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Nineteen yr. old with ADHD

Hi. My son is 19. He did not finish high school this past year. As soon as summer arrived, he bought himself a one way ticket out of state to see his girlfriend and best friend. He has been there for almost 2 months and has finally agreed to come back home. He doesn’t want to go back to high school and be a “super senior”...instead he wants to get a GED. His plan is to go to community college after this for a couple of years and then transfer to a state college. What worries me is that he has major sleep issues and total lack of any kind of “drive”. We label him as being lazy but is that just the ADD? Or is that just his personality? He has not been on medication for several years. Thinking of trying meds along with counseling. What do you think??

Replies

I have a lot of words of advice and suggestions, but I am the first one to say that every person is different and what works with one doesn’t always work with another. Also what does/doesn’t work at one point, may not/may work at another point.

First and foremost, many 19-year old males haven’t found themselves yet, but socially and emotionally there is a good chance that your son isn’t even 19 yet. Remember that most ADHD kids are 2-4 years behind socially and emotionally.

If your son is willing to participate in meds and counseling - great idea. You don’t say if you live in an area with many resources, but another possibility is a coach experienced with ADHD. Your son needs to have definitive goals with checkpoints/milestones every couple months at minimum to help him focus and see results.

Mix in some fun and joy with the school and work goals. Any activities that he enjoys? Maybe an activity planned, concert?, skiing?, amusement park visit?, trip to beach/lake, etc at the milestones. This really helps my 16-year old daughter.

Posted by MindfulMomof2Daughters on Jul 26, 2014 at 1:55pm

Great advice from MindfulMomof2Daughters. If your son rejects meds and counseling, be patient, stay positive, and let him know you will help him with these when he is ready. He sounds pretty reasonable with his plan for his education, and so it is likely that he will come around before too long.

Posted by ral77851 on Jul 26, 2014 at 6:40pm

What appears to be a lack of motivation is part of ADHD, executive functioning really. You have to be able to weigh rewards and consequences to motivate yourself, e.g., “If I work really hard at basketball workouts, I’ll be a better player. If I’m a better player it might lead to a college scholarship. A college scholarship would keep me from drowning in debt when I graduate.” That’s a lot of steps to consider the benefit to running an activity you don’t like.

To help motivate him, help him feel successful in small strides. “You’re making good progress on your GED—you must feel really proud.” The key is to facilitate HIM feeling good about accomplishments, not that accomplishments mean mom and dad are proud. Internal motivation is much more powerful.

There’s more advice surrounding your dilemma on ADDitudeMag.com as well: http://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/6/6633.html.

Lastly, I suggest reading “You Mean I’m not Lazy, Crazy, or Stupid.” And have your son read it too.

Penny
ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 28, 2014 at 3:55pm

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The opinions expressed on ADDConnect are solely those of the user, who may or may not have medical training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of ADDConnect or ADDitude magazine. For more information, see our terms and conditions.