There's a lot going on in high school, especially for a child with ADD.
Most people in the workforce have one job, with fairly consistent functions, and one boss. To do their job, they tend to have a relatively steady set of “rules” to follow on a day-to-day basis.
Imagine for a moment …
Instead of one boss, you have seven, each one with a different style, personality, and way of doing things.
You only have 50 minutes each day to get to know that boss, and gather the information you need to successfully do the job.
Once an hour you have exactly 5 minutes to wrap up your thoughts on the first job, clean off your desk, and walk several yards to your next job and be ready to start fresh, all over again, on an entirely different topic.
Each day, for each job, you are learning something brand new that you will be judged on in a few short days. Your future success hangs on your performance.
Welcome to High School, my friends!
And if that isn’t enough, add to that relationships, and hormones, and peer pressure, and after school activities, and parents…
Sure we all survived it. We are probably even proud of our accomplishments. It perhaps feels somewhat vindicating to watch our kids run the gauntlet of school that so many have run in the past. But let’s face it – it’s not easy! And for an ADD kid – it’s down-right mind-blowing when you consider what it really takes. All those assignments, and different rules, and topics. I’m certain that my 50+ year old menopausal brain would be significantly challenged if I went back today.
So I’m not telling you this so that you will go easy on your kid – necessarily. Although it’s difficult, High School is a basic rite of passage, after all. But how can this information help you? What can you do to help your child find success in High School?
Have compassion – Know that it isn’t easy. Be willing to commiserate, celebrate, listen, and support however you can.
Set realistic expectations – Our kids often lag 3-5 years behind their peers developmentally, so they may need additional accommodations and supports to manage it all. You may also need to be willing to let a ball drop occasionally.
Follow their lead – Your kid is already managing 7 bosses. If you want to direct it all and/or argue with them about how to do everything, often all you are adding is extra pressure, when what you really want is to help them succeed.
Manage your own stuff – We all have goals and aspirations for our kids, but sometimes we get over zealous and allow our child’s life experiences to become a direct extension of ours. Share your opinions, your experiences, your expertise. But drop them like a leaf on to the river and watch them flow in whatever direction the current takes them. Allow them to begin to live their own lives.
Make time for what counts – Maybe you are an “all business” kind of parent. My guess is, if you are reading our blog, you aren’t. Get clear with yourself what you want your kid to remember about her time in high-school. Find time to connect as a family, let him find his own interests. Sometimes even a High Schooler needs to “just be a kid!”
Yes, High School is a challenge, and in the end, most of us survive it. Make it your job as a parent to help your kid get through with less stress, more confidence, and a little bit of fun on the side!
Elaine Taylor-Klaus and Diane Dempster, founders of ImpactADHD.com, teach/write about practical strategies to parents of “complex” kids with ADHD and related challenges. To help your kids find the motivation to get anything done, download their free parent’s guide, The Parent’s Guide to Motivating Your Complex Child.
This article was originally published at ImpactADHD. Reprinted with permission from the author.