View Full Version : Need advice from teens with ADD!

10-17-05, 09:28 PM
Hi, I'm here seeking advice. My daughter is 17 and was just diagnosed with ADD last winter.

My question to you is what is the parents role? What part do we play? Our daughter is having a lot of problems at school, at this point I really hope that she will graduate with her class in June. Normally I would say by 17 a teenager should be able to handle school, homework etc. on their own. If they don't do the homework then they pay the price. But what about when the teen has ADD? Should we still leave it up to her to make her own mistakes? Should we not bug her about homework, not check in with her teachers? Sometimes I think she has just given up and other times I think she just doesn't care. Won't she care when her friends all graduate and she doesn't? Won't she care when her friends go off to college and she doesn't. She won't talk to us, all we get is "I don't know" or " I don't know what to tell you" She is a good person, she is not in trouble, she doesn't smoke, do drug, she's not having sex. She has never been in any trouble. I hate to see her doing this.

I am very confused, I really don't know what we are suppose to be doing. Do you want your parents involved in your life or do you want them to step back and let you make your own mistakes? What do you want your parents to do?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

10-17-05, 10:41 PM
Someone went out to get the diagnosis. Someone saw a problem. It is a bit late in school game but make the best of it. You never know what you can accomplish.

If it were my daughter, I'd be doing everything in my power to help her graduate. I'd get her a tutor, I'd edit her work, I'd help her plan for the immediate future, and I'd contact teachers to iron things out and keep on top of her.

A lot of ADHD kids simply are not the best at being responsible people who can plan into the future. If they were, no disorder. ( read a transcript of Dr. Russell Barkley's lecture in San Fran to understand why -> ) They need help with "excutive functions of the brain". Once you help her drag her foot to make the first step, the rest become more easy. I have been helping my daughter since grade 8 when the problem really became apparent to me. She is in grade 12 and will probably graduate with honours. Having a boyfriend who is going to University helps. :)

Welcome to the board, by the way! :)

10-18-05, 07:45 AM

If it were my daughter, I'd be doing everything in my power to help her graduate. I'd get her a tutor, I'd edit her work, I'd help her plan for the immediate future, and I'd contact teachers to iron things out and keep on top of her.

Scuro, Thanks for posting. Everything you said makes sense to me but what if she isn't a willing participant? I don't know if it is the age or what but she won't even talk about it " it's no big deal" is what we hear. She's got the normal teenage brattiness going on along with the anxiety and ADD. It's hard to separate all of it.

Tell me where we should start. We have tried keeping in contact with her teachers, she resents that and it didn't seem to do any good. We would remind her of the work that is missing and we would hear " I know, it is under control" or something similar. We have bought dayplanners, white boards etc. in attempts to get stuff organized. She won't use them.

Any advice?

10-18-05, 04:24 PM
I am also 17.
In my opinion, a 'happy medium' is the best way to go about the whole school subject with teens and their parents. My brother was similar to what you have just mentioned about your daughter when he was the same age and working on graduating. My parents emailed his teachers seeing what was up and prodded him to do his homework and studies.

My parents don't have to do that with me, because they see how I push myself too hard in the first place. But with your daughter, I think that it would probably be beneficial if you gently reminded her that doing her best now will really pay off for her future, even if she doesn't have a specific plan for the immediate future. That may set things into motion and be a slight 'wake up call' to how imperative this is for her to easily continue after highschool. I hope it goes well, and everything turns out nicely!

10-21-05, 06:11 PM
i am 18 and am just like your daughter.
i never got into any trouble except with my grades at school. i found that i did better if my parents did not question me about school everyday. we got into a routine that sunday was the only day on which we would dicuss it. it really took the stress out of comming home everyday knowing that you'll have to be bugged about how badly you are doing in school.
my mom also worried about me not graduating with my friends. the best advice i can give you is to not emphasize this to your daughter. when my mom would do that i would just feel worse about myself and it wouldn't motivate me at all. i did end up graduating and now a freshman in college. i have found it much easier since i could pick my classes and when i wanted to take them. i still have to report to my parents how i'm doing grad wise but only every other week. just knowing that they are going to ask me about it keeps me motivated.

how this all made since and helps you

10-22-05, 05:30 PM
I'm not sure, b/c I didn't have too many issues in high school-- but one thing I remember with my sister was that nagging her only made her do worse, and then she'd lose any confidence to turn in whatever she had done, so would automatically get an the end, she did fine-- struggled a lot, but graduated from a reputable university... You might want to get a tutor that's more of a peer (someone in college, maybe?) That way, you don't have to do all the nagging, but she'll want to have something done for her tutor... wish you and your family the best!

10-22-05, 09:31 PM
DO NOT NAG AT HER. That has got to be the single most important thing. Your daughter sounds like she is exactly like me. It seems like she doesn't care, but inside she does, just she can't get the work done. She knows what she has to get done, and knows that she isn't getting it done. She knows about how this will affect her future, but it still isn't enough to get her going, as if there is some "invisible wall" stopping her (that is how I feel all the time). If you nag her everyday after school, she will most likely just shut down and not do any work. She will also probably get pretty mad at you guys since you are causing added frustration. Trust me, she already knows where she is heading and feels TERRIBLE about it.

I love Bronco2girl's idea of setting away a time every Sunday, and only that time in which you can talk about it. I will have to bring this up with my parents. I don't like being mad at them all the time, but I always feel (as cliche as it sounds) like they just don't understand. They can't seem to grasp that I know that I am going about this wrong, and hurting myself. By them nagging me all the time they just cause me to want to work even less.

As for keeping in touch with the teachers, that REALLY bugs me when my parents do that, but it helps me. I know that my parents know when I don't do something, but they aren't nagging me about if I did this or didn't do that (it is a good way of letting you know without your daughter having to feel worse about herself by telling it to you). It also gives more motivation knowing that your parents will know if you did your work or not.

Sorry if I sound mad/angry in this post. If I do it really isn't against you, but it is just so frustrating knowing you are screwing up and conventional methods (such as nagging) only strain relationships and make it worse. It really hits close to home for me, and I still don't know what I can do about it...

10-23-05, 12:07 AM
Those were all EXCELLENT suggestions.

Here's the best overall ADHD reference book I've ever seen ( and I've seen a bunch):

The ADHD Book of Lists by Sandra Rief (2003).

Good Luck to you and your family:)
mctavish23 (Robert)

10-23-05, 12:20 AM
Sorry nlkm916, I missed your second post.

Nope nagging is not good, but close attention to her progress at school is. It's a fine line. If she is mature enough, talk about partnership...working together. You have skills that you can offer. A tutor is an excellent idea especially for subjects that you may not be able to help her math or Science.

Motivation is the key. Hate to say it, but you make short term and longer term deals with your kids. Behaviour kids work well with tokens or rewards. You can make deals on a daily basis. I gave a little on social controls as a reward. She could stay out sometimes longer then normal. I'd give there but be exacting about her education. I'd set goals for her. Near or a little below what she was capable of, that was the measuring stick.

I had the luxury of having my daughter go to the school I taught in. That made everything easier. I bargined with her, she wanted to leave the school to go to another school. I told her she could leave after grade 10. That would have been a disaster. When she finished grade 10 she wanted to leave our school. I offered to help pay for a set of drums if she would stay. That was probably the best $200 dollars I ever spent on her. She told me I tricked her and I did, a deal is a deal.

With all of her projects, I was there to help...researching, organizing ideas, editing, getting materials. She would flip these things on me last minute and it would drive me crazy but I would be in there like a dirty shirt.

10-23-05, 12:38 AM
Wow...that is some good parenting.

I wish mine would be there like that, but I just can't ever get them to understand. Instead they think I am just lazy, stupid, don't care about anything, and have even accused me of being on drugs (all of which couldn't be further from the truth)...

When I try to tell them that the nagging only makes it harder for me and really hurts me, they just say "SO GET YOUR WORK DONE" and completely dismiss anything I have to say...


Only two more years until I move out.....

( a depressing post! Don't let this fool you - usually I am a happy person ;) )

10-23-05, 12:45 AM
I apologize for being off-topic, but we sure have some smart, young, people on these forums. We even have smart, young, people who speak up! :cool:

10-23-05, 12:59 AM
No apology needed!

I agree, there are certainly some bright young people on these forums (even though I only just turned 16)!

They have even given me a few ideas to bring up with the 'rents!

10-23-05, 01:02 AM
From my vantage point at school, almost every kid is a good kid. Some are just so bent out of shape that it's hard to see. This generation of kids is doing a lot better then my generation.

There are a lot parents, psychologists, teachers even...who would disagree with what I did with my daughter. But in the end it worked. To me, that is always how you judge what you are doing. If you are banging your head against the wall repeatedly because of your ADHD child...change something!!!

In reality, I buy her lunch at school daily, give her a larger reward at report card time, extend the odd curfew, and that is about it. When people are in trouble, they do appreciate the extra hand, even though they may show you the opposite. Over time they come to your side as they see that you have their best interest at heart. She saw that I really cared.

10-23-05, 02:34 PM
my mom did they same thing with me. she would help me on projects and papers but i had to come to her more than one day before it was due because she wasn't willing to stay up all night to help me with it, which i can understand.
looking back now i realize how much of a help that was. i probably wouldn't have passed if it wasn't for her help.

10-24-05, 08:58 PM
Okay, I totally understand what everybody is saying. I understand where the "teens" are coming from, a couple of you are saying the exact things that she says to us. Also we are quilty for saying " just get the work done", we are changing that though. We really haven't been nagging her at all about school. We made a change in her meds last week so now she has to go to the office during school to take it. That is the only thing I have asked her about because I want to make sure she is taking it. I did remind her about a test she had today but that is it, I just reminded. We haven't been bugging about homework, but she isn't doing it either. She never opens a book at home after school. We have offered to help with homework, we have offered to help get her organized, to set up a work station where she would be able to lay her stuff out etc. Whatever, we will do whatever. All she says it " I want to do it on my own" But yet she isn't. As far as helping her with papers and projects etc. I would love to.

The feeling that I get is that if we don't ask her about school than she thinks we don't care so why should she, but then she gets mad when we do ask. I do remember how it was to be 17, I hated talking to my parents about anything. I hated to even be in the same room with them because I was affraid they would ask me something embarrassing. I think I went about four years barely talking to them at all, only when necessary. I do understand, but at the same time we feel helpless.

When were you diagosed? How old were you? How old are you now? She was 16, I think that is most of the problem. If she had been diagnosed as a little kid I think she would except it alittle better. She won't even discuss it. The only time we really mention it is if we have an appointment.

CHARLIEM....everything that you wrote sounds exactly like my daughter. So tell me what do we do, I know what NOTto do (nag)but what DO we do? Really think about this, What do you want your parents to do? I know you want them to understand, but what else?

thanks for everything, this really helps!


10-24-05, 10:44 PM
i was diagnosed when i was 7. now im 18.
for me it helped knowing alot during elementary and junior high school. in highschool i did not like taking meds and simply refused to so my problems got worse, but now i am back on them because u realized that they really do help and are needed. i think in part i didn't take them becuase my mom was always asking"have you taken your meds today?" and as a teen i wanted to do exaclty the opposite of what she told me to do.
hope that helps