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14 yo DS. Dealing with lack of attention/common sense/absentmindedness


Miss Peregrine
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I want to pull my hair out. :cursing:

 

He cannot follow a two step direction without getting lost. "Put the dogs in their crates and feed them in there." What he does is put the dogs in their crates. "Uou fed them , right?" Oh, I forgot.

 

Or Dh will give him a direction to go get "X" from upstairs. I guess when he gets upstairs he sees a squirrel as he passes by his room and 5 minutes later Dh is calling for him. "Sorry, I forgot." Really?

 

Last night at Target we were looking at curtains and he goes to buy himself a case for his ipod. He buys it and comes back to where we are. He pulls it out to show us and then wads the Target bag into a ball and shoves it into a jacket pocket. He is holding the case and starts putting it inside his jacket, into an inside pocket. :confused1: Son, do you NOT SEE how that looks on the video surveillance? Why?

 

DH got really mad at him then. Muttering about common sense and what is he thinking?

 

These examples are pretty much what we deal with every day. He also can't concentrate during school. A half hour will go by and he did nothing. Like, literally, he has numbered his page and started the first answer.

 

I feel really badly for him. In the car last night on the way home from Target he said, "Mom and Dad, I have a spoken note for you. Dear Mom and Dad, I am sorry I am such a moron. Love, ----." :(

 

It makes me sad because he talks a lot about how stupid he is and how he doesn't do anything right. How he doesn't understand math. Yet when I check his algebra, most of it is correct.

 

I very clearly see that he has an attention problem. I want to remedy that. I need ideas(non pharmaceutical) I already build him up every day when he talks about how stupid he is. I bring attention to his strengths but he is still floundering. :(

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Maybe a complete neuropsychological evaluation?

 

It could be a combination of things...attention, executive function, mild LD.

 

Good luck!

 

PS if it makes you feel better my son didn't know which button unlocked the van's doors...the van we've had for 3 years. He also asked how to use a disposable toothbrush...

 

Urgh

 

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I was pretty spacey as a teen and a great student. The things you mention just seem like general spaciness. The Ipod thing really was no big deal, someone had the receipt right?

 

I would tread carefully with your ds. My parents, especially my mother, would make me feel really bad about this. I think some of it was teasing but it really hit home.

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I was pretty spacey as a teen and a great student. The things you mention just seem like general spaciness. The Ipod thing really was no big deal, someone had the receipt right?

 

I would tread carefully with your ds. My parents, especially my mother, would make me feel really bad about this. I think some of it was teasing but it really hit home.

 

 

My daughter was pretty spacey at that age but nothing like this. Not able to follow 2 -step directions?

 

Thanks for the reminder to be sensitive. I try really hard to not make him feel bad. DH has a really hard time with it. He is a very sensitive child and I know it hurts him.

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This is quite common for teen boys this age. They are growing like crazy and their brains are rewiring. All of you ask your husbands which year they completely forgot (its either 8th or 9th grade) you will see it is common. That is why math doesn't get harder (prealgebra) and they do shop at school. When trying to figure curriculum for dd (younger than ds) I would ask ds what we used. When we got to that grade.... he couldn't remember. I even pulled out the workbooks he did, he said he didn't do those. Then I opened them and showed him his writing.

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Writen chores lists help here. They can check off the items one by one and have a visual of what they are supposed to be doing.

 

Honestly though if this is a long standing issue that is affecting his self esteem, relationships with you, and his school work, I would seek out a professional evaluation and treatment. There are non med options to try which may or may not be successful but there is also a high risk that IF he has ADD (the inattentive kind) that these kids tend to self medicate as they get older.

 

I realize that meds are not a first option or even best option for all kids but for those kids that really do need the meds they can make a HUGE difference not only in their school work but relationships with the parents, other kids, his self esteem, etc.

 

Kinda like wearing glasses. You don't withold glasses from a kid that needs them to see. I don't want to withhold something that could help him pay attention.

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DS11 is like this, and always has been. I go through phases of following him quite closely and reminding him of what he needs to be doing, what he needs to be paying attention to; it's a bit exhausting and I need to be in a very patient mood. Gradually I back off and he manages better on his own for a while; until next time.

 

When he was homeschooled there were frequent phases when I would literally sit next to him and keep him on task, keep him focusing on completing his work; again, I would gradually back off; until next time. He was always so pitifully proud of himself when he managed to stay organised and get his work done.

 

When he started school in September he really struggled at first, and does still to some extent, but he goes to a really wonderful school who work with him to help him organise himself. Most recently they have paired him up with a girl in his form who is super organised and she helps him quite a bit (he says she's really annoying :tongue_smilie:).

 

I think it's really important to be patient and stay calm, they really don't want to be this way. Also, I wouldn't necessarily expect him to be able to cope on his own, he needs support, maybe a lot of support. If DS11 were left to his own devices he'd just sink.

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My daughter was pretty spacey at that age but nothing like this. Not able to follow 2 -step directions?

 

Thanks for the reminder to be sensitive. I try really hard to not make him feel bad. DH has a really hard time with it. He is a very sensitive child and I know it hurts him.

 

 

I know exactly what your talking about, happening here with ds9. Smart kid, multi step anything is not happening...from personal care tasks...to school...and he is coming up with the same negative comments about being stupid, and it simply isn't true. It is so, so hard to convince him otherwise. The one thing that has helped is to be more intentional about discussing anything that's of issue, privately. No siblings around, period and sometimes not even dh as doesn't want to disappoint him. The exposure of these faults to other people is the worst.

 

I have found it very hard to find info on attention issues that doesn't take you straight to ADHD driven behavioral problems. We have started a referral process for testing, but that will be a long process and we are determined to do everything possible before resorting to medication. I have had some medical problems of my own lately that have inspired me to look more at his diet. There have been a lot of threads lately about gluten and other allergens affecting kids' behavior and how well they can focus. Many of these things create a "brain fog" so to speak. An elimination diet or more clean diet might be worth a try. Our pediatrician also mentioned sleep disorders as something to investigate, you need good sleep to focus. Have you investigated diet and sleep problems yet? I wish you the best.

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Ds started on this late last year. The kid that could previously handle long rambling instructions now needs them spoon fed like a toddler. It's a teen brain, imo. We started back with simple lists and instructions. He helps with dinner everynight, he knows what to do. I had to go back to set the table then come back to me. Now get drinks, ask your father what he wants then come back to me. He's improved since last fall. I consider it just a phrase that needs to be reprogrammed, not a lack of sense or character defect.

 

The "I'm stupid" stuff would bother me. Ds had some of that years ago with a learning challenge. By happenstance we were doing a study on how the brain works, it was perfect. He knew it was just his brain functioning, not the fact he was stupid.

 

Ellen McHenry has a study on the brain , I've considered buying it just to have ds better understand some of the stuff he's going through now.

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Do we have twins that were separated at birth?? Seriously, you just described my son to a T, every single thing.

 

My daughter was pretty spacey at that age but nothing like this. Not able to follow 2 -step directions?

 

Thanks for the reminder to be sensitive. I try really hard to not make him feel bad. DH has a really hard time with it. He is a very sensitive child and I know it hurts him.

 

My son (will turn 14 on Monday) has a hard time following two step directions at times. Some days I have more patience for it than others. I do my best not to make him feel bad about it, but like you my husband doesn't have a lick of patience for it. My son is very sensitive as well, and even little comments will hurt his feelings, and sometimes DH will go off on him for it. The thing is, getting mad at him doesn't make a bit of difference, b/c DH doesn't see that.

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I definitely have sympathy for you on this one. We have SOOOO been there with our teens.

 

What really helped was more sleep and more exercise. Our teens and even dd11 have a 9pm bedtime. Lots of daily exercise helps too. And for dd19, we fed her caffeine starting about age 14. She is our highly creative dreamer and it makes all the difference in her ability to focus.

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My ds13 is like this. He has always been this way, but for the last year he has been worse. The worst part is that it frustrates him too. He doesn't listen for the full directions. He shuts himself off when he hears the first thing, then just goes with it. He then gets mad because he didn't "hear". The child just seems spacey. The other night, at the grocery store, I kept yelling at him (speaking loudly, because we were outside), to park the cart. After the 5th time I had to go over and grab him and the cart. My ds10 just laughed. My ds13 kept saying he didn't hear me, and my ds10 kept saying that I was saying it over and over. And yes his hearing is fine. He is just in his own world.

 

I believe it's just the age. All of his energy is going into growing, there is nothing left for anything else. I try to be patient, but it's hard.

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Do you use written check lists? For chores and school work. Detailed lists seem to help my kids. Last night we were talking about the effect lists have on our attitudes towards our tasks. Both kids felt having lists of tasks to complete made the tasks seem more manageable. Without a list, they feel lost and unsure where to begin. Also, FWIW, DS often puts his laundry in the washer, adds soap, and then walks away....without turning it on.

 

 

Last night at Target we were looking at curtains and he goes to buy himself a case for his ipod. He buys it and comes back to where we are. He pulls it out to show us and then wads the Target bag into a ball and shoves it into a jacket pocket. He is holding the case and starts putting it inside his jacket, into an inside pocket. :confused1: Son, do you NOT SEE how that looks on the video surveillance? Why?

 

DH got really mad at him then. Muttering about common sense and what is he thinking?

 

 

I could imagine either of my kids doing this. They aren't very aware of the world of shoplifting and store security. Yes, we have talked about it, but I think it is still pretty abstract to them. It seems like common sense to us, but perhaps it is more a matter of accumulated life experience. But, I wouldn't expect them to be able to go off alone and then find me again in the store. They are 14 and 16 yo boys. I will let them leave the Target through the mall, go into the adjacent food court, buy food, sit at a table, eat and then wait for me to find them there. They don't have severe attention issues, but they are often off in their own little world, either thinking silently or chatting with each other (usually about programming) and do not pay attention to their surroundings. They don't get distracted by outside events, but they get distracted by their own thoughts. They do tend towards the Asperger's ish side. My husband definitely fits the *absent minded professor* stereotype, so we have a lot of family jokes about it all around, but only in a nice, jolly way, not in a sarcastic, biting way.

 

My niece, OTOH, would have been able to nimbly navigate the nuances of locating us in a store around age... 8, not that we would do it, just she was much more aware of her surroundings and she does have ADHD, so I am not sure it is a complete attention issue.

 

Last year when my younger son was doing algebra 1, I had to sit next to him throughout most of the lesson. He does better with an auditory and social component. If I was there just as a sounding board, it helped him process through his work more efficiently. I know 14 seems old for this kind of hand holding, but they are going through a lot of changes too. Now he is in ps geometry and he does his homework nightly with no problems. He does like to sit in the living room and interact with us all while he does it though.

 

What are your son's strengths?

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Before I read about the note I thought this was normal hormonal behavior; it's quite typical for an 8-10 year old to be more responsible than a 12-14 year old; I once read a story about a neuroscientist who put his 11 year old in charge of his 14 year old when they were left alone because whatever part of your brain that processes impulse control gets shrunk during puberty and only returns to normal in the early to mid twenties!

 

Having said that, labeling himself anything so negative worries me A LOT. It might be something physical, it might be something like undiagnosed ADHD (easy to miss until puberty if a kid is smart and doesn't have the hyperactive type), it might have been a bump on the head you're not aware of (not tracking thoughts is a symptom of concussion), it could even be atypical migraines that are showing the auras but not the pain yet. I'd be more worried it's psychological (depression) or distraction (a crush, something else he thinks you won't fully approve of).

 

I'd take him to a doctor for an evaluation first, and I would go in the exam room at first and explain what you've seen to the doctor. Then I'd leave for the exam (in case there was some sexual issue he wouldn't want me there for), and if everything was fine medically I'd ask for a refferral to someone else for a psych exam, etc... Of course, you should probably start by just having a low-pressure conversation with him about how concerned you are.

 

If it is something like ADHD, I suggest alternative treatments first - for example, DH started drinking coffee to handle his and he likes it better than medications (less side effects). Since then I've heard that a lot of kids with ADHD have better results from coffee than from medications.

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I was pretty spacey as a teen and a great student. The things you mention just seem like general spaciness. The Ipod thing really was no big deal, someone had the receipt right?

 

I would tread carefully with your ds. My parents, especially my mother, would make me feel really bad about this. I think some of it was teasing but it really hit home.

 

 

My parents were probably very concerned about me but this sort of thing made me feel horrible. I also was pretty spacey, but not because I am stupid, but because I have a rich inner life. Teen hormones made things much worse.

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I've commented on threads like this before that ds has become soooo spacey over the past year. He has also grown a ton, his voice is changing, and he's got hair sprouting on his upper lip. Sometimes I've been too hard on him, because it can be incredibly irritating :(. I had no idea to expect this behavior. I've never been a 12 year-old boy, believe it or not ;) , but dh has, and he remembers it all too well. He felt stupid. Thankfully, dh is there to remind me to go easy. This, too, shall pass.

 

:grouphug: I think you just need to keep building him up and wait this out. Dh said he started coming out of the fog late in his sophomore year. Not too much longer for you. A bit longer for me :cursing: .

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Have you seen my past posts about how 14 yr old boys are idiots? Love my son dearly but the crap that goes through his mind that he thinks is a good thing to do, and the fact he can not actually comprehend what I am saying half the time. YOu know that slack jawed, just hearing english for the first time look you get when you ask him to put his folded laundry away, or ask him something after you have just said it. And explicitly gave him the answer and he still never has the dang lightbulb click on. Yeah that's a 14 yr old.

 

I swear when they hit puberty their brains fall out. I have actually knocked on ds's head and listened for an echo. It's a tough when they are saying things like they feel stupid etc, because you want to make sure they don't feel that way, at the same time they really are acting stupid kwim. But acting stupid is not the same as being stupid and it is hard for teens to understand that.

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I want to respond to everyone's post because I really value your wisdom and I appreciate you taking the time to reply. I'll do a few at a time. :)

Writen chores lists help here. They can check off the items one by one and have a visual of what they are supposed to be doing. Honestly though if this is a long standing issue that is affecting his self esteem, relationships with you, and his school work, I would seek out a professional evaluation and treatment. There are non med options to try which may or may not be successful but there is also a high risk that IF he has ADD (the inattentive kind) that these kids tend to self medicate as they get older. I realize that meds are not a first option or even best option for all kids but for those kids that really do need the meds they can make a HUGE difference not only in their school work but relationships with the parents, other kids, his self esteem, etc. Kinda like wearing glasses. You don't withold glasses from a kid that needs them to see. I don't want to withhold something that could help him pay attention.

 

I would definitely like to try non-med options first but I am taking to heart the bolded. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

DS11 is like this, and always has been. I go through phases of following him quite closely and reminding him of what he needs to be doing, what he needs to be paying attention to; it's a bit exhausting and I need to be in a very patient mood. Gradually I back off and he manages better on his own for a while; until next time. When he was homeschooled there were frequent phases when I would literally sit next to him and keep him on task, keep him focusing on completing his work; again, I would gradually back off; until next time. He was always so pitifully proud of himself when he managed to stay organised and get his work done. When he started school in September he really struggled at first, and does still to some extent, but he goes to a really wonderful school who work with him to help him organise himself. Most recently they have paired him up with a girl in his form who is super organised and she helps him quite a bit (he says she's really annoying :tongue_smilie:). I think it's really important to be patient and stay calm, they really don't want to be this way. Also, I wouldn't necessarily expect him to be able to cope on his own, he needs support, maybe a lot of support. If DS11 were left to his own devices he'd just sink.

 

I am trying to be patient. It is hard because Dh gets all riled up about it and I end up defending DS(which I should) but then DS feels badly again.

 

I know exactly what your talking about, happening here with ds9. Smart kid, multi step anything is not happening...from personal care tasks...to school...and he is coming up with the same negative comments about being stupid, and it simply isn't true. It is so, so hard to convince him otherwise. The one thing that has helped is to be more intentional about discussing anything that's of issue, privately. No siblings around, period and sometimes not even dh as doesn't want to disappoint him. The exposure of these faults to other people is the worst. I have found it very hard to find info on attention issues that doesn't take you straight to ADHD driven behavioral problems. We have started a referral process for testing, but that will be a long process and we are determined to do everything possible before resorting to medication. I have had some medical problems of my own lately that have inspired me to look more at his diet. There have been a lot of threads lately about gluten and other allergens affecting kids' behavior and how well they can focus. Many of these things create a "brain fog" so to speak. An elimination diet or more clean diet might be worth a try. Our pediatrician also mentioned sleep disorders as something to investigate, you need good sleep to focus. Have you investigated diet and sleep problems yet? I wish you the best.

 

I needed that reminder about privacy. Thank you. . .truly.

He says he feels like his brain is scrambled and he can't think clearly. Elimination diet would be beneficial. We are pretty low carb( trying, anyway) because DH has diabetes and I would love for my kids not to suffer the same fate.

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Elimination diet would be beneficial. We are pretty low carb( trying, anyway) because DH has diabetes and I would love for my kids not to suffer the same fate.

 

I suggest trying the book Perfect Health Diet - which is moderate carb and low in allergens and toxins. It's a new book to me and I'm only a little more than halfway through, but the science behind it is astounding, and it seems to fix problems with low carb diets.

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Ds started on this late last year. The kid that could previously handle long rambling instructions now needs them spoon fed like a toddler. It's a teen brain, imo. We started back with simple lists and instructions. He helps with dinner everynight, he knows what to do. I had to go back to set the table then come back to me. Now get drinks, ask your father what he wants then come back to me. He's improved since last fall. I consider it just a phrase that needs to be reprogrammed, not a lack of sense or character defect.

The "I'm stupid" stuff would bother me. Ds had some of that years ago with a learning challenge. By happenstance we were doing a study on how the brain works, it was perfect. He knew it was just his brain functioning, not the fact he was stupid.

Ellen McHenry has a study on the brain , I've considered buying it just to have ds better understand some of the stuff he's going through now.

I am thinking about having him repeat my instructions back to me. That might help. :) Thanks for the link

Do we have twins that were separated at birth?? Seriously, you just described my son to a T, every single thing.

My son (will turn 14 on Monday) has a hard time following two step directions at times. Some days I have more patience for it than others. I do my best not to make him feel bad about it, but like you my husband doesn't have a lick of patience for it. My son is very sensitive as well, and even little comments will hurt his feelings, and sometimes DH will go off on him for it. The thing is, getting mad at him doesn't make a bit of difference, b/c DH doesn't see that.

It's hard. I really try to be patient. DH is another story. He was never scatterbrained at this age. :rolleyes:

I definitely have sympathy for you on this one. We have SOOOO been there with our teens.

What really helped was more sleep and more exercise. Our teens and even dd11 have a 9pm bedtime. Lots of daily exercise helps too. And for dd19, we fed her caffeine starting about age 14. She is our highly creative dreamer and it makes all the difference in her ability to focus.

More sleep and exercise, yes! He does stay up way too late and he does little to no physical activity. We need to work on that, for sure.

My ds13 is like this. He has always been this way, but for the last year he has been worse. The worst part is that it frustrates him too. He doesn't listen for the full directions. He shuts himself off when he hears the first thing, then just goes with it. He then gets mad because he didn't "hear". The child just seems spacey. The other night, at the grocery store, I kept yelling at him (speaking loudly, because we were outside), to park the cart. After the 5th time I had to go over and grab him and the cart. My ds10 just laughed. My ds13 kept saying he didn't hear me, and my ds10 kept saying that I was saying it over and over. And yes his hearing is fine. He is just in his own world.

I believe it's just the age. All of his energy is going into growing, there is nothing left for anything else. I try to be patient, but it's hard.

I think he shuts off after the first instruction, too, so he can get on to the next thing. Nice to know I'm not alone. :)

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Do you use written check lists? For chores and school work. Detailed lists seem to help my kids. Last night we were talking about the effect lists have on our attitudes towards our tasks. Both kids felt having lists of tasks to complete made the tasks seem more manageable. Without a list, they feel lost and unsure where to begin. Also, FWIW, DS often puts his laundry in the washer, adds soap, and then walks away....without turning it on.

 

What are your son's strengths?

Lol about the laundry. He's done that, too. We worked on a list tonight for how the mornings should go before breakfast. We'll start there. As for his strengths: He is a tinkerer. He is the go-to tech guy for his and our friends. He picked our friends' lock when they got locked out last week and no locksmith would come out. He is just like his dad. Very mechanical.

I am not trying to yell the sky is falling. I am only talking from my own experience.

I have kids with neurological deficits. Being " spacey " could be normal for him or a hormonal growth thing.

Or it could be something much more serious, like it was with my family.

I will PM you.

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I very clearly see that he has an attention problem. I want to remedy that. I need ideas(non pharmaceutical) I already build him up every day when he talks about how stupid he is. I bring attention to his strengths but he is still floundering. :(

 

See if your library has Superparenting for ADD and The Myth of ADD. These two help to frame attention issues in a positive light, which it sounds like your DS would benefit from. I know mine did. Patience was (and still is) a great challenge for me, but thinking in positives is the best support I can give my oldest son. There is actually a list with negative traits on the left and the corresponding positive trait on the right. I keep a copy of it in my HS binder and refer to it often. Sometimes a change of perspective is paramount.

 

If you think there is any chance he may be gifted, read Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos. Many kids are diagnosed with ADD when really they are just out of the box creative and unable to focus on the repetitive or banal.

 

Also, Healing the New Childhood Epidemics has some recommendations for lifestyle and diet changes that can help. I second lots of exercise and a super-duper clean diet.

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My parents were probably very concerned about me but this sort of thing made me feel horrible. I also was pretty spacey, but not because I am stupid, but because I have a rich inner life. Teen hormones made things much worse.

Rich inner life. I like that. And he definitely does. :)

I've commented on threads like this before that ds has become soooo spacey over the past year. He has also grown a ton, his voice is changing, and he's got hair sprouting on his upper lip. Sometimes I've been too hard on him, because it can be incredibly irritating :(. I had no idea to expect this behavior. I've never been a 12 year-old boy, believe it or not ;) , but dh has, and he remembers it all too well. He felt stupid. Thankfully, dh is there to remind me to go easy. This, too, shall pass.

:grouphug: I think you just need to keep building him up and wait this out. Dh said he started coming out of the fog late in his sophomore year. Not too much longer for you. A bit longer for me :cursing: .

Yes, he has finally started growing. A foot shorter than most of his friends for the past 2 years. He has grown 5 inches in the last 6 months! His voice started changing just in the last couple of weeks.

Has he always been like this? If it's "typical" teenage brain loss, then at least be glad it's hitting him now and not when he's 17 and having to take the SATs. :D

I know that's not helpful, but may give you hope for the future.

I drink coffee to help my ADD and focus issues.

He has always been like this to some degree. It is magnified right now. We just bought a coffee maker last month and he was very happy. I am not eager to get him hooked on coffee but he likes it. Right now I limit him to once or twice a week.

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Lol about the laundry. He's done that, too. We worked on a list tonight for how the mornings should go before breakfast. We'll start there. As for his strengths: He is a tinkerer. He is the go-to tech guy for his and our friends. He picked our friends' lock when they got locked out last week and no locksmith would come out. He is just like his dad. Very mechanical.

 

I will PM you.

 

OK, I have never known anyone who was very mechanical who was not a stealthy super genius. Not kidding...

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I suggest trying the book Perfect Health Diet - which is moderate carb and low in allergens and toxins. It's a new book to me and I'm only a little more than halfway through, but the science behind it is astounding, and it seems to fix problems with low carb diets.

I will check that out. Thank you!

My nearly-14-yr old is similar. I notice he improves when he takes fish oil.

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

He is so sweet. He knows the benefits of fish oil because I take it and I prefer my kids to take it, I just forget. I found a note in the kitchen the other day reminding himself to take it.

See if your library has Superparenting for ADD and The Myth of ADD. These two help to frame attention issues in a positive light, which it sounds like your DS would benefit from. I know mine did. Patience was (and still is) a great challenge for me, but thinking in positives is the best support I can give my oldest son. There is actually a list with negative traits on the left and the corresponding positive trait on the right. I keep a copy of it in my HS binder and refer to it often. Sometimes a change of perspective is paramount.

If you think there is any chance he may be gifted, read Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos. Many kids are diagnosed with ADD when really they are just out of the box creative and unable to focus on the repetitive or banal.

Also, Healing the New Childhood Epidemics has some recommendations for lifestyle and diet changes that can help. I second lots of exercise and a super-duper clean diet.

I will look into all of those books. I believe he might be one of those out of the box people. He always as some elaborate "plan" or invention he wants to talk about.

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I will check that out. Thank you!

 

He is so sweet. He knows the benefits of fish oil because I take it and I prefer my kids to take it, I just forget. I found a note in the kitchen the other day reminding himself to take it.

 

I will look into all of those books. I believe he might be one of those out of the box people. He always as some elaborate "plan" or invention he wants to talk about.

 

Honestly, reading my son bios of Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin, etc. probably did more to improve his self-image than any pep talk I could give. He is a tinkerer/inventor also. For his science/tinkering lab, I bought him a poster of Einstein which says, "Do not worry about your problems in mathematics; I can assure you mine are still greater." :D Your son may be too old for read-aloud bios, but I wonder if you could assign some for history? Even I found them incredibly encouraging.

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I think he sounds absolutely charming and sweet -- and normal for a 14yo boy. :)

 

Aww, thank you so much. I surely think he is.

Honestly, reading my son bios of Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin, etc. probably did more to improve his self-image than any pep talk I could give. He is a tinkerer/inventor also. For his science/tinkering lab, I bought him a poster of Einstein which says, "Do not worry about your problems in mathematics; I can assure you mine are still greater." :D Your son may be too old for read-aloud bios, but I wonder if you could assign some for history? Even I found them incredibly encouraging.

Great idea. We had a great time going through a book on Leonardo da Vinci together several years ago. I had forgotten how much he was into it.

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there have been many studies about what happens to teens around this time (ages12 onwards) basically all the synapses break and get rewired. It takes time, and their brain is sort of scrambled for a few years as they rebuild their brain.The key is to have only one instruction at a time.

 

I cannot remember the article I read about it, I think it was called inside a teen brain or something like that.

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Nothing to add, except to say "snap". DS is 12, 5ft 6, already shaving and couldn't find his own backside most days. He's bored, critical, lazy and only wants to play with the iPad, fix small engines or design amazing lego technics vehicles. In fact, I think he might be a TEENAGER! DH spends his time oscillating between chuckling at him and wanting to kill him. He can do one instruction some of the time and two instructions never (DS not DH, who can reliably do 2 but not 3!). I'm hoping this phase will pass quickly (its been going downhill for about 6 months). I console myself with the thought that at least he's not a teenage girl (BTDT).

D

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He has always been like this to some degree. It is magnified right now. We just bought a coffee maker last month and he was very happy. I am not eager to get him hooked on coffee but he likes it. Right now I limit him to once or twice a week.

 

Well, coffee isn't the worst thing ever. Just think of how many adults "can't function" until they have had 2 cups of coffee in the morning.

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Well, coffee isn't the worst thing ever. Just think of how many adults "can't function" until they have had 2 cups of coffee in the morning.

 

You're right. I've just been concerned about the "growth stunting" aspect I've always heard since he is a good foot shorter than his friends. :) He might never catch up anyway. I'm 5'1". Lol

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You're right. I've just been concerned about the "growth stunting" aspect I've always heard since he is a good foot shorter than his friends. :) He might never catch up anyway. I'm 5'1". Lol

 

 

My ds, to my right, at the dining room table, is drinking a cup of coffee, while doing his math, as we speak :001_smile: .

 

From the NY Times:

 

THE BOTTOM LINE The research suggests that coffee will not stunt growth.

 

It helps here.

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Nothing to add, except to say "snap". DS is 12, 5ft 6, already shaving and couldn't find his own backside most days. He's bored, critical, lazy and only wants to play with the iPad, fix small engines or design amazing lego technics vehicles. In fact, I think he might be a TEENAGER! DH spends his time oscillating between chuckling at him and wanting to kill him. He can do one instruction some of the time and two instructions never (DS not DH, who can reliably do 2 but not 3!). I'm hoping this phase will pass quickly (its been going downhill for about 6 months). I console myself with the thought that at least he's not a teenage girl (BTDT).

D

 

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You're right. I've just been concerned about the "growth stunting" aspect I've always heard since he is a good foot shorter than his friends. :) He might never catch up anyway. I'm 5'1". Lol

 

 

Is he very short compared to his projected height---given height of hte parents? Has he stayed on his growth curve or has he fallen off it? It could be that he is just later to mature and will end up taller. He is has fallen off his growth curve or is way behind you might want to see an endocrinologist to test thyroid and growth hormones as well as bone age to see if everything is alright. It isn't super common but I know of several kids that needed growth hormones to help them get to their adult height.

 

My dd had thyroid issues and was very borderline for growth hormone. She topped out at 4'10.

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My DD is the same way and it drives me batty. She wasn't always like this so I've been chalking it up to hormones. She is supposed to load and run the dishwasher after dinner. Last night she loaded it but forgot to run it. Really! How do you forget to put soap in and push start?

 

 

It happens, I do it... :ph34r:

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You described my DS13 to a T! He's always been this way and has ADHD, SPD, and dyslexia. My thought was that since this came on recently for your son that it might be hormonal?

 

Do you have a Naturopathic doctor near you? They are great and can guide you with food and supplements. I would start there if you can. You've gotten a lot of good recommendations for books. :)

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I want to pull my hair out. :cursing:

 

He cannot follow a two step direction without getting lost. "Put the dogs in their crates and feed them in there." What he does is put the dogs in their crates. "Uou fed them , right?" Oh, I forgot.

 

Or Dh will give him a direction to go get "X" from upstairs. I guess when he gets upstairs he sees a squirrel as he passes by his room and 5 minutes later Dh is calling for him. "Sorry, I forgot." Really?

 

Last night at Target we were looking at curtains and he goes to buy himself a case for his ipod. He buys it and comes back to where we are. He pulls it out to show us and then wads the Target bag into a ball and shoves it into a jacket pocket. He is holding the case and starts putting it inside his jacket, into an inside pocket. :confused1: Son, do you NOT SEE how that looks on the video surveillance? Why?

 

DH got really mad at him then. Muttering about common sense and what is he thinking?

 

These examples are pretty much what we deal with every day. He also can't concentrate during school. A half hour will go by and he did nothing. Like, literally, he has numbered his page and started the first answer.

 

I feel really badly for him. In the car last night on the way home from Target he said, "Mom and Dad, I have a spoken note for you. Dear Mom and Dad, I am sorry I am such a moron. Love, ----." :(

 

It makes me sad because he talks a lot about how stupid he is and how he doesn't do anything right. How he doesn't understand math. Yet when I check his algebra, most of it is correct.

 

I very clearly see that he has an attention problem. I want to remedy that. I need ideas(non pharmaceutical) I already build him up every day when he talks about how stupid he is. I bring attention to his strengths but he is still floundering. :(

 

Your caring for your son comes through in your post. However, unless this is a brand new phenomenon related to onset of puberty, this sounds like ADD.

 

I want to say this as gently as I can, but as someone who has similar problems, I read what you wrote and think, "Well of course he thinks he's a moron; because his mother and father think so ." You're incredulous that he could "lack common sense," truly forget 2 step directions, etc.

 

To most people whose brain functions well in these areas, it's inconceivable that someone else can't do what comes easily to them, can't follow a 2 step direction because they get distracted in the middle, can't concentrate, forget. Yes, really, he forgot. Yes, really, I didn't know I was humming in my class in high school when the teacher asked who was humming.. Yes, really, I lost my homework sometimes 4 times between the time I did it and class. (I would redo it each time.) Yes really, I would create a major wake when working on a project and look around and think, "What happened?" and be totally overwhelmed and not know where to start to clean up. It. is. painful. And my mother was very condemning. She doesn't have those problems and neither should I. If I would just xyz. Why it's easy (for her.) It eventually damaged our relationship severely.

 

You can attempt to work on this without meds, but many people need them. Google things like executive functions and working memory. There is a program called Cogmed (it's only administered by psychologists or psychiatrists) that has been shown through double-blind, peer-reviewed studies to improve working memory. It worked for one of our sons, not so much for the other. Make sure he gets heavy exercise like swimming involving proprioceptive input (that will improve his ability to concentrate for an hour or two), protein with every meal, enough choline (eggs is one source.) Omega 3 oils may help. Caffeine helps some kids. Outdoor time helps kids with ADD.

 

The theory used to be that inattention caused poor working memory. Now there are some researchers who think poor working memory causes the inattention. Think of working memory as a tool bench of all the things that you have to keep in your mind in the present. If you have a good working memory, maybe you have 7 slots on that workbench so that if something comes along and distracts you, you can attend to it and the other 6 things are still on the workbench when you come back. Put for folks with poor working memory, they may have only a couple spots on the workbench. So a distraction comes along and sweeps what they were working on right off the workbench. When they are done attending to the distraction, and go back to the workbench, there might be nothing there at all. So they move on to new things.

 

People with ADD also have the ability to hyperfocus. This often fools people into thinking that they can "concentrate when they want to." Hyperfocus is often a result of adrenaline being released. It's common for people with ADD to procrastinate--and it is a coping mechanism, because when they procrastinate and the deadline looms, panic (with the adrenaline, etc.) sets in and gives them a tunnel vision focus (like when you are facing danger.) When hyperfocusing (and it can happen with pastimes such as video games or with work), the person is really entrenched with what they are doing and it's hard to get their attention.

 

Another thing that fools parents and others is that all of us are better at concentrating on tasks that are interesting to us, and it's harder to do tedious tasks. For people with ADD, the tedious tasks are pure torture. They often need something else (meds, a heavy bout of exercise, external support, having someone help them break it down into smaller chunks, etc.) to enable them to push through it.

 

He is lucky that he has two parents with normal executive functioning because you will be able to help him if you really seek to understand him. It's much harder for parents who themselves have ADD to provide the kind of consistency that their kids need.

 

Read books on organization written specifically for people with ADD. They are different than ones for people like you and your husband. The book "Driven to Distraction" is good for helping you get a an idea of what your ds may be coping with. Just remember that he is not you. ADD brings gifts as well. There is a website called ADDitude that has good articles.

 

You can also cross post on the special needs board. Good luck!

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Your caring for your son comes through in your post. However, unless this is a brand new phenomenon related to onset of puberty, this sounds like ADD.

 

I was going to say the same. If he has always been like this and you'd hoped he'd have grown out of it by now I would push for an eval sooner rather than later. I was against medicating my daughter (only one has ADHD badly enough to warrant it) until it became evident she was beginning to see herself as a bad kid, an annoying kid, a hyper kid with no friends who is always in trouble. She grew old enough to risk severely injuring or killing herself out of impulsivity (we had a couple of near-misses). Also, teen drivers with ADHD (I'm guessing unmedicated??) are statistically more likely to cause an accident than an intoxicated adult: http://www.nytimes.c...wanted=all&_r=0

 

I find that terrifying. Pushes me right past any urges to try and wean her off her medication any time soon.

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Your caring for your son comes through in your post. However, unless this is a brand new phenomenon related to onset of puberty, this sounds like ADD.

 

I want to say this as gently as I can, but as someone who has similar problems, I read what you wrote and think, "Well of course he thinks he's a moron; because his mother and father think so ." You're incredulous that he could "lack common sense," truly forget 2 step directions, etc.

 

To most people whose brain functions well in these areas, it's inconceivable that someone else can't do what comes easily to them, can't follow a 2 step direction because they get distracted in the middle, can't concentrate, forget. Yes, really, he forgot. Yes, really, I didn't know I was humming in my class in high school when the teacher asked who was humming.. Yes, really, I lost my homework sometimes 4 times between the time I did it and class. (I would redo it each time.) Yes really, I would create a major wake when working on a project and look around and think, "What happened?" and be totally overwhelmed and not know where to start to clean up. It. is. painful. And my mother was very condemning. She doesn't have those problems and neither should I. If I would just xyz. Why it's easy (for her.) It eventually damaged our relationship severely.

 

You can attempt to work on this without meds, but many people need them. Google things like executive functions and working memory. There is a program called Cogmed (it's only administered by psychologists or psychiatrists) that has been shown through double-blind, peer-reviewed studies to improve working memory. It worked for one of our sons, not so much for the other. Make sure he gets heavy exercise like swimming involving proprioceptive input (that will improve his ability to concentrate for an hour or two), protein with every meal, enough choline (eggs is one source.) Omega 3 oils may help. Caffeine helps some kids. Outdoor time helps kids with ADD.

 

The theory used to be that inattention caused poor working memory. Now there are some researchers who think poor working memory causes the inattention. Think of working memory as a tool bench of all the things that you have to keep in your mind in the present. If you have a good working memory, maybe you have 7 slots on that workbench so that if something comes along and distracts you, you can attend to it and the other 6 things are still on the workbench when you come back. Put for folks with poor working memory, they may have only a couple spots on the workbench. So a distraction comes along and sweeps what they were working on right off the workbench. When they are done attending to the distraction, and go back to the workbench, there might be nothing there at all. So they move on to new things.

 

People with ADD also have the ability to hyperfocus. This often fools people into thinking that they can "concentrate when they want to." Hyperfocus is often a result of adrenaline being released. It's common for people with ADD to procrastinate--and it is a coping mechanism, because when they procrastinate and the deadline looms, panic (with the adrenaline, etc.) sets in and gives them a tunnel vision focus (like when you are facing danger.) When hyperfocusing (and it can happen with pastimes such as video games or with work), the person is really entrenched with what they are doing and it's hard to get their attention.

 

Another thing that fools parents and others is that all of us are better at concentrating on tasks that are interesting to us, and it's harder to do tedious tasks. For people with ADD, the tedious tasks are pure torture. They often need something else (meds, a heavy bout of exercise, external support, having someone help them break it down into smaller chunks, etc.) to enable them to push through it.

 

He is lucky that he has two parents with normal executive functioning because you will be able to help him if you really seek to understand him. It's much harder for parents who themselves have ADD to provide the kind of consistency that their kids need.

 

Read books on organization written specifically for people with ADD. They are different than ones for people like you and your husband. The book "Driven to Distraction" is good for helping you get a an idea of what your ds may be coping with. Just remember that he is not you. ADD brings gifts as well. There is a website called ADDitude that has good articles.

 

You can also cross post on the special needs board. Good luck!

 

There is a lot of great and helpful information in this post and I want to come back and read it again. I really do. But right now I have tears in my eyes and can't see. I do not think my son is a moron. Period.

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As a mother of a 9 year old who is very similar to what you describe I highly recommend going through testing. It totally changed how I viewed my son. I now see these things as a result of his rich inner life and thoughts. I am learning to be more patient and help him develop his strengths.

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There is a lot of great and helpful information in this post and I want to come back and read it again. I really do. But right now I have tears in my eyes and can't see. I do not think my son is a moron. Period.

 

Of course you don't think your son is a moron :grouphug: . FWIW, my son was tested for ADHD, and despite a lifetime of attention issues, he does not have it. I think having your son tested is a fine idea.

 

 

As a mother of a 9 year old who is very similar to what you describe I highly recommend going through testing. It totally changed how I viewed my son. I now see these things as a result of his rich inner life and thoughts. I am learning to be more patient and help him develop his strengths.

 

:iagree: :iagree:

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There is a lot of great and helpful information in this post and I want to come back and read it again. I really do. But right now I have tears in my eyes and can't see. I do not think my son is a moron. Period.

 

 

I am truly sorry that I hurt your feelings and should have worded what I said more carefully. I could also be reading my own experience into it with my own mother. She would say she doesn't think I'm a moron, but she acts like she thinks I am. I also didn't think I was saying something earth-shattering. "Moron" doesn't have hugely negative connotations to me.

 

Your son apologized to you and your husband for being a moron. He may well be translating your responses as the way you see him. That's what matters, not what a stranger "hears" when she reads your words. When kids have disabilities and there is no other reason they know of that they can't do what others seem to do easily and it bothers those around them, that's the kind of thing they conclude about themselves.

 

Again, I'm sorry. I should have just raised the issue of your son's possible point of view, not how I read your words. (I also think that many parents of special needs kids have said or done things they regret once their child is diagnosed and they look back on things. It's pretty common.)

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