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Old 02-13-2008, 09:15 PM   #1
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Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

Recently my 15 year old son was diagnosed with ADD. He does not believe he has this condition but shows classic symptoms. We are gradually trying to get him to accept this and rise to the challenges he will be faced with. He believes we are unfairly pressuring him to be responsible and trying to completely manage his life. He believes his symptoms and our concerns are more about him being a teenager. He thinks, we as parents, are too strict.

His mother and I are developing strategies for coping and attempting to get him to accept this situation and work on integrated solutions. He has progressively gotten more disrespectful/recentful and plays an online video game excessively. We are restricting his game play and he is very angry about this. My concern is that if we make a radical change and take away his game plan during school nights and greatly restrict it on weekends he may rebell to the point of failing at school, falling into the wrong crowd, with drawing from sports and the like. By trying to get back at his parents, he may find himself in a worse situation.

I am concerned that his reaction could send him and us into a tail spin. I am tentative about a drastic change, but know and am committed to making a serious and needed changes. I know what needs to happen but am at a loss to know how to move forward in a solid and committed way.

Need help.

Sincerely, Maxwell

 
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Old 02-13-2008, 10:26 PM   #2
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Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

add's medications (amphetamines) were like drugs to me. i wouldn't want my son to do the same thing just because a doctor said he has it. add is a blessing as it comes with creativity. also he may be playing the game excessively coz his mind needs to be doing something. sports are a good thing. don't fight with him, seek to understand him first and then he will listen to you as stephen R. covey says. children come into our lives to teach us patience.

 
Old 02-14-2008, 10:05 PM   #3
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Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

HI... I agree and will make every effort to seek to understand. I am planning to take the game away indefinately, and allow my son to gradually earn it back with appropriate behavior.

Thoughts?

 
Old 02-15-2008, 06:59 PM   #4
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Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

He's 15. If he doesn't complain you're too strict at least sometimes, you aren't doing your job as a parent.

If you think he's spending too much time on the video game, then limiting it is quite reasonable. When he's not playing, how is his schoolwork and socialization? Is he at least getting by?

As far as meds go, it sounds like he would be strongly opposed, and he's old enough that his opinion does matter. If he doesn't want 'em, forcing him would probably be counterproductive.

What most newly diagnosed ADD teens or adults need is to learn to be organized, learn some sort of system to keep their lives in order. Someone has to teach him--but I don't think it can be his parents, that generally goes poorly even when you don't already have a power struggle going on. Can you possibly get a neutral party involved in helping him.

 
Old 02-16-2008, 09:09 PM   #5
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Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

Good points. We are going are to set more clear limits and expections on the game play, other behavior, and expections as school, home etc... we have some ideas on how to do this. Any other thoughts.

We also are going to arrange for a therapist and additional/focus support from his older siblings who are very organized. In addition, other family members are being evaluated as there is some ADD in the family history (we are learning). We would appreciate any and all ideas.

Thanks... MAXWELL

 
Old 02-17-2008, 07:53 PM   #6
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Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

how are your son's grades and how is his behavior at school and at home?

 
Old 02-19-2008, 10:06 PM   #7
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Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

HI... The grades are good for the most part, but mostly because we micro manage him. From what we can tell, he behaves well at school. He is defiant, disrespectful, and arguementative with his parents. He seems not to display this behavior with teachers/coaches.

 
Old 02-20-2008, 10:09 AM   #8
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Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

my son is 14. he started taking meds on and off for adhd from the first grade. for the past year we tried to keep him med free. however his grades went from a's to f's and his attitude went south also. anyway..if your son has ADD/ADHD then he wouldn't be perfoming in school or at home. his grades would be down and you would be getting calls from his teachers..highly unlikely he has add/adhd. he is a teen. they are rebels by nature..to their parents that is. does he seem depressed, moody or any of the such? your best bet would prob be getting him to a behaviorial clinic. they can do an eval on him to see if its medical or just him being a normal teen boy. my son and daughter are like night and day when it comes to these things. don't compare one with the other. they are each their own person..
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Old 02-20-2008, 11:14 AM   #9
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Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

I'm 24. My parents put me on medication for ADD at about age 13. I didn't have a choice. I wasn't opposed but I wasn't informed either. I am dependant on medications that as a young adult that I can barely afford, even though I have managed to stay on my parents health insurance.
I feel that as a teenager I could have used a lot more encouragement. I was a good kid! No one ever brought this to my attention. I was critical enough about myself. I DIDN'T need my family telling me all the things that were "wrong" with me to add to the list. I was very depressed. I just wished that they would like something about me, and stop picking me apart.
My younger bro is also ADD and he gets straight A's in school, but at home all he does is play video games. He's in college now. I don't think you should catagorize this video gaming thing with the ADD though. Really not fair when you think about it, because it's probably one of the only things he enjoys at home. What a way to drive him away from home.
Do you ever do things together? Go to sporting events? Fish? Camp? Does he trust you?
He's going to hate you for making his life miserable, if he doesn't think you're doing it because you love him.
Let him know what he's good at. Teach him something useful. Take him to work with you. Help him get a job mowing someone's lawn. He needs support during these years. Reassurance that he's not a failure and understanding that his struggles as a teenage individual are normal will mean a lot to him. He will respect you if you respect him (his space, his choice, his thoughts) Don't dismiss his concerns. Talk about how to resolve things with him. What does HE think he could do to solve the problem? How can you compromise.
Stay away from meds if he's getting good grades. He doesn't need it. Congratulations, he sounds like a totally healthy normal kid.

 
Old 02-20-2008, 07:41 PM   #10
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Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

HI... I am getting more conflicted on the use of meds. It seems like I am hearing more about the down side in this forum. Do they work... in the short- and long-term, especially if they are used as a complete treatment plan that includes teaching organizational and other skills, exercise/activities, nutrition, herbs, etc?

 
Old 02-20-2008, 08:33 PM   #11
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Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

you know, if his grades are good and his behavior at school is good, your son might do better without medication. it's even possible he doesn't actually have ADD (it gets misdiagnosed a lot!). my parents tried micromanaging me when i was his age, and even then, there was no way i could ever make good grades in school! i just couldn't concentrate! adderall worked for me, but there are alternatives to medicating.......

your son could be having reactions to the chemicals in the foods he eats. artificial colors (especially red 40, yellow 5 and 6, and blue 1 i think), artificial flavors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup.... these are all things that can cause ADD-like behaviors, or make ADD worse in a person who has ADD.

as an alternative to medicating him, you could try switching to all natural foods. most grocery stores and national superstores (target and walmart!) offer natural brands in most foods. you do have to look around for them, but they are there. read the labels on everything! even bread has high fructose corn syrup in it! fast foods are killer for ADD, and i am pretty sure school lunches are the equivalent to fast foods....

other things that can contribute to ADD-like behavior, or make ADD worse are lack of exercise and lack of sleep! make sure your son gets enough of both!

stress is a huge factor with me and my ADD. your son might be getting some highly needed stress relief when he is playing his games. i would not take them away from him completely! definitely limit his playing time, but talk with him and ask him what he thinks would be fair. set some ground rules together (like his homework and studying, chores, dinner, etc.... needs to be done first before he can play, and then he can play until such hour and then turn it off....), and be sure to listen to his point of view.

it's fairly typical for a 15 year old to be sullen, surly and disrespectful to parents who are trying so hard to micromanage him! i'm not saying you should just sit back and take it, just offering some outsider's insight on why he might be acting that way. it's something he should NOT do and definitely needs to change, but perhaps there is another way other than micromanaging him?

something you mentioned in a previous post was that your other children are so organized and he isn't.... i would strongly advise you to NOT compare him to your other kids. he's not them! he is who he is and all the micromanaging in the world isn't going to change him! if it's helping him keep his grades up, then it needs to be done with his schoolwork, but outside of schoolwork, are you still trying to micromanage him???

all this rambling.... can you tell i'm off my ADD medication (i'm pregnant so i'm without my adderall right now!)??? my point is that your son might just be a different type personality than you or your wife and your other kids and instead of trying to fix him, embrace him for his differences. learn from him. sometimes it helps to lighten up and not be so incredibly organized and disciplined. he is probably a little too far the other direction, but once he feels your acceptance of who he is, he might be more willing to find a happy medium between the two extremes.

anyway, hopefully you could find something useful in all this!

 
Old 02-27-2008, 07:42 AM   #12
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Smile Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

<removed> I always prefer to reply from my own lived experience, in this case as a person with ADHD. In elementary & middle school I was a D/F student, constatnly meeting with the principal, incurring detention after school and in need of tutors and remedial classes. My ability to control the raw biological energy in my body/mind began at age 15. I enrolled in a martial arts class during the summer. By the end of that school year my grades were moving upward and my butt was staying more seated in class. By the end of the following year I had become an A/B student, more focused, relaxed and learning ways to control that wonderful energy. Wonderful because I am able to get more done by 9am then most people accomplish in a full day. I was a successful business person for 20 years before I decided to shift to <another field>. Went back to school for my masters at the age of 40, graduated top in my class and was asked to speak at graduation ceremony. <removed> There is an increasing body of research on the subject that validates how the the principles of the Dojo-martial arts traing hall and its practices help people. I have never had any meds for my ADHD and yes, I do work hard to manage the energy everyday. I am thankful for the teachers past & present in martial arts who helped me (still training 35 years later). Obviously I am not naive to think any one tool works for everyone. I also like to reframe things so instead of ADHD being a "curse" I view it (some would say arrogantly but that's ok) as the next evolutionary step for humans. Afterall, we live in a world that keeps getting faster because of technology. So when humans are ready to move physically and mentally at the speed of light we'll be ready. What I am getting at is that people look at ADHD as a problem instead of a gift. Find it's strengths, don't shame your child and help them find those strategies that will help them drive it instead of them being driven by the energy.
I continue to be there and loving the ride
sensei

Last edited by mod-anon; 02-27-2008 at 07:47 AM. Reason: peer sharing only

 
Old 03-11-2008, 11:53 AM   #13
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Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

Medications absolutely will increase focus at school in any person with add/adhd. The question is whether this outweighs the risks of adverse reactions or how it makes you feel on a daily basis. An important factor to consider is the severity of the adhd. This is usually measured on a standardized scale by percentile after taking a lengthy survey with a psychologist or psychiatrist. The notion that someone has to be failing school to have add is false. It is possible that in a mild case in an intelligent person, it may not surface until later in life, even though they had those tendancies. My brother was confirmed to have adhd only after he entered an accounting masters program and was forced to do massive amounts of tedious work. His grades went from C's to A's immediately and he got hired by the #1 big accounting company in the US, So it clearly paid off for him to medicate. If grades are suffering, then medication is the most effective approach to manage add. Other methods may be employed, but they are complimentary to this. It is a fundamental shortage of norepinephrine and serotonin in the nerve synapse in the brain. This means that a medication is the only way to change this physiological condition for the long term. Another important thing to understand is that physical dependence and addiction are not the same thing. People taking adderall or ritalin will be physically dependent but very rarely addicted. This means they need to taper off the dose when they decide to quit. Being addicted means they will do things socially unacceptable or lie or steal to get the medication. Hope this helps you with these issues.

 
Old 03-11-2008, 03:09 PM   #14
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Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

So your son definatly sounds like me!!! I was diagnosed with ADD whenever I was 16, I showed classic symptoms and everything but I too felt that it was just me being a teenager, but it wasn't. He might be having a hard time accepting it because like me, I thought of it as a learning disorder. Because it is. And in my case once I got to high school it definatly showed because I was unable to concentrate on my homework, in classes, on tests etc. I always had to be doing something to keep me occupied because I couldn't just sit there, and that made my grades fall drastically. When I was diagnosed I didn't want to take the medicine (in my case mainly because of the weight loss) people already commented on how small I was, because I only weighed about 105lbs, and Adderall usually makes people loose 5-20lbs. So I got through Highschool not taking the medication but seeking help in any way possible... but I usualy resorted to my friends to help me. But my parents were in a way the same as you are, which I'm not saying is bad because you care and that is the main thing that I needed was knowing that my parents understood what I was going through and not punishing me for having a learning disorder, but letting me cope with it the way I needed to cope with his. So as I got older, (I am 19 now) I am in my second year of college. My first semester of college, I completely freaked out because I could not study, I could not write a paper, I could not pay attention in class, so I decided that it was time I accepted having A.D.D and do something about it, because College really matters to me, it determines my future. So I went to my doctor and told him I was ready and he prescribed me Adderall, and it really does work. I know people think that it is a drug but like anything prescribed... it is a prescription drug unless someone who doesn't need it uses it. I am proud to say that I am finishing up my Sophomore year of college having 4.0's all 4 semesters, I had never had a 4.0 in my life and I was so proud of myself. I only take my mediciation when I need it, which is usually week days because you don't have to take it all the time, so on weekends when I don't ahve a lot of homework or a test or something I don't take my medicine. So I hope that you can see your sons point of view from my story, maybe let him cope with it the way he needs to, and let him accept it in time and if he needs the medicine, don't think of it as a drug or as suppressing his creativness, because in my opinion it has helped me succeed and pass any expectation I had for myself which is the most amazing feeling I think I have ever had, and I am no less creative than I use to be, I am still myself... I am stilly happy, peppy, sporty a huge people person and and I still have fun... the only difference is when I tell myself I can't go out because I need to study... I study... I concentrate in class instead of laugh with my friends and pass notes.

So I hope this help you and your son... just let him know that you and your wife are there for him no matter what... and that you will help him in any way he needs... just remember... it's hard having someone tell you you have a learning disability when you are a teenager... it makes you feel like you are different than anyone else.

 
Old 03-24-2008, 01:46 PM   #15
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Re: Parent of a 15 year old with ADD. Need advice.

Another thought on medications. Make sure to try different medications before making conclusions if the doctor feels they are necessary. Some people respond well to one kind and not another and many times a trial and error process with drug or dose in required.

 
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