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Parents of ADHD Teens and Young Adults

Helping with homework

I need advice!I have a 9th grader with ADHD and Auditory Processing.Every night he reviews his notes and I quiz him.I assist with interpreting some of his reading assignments and essays are a nightmare.I help him organize his thoughts for essay assignments by talking things out out loud and having him write out graphic organizers on what we discuss.This is exhausting!Is anyone else spending their days doing this and is it the right thing to do!He does well at school because of this support at home.He has an IEP and resource room at school but no one is gonna review like this with him and he does well because of it.


I homeschool my kids who have multiple learning disabilities, so yes, I spend my days doing this.  I’ll give you the same advice that a wise woman once told me.

      Children are preprogrammed to want to become
adults. How many times have you offered to help, only to have your child say “leave me alone, I want to do it myself.”  Give you child as much help as he needs.  When he can do it himself, he will tell you in no uncertain terms.

I hope this helps.

Posted by Abner on May 14, 2014 at 11:58pm

8th grade boy on IEP. I work 2 jobs. In between my day job and my evening, I help with HW. I’m not looking forward to HS because I know it will get worse. But life won’t be pretty for a kid who can’t graduate HS, so I don’t have a lot of options. Besides winning the lottery and getting him a private tutor. It feels like we spend 1/2 the year just getting teachers who know how to work with ADHD kids without penalizing or humiliating him. I’m so tired of teachers who think he will “get better” just by virtue of being in their class and being exposed to their routine. Seriously?

Posted by Cheryl P on May 15, 2014 at 4:21am

Yes, it is exhausting!  Yes, there are lots of parents spending their days doing what they can to support their kids!

I have been academically supporting my son since he was in kindergarten.  We, and I do mean we, are now getting ready to enter high school.  I have had many low moments when I’ve wondered if all that I’m doing is helping or hurting. What has allowed me to get through and to continue day after day is the knowledge that my son’s time in school is finite but if I fail to see that he becomes an educated person, the consequences of that will carry over and ruin his entire lifetime.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. School forces my son to constantly work with his weaknesses. But once he completes school he will be able to find work or a career that allows him to exercise his strengths. Having difficulty In school does not mean not able to manage in life.  If I did not support him, he might mistakenly learn that he is stupid or not capable. If I did not support him he might not be able to experience success and to realize just how capable he is.

Yes, it can be awfully tiring to keep up all that support for 180 days of school. And to offer all that extra support for YEARS on end can wear you down. But don’t give up! Take heart in knowing that you are not alone and that there are many who know exactly what you are going through. And most importantly don’t give up because your son will be the better because of it!

P.S. Thanks for your post. Reading it helped to remind me also that helping our kids to experience academic success is probably one of the biggest gifts we can offer them.

Posted by syn on May 15, 2014 at 4:35am

I want to add one bit of caution: Be sure you are not doing so much for your kids with ADHD that they don’t learn to do for themselves.

Start working toward him studying in this manner on his own. There are apps to create flashcards on any subject, then the app will quiz you. Have him set timers and alarms to stay on task.

At some point, you can’t be there walking him through everything. When that time comes, he needs to be able to implement what you taught him on his own.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on May 15, 2014 at 4:15pm

Oh, yes. I am SO there with you, as are many of us.  Every night is the dreaded activity of homework.  It’s especially hard if you are doing it all alone (as in single parent), because you have to tend to your own job, meals, housework, myriad other things, AND be there to help your child with his/her academics.  It IS exhausting and I know exactly how you feel.

I try to find a balance between helping and pushing my son to accomplish on his own, but, with the LDs, I’m afraid he can’t do much if left to his own devices, so I have to be right there to monitor so that the work gets done.  It’s not just answering questions and helping through the trouble spots - it’s constantly reminding to do the work. Without the prodding, it just would not get done. Period. The future is scary because I often don’t see how he’s going to survive the higher grades when he can’t motivate himself.  But, with that said, I still push him to do the work on his own and come to me when he doesn’t understand things, and I do lots of extra lessons with him to try and get the lessons to sink in. He’ so bright, but he lacks the drive to do things on his own.

So, we have to help our kids learn the tricks and tools to work around their difficulties and also to accentuate their strengths.  It will help them in the end.  It is exhausting, but, in my mind, there’s no other way.  If we don’t help them, they don’t stand a chance.  I have not yet had the pleasure of finding a teacher who is actually willing to help, so it also often falls on us to educate the teachers where ADHD is concerned.  It could easily be a full time job in itself. :\

Keep talking to the school - teachers, administrators, ESE resources - and keep trying to enlist some help for yourself and your son.

Great job, btw. You’re a very good mom to do what you do!

Posted by JAMurphy on May 15, 2014 at 5:57pm

Don’t give up and don’t beat yourself up when you get a little cranky. This stuff is hard! My oldest son was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD in elementary school. Homework was a continuous battle for many years. We even made the mistake of letting him do a year of middle school from home… HAH that was awful! In his senior year, it just “clicked” for him. Part of it was taking courses that appealed to him (lots of art, advanced choir, graphic design, etc.) and part of it was just maturing.

It’ll never be like it is with internally-motivated, focused children, but it will be worth it. There’s a great article on the home page today about how to help someone with ADD. I was just diagnosed with ADD myself, so I’m looking back at things with a much different perspective. ADD kids’ minds simply work differently and my constant expectation that he approach homework and organization like my other sons was wrongly placed. Try to keep focused on your child’s strengths. If he’s an amazing artist, ask him to draw you a picture often, and put that picture up where YOU can see it while working with him. ADD folks have amazing creativity, and honestly our school system does everything possible to kill that creativity. Our society seems to tell us that, unless we are organized and master math, science and English, we’re not worthwhile. I’m a huge fan of STEM (both of my younger sons are in STEM-related programs), but STEM needs some form of Art (STEAM) to really be unleashed.

Uh. Sorry, what was I writing about? Oh yah…

There’s no magic wand, and what works for your son will be different from what works for mine. But you are the rock in his world. Keep talking about ADD - it’s symptoms and its benefits - to help your son develop a conscious strategy. When he slips, meh… Give him a hug. The only time to yell is when he really, truly isn’t trying (and after years of yelling, all I can say is it never really had a positive effect anyhow).

If you two work together and if you foster a world for him during those homework hours where he feels trusted, valued, loved and appreciated, it’ll come together. And yes - at SOME point it’s really going to click for him and your role will mostly be to applaud from the sidelines.

Hang tight!

Posted by johno on May 16, 2014 at 7:39pm

Thank you for posting.  You put words to my feelings as well.  For me and my ADD daughter, homework has become a bonding time.  She is only in fifth grade now, but once she’s in High School hopefully she will comprehend that she is with the one parent who will always have her back; will love, encourage, and teach her persistence, goal setting and organization.

I have high expectations for my daughter.  She will be taking AP and honors courses in high school, and I intend to be her cheerleading tutor all the way through.

Posted by Suxie on May 16, 2014 at 9:55pm

I do think it is hard to strike just the right spot of helping enough but not too much. And , like you, I have found myself exhausted by it.
My son’s middle school gives so many time-consuming projects and intense math assignments that he spends literally all day Saturday and Sunday, aside from church and youth group, doing homework. Being his body double and providing redirection prompts helps him but wears the rest of us out.
Finally had to ask my husband to get his schedule changed to be available more of the weekend because I would be so drained after the weekend that it was hard to go back to work. The moral for me was to not to try to do it all myself and to recognize when I/we needed a break.
Sometimes we have just had to acknowledge that he won’t make the grades that match his intellect because he is a bright, good kid who is just not “good at school” the way it is designed.

Posted by BLF on May 20, 2014 at 5:34am

Inspired post, Johno,
I think I will print it, make a picture of it and put it up where I can see it whenever I stray from working with client strengths.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on May 20, 2014 at 1:20pm

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