Parenting a Child with LD or ADHD

11th grader -- I'm tired of this........

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Joined: May 19, 2006
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Posted Nov 10, 2008 at 4:46:04 PM
Subject: 11th grader -- I'm tired of this........

I have an 11th grade child in mainstream classes, some level A college prep. He's been classified since preschool with ADHD and auditory processing issues. As long as I "crack the whip" we get a good result. I am soooo tired of nagging and spoon feeding. Will he ever show initiative?? Am I enabling him by helping with studying, checking the agenda book, etc? I'm so confused as to how much to help and when to back off.

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Joined Feb 06, 2005
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Posted:Nov 11, 2008 5:04:54 AM

Hi Smurfette,
It's a question that you really can't answer at the moment?
I would suggest that the only solution is to plan a graduated withdrawal of help. So that he develops the skills and confidence to use his own initiative.

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Joined Jul 11, 2005
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Posted:Nov 11, 2008 10:04:35 AM

People with ADHD may mature more slowly than their peers. However, you may want to start working towards more independence by slowly turning more responsibility over to him. Sit down and have a discussion with him about it and make a plan together. Involve him in the solution.

Its okay to help but let him take the lead.

scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

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Joined Jun 01, 2008
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Posted:Nov 21, 2008 7:37:50 PM

My son is also ADHD and immature for his age. However, his case manager is pretty adament that as an 11th grader he has to start taking more responsibility for his learning. So, I have backed off...and it's been hard not to step in and help. At one point he was failing 3 classes, but that's now down to one. He plans on getting a job next summer, and his employer will expect to deal with him, not me. Accepting more responsibility means accepting the consequences for poor choices. Both his case manager and I are monitoring things, and I still e-mail his teachers once in a while. I do keep on him to write in his planner because it's a good habit to get into. I have provided a incentive to help, too. His success or failure has to be his ultimate responsibility, though.

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Joined May 05, 2008
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Posted:Nov 28, 2008 12:46:10 PM

I have ADHD, I was never considered immature, if anything it was the too mature for my age factor that caused more upset than my lack of maturity. But that happens when one is the oldest child in an abusive home.

I found, when my sister was nearly 2 after i took a swiss army knife away from her i was around 6. My father gave it back to her cuz she cried. I said bad idea she will slice herself open. And within an hour there was more screaming and low and behold.... I was right. Then, because my dad didn't want to get in trouble he cut some thread got a needle boiled it in water and made me sew the kids hand up. This was my childhood. Taking care of my sister while my mother worked full time + and my father worked full time and screwed off part time. Maturity is nurture not in general nature based unless there is a proven disorder like clinical retardation. Those with ADHD do not have such a disability. We are not disabled. We are different with a different way of viewing the world and a different value set. For whatever reason. Might it be based on a difference in the brain? Yes, that is possible. Has it been proven conclusively? NO. It has NOT been. Infact all that seems to get proven is how normal our brains are.

If your child is immature it is because you baby him. My sister is very immature. Because i still baby her and she is 23 years old! She is my child in every way that matters. And i sucked as a mother. I was also 6 when i became a mother.

If you have problems with how your kids mature, it is your parenting style no offense intended you mean the best i know, because i meant the best too but that doesn't change the fact that my kid sister is 23 and i am still filling her bathtub for her and washing her laundry. If you want your kid to grow up, put them in a position where they simply have no alternative. It goes against what one naturally wants to do as a parent because we want to protect our kids. Sometimes though, the protection they need is from our innate need to over parent which is an innate need for all of us. (except my parents.)It takes a wake up call, evidence that the world won't stop to baby them sometimes, failure of a class or 2 to show them they have to grow up. Always protecting them from such experiences is poor parenting.

We think our first job as parents is to protect our kids. The fact is, it's not. It took me..... from age 6 till age 20 to learn that. Our *real* first job is to *teach* our children how to live. And sometimes, we must use the tools made available by society to do that. It sux because we also feel driven to protect, but failing a couple classes is hardly the worst thing in the world.

Seriously, stop and think about it a moment. So your kid fails too many classes to go forward and gets held back. it sux. BUT, they have another opportunity to get it right. Why should everyone have to succeed at everything on their first try? The sun will still rise, the birds will still sing. Yourr kid will be very upset and likely insist upon redeeming himself in his second go at it, though i am also sure he will feel a great deal of pain over it as well which is why as parents we feel the urge to jump in to rescue our kids. Our kids by about age 16 must begin to grow up.

Also teaching strategies like planners are good. I wish i had had a mother that jumped on me about that.... But mine never did. Truth is, my folks cared but not enough to do anything but demand the school deal with it. They, couldn't be asked, till i was a teenager and then it all got really reallyy ugly. It doesn't have to be that way. Teach sgtrategies and your kid will learn them. But don't always get between them and painful experiences or you stunt their growth.

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Joined May 13, 2008
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Posted:Nov 29, 2008 9:35:33 AM

I agree with the first couple of pp's. My kids don't have ADHD. My son has had an anxiety disorder with selective mutism. Even talking in school, he had bathroom issues and needed to wear a pullup for school.

I try not to "enable" him. It's hard. When my son started second grade, I took away the pullups. I told him he needs to use the bathroom in school and he will get a toy. It was so painful for him. He would say "mommy, I'm holding it in all day...can I please have the pullup?" My heart was breaking. I really just wanted to give him the pullup, but I knew I needed to do this for his sake.

Six weeks had past and one day my son says "mommy, can I have my toy now, I went to the bathroom in the nurses office". He did it. I was so proud of him.

My neighbors kids have ADHD. Her son did very well in school with medication. She said he was an "A" student in high school. He is failing college because of the impulsiveness. He squanders the money he makes and doesn't attend class. The medication doesn't fix the impulsiveness problem.

Our LD are life-long problems. As a parent, we do the best to try not to "enable" them and to prepare them for life. The decisions and mistakes they make in life, is of their own.

I understand you pain and frustration. Do the best you can to help him become self sufficient. Let us know how it goes.


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Joined Dec 09, 2008
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Posted:Dec 09, 2008 9:02:06 AM

Kids will step up IF they have the skills to do so. If not, then backing off will only lead to failure, which will likely trigger a downward spiral and/or dysfunctional coping strategies.

I do not believe that, for the most part, kids who lack initiative or self-advocacy skills are enabled by their parents. I believe that certain subskills are lacking which will not magically appear once supports are pulled out.

Someone needs to be working with your child to help him pick up the slack. First, you need to pinpoint the source of the problem. Does the child need help learning how to organize and time manage? Is he suffering from anxiety and poor self-esteem due to past failures? If he tends to shut down due to anxiety when faced with potential failure or tasks which he perceives to be overwhelming, then you first need to build a strong foundation of success and teach coping skills...otherwise, pulling back your support will only trigger dysfunctional avoidant responses which only become stronger b/c they are internally reinforced.

We need to take an objective, behavior approach to these problems. It's easy to assume that we are enabling our children. But that's a moralistic judgement, based on what is perceived to be wrong or right. We need to figure out what is driving our children's behavior. The strive for independence is hardwired into our kids and naturally reinforced when there are no major impediments for a kid to deal with. Your child would not be accepting your help at this point in his life if it weren't for the fact that he is lacking the skills to function completely on his own.

Internal reinforcement is difficult for him to find at this point due to various impediments which have built up over the years. He probably needs external motivators which he can work towards. But, devising an effective system of positive reinforcement for spec needs kids is very difficult. These systems work best when overseen by a psychologist or learning specialst.

[Modified by: fay on December 09, 2008 09:03 AM]

[Modified by: fay on December 09, 2008 09:09 AM]

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Joined Nov 03, 2004
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Posted:Jan 08, 2009 3:13:23 PM

My son has adhd and is a senior this year. Half way through his junior year he became very upset that I was babying him and controlling. I am learning to back off, its hard when you spend so much time fighting for them and then they don't need you. What do I do with my time now. Happy to have this problem sad not share that time with him anymore.

Shel If your not kicking hard enough your not making waves!

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Joined May 05, 2008
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Posted:Jan 24, 2009 12:29:57 PM

Kids will do what they BELIEVE they can do. If you tell them enough and coddle them enough they will believe they are failures and that they will fail so they stop really trying and then if you don't ride them they fail. It is a self fulfilling prophesy in a way.

If you set the tone for failure your kid will live up to your expectation. If you set the tone for success your kid will succeed. Unless there is something organically wrong in which case, they really might require someone constantly on them about things, as they will not be able to help it.

Belief in God kills more people every year, imagine how many homework assignments belief in self can get done. When you tell them and treat them differently when you take their belief in themselves away and replace it with lables and sit on them and push them so hard that they break and are never satisfied ofcourse they fail. I think some though not all parents should be diagnosed with SD (satisfaction disorder) the inability to let their C average student please them. C is an *average* grade i can see worrying some over a D average student but getting all hyped about Cs... Then it isn't the kid that is the failure it is the parent that is insatiable. And so no matter how well the kid does the parent wont ever be satisfied and so the kid stops ttrying. You see? Or they are diagnosed young and grow up believing they are inferior and rather than striving to do well for themselves by themselves they give up. These are reasons i am against labling children labling adults is a different thing entirely.

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Joined Jan 28, 2009
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Posted:Jan 28, 2009 9:23:54 AM

If it makes you feel any better, I had the same exact issues with my son - and I am a college Learning Specialist! He fought me on everything, but unlike your son he did not allow me to sit down and teach him. When it came time to think about college (which should be about now for you), we asked him what he wanted to do after H.S. When he said "go to college", I asked him why, wanting to be sure it wasn't peer pressure, the "partying" factor, etc. When he told us he was serious and wanted a college education, we were quite surprised.

Long story short, he went away to school (Northeastern U), and we insisted he be part of the learning support program (he resisted this, but we told him it was non-negotiable; it was a safety net - college has totally different rules and is way too expensive to be walking a tightrope without it). With mom out of the picture, he did wonderfully. He reliably showed up 3x/week for tutoring and a 4th time for his appointment with the person who was in charge of his case. By the way, he only needed the support for 2 1/2 of the 5 years. He was then deemed meta-cognitive and came back for help as needed. He ended up graduating a semester EARLY with a 3.2 GPA. At graduation, he told us that being a part of the LD program was the best decision he ever made!! Motto of the story - If your son comes from a stable home where education is valued, chances are he doeswant to succeed. I'm sure he is resentful of having to sit with his mom and take direction, but I certainly understand your not wanting to see him fail. My son was too proud to allow me to help, but when he realized he was on his "own" at college (no one nagging him), he stepped up to the plate and sought the help he needed to succeed. GOOD LUCK TO YOU!!

[Modified by: TransitionSuccess on January 28, 2009 09:24 AM]

Joan M. Azarva, Ms.ED
Expert College Learning Specialist

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