The transition from high school to college can be a challenge for learners with ADD and ADHD. In my practice, I often see many students that didn’t get off to the best start in his/her postsecondary education. There are many reasons for this issue and there’s no simple solution.
But maybe we need to look at the contributing factors (and this is no criticism of parenting). We all want our children to be successful. I have two children and would do anything for them! But at the same time, sometimes this help could cross over to enabling. How so you might ask? Well there’s a fine line here, and one that’s hard to distinguish. Do I bring my child’s missing work to school? Do I make excuses if something doesn’t get done on time? Am I helping him/her get out of the house in the morning? Do I allow him/her to learn from mistakes?
These are obviously a few questions; but it is part of a bigger process. When we see our children struggle, we want to help. This is very obvious. But what does it mean to help? Do we allow our kids to identify solutions on his/her own? If our child forgets to turn in work, do we let him/her identify a way of fixing the issue? Learning from mistakes and building important life skills is the best medicine at times; but at the same time, will that impact his/her options later in life?
The best place to start is to take an inventory of your child. How does your child best achieve success? What are realistic expectations for your child? We all want our child to go to Harvard, but maybe he/she will be better prepared for a public university. Pushing our kids to achieve greatness is what we’re supposed to do; but it needs to be a fair to his/her ability. If you feel like you’re the one constantly doing things while your child isn’t doing his/her part; it becomes the issue.
The other part of this is to be realistic about our child’s maturity. Maybe he/she isn’t quite ready for college. The idea of four-years for college can be a dangerous one. Instead, maybe a gap year or some time off will do your child well. This time can be spent developing important skills for the next journey. Keep in mind that studies show that there’s a maturity gap for children with ADD/ADHD. Allowing your child some time to grow isn’t the worst idea.
There’s some things to digest here and certainly there’s no easy solution. Just don’t lose sight of the love you have for your child. And no matter what happens (within reason), there’s always a solution. But be sure to have your child help find it!
For more helpful tips an suggestions, please check out my ADHD Guru podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio. You can also find me on Twitter (@adhdguru) and Instagram (@adhdguru). Feel free to email me at [email protected] or call 877.398.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.