counsellor now. 

He is now starting to stay out and hang out with kids who are drinking and smoking pot. He is bored at school but still manages to pull of passing grades to B’s even when he is not there! He is learning that there really is not point to school. He excels in physics, chemistry and math but he is giving up. This is so painful to witness. He is now resisting family rules, of which there are few. He doesn’t want to be with any family. Help..


Sorry, a bit confused. The seriquel is keeping him awake so he goes to sleep too late and sleeps too late? My 15 yo isn’t gifted and is failing school. He takes Adderall and Kapvay (non-stim), goes to bed late and sometimes sleep late, missing 1 or 2 morning classes. He doesn’t listen to anything I tell him, but he’s not hanging out bec. he really doesn’t have any friends. He has a therapist and psycho-pharm. He doesn’t do any of his homework, except for an occasional math assignment. I’m not making this up. He has an F in his core classes. I don’t know that therapy is working at all. He seems seriously depressed. Oh, he also takes 100 mg. of zoloft daily to help with anxiety. Thinking of changing his meds. I don’t think this helped you at all, only that we have a sorta similar issue. Please keep me updated as to how he is doing. I’m very sorry.

Posted by Clever1 on Nov 13, 2013 at 1:10am

Thank you, he is on a waitlist for the sleep study however, the last time we were on this 6month wait list it was no longer an issue once we got a spot! This time we waited 6month and then the program changed it’s mandate to only see patience 16 years and older. We are now on a waitlist for a program that will see a 15 year old.

Posted by heather3 on Nov 13, 2013 at 1:42am

Hi Clever1,
Aiden takes the seroquel to help him sleep at night. He takes 30mg vyvanse in the day which seems critical to help him focus when he is at school. We will review his meds next week. My son also misses 1-3 morning classes so our target now is to get him to sleep and make it for second block…this feels like climbing mountains for him. We have had several meetings with the school and all of the teachers are modifying their expectations for him until we get this sleep thing handled. It has been over three months like this!! meet with your boys teachers and principal. this is a medical issue and can you imagine how crappy they feel when they do arrive at school and have no idea what’s going on? If there is a test, my son goes to the Learning Centre where he can study or take the test depending on how reasonable it is. Zoloft can really knock them out.
We dont allow my son his phone the following day if he doesnt have it plugged in by 9pm. he would stay on screens all day if he could so we have to police this for him at this point. He hates it but… We try to stay positive when he does make it to school and he says he wants to get to be there full time…. hard to believe when he is in bed and fast asleep when I wake him and yells at me to leave his room. Let me know how you do…..

Posted by heather3 on Nov 13, 2013 at 1:49am

I know that structure and deadlines work best for my 17 year old ADHD son.  If he breaks a rule, violates curfew or is disrespectful, then we confiscate his itouch for a week.  He doesn’t easily learn from his mistakes, but the consequence is given immediately.  He is allowed 3 hours a day on the computer which is set to go on at 7 a.m. and shuts down at 9:00 p.m.  His itouch is in my hands at 9:30 p.m.  He does his laundry on the weekend or he doesn’t have clean clothes.  He has few chores:  walks and feeds dog on the weekends, empties the dishwasher and takes out the trash.  If he doesn’t do these chores, he must do pots and pans and whatever dishes are in the sink.  We try not to be wordy when we have disagreements and we try to succinctly state what needs to be done. 

He hates these rules, but knows that that is the way it is.  We don’t give him any money.  He had a job two summers ago, but not since.  He is applying to college, but will take a GAP year and defer enrollment for one year or two if necessary.  If he works for 10 months, we will pay for him to participate in a month long program that is fun, but structured.  We’ve been told he is 3 years behind in development.  As another member stated, this is not easy to witness, but what else can we do?  He occasionally takes Vyvanse, but not as often as he should.  He likes school, but doesn’t work very hard.  His grades are good because he is very smart.  His teachers know his struggles and he achieves the most with those teachers who understand the issues and work with him and with us.

I think it is very important for these smart kids to be in schools with rigorous programs and to find extracurricular activities they enjoy.  Talk therapy is also good support so that you know that your kid is talking with at least one other person.  My son was very resistant at first and often still complains, but keeps most of his weekly appointments.  I drive him there so transportation is not an issue.

Life is not as I wish it would be, but keeping a strict schedule helps quite a bit.  It’s a journey.

Posted by jak on Dec 10, 2013 at 10:21am

Dear Jak,

I think your response is really interesting, do you think that the increased structure has really helped your son? I’ve been finding that in the work I do with ADHD students, very strict structure combined with finding extracurricular activities that really fire them up, tends to work (rebuild motivation, etc.). Sometimes the extracurricular needs to be done outside of the context of school as well (if the teen is actually gifted, it has to proceed at his pace). Wondering about all this in the context of Heather3’s initial post.


Posted by Ari Kalinowski @ on Dec 21, 2013 at 5:39am

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