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How to create succes for a teen

How to create succes for a teen2016-02-15T08:28:54+00:00

The Forums Forums Parenting & ADD How to create succes for a teen

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    My 15 year old son found out he has ADHD(inattentive) about 6 months ago.
    He is using methylphenidate and this helps him get through the day at school.
    We live in Europe and don’t have the same schoolsystem as in USA/Canada.

    After he started secondary school he started having problems with schoolwork.
    We got him through the first year by living in a battlefield. The second year we made it less of a battle but we were all strugling and home still wasn’t fun for anyone. The third year we changed tack agian: we weren’t giving him enough responsibility, so we left him in charge of his own work. The atmosphere at home improved drastically, but half way through the year it was clear he was going to fail the year.  We were through all the parenting options we could think of, so we sought help. Mainly for ourselves: what in god’s name do we do now?

    They looked at the whole family and after a thorough analysis came to the diagnosis. Every thing seemed to fall into place. It was a great relief to our son that the way he operated was caused by a differently wired brain.
    And after we found the right dose of meds he seemed to get a boost in his own view of his own abilities. He actually did his homework without being told to!
    He got some great results.

    I took my eye of the ball and now he is falling behind again with his schoolwork. I know inconsistency can be very much part of ADHD, but I was in such a blissful state I just ignored the signs. He was the happiest we have seen him in a long time, home live was good and we were getting on famously.

    I don’t want to go back to the battlefield at ANY cost. My relationship with my son is very good at the moment and I don’t want to lose this!
    He also feels much more at ease with himself than he did a year ago.

    If I take charge I know(well think) it will inevitably lead to battles as I then become the one who is responsible for the work he has to do and he sees me as a punching bag(figurativly). He doesn’t have to take responsibility for his own actions: I am making him do it. So he can see me as the bad guy.

    But if I make him responsible, as I have been doing, he doesn’t always get the job done in time. And I don’t always press him to do the work as I then am taking charge.

    Getting his secondary school diploma is very important to ME as it will give him the widest playing field to persue the passion he wants to. Wether it be study or work.

    Has anyone got any advice on how to help teenagers get to do the work in time without battle? Or am I looking for a Utopian solution?



    Post count: 430


    Welcome to my world.  🙂

    OK remember you are dealing with a teen. ANYTHING you do that disturbs their world will be met with great resistance. In fact, they will strive to be such a PITA, that you will not attempt such a heinous thing ever again. Now to make things worse, you are dealing with a teen who is ADD. The hallmark of ADD is poor executive function (Maintaining your cool) and not liking to be derailed. As parents, getting an ADD teen to do something, we hit the triple whammy in melt-down scenarios. Yea… it is so much fun. ADD also delays our emotional maturity as well. So dealing with a 15yr old, is really like dealing with a 12yr old in a 15yr old body.

    you are the parent. You are in charge.
    What you are doing, while painfull to you, the kid, the pets, the neighbors and even the aliens in orbit, has to be done because you are not only getting him/her to do their work, you are teaching skills that will allow them to live productive lives.
    Start small. The year is going to be a fail, so take their best class and coach them on doing better. My son likes math. He was failing. I started out by working the problems and talking him through them, with him not doing much of the work.
    Why just one class? You are not only trying to get them to pass High school, you are trying to prepare them for the world.
    Baby steps.
    Don’t try for perfection all at once. With me doing most of the work, I started asking him to take the chalk and continue, with me providing guidance.
    Introduce new concepts. “Lets look it up in the book” I said. He said “This class has a book?”
    Challenge him/her. At their age, they think they are smarter than you. Let them prove it by doing more of the work. Help them through the rough spots.

    My son has an A in Geometry, now and thinks I am from another planet, because I do square roots in my head to 6 digits of accuracy. He is wanting to start AP Algebra next year.

    Was this transformation easy? NO WAY. We fought, yelled, screamed, stomped around, swore (in several languages) and sulked in opposite corners. After a while, in my best imitation of Monty Python explaining the use of the “Holy Hand Grenade”, I start to explain 3 dimensional, Euclidean Geometry. Weird. But it worked.

    I hope this gets you started.


    Post count: 3

    That’s why I like Totally Add so much: people try to make you laugh even when you want to cry!

    I hear what you are saying!

    Keep the end goal in mind.
    Break it up and make small steps successful.
    Prepare for war not a battle.
    Become a Zen-master in patience.
    Bring humour to the table.
    BELIEVE in your child!
    BELIEVE in a positive outcome!

    I once got the advice to be like ‘Mr Rogers’ from the program ‘Mr Roger’s neighbourhood'(see Youtube): a really positive, calm and controlled adult at ALL times. I try to remember to be Mr Rogers, but I sometimes am more like Basil Fawlty. I know Basil won’t work on my teen, but it’s sometimes hard to keep him under wraps.

    Thanks for your pointers and your own positive outcome.
    It helps to know there IS a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
    It might not be the gold I was looking for, but my son will be glad of it (in the end).






    Post count: 430


    Some other weird thing happened today. My son, who is chronically late with all his schoolwork, finished the entire week’s work, so he could have the week off with his friends. He has all A’s this semester, and is “failing” one class. (he is getting a B-).

    The road to this point was long and difficult. It got to the point, where I dreaded coming home. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. We still have our moments, but they are fewer and further between. I also keep reminding him about his accomplishments by asking him how it feels to be caught up. How it feels to have the answers in his class connects (he is in an on-line school). How it feels to get a full night’s sleep. He is liking it all.

    I’m no expert, but I have been down the road you are on. Let me know how things are going.


    Post count: 3

    Thanks for your story. It soumds marvelous! You must be so chuffed for your son!

    It’s been a struggle to first understand what having ADD is really like and to understand where my son is coming from. We are communicating much better. And he seems to understand why I react differently sometimes. So big plus!

    We are getting there. Just sometimes the mountain turns into the Himalayas and I feel like a mountaineer in a T-shirt, shorts and flipflops : totally unprepared, helpless and overwhelmed.

    I do have professional support, but it’s not always at the moment I need it most. And when I do have the chat it has all settled down and I tend to forget how utterly useless I felt the fortnight before.

    I really value all you say as you have climbed the mountain and this is a very different perspective to a professional one. That’s what I like about the Totally Add videos: the professionals often also have ADD or really know what it is to live with someone with ADD. It’s just an extra dimension of understanding.

    I am rattling on!

    Thanks for you input. And I will let you know how things progress!


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