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General Parenting Issues The purpose of this forum is to discuss general parenting issues related to children with AD/HD(ADD & ADHD)

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  #1  
Old 01-31-08, 01:05 PM
lambsear lambsear is offline
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How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

I have been lurking around here for sometime. There is a great variety of points of view here and I could really use some insight.

My ss is a very bright boy, who at the age of 16 as decided that school is a waste of time. The only thing he wants to do is sleep, eat and hang out with his friends. We have been encouraging him to get a job, but “it is just too much effort”. When we ask him why he does not do something, he says that he is just lazy. He has started smoking cigarettes again and we know that he is drinking. He is pretty anti-social at home and does not hang out with us, but what teen does?

In so many ways his behavior has improved. He is not acting out his oppositional defiance issues as much. It is easier to get him to do small tasks and chores. He will have casual conversation with us. Overall he is just more pleasant- not in a happy smiling way, but his usual sullen silent manner.

Our biggest concern right now is his education, or lack thereof. Right now he has the equivalent of a 9th grade education, even though the school has promoted him to 11th grade. He is currently failing all of his subjects and I anticipate that he will have to repeat most of his classes to graduate. He will not do homework or class work. He is not cooperative with any efforts to help him. The school cites that it is not that he cannot do the work, but that he will not do the work. So they have put the ball into his court, sink or swim they say.


After reading posts here, I am sitting on the fence as to if this is an ADD or a teen issue. So is it a question of motivation?

PS-We have tried a variety of “reward” systems, but he is never interested in participating. There is no carrot big enough that I could offer to get him to do his homework/class work.


I am open to all suggestions here...
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Old 01-31-08, 01:32 PM
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Re: How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

Hi Lambsear. I hear ya! My 15-year old deals with only just a tad of lack of motivation, so I can understand just only a tad of what you are going through. Have you had him evaluated yet? Lack of motivation often accompanies ADHD, though there may be some depression or anxiety issues involved too. He definitely needs you to step in and get some professional help.

You might also find some a parenting principle helpful as well. One of my friends here, Amypaige, has a thread going on Love & Logic parenting, the L&L institute has a lot of really great info regarding teens, and they have one book specificaly for ADHD children and have some great tips you may find really helpful.

But first, I'd look into that neuropsych eval to find out what all he is dealing with and help in to find ways to cope what' s going on inside of him.
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Old 01-31-08, 02:00 PM
QueensU_girl QueensU_girl is offline
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Re: How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

N.B. I'd caution against using the term ANTISOCIAL loosely. Antisocial personality traits mean something very specific.

If he's not hurting animals, stealing, chronically lying, lacking in remorse, manipulative, cruel, superficial/shallow, violating the rights of others (assaults/robberies), fire-setting, etc. -- you may be doing your son a great dis-service by casually throwing _that_ label around.

I think you may be meaning "asocial". (e.g. disengaged from others, isolated from peers, apathetic)

-

re: claims of "laziness"

Executive Function disabilities often look or feel like "LAZINESS."

When LD or ADD kids do poorly in school/work/life, they get negative feedback (may even be told they are 'lazy' by teachers/peers), and they "learn to stop trying". That, combined with the EF (exc function) deficits of ADD (affects planning, organizing, follow thru, goals, self monitoring of effort/performance) -- can make a kid "look" lazy.

--

Another differential dx can sometimes be depression. (Not all depression presents as suicdality or "sadness" and tears).

Another possiblity for this change in the teen's functioning could possibly be drug use. Why do I say this? Smoking is a gateway drug. Teens/kids who smoke seem to be more at risk for drug use such as marijuana) and the 'amotivational syndrome' [apathy, etc] linked with drug usage.

In HS there also seems to be a wall (grade 10?) that LD/ADD kids hit where they can't perform any longer. Academic tasks (essays; presentations) are hard to do for kids with ADD/LD (self management.)

You probably really need an EXPERT to explore the possibilities of what is going on with your son's APATHY.
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Old 01-31-08, 02:10 PM
lambsear lambsear is offline
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Re: How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

Hey Frazzle;

He is diagnosed as ADHD, ODD (oppositional defiance disorder) & Conduct Disorder. We have been seeing councilors since he was little (behavior modification initially). He was last seen for a phych report 18 months ago, which confirmed all we already knew. We have worked with behavioral modification as well as techniques similar to Love & Logic. But he just doesn’t get with the program. We have been trying to help him, but he is not interested in changing, not even for something that would directly benefit him.


Queens- when I say that he is anti-social, I mean that he does not particularly socialize with us/family & would rather be alone in his room. However there are elements of your description that certainly do fit him.
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Old 01-31-08, 02:12 PM
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Re: How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

The school says your son "can do the work" but "does not do the work".

How do they know?

Has he had complete LD/ADD testing? Like thousands of dollars of testing over several days worth of app'ts (8 hrs + of 1:1 testing by a PhD tester?) ?

Schools often don't have the time OR funds to do this intensive sort of testing.
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Old 01-31-08, 02:33 PM
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Re: How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

His first psych avail was by the school in 5th grade, it was 2 sessions at about 4 hours each. He has been re-evaluated twice since then. He was in a residential therapy school for the past 18 months and he was on the dean's list there (they worked with him regarding behavior issues (ODD & CD)). He is now back in public school and is soooo much improved in his behavior, but the school work is suffering.

We have been going back and forth with the school for services (committee for special ed.)- but how do you help a kid who just doesn't want to be helped? He is making an active choice not to do things (school work, chores etc).
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Old 01-31-08, 03:39 PM
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Re: How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

Hi Lambsear,

Have you explored the PINS and PINS diversion process. If he has been in a residential treatment school (something like George Junior Republic - or William George Agency if you look them up on the internet), then you are probably very well aware of the PINS process. Perhaps he needs a probation officer prodding him to get going. Many kids lack motivation at this age.

I know you have tried rewards, but have you tried taking things away (for instance if he shuts himself in his room for privacy - I have seen parents who have taken the doors off of their kids rooms to show them that privacy in their family home was a privledge earned.

I also agree with the other posters - perhaps this is depression, because this is very typical of the withdrawal that depression causes. You say that he likes to go hang out with his friends - don't let him unless he does his homework. I am sure you have tried with him - but sometimes it requires professional help. If he has a therapist - talk with that person about this issue. Perhaps they have some ideas.

Is he still on any medication for his ODD, ADHD, and CD?

I look forward to hearing more from you.
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Old 01-31-08, 03:57 PM
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for instance if he shuts himself in his room for privacy - I have seen parents who have taken the doors off of their kids rooms to show them that privacy in their family home was a privledge earned.
WTF? Privacy is a right of every human being... perhaps a lock is too much but a simple door? Who are these parents?
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Old 01-31-08, 04:58 PM
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Re: How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

I am not trying to force my SS to do what needs to be done, he needs to choose to do these things for his own benefit.

We have been thru PINS (filed by the school for truancy & behavioral issues) and the office of child & family services. We are just coming to the end of their aftercare (not very helpful program for us).

We have tried rewards as well as punishments. But when you are dealing with a child that has ADD & ODD there is an enormous amount of hard headed stubbornness, so you must pick and choose which issues to push. This is a kid who will sit in his room with no electronics, no phone, no friends and do nothing and will not give in to what you are punishing him for. I have since learned that it is better to handle these things by removing a privilege for a specific amount of time (a week or so)- otherwise the situation will escalate out of control.

Mincan- The answer is parents like me. We removed his door because he was smoking and playing with matches in our house. He put our entire family at risk. This is NOT acceptable. For a child, privacy is a privilege and it can be lost.
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Old 01-31-08, 05:37 PM
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Re: How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

I have to disagree with At_Heart... taking things away, i.e. doors(for privacy). will not motivate him to improve by any stretch, if he is already considered ODD, then this will give him a very valid reason to rebel, react, and regress any progress. In my personal experiences I've reacted very negatively to that sort of treatement, to the point where I'd be consciously be doing things that would harm me if it i knew it would further frustrate my parents.

I'd have to admit I am a 'lazy' person. it takes alot more to motivate me than what I actually accomplish. but something my parents did that actually helped alot was find the things I do enjoy doing, for me it was Rugby, my dad paid for all the equipment, had everything readied, all Ihad to do was remeber we had practice that night. after that I was set, I became team capt on two different teams, and excelled. it was the first time I ever played on a team sport for more than just gym class.
what does he enjoy doing? games? video games? sports? do you know what he looks at online(say hockey stats, or documentaries on deep sea fish.... or whatever)? the way to get him off his ***** and start SOMETHING is to do something he will like! he wont mind putting efforts into that, then working wont seem so bad and getting a job might be that little bit easier
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Old 01-31-08, 08:55 PM
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Re: How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lambsear View Post
We removed his door because he was smoking and playing with matches in our house.
I can't help wondering how your son is paying for his cigarettes.

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Old 01-31-08, 09:14 PM
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Re: How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

Could someone please tell me what "ss" is short for? It's a new one for me.
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Old 01-31-08, 10:00 PM
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Re: How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

step son, I'll bet
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Old 01-31-08, 10:19 PM
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Re: How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

I too wonder how he can buy cigarettes. Most kids will not get a job until they need some money. If someone is supporting their lifestyle, why bother?

I would urge you to look at the Love and Logic parenting program again and be sure you are sticking with it for a long period of time and doing it correctly. It has been proven to be very effective with almost all kids, even those with ODD. I am not living in your home so cannot know what it is truly like. But most kids step up to the plate when they know that at 18 they will be welcome to continue their education or move out on their own. College looks a lot better when faced with supporting yourself with no real skills. But they must know this is the family rule and that it will be enforced.

Pardon me if I am sounding like I do not empathize with your situation. I certainly do, and also applaud you for looking for answers.
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Old 01-31-08, 10:27 PM
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Re: How can I motivate a “lazy” (his words) teenager?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wifeandmom View Post
step son, I'll bet
Thanks. The only thing that came to mind was Sweet Son.
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