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how to convince dad that he's truly struggling

Our son is entering his junior year of college and practically flunked everything second semester of his sophomore year.  He always has good intentions, can be hard-headed, but struggles with organization and keeping track of deadlines.  He is transferring to another school in the fall and I am terribly worried that he is going to continue to face the same challenges.  His dad thinks we just need to let him flunk out and that will whip him into shape.  He feels as though me discussing ADHD with our son is giving him a crutch.  He was diagnosed in kindergarten after being kicked out of two preschools.  He was on meds from that time until 7th grade.  We took him off b/c on a few occasions when he got upset he talked about being better off dead and it freaked me out.  He struggled throughout high school to meet deadlines and if it weren’t for me breathing down his neck, he wouldn’t have done as well as he did.  How do I convince my husband that his struggle is very real and this needs to be addressed before we send him off to school in the fall once again?  Nothing is going to change!!!

Replies

So sorry for the hard times.  It’s always hard to know when to let life teach and when to support.  It sounds as if this is more than just a simple disagreement between you and your husband.  I wonder what your son feels will be different this time.  And what supports he has to help him develop the essential skills he is still developing.  Two things to keep in mind:  First, many of the skills regarding organization, time management, etc. are developmental Executive Function skills.  In kids w/ ADHD, these can develop up to 30% later than other kids. Many have to be supported at the “point of performance” - meaning when and where he needs to perform.  Second, ADHD is not a problem of knowing what to do, it’s doing what they know.  That’s one of the things that makes parenting so complex - are we supporting or enabling?  A great support for college kids and older teens is having an ADHD coach.  This can help bridge the gap between parent and young adult. 
As for hubby… perhaps he might be open to reading a bit more about ADHD - from the standpoint of readiness for college and the unique challenges involved.  I work with many “non-believers” and find that helping them see that ADHD is more than just the surface presentation helps them understand and develop empathy.. and patience - as their child matures.
Hope this helps a bit… Cindy

Posted by Coach Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC, ACAC on Jul 07, 2014 at 12:32pm

Our daughter failed several times…  and changed majors too…  We were checking and reminding her of deadlines all the time on the first two majors….  (She gave a schedule with deadlines.)  First, she tried studying medicine (great memory when focused), did not want to touch people, and missed deadlines. Second, she tired early child care (missed deadlines and hated all the paperwork and forms).  Third, (electrician) - hands on - LOVED GOING TO CLASS (on time and tutored others).... We did not need to remind her of anythings.  INDEPENDENCE AT LAST… 

She went off her meds at school, her choice….  another big change….  This takes time for the body to adjust too… 

We did not remind her of anything only on the third attempt….  Age 25, she got her own accommodations…  Longer test times (double), digital recorder (lectures - could be reviewed), etc.  She needed more maturing time…  and her own goals….  She was high honors in electrician school…  This was four or five classes, fixed schedule EVERY DAY classes..  Group study during breaks (lunch)....  and some weekend study groups…  exchange phone numbers and emails of classmates, when stuck on something… 

Yes, it is hard to watch them fail and they lose financial aid, if they fail too many classes….  She had to take over several of the failed classes to clean up her pass / fail grade ratio too.  She did discover 4 x 4 general education classes, which were easier to focus on.  (One class for four weeks, then the next class.)  One week all day in-class summer classes too.  She did the best with in classroom and one subject at a time…. 

Ask him, if he hates what he is going to school for… ???  Half time might help, until he is adjusted….  or back home for tech college on general ed classes first…  (AVOID too much free time, it can cause other PROBLEMS)

Discussion is good….  Ask about accommodations, study groups, etc….  See counselor at school for ideas too…. 

Some kids take the long road, but they get there when they decide it is what they want….  A year off of school and work helps many kids too….  Working in fast food…  wants you to get a degree much faster… 

Good Luck!
Keep believing in him…  TELL HIM….  You believe in him and his decisions…..  ASK - WHAT DOES HE WANT TO DO, if not school?

Posted by ADHD-3in home on Jul 07, 2014 at 12:48pm

Thanks,
he is a student/athlete and has chosen physical education as his major.  When I saw all the deadlines his sophomore year, I freaked b/c I knew this was going to be a challenge.  He lost his athletic scholarship (everyone expects him to conduct himself like a responsible young adult and sadly, not only is he young…late birthday, but then this to deal with) and is hoping to pick one up at his new school.  He has never shared this struggle with others either b/c I think he thinks everyone will consider it an excuse.  He generally listens to me and I am hoping to convince him to seek on campus help but also not holding my breath.  I will talk to him again, but I am getting annoyed with dad who thinks that I have just babied him.  I think that I definitely spend more energy on him than my other two and that perhaps I have contributed to the problem????But, his challenges are very real…example, he is taking a class at the community college and hopped out of his car (left it running) and went to class.  Did this once in HS also.  He loses everything, gets assignments done and then forgets to turn them in and procrastinates like nobodies business…UGH!!!!!

Posted by 5kut6seg on Jul 07, 2014 at 4:43pm

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