Parent of an ADHD adult child

blubel2

Member
Hello, my last post was in Dec. it is now May and my child went to college, until this time he has not chosen to show us his transcript so I do not know how well he has done. I feel that he did not put a lot of effort into school, " I made him go" his words not mine. I said that he could come back home if he went to school full time. My question, how long should we have to put up with a 21 year old adult who is looking for work but not putting much effort into it. He did go to school and he did hold down a part-time job but quit before they fired him. Every job that he had since leaving school has only lasted a few months. Now he is going to a larger city to look for work and will be staying with me. We do not get along very well but I am willing to help him if he is going to make an effort. How long should I give him to find employment. There are a lot of jobs for young adults if they are willing to make the effort. Where did the work ethic go for these young adults? I have no patience, my husband on the other hand is more lenient with him but it is now my turn to have to spend the better part of the week with him.
 

Holly

Member
Hi blubel2,
You mention several concerns, if he was to get involved in a support group with ADHD in the area, it may have resources for him.
Also the employment centre for youth have special programs to help build you work experience, resume help.
You can find it at the Government of Canada website for youth:
Youth in Canada - Canada.ca
and
Service Canada also
http://servicecanada.gc.ca/en/home.html
Hope this is helpful, with respect to the rest of your post, it could be an individual thing between the parent and young adult.
All the best, I hope you find balance for the both of you!
Take care
 

ThatLady

Member
Personally, I'm for laying down ground rules for young adults still living at home. If he's supposed to be looking for work, he'll need to be up and out early. Since he's living under my roof and consuming my food, I have a right to ask for proof that he's actually looking for work. I also have a right to insist that he not leave a permanent indentation in my sofa. You've sent him to school, you've supported him, you've given him every chance to make a success of himself. The rest is up to him.

If it were me, I'd give him a time-frame in which to get a job and begin to either help with expenses, or find a place of his own. There are jobs out there. I think, probably, thirty days is long enough for him to have found something, even if it isn't what he wants to spend his life doing. Then, he needs to realize that he's a responsible adult who will be expected to contribute to the household costs.
 

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I'm not personally a big fan of "tough love" except as a last resort. Kids and adults with ADHD generally present with secondary depression, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, etc.. which adds to their difficulties and makes motivating themselves harder than it would be for the average person. Threats and ultimata with short deadlines don't usually improve the situation for them.
 

Holly

Member
Hi Everyone,
It is hard for parents with children of ADHD to find balance, I like the idea of having supports for a young adult in place, the stress of being ADHD is difficult enough for many families to deal with. The idea of going to a support group would help ADHD adult know that they not alone. At the same time maybe bring a schedule into place for them to build upon and improve the situation at home with his parents. That was one idea I had in mentioning it to this parent.
 

ThatLady

Member
Heh. Dur! I missed the ADHD part! That sorta negates everything I said! :eek:
 

HA

Member
Good morning Blubel2,

I think one of the hardest things for us to do as parents of children with any kind of special need, is to not let the loss of our *normal* child get in the way of caring for our child with disabilities.

Especially with your son's condition, he has one of the invisable disabilites, where he can talk, walk and otherwise appear *normal*. He does have a problem that he cannot willfully control though. I'm sure his desire to control his life is greater than anyone's, especially being a young adult.

Maybe his activity level has diminished with age but the other deficits such as ability to organize or the brain's executive functions, are still there and they are why he is struggling with school and work.

What would really help you to have a better relationship with your son would be to attend a support group for parents of adults with AD/HD. Call any of your local AD/HD organizations and ask until you find one. They can direct you to people who specialze in counselling or otherwise helping adults with AD/HD which would be helpful for your son to live a fullfilling life.

I found the following segments from articles that I thought you might find helpful. All the best.

What are the Pertinent Adult Problems?

1. Substance abuse, antisocial behavior, and even criminality are among the better-known problems of some adults with ADHD (Hechtman, Weiss, & Perlman, 1984). However, these issues are hardly universal, and may be more likely in some groups of patients. Poor social skills or deficits in self-awareness are also frequent.

2. When unrecognized, and therefore untreated, ADHD occurs along with other psychiatric conditions, it can contribute to the failure of medication and psychotherapy. This is because the "comorbid," or coexisting, conditions are then the only focus of treatment (Ratey, Greenberg, Bemporad, & Lindem, 1992).

3. Problems with independent adaptive functioning are among the most common complaints of adults who have ADHD and seek therapy (Silver, 2000). For example, they may have difficulty finding and keeping jobs, trouble maintaining routine and organization, and problems with self-discipline. In contrast, behavior control issues are the more usual complaints in children with ADHD. The difference between children and adults may reflect the fact that parents, teachers, and society can provide external forms of regulation for children, but cannot fulfill that role for adults. Additionally, the tasks of adulthood generally require more self-regulation, thereby making deficits in this area more apparent.

After Diagnosis, What Then?

Although there is no cure for AD/HD, many treatments can effectively assist in managing its symptoms. Chief among these treatments is the education of adults with AD/HD and their family members about the disorder?s nature and management. However, well-controlled research comparing different types of treatment has found overwhelmingly that the greatest improvement in the symptoms of AD/HD results from treatment with stimulant medication combined with counseling. Evidence shows that some tricyclic antidepressants may also be effective in managing symptoms of AD/HD as well as co-existing symptoms of mood disorder and anxiety. Just as there is no single test to diagnose AD/HD, no single treatment approach is appropriate for everyone. Treatment needs to be tailored to the individual and should address all areas of need. There may be a variety of behavioral, social, academic, vocational or relationship concerns for the adult with AD/HD. For some, just getting the diagnosis and understanding that there was a reason for many past difficulties can be extremely helpful. Adults with AD/HD may also benefit from counseling about the condition, vocational assessment and guidance to find the most suitable work environment, time management and organizational assistance, coaching, academic or workplace accommodations, and behavior management strategies.

In summary, some common components of treatment plans for adult AD/HD include:

  • Consultation with appropriate medical professionals
  • Education about AD/HD
  • Medication
  • Support groups
  • Behavior skill-building such as list-making, day planners, filing systems and other routines
  • Supportive individual and/or marital counseling
  • Coaching
  • Vocational counseling
  • Assistance with making appropriate educational and vocational choices
  • Perseverance and hard work
  • Appropriate academic or workplace accommodations
A multimodal treatment plan combining medication, education, behavioral and psychosocial treatments is thought to be the most effective approach. Although there has yet to be a large volume of research on psychosocial treatment of adult AD/HD, several studies suggest that counseling which offers support and education can be effective in treating adults with AD/HD. A combined treatment approach, maintained over a long period of time, can assist in the ongoing management of the disorder and help these adults lead more satisfactory and productive lives.

This article first appeared as CHADD Fact Sheet No. 7, Spring 2000.
 

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Great post, HeartArt. I especially like this part:

he has one of the invisible disabilities, where he can talk, walk and otherwise appear *normal*. He does have a problem that he cannot willfully control though.
 

Holly

Member
Hi HeartArt,
Wonderful post, I read the site, very interesting.
It is so true about invisable disabilities also, many people forget that in everyday, if you live in Canada, go to college/university this site helps many students! I attended some of the conferences at NEADS!
NEADS - About NEADS
Below is more information and what the organization does:

About NEADS

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students is a consumer organization, with a mandate to encourage the self-empowerment of post-secondary students with disabilities. NEADS advocates for increased accessibility at all levels so that disabled students may gain equal access to college or university education, which is their right. The Association provides information on services and programs for students with disabilities nationwide, publishes a regular newsletter, and conducts research on issues of importance to its members. Members include disabled students, educators, organizations and professional service providers. NEADS is governed by a 12 person Board of Directors which represents each of the provinces and the territories. Board members are all consumers with disabilities, with the exception of the open" rep. position on the Board, which may be filled by anyone who has an expressed interest in the work of the Association and a demonstrated commitment to the objectives and goals of NEADS.

Started by an enthusiastic group of students who were members of Awareness Carleton, a campus club for disabled students at Carleton University, NEADS developed according to the principles of the consumer movement, and the impetus created by the International Year of Disabled Persons (1981).

On November 9-12, 1986 NEADS held its first conference, appropriately called "The Foundation." Participants ranged from students with disabilities to educators to leading members of disabled persons' organizations. When this diverse group met in Ottawa, discussion focused on ways to improve accessibility in colleges and universities for hearing impaired, learning disabled, mobility impaired, and visually impaired individuals as well as students with other" disabilities.

Hope this is helpful, it was a interesting organization when I attended the conferences a few years back! :)
 

blubel2

Member
I would like to thank all of you who replied to my post and offered me such great advice. I have been down this path for the past 10 years, in school he had help and also took ritalin. Maybe ritalin was not such a great idea although at the time I thought it helped him stay more focused. He is a very intelligent young man and it pains me to see him wasting his time. On the other hand he does not get in trouble. The post from ThatLady, thank you, that is where I am at in spite of his disablilty. My head would like me to act accordingly but my heart tells me he would not do so well without our help. I am a firm beliver of support groups having been a member of quite a few, this might be the time to find another. My DH is bipolar so "normal" is not a word for this family. It is certainly a learning experience one that I have experienced for almost 20 years. So one would wonder why I cannot put into practice that which I have learned over the years, I am tired. HeartArt, thank you for your wonderful post, especially the part regarding the desire to control his own life, he is trying very hard. I will keep you all posted, I am very happy to have found this site it has a wealth of information.
 

HA

Member
Hi Blubel2,

I understand how tiring it can be. It is important to take many breaks and to be involved in your own life interests that you can enjoy without guilt for not being all consumed with your son's issues. Self care keeps you from burning out and shows your son that life does go on despite what is happening. It may also help relieve some of his guilt of being a burden or failure to his family.

Why would Ritalin have been a bad thing? It has helped many people with AD/HD. If he is not using any medication now then that may be the next avenue of support for him. My ex-husband was diagnosed with adult ADHD then bipolar comorbid with ADD. Has bipolar been ruled out for your son?

I think a support group with the focus on an adult child will be very helpful for you. Did you think that the days of support groups and dealing with this might have been behind you?

Holly, Thanks for the link!
 

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