16-year-old ADHD son. Takes medication for ADHD and works best as it can for school and focus. He procrastinates terribly and winds up going to bed after mom and dad each night. Can't rise in the morning and I literally jerk him out of bed. I feel like the jerk. He asks me "What did I do to deserve this?" I feel rotten but he can't miss/mess up this carpool. We've been kicked out of others for being late. We've tried EVERYTHING to keep him on task and I even stood by him last night while he did most of his homework but I can't stand by him every night...he's 16! I want him to become independent because I won't be able to stay with him every minute when he's 18, 19, 20. He sees a psychologist and psychiatrist. He's actually seen about 5 different psychologists through the years but this focus thing is really hard at home. He can't focus and then can't even wind up getting up from his desk to go to bed and I need to go to bed so I can't wait until 12:00 a.m. to force him to go to bed. We're all tired!
Any of you (adults included) with tricks on how to get the transition going from homework to bed?
The following user gives a hug of support to busymommy: Thunor (02-10-2013)
I wish I had the answer for you. As an adult with ADHD, I've struggled with similar issues my whole life and have tried many things, with varying degrees of success. It's very common for ADHDers to stay up late and struggle to wake up. Unfortunately, I have never found a definitive answer for this issue. There are some things that can help, of course.
While I'm afraid I may come off as cold-hearted, your son is getting to an age where he is going to have to make some decisions and help himself, you can't be there for him forever. If his issue is difficulty finding the motivation to go to bed on time, he's going to have to find his own reasons for wanting to get to school on time.
If the issue is that he struggles to fall asleep, he needs to ensure that his diet is healthy, and that he avoids carbohydrates and artificial flavours and preservatives, especially late in the day--and no Red Bull. He needs to ensure that he gets an hour or more of strenuous exercise every day, whether it be cardiovascular or weight training (though at 16, he doesn't want to get super heavy with weights yet, it's too soon). Be sure that he is not taking his meds too late in the day, unless specifically instructed by his doctor. I would recommend that he not take any stimulant med after noon, or earlier if it's a long-acting medication. Finally, if the sleep issues don't resolve with careful diet and exercise, there are pharmaceutical aids for sleep that his psychiatrist can help him with.
Routine and structure are an ADHDers best friend--unfortunately, we're wired to rail against both, and to try to avoid them. He needs to establish the most consistent routine possible, and stick to it, even on weekends. His peers may be able to get away with sleeping until noon on weekends and holidays, but doing so will be trouble for an ADHD individual. Life is much, much easier for us if we can set our watches by our routine, in time your body becomes accustomed to it, and waking and sleeping will happen automatically.
Now, I've given you some suggestions that in hindsight paint a rosy picture, I have never found it that easy. That said, each of these suggestions will make a difference to his ease of sleeping/waking, employing all three will make far more difference than employing one or two. Sadly, he will probably fight you tooth and nail, because again, that's how we're wired. Your son is responsible for his own future, and will need to decide to fight his nature in order for this to work.
I know what your son is going through, I went through the same thing in high school. After homework I would take a shower, around 9pm, and read a book, Grimms Tales For Young and Old, until I fell asleep around 11pm. I accustomed myself to wake up at 6am every morning, take my pill, and eat breakfast. The main enticement for waking up so early? I would watch cartoons in the morning, and guess what, it worked. Although I established this sleep cycle myself and not by my parents.
I had school at 7:30am, so you can adjust the cycle based on your schedule. Keep in mind, adhd children have been known to require less sleep than a typical person, I averaged 5-7 hours a night in high school and about the same during my past two years in college. I still wake up at 6am, but I study instead of watch TV in the morning.
Keep in mind, sleep cycles take around a month to lock-in. So don't get discouraged.