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lauraw4321

Letting your kid fail

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My oldest has pretty severe ADHD, which is making middle school really rough. We’ve worked on scaffolding. She has checklists for the morning and night. We have check in meetings where I ask her about upcoming assignments. She also takes medication. But I’ve stepped back a lot because I feel like 6th grade is a time where she needs to start taking responsibility and figuring out things for herself. It’s a good time to fail. 

But it’s so hard!  She’s working on a project right now, and there is absolutely no way she’s going to finish. She should have been working on it for weeks, but she waited until tonight to start. She doesn’t even realize yet how far behind she is. I’m keeping my mouth shut and letting life teach her, because I believe it’s the best teacher. But it is so so hard!!!

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B&M. 

I’m not yanking anything away and she is convinced that she’s going to get an A. She’s not worried or panicked or upset. Who knows, maybe she’s right. I’m going to put her dough in the fridge for her and get her up at 6 (her request). She’s known about this project for weeks. I’ve repeatedly asked her whether she needs anything and she repeatedly has said no. 

My DH has ADHD and he said he never figured out systems to help him until he was forced to. I think this kid is the same. 

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IMO struggling with EF issues due to ADHD is very different from someone who just procrastinates a lot because they can't be bothered or they'd rather play video games or whatever. Some kids with ADHD genuinely have no sense of time and really struggle to not only accurately estimate how long something will take, but also schedule their time in order to meet an upcoming deadline while also juggling lots of other tasks. Heck, there are millions of adults with ADHD who still struggle with that, no way would I expect a 6th grader with severe ADHD to be able to do that without a LOT of help. You really can't "tough love" the ADHD out of someone. IMO, letting kids fail because of ADHD just teaches them that their brains are broken and they'll always be failures. 😥

I'm honestly ok with providing help and scaffolding as long as necessary. DS is a sophomore in college and I still help him with things like scheduling and pacing and reminders. He's incredibly smart and gets high As on every assignment — as long as sees it's on his schedule and remembers to do it. Letting him get Cs, that do not remotely reflect what he's capable of, to punish him for the way his brain works, would not do anything but demoralize and destroy him. 

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2 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

I'm honestly ok with providing help and scaffolding as long as necessary. DS is a sophomore in college and I still help him with things like scheduling and pacing and reminders. 

My ds is also a sophomore in college, and I still help at times too.

My younger is finishing 10th grade, and he does basically *nothing* on his own. He has dysgraphia which means that all academic subjects are quite tricky -- so I scaffold and sit with him. He will make it, but not yet. Kids with differences need extra help. 

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3 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

IMO struggling with EF issues due to ADHD is very different from someone who just procrastinates a lot because they can't be bothered or they'd rather play video games or whatever. Some kids with ADHD genuinely have no sense of time and really struggle to not only accurately estimate how long something will take, but also schedule their time in order to meet an upcoming deadline while also juggling lots of other tasks. Heck, there are millions of adults with ADHD who still struggle with that, no way would I expect a 6th grader with severe ADHD to be able to do that without a LOT of help. You really can't "tough love" the ADHD out of someone. IMO, letting kids fail because of ADHD just teaches them that their brains are broken and they'll always be failures. 😥

I'm honestly ok with providing help and scaffolding as long as necessary. DS is a sophomore in college and I still help him with things like scheduling and pacing and reminders. He's incredibly smart and gets high As on every assignment — as long as sees it's on his schedule and remembers to do it. Letting him get Cs, that do not remotely reflect what he's capable of, to punish him for the way his brain works, would not do anything but demoralize and destroy him. 

We will just have to disagree, then. I won’t be scaffolding in college. Or when she’s in the workforce. 

Her father has severe ADHD and this is something he’s very firm about from his own experiences as well. 

She has refused my offers to help her with planning. Because she thinks there’s no problem. Maybe she’s right? We’ll see how her grade ends up. 

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You seem pretty set on it, so that's of course your prerogative as the parent. Your siggie says she's 11. I know with the first kid, sometimes it seems a lot older than it does in hindsight when that kid in in high school and you look back and see exactly how young 11 is. At eleven some kids are still playign with toys and they're being asked to perform projects that tbh don't vary a lot necessarily from what is expected in high school or college- at least that was the case at my dd's PS. 

Smart But Scattered might be worth your time if you are open to reading it. The three of us who have posted thus far also aren't a bunch of push over softie enablers who are raising wellfare cases. We've just perhaps seen that 1) expectations given on many things in b&m places aren't necessarily age appropriate and that 2) Letting them fail usually doesn't work well for kids with EF problems. 

Maybe turn this into a JAWM thread if you aren't looking for feedback or suggestions. 

Good luck to you both. I hope she surprises you and does well on her project. 

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19 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

You seem pretty set on it, so that's of course your prerogative as the parent. Your siggie says she's 11. I know with the first kid, sometimes it seems a lot older than it does in hindsight when that kid in in high school and you look back and see exactly how young 11 is. At eleven some kids are still playign with toys and they're being asked to perform projects that tbh don't vary a lot necessarily from what is expected in high school or college- at least that was the case at my dd's PS. 

Smart But Scattered might be worth your time if you are open to reading it. The three of us who have posted thus far also aren't a bunch of push over softie enablers who are raising wellfare cases. We've just perhaps seen that 1) expectations given on many things in b&m places aren't necessarily age appropriate and that 2) Letting them fail usually doesn't work well for kids with EF problems. 

Maybe turn this into a JAWM thread if you aren't looking for feedback or suggestions. 

Good luck to you both. I hope she surprises you and does well on her project. 

 

No, I’m ok with disagreement. I have read it. 

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If the teacher is realistic about her expectations of an 11-year-old's work, your daughter could be just fine.  There ARE great B&M teachers who can tell the difference between work a child produces and work the kid does with a lot of parental help.  She'll learn through the process and maybe start a wee bit sooner the next time around.  She might even surprise you and get a terrific grade.  I think it's healthy that she WANTS to do it all herself and that you are stepping back and letting her.  It would be different if she was all freaked out and you were refusing to help.  

I think you know your kid.  Just try to relax and see how it turns out.  I have one kid with severe disabilities who needed LOADS of help later than most, but figured it out later in high school and another who was independent by middle school.  There is no way I'd be inserting myself into their college work.  I think you have to give kids space to figure out their own methods, even if it means they botch it a few times, so they can learn to manage their own projects.  May NEXT time she'll be open to planning with a calendar and a realistic time frame, or maybe the time after that.  If her classes are developmentally appropriate she IS at a good age to figure this out.

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48 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

I have one kid with severe disabilities who needed LOADS of help later than most, but figured it out later in high school and another who was independent by middle school.  There is no way I'd be inserting myself into their college work.  I think you have to give kids space to figure out their own methods, even if it means they botch it a few times, so they can learn to manage their own projects.  May NEXT time she'll be open to planning with a calendar and a realistic time frame, or maybe the time after that.  If her classes are developmentally appropriate she IS at a good age to figure this out.

It's not about doing (or even helping with) the actual work, it's about helping someone with significant EF issues figure out how to manage the work.

Example: DS texted me this afternoon saying he has 9 assignments due this week, and even though some aren't due until Fri/Sat/Sun, his team is traveling to a competition this weekend and they leave at 8:00 AM Friday, so all nine assignments have to be in by Thursday night. He has practices all morning every day, and classes in the afternoon. He completed two assignments yesterday (Monday), two still haven't been posted yet, two were supposed to be up yesterday but didn't get posted until this afternoon (Tues), and one of those is a very time-consuming project that requires use of a data set the prof accidentally deleted. He has severe ADHD and was totally overwhelmed trying to figure out how to get everything done when the only time he has available is between 4:00 PM and midnight for the next three days. So I helped him prioritize things and make a list of what to do 1st/2nd/3rd, etc., and what to leave till last because in a pinch he could probably do it in the hotel Friday night. 

If your student asked for help because he was feeling overwhelmed by a task his brain is not wired to handle well, would you really say "tough luck, figure it out yourself, and if you flunk a couple of assignments because you didn't know what to do, maybe you'll learn a lesson"? What lesson — don't be so ADHD? Drop out of college because clearly you're not cut out for it if you can't prioritize getting 9 assignments done in 3 evenings, when some of them have missing pieces and/or haven't even been posted yet? 

Deciding that there is some arbitrary age or grade cut-off, beyond which people with EF issues no longer deserve help, basically sets the upper limit of their education, career, and life, to the limits of their disability. Even though, with a little support, they may be capable of so much more. I really don't understand that.

Edited by Corraleno
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I’m going to go with “It’s hard to know, because every single kid is different.”

I did start to write out detailed examples in my house, but then I felt bad for comparing my kids and myself to one another. I’ll just say that there’s been a mix of approaches, and the most “successful” outcome so far has been with the kid whose business I’ve kept my nose out of. I’m not saying that that’s the right thing for everyone, but that failure or risk of failure did not motivate another one of my kids. Or me, for that matter.  Each of the three of us have/had different needs and motivation.

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5 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

My oldest has pretty severe ADHD, which is making middle school really rough. We’ve worked on scaffolding. She has checklists for the morning and night. We have check in meetings where I ask her about upcoming assignments. She also takes medication. But I’ve stepped back a lot because I feel like 6th grade is a time where she needs to start taking responsibility and figuring out things for herself. It’s a good time to fail. 

But it’s so hard!  She’s working on a project right now, and there is absolutely no way she’s going to finish. She should have been working on it for weeks, but she waited until tonight to start. She doesn’t even realize yet how far behind she is. I’m keeping my mouth shut and letting life teach her, because I believe it’s the best teacher. But it is so so hard!!!


Soooo....I had an 11 yo.  With the same issues.  And this?  It wasn't enough.  It's part of why he did miserably in 6th grade in school.  We pulled him out at the end of that year and went back to home, where he had explicitly detailed checklists and task cards.  If the executive functioning thread had been around then, I would have pulled every idea from that.  As it was, he managed to get through it, learn how to self regulate, and keep himself on task, but middle school really needed those extra bits to keep him going in the right direction.
I read a blurb not too long ago about how the end task visualization can be missing, which makes it hard to get going, and it clicked with what my own kid had been trying to tell me.  He would not know exactly how to do one part of a big project and would stall, which would then make everything stall.  Once we sat down at home with very detailed, "this is what this part needs to look like" and "let's work backward from the due date and put each small task on the calendar", he was able to function better (and adult better later!).

Sometimes you have to sit down and think about what the end result is teaching.  I am all for letting kids fail when you have given them every resource and they choose not to use them.  In this situation, I think it should definitely be balanced with a recovery for the next time: explicit teaching how to break it down, checking on each step, and holding her accountable until she's in the habit of holding herself accountable.

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My son with ADHD went to school in 8th. We started him on medication for the first time in his life to help with this transition. For the most part he has refused my help but I do go over with him every night and weekend, what homework he has and when it is due. I then sometimes help him prioritize, like he'll say I do this first and it is due days later when he has some assignments due the next day. I have helped him break down bigger tasks- hey what all needs to get done here, what needs to be done first, etc. Mostly he does ok but there have been times I have pushed him to start an assignment, even though he doesn't think he needs to because he doesn't have a sense of how long it will really take, he doesn't like it when I do that but it is needed at times. I've also sat alongside him just to keep him focused, redirected, and help when needed. He does great if he can get things done in school but by the time he has homework the meds have worn off and he sometimes don't have much left to give. This year in 9th I've not provided much help or support as he usually brushes me aside. I do still ask about homework and go over due dates with him. He is also highly motivated to get good grades, which I think plays a large part in how well he has done, that motivation helps, along with the meds during the day so he can get a good chunk of work done then.

I would also say in 6th there are TONS of parents providing all kinds of help for big projects, even for kids that aren't ADHD. So, it depends on if the teacher has expectations for a project a kid can actually do or is accustomed to the projects kids turn in that they've had lots of help with. Helping her in 6th isn't an anomaly at all, or setting her up as a failure.

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5 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

We will just have to disagree, then. I won’t be scaffolding in college. Or when she’s in the workforce. 

Her father has severe ADHD and this is something he’s very firm about from his own experiences as well. 

She has refused my offers to help her with planning. Because she thinks there’s no problem. Maybe she’s right? We’ll see how her grade ends up. 

I have been in that spot. I do think it’s hard to know when to hand over the reins.

My son was extremely hard-headed (we even had a family nickname for him) and, when he was younger, had unrealistic expectations often. I did advise him, and I do this with younger ds as well, but he had to learn to manage his own workload. I do not provide scaffolding in college for classwork.  I do for other things, like “your car tags are about to expire and here’s what you need to do,” but not schoolwork. 

All that is to say, I agree that sixth grade is a good time to learn a few things the hard way. Some kids only learn the hard way. I would not be above pointing out to child that she has unrealistic expectations, but I also think it is okay for her to realize this by experience. 

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If you have offered help and she has declined I don’t see the problem. 

If there is a problem, she’s going to have to see that it exists before she’s going to want your help. 

If things go badly this time, you can help her come to that conclusion by not just harpIng on the grade but by asking her leading questions. 

“So which parts did the teacher dock you for?” 

When she says “I didn’t have time for xyz...” you can direct her by saying “so what did you learn from that..”

my oldest struggled with these kinds of things and I had to walk her through the thought process of “I chose x and then y happened” because on her own she just thought that she had bad luck. She didn’t go far enough in planning “next time I need to do this other thing to avoid this problem”

like for my dd she’d plan right up to the minute of the due date. Problem was 1. She usually under estimated how long things would take and 2. She failed to account for “buffer time “ to allow for when things didn’t go perfectly.

i think you’re fine given that your dd doesn’t want your help, but do make an effort to talk through things if they go badly to help her see that some problems are avoidable with better planning.

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When my ds was in his first semester of college, he actually said this to me: “I have come to realize that if I have a paper or project that’s not due for a few weeks, I need to do a little bit for it every day or two.” 🙄 Good grief, kid, glad you finally realized that. 😄

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Wise mom you are.  Hard for a student to learn from experience if the adults won't allow it.   

My favorite story from sixth is the extra credit.  The teacher was going to give ec for a CD cover themed with science topic.  Kid spent a few hours, produced a nice cover, and rec'd a zero.  Teacher never shared the rubic, before or after.  Kid had nice discussion with Principal.   End of story, all teachers now must give the rubric with the project assignment.  Kid figured out he should do the math . Had he received full credit, it would not have changed his final grade more than 0.5.  Those extra hours would have been better spent in studying. 

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15 minutes ago, Quill said:

When my ds was in his first semester of college, he actually said this to me: “I have come to realize that if I have a paper or project that’s not due for a few weeks, I need to do a little bit for it every day or two.” 🙄 Good grief, kid, glad you finally realized that. 😄

I feel like this comes so naturally to some people (like my husband) and I still struggle with it and procrastination/task avoidance.  But I’m a functional adult and he is too, even though he works a bit smarter than me still 😆

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9 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

I feel like this comes so naturally to some people (like my husband) and I still struggle with it and procrastination/task avoidance.  But I’m a functional adult and he is too, even though he works a bit smarter than me still 😆

I do all of my best work when I am running out of time. I wish I could change that. But even if I try to do things early, my brain doesn't work until I'm panicking about the deadline. 😄

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I very likely have Asperger's but was never diagnosed as a kid in the 80's and early 90's because "there is nothing wrong with you that discipline won't cure"  :-/  I have EF issues associated with the likely-Asperger's diagnosis. I still struggle with it in my 40s. Anyways, school was never hard for me and I could usually wait until the last minute to do a project and still pull an A, all the way through college. When school is that easy, you get bored and a bored teen/young adult who is not challenged can be a dangerous thing, especially when your parents have always been there to "fix the problem" when you failed in the past. I made quite a few less than brilliant choices during that time in my life. Nothing criminal but definitely things that affected my future. My dad asked me when I was in my early twenties, "We warned you and told you and tried to help you not make mistakes, why do you seem intent on making every mistake in the book?" My answer? "Sometimes reading "the book" or being told isn't enough, I have to make my own mistakes before I can learn from them." Of course, he blew me off saying that I was intentionally making my life more difficult than it had to be and I should just learn how to learn from the mistakes of others. We just have to agree to disagree. A lot.

I raised my kids completely the opposite way. I let them fail from the time they were young children, preschool and elementary school age. Of course, I didn't let them make life changing mistakes at that age but I let them choose to procrastinate and then let them feel the consequences of that choice. Since they were homeschooled, the consequence wasn't a bad grade, it was having to stay home with me on the weekend to redo the work until it was acceptable while everyone else got to go play with friends or go fishing with their dad. They eventually went to brick and mortar school in late middle school and high school. Having been allowed to fail before they got there served them well, it didn't take much time at all for them to adjust to not procrastinating to make the best grades they could.

It is hard to watch them fail but I would rather they fail when they are young and the mistakes are not life changing than to walk the path that I did. I would rather help them up and show them how to dust themselves off and try again when they are children and preteens in the safety net of my home than help them navigate the consequences of choices that have life altering consequences when they are teens and young adults. YMMV.

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23 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

Wise mom you are.  Hard for a student to learn from experience if the adults won't allow it.   

My favorite story from sixth is the extra credit.  The teacher was going to give ec for a CD cover themed with science topic.  Kid spent a few hours, produced a nice cover, and rec'd a zero.  Teacher never shared the rubic, before or after.  Kid had nice discussion with Principal.   End of story, all teachers now must give the rubric with the project assignment.  Kid figured out he should do the math . Had he received full credit, it would not have changed his final grade more than 0.5.  Those extra hours would have been better spent in studying. 

 

Ha, we have also discussed the law of diminishing returns this year. AND discussed the importance of working from the grading rubric. Both have bit her, and I think she learned a lot from both. 

The bread is baking and she’s working in iMovie. She still has an hour until school starts. 

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9 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

But it’s so hard!  She’s working on a project right now, and there is absolutely no way she’s going to finish. She should have been working on it for weeks, but she waited until tonight to start. She doesn’t even realize yet how far behind she is.

Looks like some other people are saying this too, but there should have been stepped assignments and EF=executive function supports. Just "failing" is not instructive. Having an IEP and getting appropriate supports to learn how to break a task into steps, chunk, stay on track, etc. is. The FAIL is the teacher. So I don't know if it's you or the ps or who, but yes some adult is failing here and it stinks that it's hard to watch.

So read about ADHD, learn the supports she should be given, and make them happen. My ds has an IEP and I've fought in the ps years over it even though we homeschool. It takes a lot of work on Mom's part to make happen what needs to happen. Don't let your dd think she's a failure because she has a disability for which people are not giving her adequate instruction.

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38 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

Wise mom you are.  Hard for a student to learn from experience if the adults won't allow it.

Yes, natural consequences are appropriate if appropriate supports were given. 

My dd with significant ADHD was offered a 504 by the ps if she had enrolled and was given EF coaching her freshman year and continues to use accommodations. 

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17 minutes ago, DesertBlossom said:

I do all of my best work when I am running out of time. I wish I could change that. But even if I try to do things early, my brain doesn't work until I'm panicking about the deadline. 😄

I can have something finished early but then at the last minute is when the *best* idea comes and I redo it anyway!

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18 minutes ago, DesertBlossom said:

I do all of my best work when I am running out of time. I wish I could change that. But even if I try to do things early, my brain doesn't work until I'm panicking about the deadline. 😄

You're really onto something here. It's something I notice from multiple very ADHD people in my house, sigh. They want to wait till the last minute and get that cortisol surge, that rush, whatever, to overcome their anxiety, initiation hump, I don't know. But yeah it's a thing. And so stepped work, like today we'll outline, tomorrow we'll write, etc., really feels wrong. They wanna just crank it out. 

I think some of it is a working memory thing too, like will I remember everything I was thinking if I carry the project across days. So that's where the EF supports come in, because if a person is going to do a multi-day, multi-week project, they're going to have to figure out their strategies for how they chunk, how they remember where they were, etc.

I *think* my dd said some of that initiation hump got better with meds. Is it possible the op's dd is under-medicated? It's something she could think about. Might be time to make data and see. Also, if the med is not an XR (or even if it is) she could be trying to work at non-optimal times. Like the meds might peak during the day and she's wanting to do her homework at 10pm when it has worn off.  It's stuff my dd runs into. THAT falls into the "learn your lesson" camp, lol. I'll help you to see the pattern, but you kind of have to make a better choice there, lol.

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I think it is a mistake to allow kids to fail in school.  Here's why.

I have never been formally diagnosed with anything, but my adult son was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, and I believe that I have a less severe form of what he has.  My parents, being like all parents back in the day, allowed me to fail beginning at the same age your daughter is. 

All it did was teach me that failure wasn't so bad, that in fact, failure was easier than putting effort into things.  It enabled me to change my identity from "reasonably good student" to "student who fails."  This stuck with me through junior high and high school.  When the going got tough, I simply didn't do the work.  I somehow graduated from high school anyway, and I got into the state university on SAT scores.  And at the university I failed as well, but at my school Fs didn't go on the transcript.  I was on academic probation from the second quarter I was there until my very last quarter.

All that failure resulted in a few things.  The first is that I missed large pieces of my education.  Math, for example.  The second is that when I finally decided not to fail at the end of my sophomore year in college, it was too late.  The damage to my record was done because even though the Fs weren't recorded, there were lots of places where I obviously hadn't taken a full load, including places where I got credit for a 1 unit lab class but the lecture portion was missing!

After homeschooling for 16 years, it is obvious to me how much I missed.  I really wish my parents had intervened and forced me to learn math and all the other things I failed at.  I wish they had scaffolded my experience to show me how one systematically approaches excellence as a student.  The only time they ever intervened was when I was about to fail French at the end of 11th grade.  My father made flashcards of every word in the book and over the course of an evening (or maybe it was a weekend) my mother drilled me on them.  I went into the final exam and aced it.  That experience showed me how just a little bit of parental support could make a huge difference.

So I chose a different path for my kids.  I decided not to let them fail because, in my world, failing once meant that it was that much easier to do it again (and again and again).  I don't think that suddenly eliminating the scaffold is a good way to teach kids how to approach hard things; it just makes the wall insurmountable.  Obviously, eventually dismantling the scaffold is part of the process, but when that time comes, if you do it right, they will be ready.  

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4 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

We pulled him out at the end of that year and went back to home, where he had explicitly detailed checklists and task cards.  If the executive functioning thread had been around then, I would have pulled every idea from that.  As it was, he managed to get through it, learn how to self regulate, and keep himself on task, but middle school really needed those extra bits to keep him going in the right direction.

Just want to pull this down, because bringing in tools for organization is such a good strategy! It can be part of a 504 and it's stuff they have to learn to do independently for college/life. I can see what she's using now, but I think my dd got some pretty complex software that has an app and a desktop version. It was like $150, ouch, but it allows her to do magic with organization. She puts everything in there. She also uses a LOT of tech to keep herself on track. One system for everything, everything syncs. So laptop, ipad, iphone, everything in the same ecosystem, all working together with reminders.

Another strategy the op could consider is hiring an educational therapist. That way it takes it out of their mom-dc relationship and lets someone else work on it with them. If the school is not going to step up and the dc needs to learn strategies to achieve their full potential, this is a way. If you can't find an educational therapist (they're certified, a thing), then maybe a psych who specializes in ADHD and does CBT. There are also some SLPs (yes, I know that sounds weird) who specialize in EF and time management. 360 Thinking is one and Heathermomster over on LC has posted about another. They'll do classes, have types of planners, etc.

So an educational therapist works with the student, helping them learn strategies. One of the best things we can do for our kids is being proactive with healthy language like this. (It sounds like you have a problem, what strategy could you use for this, what is your plan, how did that work out...)

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I'm just smh at the idea that an 11 yo needs to be cut loose and not get much support. It's baffling. 11 yos are babies. Support doesn't make you unable to function in the world later. It gives you a base to grow from. If someone has a diagnosed disability like ADHD, they will also have access to support services in college too. There's a lot of good advice in this thread. I hope the OP can hear even a little of it.

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Did you have psych evals as part of your ADHD diagnosis? And were they private or ps? A private psych should have told you this, but we expect EF delays of 30%, or basically 3 years, on our kids with ADHD. 

So that means functionally we need to -3 when looking at what is appropriate. Your dd might have the IQ of a much brighter dc, but her EF, her ability to break work into chunks, manage, and organize her life, is MUCH YOUNGER!

I always had that quandry with my dd and I had to stop and make sure I was being appropriate. It's NOT developmentally appropriate to expect her to organize like a NT 6th grader, because she's developmentally not. But it IS appropriate to expect her to get the work done with supports. And you think very longterm about what that looks like. This is not sink/swim, all/nothing, zero or tons. This is a very longterm view. So in 6th she's going to get supports more like what you'd given maybe a 3rd/4th grader learning to do longer book reports, even though in 6th they're writing bigger papers. Mentally, she needs that higher level of support to get there. And in 9th she'll need supports maybe more like what they would have given a 6th or 7th grader. And it's OK. 

If you keep giving support in a scaffolded way (building skills, transferring the steps over to her) you're still on track, still progressing. The goal is independence eventually. We don't expect it to happen at the same time because she has ADHD, because she has a 30% EF=executive function delay. 

Edited by PeterPan
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Your DD might be able to finish last minute and get an awesome grade.

Many very smart kids are able to do this. Many kids who enjoy a "rush" or who are thrill-seeking are able to do this.

Now imagine a very smart, thrill-seeking kid who does this...what does he learn? It'll be OK to wait, and I'll still get a good grade and it feels GOOD to rush-rush-rush at the last minute.

IMO, it is as dangerous as failing, but in different ways. 

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3 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I'm just smh at the idea that an 11 yo needs to be cut loose and not get much support. It's baffling. 11 yos are babies. Support doesn't make you unable to function in the world later. It gives you a base to grow from. If someone has a diagnosed disability like ADHD, they will also have access to support services in college too. There's a lot of good advice in this thread. I hope the OP can hear even a little of it.

This.

Support, if done right, makes a person stronger and better able to deal with difficult tasks later on.

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Another thing, and sorry to bombard you here but if you actually want help this is stuff that TRIPPED US UP, was you want to look in her psych evals to see what her processing speed is. Along with ADHD goes not only the lower attention and delayed EF but also there's often a lower processing speed relative to IQ. So if you look in her accommodations or talked with the psych (assuming she had a private psych eval), they probably said something like in college she'll need a decreased load. 

Let me be more plain. It means you can wear your kid out so much with a typical load that they CAN'T do the work, no matter how hard they try.

So if she's bright and working her butt off in a ps with no 504, she may literally be too mentally fatigued to do the work. It might not just be poor planning, obstinance, whatever. How much does she sleep? How much sleep does she need? Has it had an uptick? And is she growing?

School work is murder on the growing ADHD body/mind. It's stuff to watch out for if you want to be compassionate. It's really fine to take a tough line and say harder, but if the kid is trying harder and has a 60%ile differential between their IQ (what they're trying to do) and their processing speed, they may be too worn out. 

So look at the data. Make evidence based decisions. Get some good counsel here. Get a private psych eval if you haven't had one yet or hire some private help to make sure you're seeing her situation clearly. It's almost never good to look at a person with a disability and say TRY HARDER. You wouldn't do it to a person with a broken leg, and yet the physical effects of the brain differences of ADHD are just as dramatic.

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10 hours ago, Corraleno said:

<snip>

I'm honestly ok with providing help and scaffolding as long as necessary. DS is a sophomore in college and I still help him with things like scheduling and pacing and reminders. He's incredibly smart and gets high As on every assignment — as long as sees it's on his schedule and remembers to do it. Letting him get Cs, that do not remotely reflect what he's capable of, to punish him for the way his brain works, would not do anything but demoralize and destroy him. 

Yes, I'm this way too. My ADD kid in college has me copied on all incoming email.  I delete probably 95% of it unread, but there are things I will follow up on. ("Did you see that email about summer internships?  Jump on that!")  If I see a mandatory meeting announcement and don't see it show up on the shared family calendar, I send a quick reminder. I am sure to remind to pick up disability letters for college professors and ask if that was taken care of. 

The good thing is that as this child matures, I have to do that less and less.  It's not going to be a forever thing. 

Now, when he's had jobs, I never got involved in that. But that was lower stakes, getting fired from a summer job is not on the same plane as possibly failing a class or missing out on a great opportunity related to future career. 

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So I actually had a bit different goal for my dd in 6th. I wasn't really wanting her to sink/swim on being independent. I wanted her to learn to SELF-ADVOCATE. I was told by a friend who works at a university that their biggest challenge was getting kids to USE their services and accommodations. 

I signed her up for an online course, showed her the section of her psych eval (and only that section) where it showed her accommodations, and I said these are good, these are right and fair, you should always use your supports and accommodations. I said you are as bright as anyone there, or almost anyone, and you deserve the chance to have what you are inside SHOW by having all the tools. 

Fast forward 9 years (wow, it flies!) and my dd is a disability gestapo on campus. She fights with the administration, self-advocates, and she knows how to say what she needs and make it happen. And THAT is a skill to win on. She went in with top scholarships, very high ACT scores, and yeah she uses accommodations every single day of the week.

THAT is winning at ADHD. When they can say what they need, they are intentional about their strategies, and they use their tools and problem solve, you're winning. And it took a lot of work, a lot of intentional work, to get there.

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12 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

Your DD might be able to finish last minute and get an awesome grade.

Many very smart kids are able to do this. Many kids who enjoy a "rush" or who are thrill-seeking are able to do this.

Now imagine a very smart, thrill-seeking kid who does this...what does he learn? It'll be OK to wait, and I'll still get a good grade and it feels GOOD to rush-rush-rush at the last minute.

IMO, it is as dangerous as failing, but in different ways. 

YES! This is my oldest. And she really has suffered for it in college. 

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6 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

YES! This is my oldest. And she really has suffered for it in college. 

Ok, so I'm not talking about anyone else's dc here, only mine. I notice that in our house some people are bright but maybe need a little more flex on the grade side. Me, I wasn't like that. I was like As with an oh I messed up B. But with dd, I don't look, kwim? She has anxiety as part of her mix, and we just don't need to push it. That anxiety was NOT so blatantly obvious in 6th either. Then it was just hints. Now it's like flare city, because life is a lot harder. She has to be really intentional there, sigh.

So anyways, just the way I handle it with dd for grades is one we made her to maintain her scholarship the grade requirements were generous. Some schools want the dc to hold a really tight GPA, and that adds stress. Know the kid. So I ask her to maintain her scholarship. Beyond that, I say nothing. I just look the other way. A lot. 

She's self-driven and creates her own internal pressure. I just don't think she needs more. That's just how we handle it. Maybe for another dc more support. I also try to give her permission mentally to try things and fail or try things and surprise herself. She's also someone who gets As in 300 level classes she's engaged with and C/D in some 100 level intro course, lol.

Edited by PeterPan

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50 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Yes, natural consequences are appropriate if appropriate supports were given. 

My dd with significant ADHD was offered a 504 by the ps if she had enrolled and was given EF coaching her freshman year and continues to use accommodations. 

 

My kid skipped the 504 and was given the alphasmart clone sans a printer for classrooms because of dysgraphia.  He realized quickly that local businesses offer some pretty cheap printing services and skipped all the accomodations; took work home and used the laptap or sent the print job to the business from his phone.  Why spend so much time on graphics for middle school projects when one can print it out and pick up?  Public school here is way behind in accomodations; its like the dark ages compared to what state college and work offer.   And those multiwhatever projects found on  the internet and given out to the studens?  Search and find out what the product looks like, then do yours to that level of expectation or higher; really cuts down the work, especially if you can find the associated pdfs rather than build your own to scale models.

Edited by HeighHo
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DD has had private psych evaluation. She is on medication. We openly discuss her brain differences and executive function struggles. Her dad discusses openly how ADHD affected his performance in school. We have checklists and routines. We check in on assignments together. 

In this case, she repeatedly and actively refused / declined my help. She was not distressed. Not upset at all. She enjoyed the project. She is confident that she’s getting a good grade - and maybe she will. 

I have apparently triggered a lot of people. I think you imagined that she was flailing and crying and begging for help. She was not at all. 

I would have disempowered her if I had stepped in. I had to sit on my hands and shut my mouth. We will discuss her approach to this project tonight and brainstorm approaches that wouldn’t have meant losing sleep and working on it on the bus to school. But anything more from me would have fallen completely on deaf ears. I wasn’t yelling at a kid with a broken leg that they needed to suck it up and walk. I was suggesting crutches to a kid who was hopping on one foot. And she said she’s rather hop. I let her hop. 

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Just now, HeighHo said:

 

 Public school here is way behind in accomodations; its like the dark ages compared to what state college and work offer.  

Yup. It's why if her evals were only ps she may need private. If her knowledge of ADHD/EF supports is from the ps, she may need to go private. 

I do this with speech therapy too and basically anything for my ds. The ps here are filled with really nice people, really sincere, working their butts off. But once you say I have one very niched scenario (bright dc with disabilities) and I want the best interventions, you're really going to have to find out what you need and make it happen.

And I love that @HeighHo's ds did this. He cracks me up. So much better than the apathy. That's what we don't want is apathy and depression. We want pro-active problem solving, intentionality, being able to verbalize their strategies, hope, paths forward.

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2 minutes ago, lauraw4321 said:

She enjoyed the project. She is confident that she’s getting a good grade - and maybe she will. 

I love that she got it done. :biggrin:

So then why was it hard for you to watch if it's just how she rolls? If she is so bored with it she can do it at the last minute and still get an acceptable grade, I don't see the issue. 

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

When my ds was in his first semester of college, he actually said this to me: “I have come to realize that if I have a paper or project that’s not due for a few weeks, I need to do a little bit for it every day or two.” 🙄 Good grief, kid, glad you finally realized that. 😄

IF ONLY SOMEONE HAD TOLD HIM THIS BEFORE!! 

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Just now, PeterPan said:

I love that she got it done. :biggrin:

So then why was it hard for you to watch if it's just how she rolls? If she is so bored with it she can do it at the last minute and still get an acceptable grade, I don't see the issue. 

She doesn't know her grade yet. 

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Just now, katilac said:

She doesn't know her grade yet. 

Oh you're right, and she has a few more years before she'll officially be omniscient. I forget what age that happened with my dd. Was it 14? :biggrin:

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Just now, PeterPan said:

I love that she got it done. :biggrin:

So then why was it hard for you to watch if it's just how she rolls? If she is so bored with it she can do it at the last minute and still get an acceptable grade, I don't see the issue. 

 

Ha, because I have my own issues? 🤪 Because it’s hard to watch someone do it the hard way? Because it’s my instinct to “help”? And maybe because I’m a bit of a control freak? 

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1 hour ago, sweet2ndchance said:

I very likely have Asperger's but was never diagnosed as a kid in the 80's and early 90's because "there is nothing wrong with you that discipline won't cure"  :-/  I have EF issues associated with the likely-Asperger's diagnosis. I still struggle with it in my 40s. Anyways, school was never hard for me and I could usually wait until the last minute to do a project and still pull an A, all the way through college. When school is that easy, you get bored and a bored teen/young adult who is not challenged can be a dangerous thing, especially when your parents have always been there to "fix the problem" when you failed in the past. I made quite a few less than brilliant choices during that time in my life. Nothing criminal but definitely things that affected my future. My dad asked me when I was in my early twenties, "We warned you and told you and tried to help you not make mistakes, why do you seem intent on making every mistake in the book?" My answer? "Sometimes reading "the book" or being told isn't enough, I have to make my own mistakes before I can learn from them." Of course, he blew me off saying that I was intentionally making my life more difficult than it had to be and I should just learn how to learn from the mistakes of others. We just have to agree to disagree. A lot.

I raised my kids completely the opposite way. I let them fail from the time they were young children, preschool and elementary school age. Of course, I didn't let them make life changing mistakes at that age but I let them choose to procrastinate and then let them feel the consequences of that choice. Since they were homeschooled, the consequence wasn't a bad grade, it was having to stay home with me on the weekend to redo the work until it was acceptable while everyone else got to go play with friends or go fishing with their dad. They eventually went to brick and mortar school in late middle school and high school. Having been allowed to fail before they got there served them well, it didn't take much time at all for them to adjust to not procrastinating to make the best grades they could.

It is hard to watch them fail but I would rather they fail when they are young and the mistakes are not life changing than to walk the path that I did. I would rather help them up and show them how to dust themselves off and try again when they are children and preteens in the safety net of my home than help them navigate the consequences of choices that have life altering consequences when they are teens and young adults. YMMV.


This was my experience and what I do with my kids too. We don’t have an ADHD diagnosis, but like OPs DH, mine is up to his eyeballs in young sailors(and young officers too!!) who can’t function independently. About the only thing he demanded was that I teach them when, how, and why they should ask for help from others besides us. If procrastinating works for ‘em, great. If not, here’s how you can change your approach.

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1 minute ago, lauraw4321 said:

 

Ha, because I have my own issues? 🤪 Because it’s hard to watch someone do it the hard way? Because it’s my instinct to “help”? And maybe because I’m a bit of a control freak? 

It gets harder as the stakes get higher. We actually had a point where I asked a friend to go sit and watch her finish her paper. I'm like I can't watch, LOL.

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24 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

So I actually had a bit different goal for my dd in 6th. I wasn't really wanting her to sink/swim on being independent. I wanted her to learn to SELF-ADVOCATE. I was told by a friend who works at a university that their biggest challenge was getting kids to USE their services and accommodations. 

I signed her up for an online course, showed her the section of her psych eval (and only that section) where it showed her accommodations, and I said these are good, these are right and fair, you should always use your supports and accommodations. I said you are as bright as anyone there, or almost anyone, and you deserve the chance to have what you are inside SHOW by having all the tools. 

Fast forward 9 years (wow, it flies!) and my dd is a disability gestapo on campus. She fights with the administration, self-advocates, and she knows how to say what she needs and make it happen. And THAT is a skill to win on. She went in with top scholarships, very high ACT scores, and yeah she uses accommodations every single day of the week.

THAT is winning at ADHD. When they can say what they need, they are intentional about their strategies, and they use their tools and problem solve, you're winning. And it took a lot of work, a lot of intentional work, to get there.

YAASSS!! I keep telling my kids (family joke) DAD AND I ARE GONNA DIE!! Don’t hasten our demise by making us responsible for you in our old age. We really push them in MS to find their way to the librarian, school counselor, teacher, after school tutoring program, lunch bunch, etc. Don’t call me in college, call your prof or tutoring center!

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11 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

My oldest has pretty severe ADHD, which is making middle school really rough. We’ve worked on scaffolding. She has checklists for the morning and night. We have check in meetings where I ask her about upcoming assignments. She also takes medication. But I’ve stepped back a lot because I feel like 6th grade is a time where she needs to start taking responsibility and figuring out things for herself. It’s a good time to fail. 

But it’s so hard!  She’s working on a project right now, and there is absolutely no way she’s going to finish. She should have been working on it for weeks, but she waited until tonight to start. She doesn’t even realize yet how far behind she is. I’m keeping my mouth shut and letting life teach her, because I believe it’s the best teacher. But it is so so hard!!!

 

46 minutes ago, lauraw4321 said:

DD has had private psych evaluation. She is on medication. We openly discuss her brain differences and executive function struggles. Her dad discusses openly how ADHD affected his performance in school. We have checklists and routines. We check in on assignments together. 

In this case, she repeatedly and actively refused / declined my help. She was not distressed. Not upset at all. She enjoyed the project. She is confident that she’s getting a good grade - and maybe she will. 

I have apparently triggered a lot of people. I think you imagined that she was flailing and crying and begging for help. She was not at all. 

I would have disempowered her if I had stepped in. I had to sit on my hands and shut my mouth. We will discuss her approach to this project tonight and brainstorm approaches that wouldn’t have meant losing sleep and working on it on the bus to school. But anything more from me would have fallen completely on deaf ears. I wasn’t yelling at a kid with a broken leg that they needed to suck it up and walk. I was suggesting crutches to a kid who was hopping on one foot. And she said she’s rather hop. I let her hop. 

 

It sounds like your DD's choices *triggered* YOU.

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3 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

 

 

It sounds like your DD's choices *triggered* YOU.

Yup, I think you are correct. 

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I was a big believer in natural consequences.  That said, they didn’t really work well with my kids. Just knowing what they needed to do next time, and wanting to do that, wasn’t enough to actually make it happen.  So now i have three in B&m high school.  

My utterly disorganized dd who used to redo so many assignments because she couldn’t find them- she decided to be on top of things and organized.  She said it wasn’t important enough to her before, and now it is.  🙄😳😂 the transformation is amazing.

my ds who was always pretty together- still is pretty together and on top of things.  I just review the schedule periodically with him to make sure he’s accounting for nights he won’t be home to do homework and works ahead.

My other ds still struggles to stay focused and organized.  Papers are crumpled in his backpack despite the nicely labeled folders, that kind of stuff.  He tries, he really does.  But gets frustrated with himself and others.  And failing just got him so down on himself.  After letting him on his own and seeing everything start to go downhill in September, I now stay on top of him. For the most part, he’s grateful for the help.  He knows what to do; he just can’t execute that level of self control and focus.  And trust me, I’ve given him so many tools over the years.  I was thinking just last night what will he do in college, but he’s still in puberty.  So I sit near him while he works.  I check in regularly about grades and assignments. We discuss a plan for the schoolwork for the week. He’s a smart kid, but that’s not enough.  We did a ton of OT/retained reflex work a few years back and that helped a lot!  He needs to be continuing those exercises, but that’s a fight. I supplement him with magnesium and fish oil and that helps too.

so three kids, all the same age, and very different.

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