View Full Version : Need Advice From Teens-How Can Mom Help?

03-01-08, 08:25 PM
I'm the mom of a 16 yr old daughter with AD/HD-combined, but her only H symptom is impulsiveness. She's more Winne the Pooh than Tigger. She is taking meds, but they only soften her symptoms, they don't really improve them. Schoolwork is a horrible challenge for her. For most of her school career I nagged, reminded, etc. and her grades were pretty good. Unfortunately, she really resents the reminders, and I understand her perspective, but that's been the only thing that's worked so far.

This semester she said she wanted to handle her work without me interfering. She said, quite rightly, that when she goes to college she won't have anyone to remind her and she needs to learn to do this on her own. The first grading period just ended, and that plan hasn't worked out at all. She's high IQ so the problem isn't comprehension. The problems are with DOING her work - both in class and at home - then actually turning it in after it's done. In any given class, her grades look like: 100, 90, 100, 0, 95, 0, 85, 90, 0, 0, 100, etc. Barely passing because of the amount of missing work. Good gosh, she's failing Art because of missing assignments. I know she has to do better on her grades if she wants options for colleges. She tells us she wants to make good grades, go to certain universities, etc. But these pesky grades and class ranking are going to be a real problem.

So here are my questions: What do you find helpful to get things done and turned in? What do you wish your parents would do for you? What do you wish they'd STOP doing? Does a parent reminding you help or does that just irritate you? Is it better to have the teachers on your back, or your parents? Do you have the ability to keep up with a planner (she hasn't been able to so far), and if so, what tricks do you use? What gets you going on assignments when you'd really rather watch TV, nap, work out, etc? How do you remember to turn things in?

Thank you for anything you can tell me that will help me help her.

03-02-08, 12:34 AM
So here are my questions: What do you find helpful to get things done and turned in? What do you wish your parents would do for you? What do you wish they'd STOP doing? Does a parent reminding you help or does that just irritate you? Is it better to have the teachers on your back, or your parents? Do you have the ability to keep up with a planner (she hasn't been able to so far), and if so, what tricks do you use? What gets you going on assignments when you'd really rather watch TV, nap, work out, etc? How do you remember to turn things in?

I'll start with the planner. Firstly, what grade is she in? I'm in 11th grade and I've had a planner each year since the 7th. This is the first year I've been able to keep up with it fairly well. I still forget sometimes but I'm usually good about going back and filling things in just so i have a record of it even if it's already passed. I recommend Fivestar planners and that she color codes that way it's more interactive (8 highlighters can work wonders:D). If she can get used to having a planner she will little by little be able to use it to her full advantage. That will help her keep up with assignments.

Again depending on what grade she's in my main reason for getting on my homework is to get into college now that it is more imminent. Colleges look at improvement so just keep that in mind.

It helps for turning things in if you put them in your backpack, near your backpack or by the front door the night before so you have it even when you think you've forgotten it.

Parents constantly asking if you've done your homework or what you have for homework is very aggravating but sometimes it is the only thing that works. You can let her know that as of now she can be without the checkups but she must show you she is responsible otherwise she gets the reminders because you will not sit back and let her fall behind. Let her know that it is not punishment. Make sure to give her chances to show she is improving too. Ease out of it.

I think that's all I have for now. Hope this helps. Good luck!

03-02-08, 10:57 AM
Thanks for responding. You're where I wish she was as far as being organized. She's in 11th grade too.

I feel like I'll have to go back to more reminding, which feels like nagging to her. Hopefully some day she'll realize I wasn't being unreasonable.

03-02-08, 12:03 PM
I hate my mum nagging too but it does work! You can compromise with your daughter and say to her that if she doesnt want you to nag then she needs to try her hardest to show some effort in organisation. She might be trying her best to organise herself already so ask her to show you how she manages her homework and show her things that might help her organise herself even more.

Things that might help are:

Ask her to set a time to start her homework and a deadline which she MUST complete it by. This deadline can't be too easy because she will start to procrastinate but it still musn't be too difficult because then she will feel overwhelmed.
She needs to do her homework in small chunks. Make the chunks visible by actually seperating the homework by hand or writing out a checklist with a time limit next to each task.
Make a deal where if she hasn't done her homework by a certain time then you are allowed to nag as much as you like.
ah09087's planners and highlighters are are great idea.
Don't forget to praise her loads when she does complete homework!Once our daughter gets back on track with her homework she must make sure that she doesn't slip back into the routine of not doing it because it's so easy to do that.

03-02-08, 07:28 PM
Thank you boone1. I like the idea of making a deal about hw vs. nagging. She probably won't though! Maybe it will be easier to take if I tell her another teen suggested it as a fair exchange.

03-06-08, 04:44 AM
i know, for me part of the problem was that i didn't wanna take all of my binders home (i had to have one for each class to keep them strait) so i got a folder that zipped up that i could put homework in. I found that if i took less home and it looked like less work i would be more motvated to do it. So i photocopy the text work, and bring lined paper instead of a text book and a binder. I had a hard time with the planner but the folder let me keep stuff in it even if it was do in 2 weeks etc.

i also had a wipe bord that i could use to keep track of what was do when.

the other thing i did (that helped me) was listening to music. I could put on a cd and try to have one assinment done by the time that cd was over. then take a break and put on another cd for the next one etc. (i really like music so it made it easier for me to work and have something that puts me in a good mood in the background)

all in all its about your daughter finding a system that works for cause the one she has now isn't working

and as much as we all want homeowrk robots that do it for us, we don't have them. so you gotta stick it out. but it dosn't mean you can't have fun with it

03-06-08, 07:50 AM
I'm not actually a teen, but my little brother is going through the same stuff, and i went through it as well.

Something i have started to do recently has completely changed my life in terms of organisation. I have set aside an hour every night for getting ready for the next day. In that time i check what work is due, put it in my bag, make sure i have the books i need for the next day, make my lunch, get out my clothes etc. Perhaps suggest something like that to her. The problem with calendars and planners is that it is so easy to write stuff in them and then just never look at them. Dedicating time to do just that means that she will (hopefully) look at the planners and write stuff in more regularly.

Good luck!

03-11-08, 01:17 AM
It helps a lot to have a planner on the wall as well as in your bag (diary etc). If you can maybe have a master planner where you can put her appointments assignments etc that would be a big help too. Keep up communication with her teachers and see if you can get copies of her assignments sent/emailed to you as well, or at least the due dates.

Good luck! and great to see such a supportive mum.

03-17-08, 02:54 PM
I think its really nice that you're trying to find new ways to helf your daughter :)

As others have mentioned, being nagged is certainly irritating but sometimes its that horrid thing needed to get things done...kinda like medicine...actually no, because once when my chest was bad I had to take some really DISGUSTING medicine and it didn't do anything at all :/

One thing that worked well for me was sticky notes. Of various colours. I'd write what had to be done on a sticky note, and at the bottom of that note I'd write the subject e.g. FRENCH and the date the assignment was due. I'd organise all the sticky notes so that they overlapped - leaving the bottom of each note visible so I could see when things had to be done by and for what subject, and order them so that the high-priority notes were at the top.
That worked really well for me because I liked sticking and ordering them, and it was satisfying to rip a sticky off the page and throw it in the bin! Also with this system all the information is in one place so you dont have to flip through pages of planner to see what needs to be done. It helped me pay attention to when things needed to be in as that meant I could get rid of a sticky. Of course I still missed a lot of things and didn't get things done all the time, but it certainly helped a great, great deal and I'd definately recommend it.

Have you considered getting a PDA for your daughter to remind her when her work is due and also act as a reminder to do it? Or if not a PDA, a mobile phone can work alright too. This didn't work very well for me though and because it took too long on a phone to note each assignment I got impatient and left it.

I like that nagging agreement Boone suggested! Very good idea in my opinion.

Again, its awesome to see you trying to help and understand your daughter; a lot of kids are met not with understanding, but a loud voice telling them they're rubbish because they have trouble doing certain things :( Keep up the effort! And good luck! I wish you and her the very best :)

03-17-08, 10:21 PM
Thanks all for your suggestions. We've tried most of those things. The main problem is getting her to actually DO them. She's had various planners (lost or not written in), separate binders or folders for various subjects (papers misfiled), then folders for completed work to turn in, work to be done, and graded papers (papers misfiled).

She has a T-mobile Dash that the Vice Principal said he'd OK as a PDA if she'd go to his office and show how she uses it. We all have them and love them. They have MS Office (scaled down, of course), Outlook for the calendar, a task list, voice recording, pretty much everything. I send appointments to her from my Dash and she accepts them. We can also sync it up to Outlook on the PC. Unfortunately, she doesn't put HER assignments and appointments from school in it AND she hasn't gone to the VP to get it authorized for use in class. So for now it's just just a cell phone as far as the school is concerned, which isn't allowed in class.

She does listen to classical music during HW a lot of the time, which seems to help. BUT she'd rather watch TV, which is no help. The only thing we HAVEN'T tried is the sticky notes. That might work if they didn't all fall off like confetti. (her friends recently put post-it's all over her car; guess we should have saved them!).

Thank you everyone for taking time to offer your suggestions. We'll keep trying everything and anything. Something's bound to work.

04-27-08, 04:47 AM
My mom used to nag me all the time about school, and I hated her for it. I think its mostly my "rebel without a cause" attitude that makes it that way. But seriously, she would whine and yell about my school work, and I, refusing to condone that type of behavior felt I HAD to skip that assignment. However, since we had a heart to heart where she agreed to back up and give me some space to breath, I have improved. Really, I have no tricks that I can give you- its all about the trial and error. I personally blast music at nearly deafening levels (anything with a fast tempo and serious power chordage seems to work) to keep myself motivated. My neighbors will even ask me how my studying is going when they hear it! :P