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Parents of ADHD Teens and Young Adults

Son is obsessed with fixing things.....

Our 17 yr. old son has a problem with creating projects. We’ve “invested” in some expensive toy replicas because he wanted them for birthdays or Christmas (ie tractors, action figures, etc) they are (were) collectibles. He has completely redone most of them, with materials around the house.  While this sounds great, as far as keeping himself busy and being creative, he leaves a mess in his wake.  He’s used up some our own resources in doing this, including expensive tools and glues, etc.  It never ends. When we think he’s done with something, he’ll think of a way to do it all over.  It’s an expensive and messy hobby. We’ve tried giving him wood and woodworking tools but he’ll do the same thing with that. Many times his dad will ask him to wait so he can help him but he won’t, creating an expensive mistake. Anyone else have this going on and what do you do??


I’ve actually locked the tools up….many have gone missing and have been replaced more than once.
Do you have anywhere he can get an old computer/lawn mower/ etc and have him buy and be responsible for his own tools? Do you have a. Space he can have and look after?

Posted by JulieBmotherof3 on May 05, 2014 at 1:36am

What about restricting his projects to the Tech Shop?
I do not know if you have those where you live.  It could be social as well as there’s a norm to keep things picked up.

Posted by marymartin on May 05, 2014 at 2:28am

Sounds like he just might create something amazing! 

Like the Tech Shop idea, do you have a special place for your son to ‘work’ on his creations.  A place where he can keep his tools and have his own mess.

Maybe take him to garage sales to see if they have any tools he could use or something cheap he may want to take apart and re-create. 

When our ADHD son was little, I remember his doctor saying that having a lot of energy is not a bad thing just as long as it is used in a productive way.

Maybe your son would be interested in having his own you tube channel showing how to take things apart and what he re-creates.

I’m not much help, but something great will come of all this!

Posted by pricemama on May 05, 2014 at 7:25pm

He sounds like a remarkable young man with character, perseverance and talent.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on May 06, 2014 at 1:19am

Hi Kitty!Oh can I relate!My 15 year old son is obsessed(if I can use that word)with taking apart old tvs,vcrs,computers,you name it.He LOVES wires and circuit boards.We support this by giving him old,used stuff and have set up a work area in the basement.Every few months i go downstairs,garbage bags in hand and purge his area when he is at school so he cannot tell me he needs all of it!Nothing we give him of an electronic nature has ever really stayed in its ORIGINAL form,it ends up taken apart and revamped for something else that really doesnt do much but light up!Its hard to deal with because i am a neat freak!My advice is to give your child his own work area but have some limits as to what how much he can collect.In our house if a big old T.V.moves in than some big old something goes to the curb!!Hope this helps!

Posted by keeks on May 14, 2014 at 9:28pm

Thanks for all the replies.  (Especially Dr. Tucker!) It made me feel better.  I did have in the back of my mind that he could be the next John Deere…We’ve given up on controlling it and just let him have his “laboratory” in the basement as long as he vacuums up the mess.  He has his own tools; he just takes our stuff to add to it (nail polish of mine to paint his metal contraptions!)  Now we have new issues I will make a new post about….

Posted by Kittymom on Jun 08, 2014 at 7:50pm

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