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lauraw4321

Letting your kid fail

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I had a former principal who was a retired Marine Boot camp sergeant, and I think I learned more about structuring a classroom for success and breaking down skills into little steps and teaching and reinforcing at each step from him than any education class or workshop I'd ever done. This was in a very, very rough inner city school-the kind where drug dealers usually didn't do deals on the school grounds, but the playground at the park across the street was fair game. The first morning, he started out with the entire school in the cafeteria, and taught the kids, step by step, how to line up and walk in the halls. And he drilled it, and practiced it. The same happened when they came to the cafeteria, at dismissal. He expected papers to be headed the same way, and that we would actively teach and drill it. You were expected to teach HOW to put materials away and where they go, and practice and drill them. A lot of teachers felt it was a waste of time. But you know what? Teaching those skills, and having them be consistent through the school made a major difference. As the kids got older and added things like planners, or changing classrooms and getting materials from lockers, that was taught explicitly as well. And the expectation was that if someone in your unit was struggling, you helped them-so if you had the child with ADHD at your table who struggled to get their assignments in the planner, the other children were taught to step in and help and support and scaffold, but not do it for them-and that, in another setting, that child with ADHD would be the one helping, too.  There were still kids who struggled more than others with EF skills, but overall, everyone improved because it WAS so consistent, and academics followed.  He explained that in the Marines, they didn't expect anyone to come in with any specific skill "the Marine way", so they taught from scratch how to, say, make a bed, or shine your shoes, or run a mile "the Marine way".  There was no censure for NOT knowing how to do it "the Marine way" before it was taught, but once it was taught, it was expected and NOT allowed to slide. He felt the same was true with kids in a school situation. They didn't know how to do it the school way, so teach them "the school way" and expect it, and reinforce it.  Because not everyone will be able to do a page of multiplication correctly. But almost everyone can take out their math book and math notebook and put them on their desk along with a pencil when prompted after they've practiced it a few times. And then you practice turning to the correct page. And practice opening your notebook and copying the page number. And then practice where to place and copy each problem, and how to line up numbers within the problem. All those steps before you even START to teach the math and do the math. And when the page is organized and everything makes sense and everyone is looking at the numbers, at least you know which children truly are struggling with the math, and can work with them where they are there. And, when every teacher in the building is consistent, it is far easier for the kids when they change classes during the day, or change grade levels.

 

Also to add-this was the same school where all teachers were trained in Slingerland, that got a lot of kids because they were struggling in reading. 

 

I have a child now a couple of days a week, and she's under a lot of stress. Her EF skills, and her academic skills, have basically flown out the window (like she would sit looking at a 2nd grade level math problem and literally be unable to begin, despite testing on grade level as a 6th grader a year and a half ago). But, if I break down and teach those specific steps for a task, and teach it "this is the way that you do it here", without any expectation that she knows how to do it "my way" or censure for not doing it "my way", and recognize that each little step IS a step in and of itself and that she needs those steps, it seems to unlock the rest of the skill that she already had, but was so emotionally stressed and shut down to be unable to initiate. So, while I can provide a lot of love and support and encouragement, in many ways I also need to provide boot camp.

Edited by dmmetler
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4 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

I probably would have chosen something simpler

Fwiw, this is part of why it was hard to guide dd, because she was always going to go to a more complicated version of the task. So she's instantly stepping up the difficulty level (and hence the EF challenges) on her own. 

4 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

So, first of all, she had already prepared her entire script in PPT in Spanish before she started filming. I don't know if the teacher scaffolded this, but I was really pleased with that.

Well good, that's the type of thing we would expect to see going on! So that's really good. That was what concerned me, that maybe they weren't doing the scaffolding in school. So it's reassuring for you to know they ARE doing this. And if they fade too soon, she could have a 504. But good stuff, yes.

4 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

We usually do our planning / calendaring discussions on Sundays, but I'm realizing that with some of these more complicated projects, we need to do them on Saturday mornings so that we have a chance to work on the weekend if needed.

Long story short, in this instance, I learned far more than she did, likely.

Sounds like good stuff. Maybe even on Friday nights? I mean, I don't do school, but I agree she may need weekends sometimes. And talking it through like that is great as a strategy. You're doing good things there building habits that she can take over and do independently.

The other thing she's doing (and you probably already see this) is that she's holding in her head a lot of details that she's not telling you. And that's GOOD! It shows that she's taking over and maturing. So it's why you're prompts are good, because you don't want to be taking over for that. Does she carry tech so she could get things onto calendars or into reminders or planners more quickly? Tech is where it's at for ADHD, and especially since she's so tech savvy you want to be doing this. Syncing through google calendar, putting an echo dot in her bedroom so she can use Alexa and hear her plans for the day, whatever. Use tech and let her figure out ways to use it more extensively.

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5 minutes ago, EmseB said:

I was looking up attrition rates...for air force basic training, it's only 7 or 8 percent. The testing beforehand is aptitude (*very basic* academics and spatial reasoning type stuff) and medical/physical. I wasn't tested for LDs at any point, although I suppose if one really has trouble with standardized testing it would be a problem.

I'm just saying that I know there must be undiagnosed people with EFD in the military, and for the most part, it seems like the yelling/punitive model works on a broad range of people. 

In fact, a lot of people I know joined the military in order to get their stuff together. These were not dumb people, but had trouble with college or real life for whatever reason or just wanted more self discipline. And that started with a very punitive model applies broad brush on anyone who was there. The scaffolding, as it was, was yelling and physical discipline.

 

 

I looked out of curiosity and saw this in regard to enlistment (assuming it's accurate- maybe one of you who are more knowledgeable can correct if it's inaccurate). 

Quote

Legislation like the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 seeks to protect the rights of students with learning or physical disabilities. However, all branches of the United States Military are exempt from these acts when it comes to commissioned officers and its enlisted members. Only civilians working in the military are protected by this legislation.

As such, candidates with learning or physical disabilities will not be able to apply for accommodations on the ASVAB. The United States Department of Defense has the ability to set enlistment criteria that actively discriminate against individuals with disabilities. For example, a candidate with dyslexia may be unable to join the military because he/she might be unable to quickly process visual information in a crisis situation.

 

And just adding I don't have an issue with them setting their parameters of who they take, I'm not taking issue with that-- that's not my point, as by default they can't/shouldn't take everyone imo. I'm just quoting to show they're already pruning the branch, so to speak, if you consider that a lot of LD's and other things have overlap with EF. So, it does seem to work for the ones it works for, like anything else. I'm not sure it's the magic bullet, so to speak. 

It's just got me thinking. I know in my Dad's day, that is what people did with their boys that didn't have it together. They sent them off to the military, and then like I mentioned a lot of them got drafted shortly after anyway, but I'm not sure long term if it was a super effective solution.  I would think the ones that *stay* in, or do a couple of stints, yeah, maybe so, because it suits them, but I'm not sure if it's like "a fix" across the board. 

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4 minutes ago, dmmetler said:

There were still kids who struggled more than others with EF skills, but overall, everyone improved because it WAS so consistent, and academics followed. 

That story is so encouraging to hear! And you're right, STRUCTURE is always, always, always a recommended practice with ADHD. Love it. Wish I had the energy to be it. LOL

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The structure of the military is very helpful for a lot of folks with ADHD, but I believe you have to get a waiver if you've been on ADHD medication past age 12.  

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4 minutes ago, dmmetler said:

I had a former principal who was a retired Marine Boot camp sergeant, and I think I learned more about structuring a classroom for success and breaking down skills into little steps and teaching and reinforcing at each step from him than any education class or workshop I'd ever done. This was in a very, very rough inner city school-the kind where drug dealers usually didn't do deals on the school grounds, but the playground at the park across the street was fair game. The first morning, he started out with the entire school in the cafeteria, and taught the kids, step by step, how to line up and walk in the halls. And he drilled it, and practiced it. The same happened when they came to the cafeteria, at dismissal. He expected papers to be headed the same way, and that we would actively teach and drill it. You were expected to teach HOW to put materials away and where they go, and practice and drill them. A lot of teachers felt it was a waste of time. But you know what? Teaching those skills, and having them be consistent through the school made a major difference. As the kids got older and added things like planners, or changing classrooms and getting materials from lockers, that was taught explicitly as well. And the expectation was that if someone in your unit was struggling, you helped them-so if you had the child with ADHD at your table who struggled to get their assignments in the planner, the other children were taught to step in and help and support and scaffold, but not do it for them-and that, in another setting, that child with ADHD would be the one helping, too.  There were still kids who struggled more than others with EF skills, but overall, everyone improved because it WAS so consistent, and academics followed.  He explained that in the Marines, they didn't expect anyone to come in with any specific skill "the Marine way", so they taught from scratch how to, say, make a bed, or shine your shoes, or run a mile "the Marine way".  There was no censure for NOT knowing how to do it "the Marine way" before it was taught, but once it was taught, it was expected and NOT allowed to slide. He felt the same was true with kids in a school situation. They didn't know how to do it the school way, so teach them "the school way" and expect it, and reinforce it.  Because not everyone will be able to do a page of multiplication correctly. But almost everyone can take out their math book and math notebook and put them on their desk along with a pencil when prompted after they've practiced it a few times. And then you practice turning to the correct page. And practice opening your notebook and copying the page number. And then practice where to place and copy each problem, and how to line up numbers within the problem. All those steps before you even START to teach the math and do the math. And when the page is organized and everything makes sense and everyone is looking at the numbers, at least you know which children truly are struggling with the math, and can work with them where they are there. And, when every teacher in the building is consistent, it is far easier for the kids when they change classes during the day, or change grade levels.

 

I have a child now a couple of days a week, and she's under a lot of stress. Her EF skills, and her academic skills, have basically flown out the window (like she would sit looking at a 2nd grade level math problem and literally be unable to begin, despite testing on grade level as a 6th grader a year and a half ago). But, if I break down and teach those specific steps for a task, and teach it "this is the way that you do it here", without any expectation that she knows how to do it "my way" or censure for not doing it "my way", and recognize that each little step IS a step in and of itself and that she needs those steps, it seems to unlock the rest of the skill that she already had, but was so emotionally stressed and shut down to be unable to initiate. So, while I can provide a lot of love and support and encouragement, in many ways I also need to provide boot camp.

Boot camp minus the punitive/yelling part right? 

My posts were more addressing EsmeB's initial post of the punitive aspect of bootcamp. . 

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Yes, minus the punitive part. And not yelling, although my former principal could be heard across a room without yelling. In many ways, it reminded me more of obedience school for dogs. Firm, not punitive, and consistent. In general, not doing something is seen as a sign that it needs to be taught and broken down even more and finely-go back to where the child is successful, and build from there. 

 

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21 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I looked out of curiosity and saw this in regard to enlistment (assuming it's accurate- maybe one of you who are more knowledgeable can correct if it's inaccurate). 

And just adding I don't have an issue with them setting their parameters of who they take, I'm not taking issue with that-- that's not my point, as by default they can't/shouldn't take everyone imo. I'm just quoting to show they're already pruning the branch, so to speak, if you consider that a lot of LD's and other things have overlap with EF. So, it does seem to work for the ones it works for, like anything else. I'm not sure it's the magic bullet, so to speak. 

It's just got me thinking. I know in my Dad's day, that is what people did with their boys that didn't have it together. They sent them off to the military, and then like I mentioned a lot of them got drafted shortly after anyway, but I'm not sure long term if it was a super effective solution.  I would think the ones that *stay* in, or do a couple of stints, yeah, maybe so, because it suits them, but I'm not sure if it's like "a fix" across the board. 

Not only are there limitations in terms of input, in the sense of screening out many for whom that type of rigid/punitive structure won't work, there are additional losses along the way when some drop out or are discharged early, and then there also seem to be a whole lot of people who make it through but then fall apart once they no longer have that structure. Because the rigidity and punitive basis of the system didn't actually teach them self-control and self-discipline, it just provided external controls that prevented them from screwing up. For example, a large percentage of homeless men in America are military veterans. 

Edited by Corraleno
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1 hour ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

See, I would think testing and EF would go hand and hand to an extent, because can't/don't people study up for the ASVAB (or whatever it's called)? I would consider EF a mental framework tbh, so for me it's hard to separate the two on the weed out part. You either can get your $ together or you cannot type of thing. Unless they can make them get their S together. I don't know how that works- my Dad was a Marine, but I was never in the military and I'm guessing things were a *lot* different when he was in. Not to mention they started drafting people a few years after he went in, so different times. 

 

I keep trying to find where the part of this thread about what happens in military started and can’t find it.  

I’m interested in that because my son has had a past interest in military, though not so much currently.

People certainly can study for the Asvab.  And if they have high EF maybe? probably? they do.  My son’s school gave it both 9th grade and 10th grade, and he scored in 99th percentile in most segments both years, and over all had an already quite solid score, better the second time.  He didn’t study. I was surprised at how well he did, especially the first time with no prep, not even familiarizing himself with types of questions.  

He has major EF issues, yet is very smart, and has decent basic science type knowledge.  He tends to do better on standardized tests than day to day get his homework done and turned in for regular grades.  

I don’t know if he would totally thrive in a military type environment or get into trouble.  

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Regarding families, I think boys/men in particular have often had one or more high EF capable woman (mom, wife, secretary...) to help manage EF related problems.  

I think girls/women have tended to have that less.  And I think the more women are doing their own careers, the less men have that.

A long time close friend of mine had a mother who had particularly awesome EF skills, and worked first running my friend’s Dad’s medical practice, and then when he retired my friend’s medical practice.  While the Dad and my friend had/have quite good EF Themselves (not ADHD or any problems) the Mom was unusually excellent. She was from an era when some women did become doctors etc themselves, but not as often as now.  

Somewhat along those lines another female friend has had the EF side management of a family business, her pastor husband’s pastoral administration (calendar etc) , and 5 homeschooled kids, two with some EF deficits.   My EF isn’t up to that. If it had been reversed and the wife had had poor EF, I think the family would have been swamped, but with the mom having super EF skills it pulls them all through. 

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51 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I looked out of curiosity and saw this in regard to enlistment (assuming it's accurate- maybe one of you who are more knowledgeable can correct if it's inaccurate). 

And just adding I don't have an issue with them setting their parameters of who they take, I'm not taking issue with that-- that's not my point, as by default they can't/shouldn't take everyone imo. I'm just quoting to show they're already pruning the branch, so to speak, if you consider that a lot of LD's and other things have overlap with EF. So, it does seem to work for the ones it works for, like anything else. I'm not sure it's the magic bullet, so to speak. 

It's just got me thinking. I know in my Dad's day, that is what people did with their boys that didn't have it together. They sent them off to the military, and then like I mentioned a lot of them got drafted shortly after anyway, but I'm not sure long term if it was a super effective solution.  I would think the ones that *stay* in, or do a couple of stints, yeah, maybe so, because it suits them, but I'm not sure if it's like "a fix" across the board. 

I'm not saying it's a fix, necessarily. And they do exclude people with certain diagnoses. But I know that there are people who, based on what is said on this board, would be considered undiagnosed EFD or ADD or ADHD who do respond to the method of training that the military provides in order to obtain a level of self sufficiency that allows them to exist in an environment with very high pressure expectations and decreasing amounts of supervision. For example, in basic or boot camp you're told when to clean for inspection. When you leave basic, you're told when your barracks room is going to be inspected, when you're having a uniform inspection, when you're having an academic test, but your time outside of class or your primary duty is maybe restricted to base, but you have to divide your time to meet those things.  Consequences are punitive, and punitive is ideally restorative forthose they want to keep around, if that makes sense. By the time you've been in a year, doing all that stuff, making it to work on time, etc., is on you.

Academic classes are generally taught with the idea that everyone has a high school diploma but haven't been through rigorous college classes. So there is a lot of structure to get people to pass a class. However, my career development courses were all self study. My on the job training was self study on the academic side. I was expected to maintain proficiency in my primary skill set (tested annually) largely on my own. My supervisor may have asked about my progress or if I had a study plan,  but he wasn't coming up with one for me.

Anyway, I really digress. Oops!

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22 minutes ago, Pen said:

Regarding families, I think boys/men in particular have often had one or more high EF capable woman (mom, wife, secretary...) to help manage EF related problems.  

I think girls/women have tended to have that less.  And I think the more women are doing their own careers, the less men have that.

A long time close friend of mine had a mother who had particularly awesome EF skills, and worked first running my friend’s Dad’s medical practice, and then when he retired my friend’s medical practice.  While the Dad and my friend had/have quite good EF Themselves (not ADHD or any problems) the Mom was unusually excellent. She was from an era when some women did become doctors etc themselves, but not as often as now.  

Somewhat along those lines another female friend has had the EF side management of a family business, her pastor husband’s pastoral administration (calendar etc) , and 5 homeschooled kids, two with some EF deficits.   My EF isn’t up to that. If it had been reversed and the wife had had poor EF, I think the family would have been swamped, but with the mom having super EF skills it pulls them all through. 

I think a certain amount of that happens in families where both spouses are NT, too — EF tasks like planning, scheduling, making appointments, remembering birthdays, etc. end up falling on the woman, even if she works just as many hours as the man. And if she complains about being stuck with all those tasks (aka all the unpaid "emotional labor"), the husband says "Well if you want help all you have to do is ask." In other words, if you don't want to be responsible for all the EF tasks, just perform the EF tasks of breaking things down into manageable assignments, and provide me with instructions and reminders to do the one component that doesn't really require EF!

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31 minutes ago, Pen said:

Regarding families, I think boys/men in particular have often had one or more high EF capable woman (mom, wife, secretary...) to help manage EF related problems.  

I think girls/women have tended to have that less.  And I think the more women are doing their own careers, the less men have that.

 

I was actually wondering about this earlier- again rabbit trail and not directed in anyway toward OP- but if there is anyway a sexism that girls are supposed to be better at this stuff, whereas the boys might be given a bit more scaffolding by the view of "oh boys are more immature than girls," or something similar, and then wondering how Mothers in particular react to boys with these issues versus girls. I have no idea- just a musing. I've read boys are more likely to be referred for autism and ADHD diagnosis, but not sure if there's overlap on the EF as far as how it's addressed. 

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1 minute ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I was actually wondering about this earlier- again rabbit trail and not directed in anyway toward OP-

 

Thanks. To clarify, my comments too, except where I tagged or quoted OP are rabbit trails on the general topic and further trails it has raised, and not directed at her. 

1 minute ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

but if there is anyway a sexism that girls are supposed to be better at this stuff, whereas the boys might be given a bit more scaffolding by the view of "oh boys are more immature than girls," or something similar, and then wondering how Mothers in particular react to boys with these issues versus girls. I have no idea- just a musing. I've read boys are more likely to be referred for autism and ADHD diagnosis, but not sure if there's overlap on the EF as far as how it's addressed. 

 

I wonder if there’s any relevance to boys often having later prefrontal cortex development than girls even if they are NT.  Such that many tween teen girls may actually be better at it (“it” being  high EF demanding projects) than boys of the same age.

 But then it might be so much harder for girls who aren’t good at EF, especially if their difficulties are more quiet.  

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26 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I was actually wondering about this earlier- again rabbit trail and not directed in anyway toward OP- but if there is anyway a sexism that girls are supposed to be better at this stuff, whereas the boys might be given a bit more scaffolding by the view of "oh boys are more immature than girls," or something similar, and then wondering how Mothers in particular react to boys with these issues versus girls. I have no idea- just a musing. I've read boys are more likely to be referred for autism and ADHD diagnosis, but not sure if there's overlap on the EF as far as how it's addressed. 

I do think girls have a much harder time getting diagnosed properly, and when their issues aren't properly diagnosed as an LD there tends to be more of a stigma — like a girl with EF issues, who does not have other obvious LDs, will often just get labeled as an "airhead" or called ditzy or flakey. In a boy, EF issues are more likely to be seen as signs to look for related LDs, or else dismissed as no big deal — so the boy gets labeled as an "absent-minded professor type" while a girl with the same issues gets labeled as an "airhead."

I also think a certain level of sexism comes into play depending on whether the parent providing support is male or female. It's much more acceptable for a female college student to get texts and reminders from mom, while it's more likely to be stigmatized as wimpy or embarrassing for a male student. A dad providing support for his son (academic, athletic, emotional, or whatever) is likely to be seen as involved, supportive parenting, while a mother providing the same level of support for a son is seen as controlling or helicoptering or whatever.

Edited by Corraleno
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3 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

I do think girls have a much harder time getting diagnosed properly, and when their issues aren't properly diagnosed as an LD there tends to be more of a stigma — like a girl with EF issues, who does not have other obvious LDs, will often just get labeled as an "airhead" or called ditzy or flakey. In a boy, EF issues are more likely to be seen as signs to look for related LDs, or else dismissed as no big deal — so the boy gets labeled as an "absent-minded professor type" while a girl with the same issues gets labeled as an "airhead."

I also think a certain level of sexism comes into play depending on whether the parent providing support is male or female. It's much more acceptable for a female college student to get texts and reminders from mom, while it's more likely to be stigmatized as wimpy or embarrassing for a male student. A dad providing support for his son (academic, athletic, emotional, or whatever) is likely to be seen as involved, supportive parenting, while a mother providing the same level of support for a son is seen as controlling or helicoptering or whatever.

I'm curious on this though, if you have a mother who is dealing with a partner or spouse, or grew up with a parent with EF issues, if there is almost some type of reaction of "you need to figure out how to do this for yourself because no one else will," type of push and they crack down a bit more on a girl, than they would with a boy. Sort of like "boys don't cry" thing stereotypically induced by dads onto sons in popular culture,  I am curious if there is a female version of it with  mothers to daughters, but it's a type of feminism almost but where it's a "buck up and figure it out" type of reaction. Idk. I'm just thinking back to how my friends and I all reacted to our kids who all had some EF failings in the junior high and high school ages- especially in public school. Hard to parse what was boy/girl vs first kid/experimental kid and on and on. 

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One difference between boot camp and parenting: military instructors don't have to or try to build and maintain relationships with their trainees. Even a brain with terrible executive function will pay attention when someone is yelling so close that spittle flies into your face.

Doesn't mean that's a good way to get my kids to pay attention to me at home.

Edited by maize
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3 hours ago, Heathermomster said:

What part of sitting down at the table and breaking down assignments with my DS makes me not understand EF?  I’ve literally sat by my child every school day for 6 years.  

Btw: I heard plenty of crickets at the table.  Her child never made it to the table.  

 

Please read my entire sentence.

That doesn't mean you fully understand how EF deficits affect daily life.

It doesn't matter if her child never made it to the table - punishment for disabilities isn't appropriate.

I'm not going to argue with you about this. I have learned this through experience and the heartache of a crappy school situation that I didn't realize was crappy in time. Just consider me here, standing my ground.

 

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2 hours ago, EmseB said:

If you know what unit your person is in,  you can usually get some kind of duty desk number to call. Maybe you don't get ahold of the first line supervisor, but you get someone who knows enough to pass along the message to the right people. That is, the people who are going to yell at your person and/or make fun of them for having your mom call in. 

I was thinking about this thread in light of the military. It's interesting that people say punitive doesn't work for EFDs. That's almost the entire structure of the military. Get your hair cut,  keep your room clean, study, show up on time,  shine your boots, etc. All of that is enforced via an entirely punitive system of consequences, recruits come from all walks of life with all different sorts of LDs and abilities, it's very sink or swim + high pressure with stakes of failure being pretty high...and yet all kinds of people manage to make it through training (both boot camp and technical schools). There are known elite jobs and tougher schools with higher attrition rates, but even then, a lot of the reasons are medical or stuff like that. I wonder what makes this work for the military effectively? (I'm not arguing parents should be drill sergeants,  just wondering about the effectiveness aspect).

I think it's a combination of things. First - very specific directions - there is one, very specific right way to make your bed, shine your shoes, a specific place for everything in the room, a required hair length. Second, there are fewer choices as to how time is spent. In boot camp - there is nothing else to do than what you have to do. There isn't as much of an opportunity to get lost in time, so to speak. Third - there is a camaraderie  that develops where people spur each other on to succeed because they are being taught that the success & safety of their group depends on each person being appropriately trained.  All of this takes out the decision making piece that people with EF deficiencies struggle with and also provides a built in support system.

But, that being said - people with severe ADHD usually don't get into the military because of the nature of ADHD.  Additionally, taking medication for ADHD in order to maintain a normal life is disqualifying.

The below may be outdated - I don't have a note as to how old it is, but this is the information provided through an ADHD advocacy group:

“The causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, or induction are a history of such disorders resulting in any or all of the below: …

E1.28.2. Personality (301), Conduct (312), or Behavior (313) Disorders. Where it is evident by history, interview, or psychological testing that the degree of immaturity, instability, personality inadequacy, impulsiveness, or dependency will seriously interfere with adjustment in the Armed Forces as demonstrated by repeated inability to maintain reasonable adjustment in school, with employers and fellow workers, and other social groups. …

E1.298.4. Specific Academic Skills Defects. Chronic history of academic skills (314) or perceptual defects (315), secondary to organic or functional mental disorders that interfere with work or school after age 12. Current use of medication to improve or maintain academic skills.”

As an aside, people who take medication for ADHD also cannot get a pilot's license, something my ds would dearly love to do. That still makes me sad for him when I think about it.

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3 hours ago, Sneezyone said:


The weed outs re:grades and test scores don’t affect EF. The weed outs at boot camp are usually physical/mental in nature. People don’t get a choice about whether or when to eat/study/shower/shave.

Prior to acceptance, there are no accommodations provided for tests, which very well could affect test scores. So that would weed them out prior to enlistment.

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27 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I'm curious on this though, if you have a mother who is dealing with a partner or spouse, or grew up with a parent with EF issues, if there is almost some type of reaction of "you need to figure out how to do this for yourself because no one else will," type of push and they crack down a bit more on a girl, than they would with a boy. Sort of like "boys don't cry" thing stereotypically induced by dads onto sons in popular culture,  I am curious if there is a female version of it with  mothers to daughters, but it's a type of feminism almost but where it's a "buck up and figure it out" type of reaction. Idk. I'm just thinking back to how my friends and I all reacted to our kids who all had some EF failings in the junior high and high school ages- especially in public school. Hard to parse what was boy/girl vs first kid/experimental kid and on and on. 

 

idk but in both families I mentioned where the mom had super EF skills and was using them for family and also the family work, the moms explicitly taught at least some of the daughters how to run a household and how to run a business as explicit teaching. 

My mom didn’t have super EF skills herself, but then also didn’t teach me what she did know because it didn’t occur to her that they were teachable. Because she  managed herself in a sink or swim figure it out or not way.  

It seemed like some families had a lot of capacity, plus a lot of explicit instruction, plus learning that the skills could be taught so giving what they had to next generation (and maybe some extra picked up from sources along the way) for an upward spiral.

others of us seem like we are in multi generational downward spirals in this area.  

 

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3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Fwiw, it could be there are more issues going on there than just EF. Language disabilities, ASD, there's certainly more that would explain what you're describing than EF. To say Heather doesn't get EF is to assume everything you were experiencing was because of EF. Just because a person has EF issues doesn't mean they ONLY have EF issues. 

Of course, and we have gone through a battery of tests to make sure we properly identified all of the things going on with him. IIRC, he was tested four separate times at intervals, beginning with 1st grade and ending late in 11th grade. There is a lot going on, but the EF deficits are severe and that is what the various evaluators & therapists we have worked with throughout the years attributed his difficulties with complying with instructions. Generally speaking, sensory integration, ADHD and ASD all impact EF, varying of course on the individual. I could be mistaken, but I don't think EF deficiency is a stand alone dx, rather a  symptom, criteria or trait of the dx (not sure what the right word is, there).

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17 minutes ago, TechWife said:

Prior to acceptance, there are no accommodations provided for tests, which very well could affect test scores. So that would weed them out prior to enlistment.

Some, not all. As we’ve seen here, test scores and achievement can be completely divorced from EF issues and many people are never diagnosed with anything disqualifying.

Edited by Sneezyone
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3 hours ago, Corraleno said:

If I seem overly, uhh, "passionate" on this topic, or overreactive, it's because I have held a sobbing child who was thought no one would ever love him because he couldn't sit still.

 

I am so very sorry that your family went through this. I get it. Many hugs.

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8 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

Some, not all. As we’ve seen here, test scores and achievement can be completely divorced from EF issues. 

Yes, and the type of test, too. DS always flew through and scored 99 percentile on standardized tests, like the Iowa. When it came to the SAT & ACT, he needed accommodations due to the writing demand and the complexity of the math problems, which took him longer to complete because he had trouble "holding things in mind." He did end up taking both without accommodations - the SAT denied his and were were getting ready to go to bat for him there, but then his ACT score came in and without the writing, it was really solid. The uni he wanted to go to didn't use the writing score, so it worked out in the end.

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23 minutes ago, TechWife said:

I think it's a combination of things. First - very specific directions - there is one, very specific right way to make your bed, shine your shoes, a specific place for everything in the room, a required hair length. Second, there are fewer choices as to how time is spent. In boot camp - there is nothing else to do than what you have to do. There isn't as much of an opportunity to get lost in time, so to speak. Third - there is a camaraderie  that develops where people spur each other on to succeed because they are being taught that the success & safety of their group depends on each person being appropriately trained.  All of this takes out the decision making piece that people with EF deficiencies struggle with and also provides a built in support system.

But, that being said - people with severe ADHD usually don't get into the military because of the nature of ADHD.  Additionally, taking medication for ADHD in order to maintain a normal life is disqualifying.

The below may be outdated - I don't have a note as to how old it is, but this is the information provided through an ADHD advocacy group:

“The causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, or induction are a history of such disorders resulting in any or all of the below: …

E1.28.2. Personality (301), Conduct (312), or Behavior (313) Disorders. Where it is evident by history, interview, or psychological testing that the degree of immaturity, instability, personality inadequacy, impulsiveness, or dependency will seriously interfere with adjustment in the Armed Forces as demonstrated by repeated inability to maintain reasonable adjustment in school, with employers and fellow workers, and other social groups. …

E1.298.4. Specific Academic Skills Defects. Chronic history of academic skills (314) or perceptual defects (315), secondary to organic or functional mental disorders that interfere with work or school after age 12. Current use of medication to improve or maintain academic skills.”

As an aside, people who take medication for ADHD also cannot get a pilot's license, something my ds would dearly love to do. That still makes me sad for him when I think about it.


DH did a recruiter stint. taking ADHD meds is disqualifying in some cases but not all. Still, A LOT of people never take meds. Having a 504 or IEP can be disqualifying too depending on the required accommodations but, again, a lot of people refuse and/or never receive those accommodations. Successfully passing the ASVAB and presenting without extreme distractability is generally accepted.

https://www.additudemag.com/uncle-sam-doesnt-want-you/

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1 minute ago, TechWife said:

Yes, and the type of test, too. DS always flew through and scored 99 percentile on standardized tests, like the Iowa. When it came to the SAT & ACT, he needed accommodations due to the writing demand and the complexity of the math problems, which took him longer to complete because he had trouble "holding things in mind." He did end up taking both without accommodations - the SAT denied his and were were getting ready to go to bat for him there, but then his ACT score came in and without the writing, it was really solid. The uni he wanted to go to didn't use the writing score, so it worked out in the end.


The ASVAB is a basic skills, mechanical thinking test. The language skills required are relatively light. It favors mathematical thinkers and tinkerers.

Edited by Sneezyone
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2 minutes ago, TechWife said:

I don't think EF deficiency is a stand alone dx

So technically when you're filling out something like the BRIEF, you're filling out an EF survey, not an ADHD test. That's where there's EF in the name. And yes, they will say someone has EF deficits without diagnosing ADHD (or ASD or or). So they'll say gifted with EF deficits and not diagnose ADHD. I went to a whole workshop on it. And if you look at books on EF aimed at therapists, they're using crossing labels. 

5 minutes ago, TechWife said:

attributed his difficulties with complying with instructions.

I read a book on EF at the SLP's office once. It was pretty interesting. https://www.linguisystems.com/Products/31718/the-source-for-executive-function-disorders.aspx  I'm pretty sure this was the book and I think the SLPs were reading it because they had started carrying an EF test, possibly https://www.linguisystems.com/Products/34290/efte-nu-executive-functions-testelementary-normative-update.aspx  

So I just want to point out that we're really getting deep at that point on what people are calling EF, and people could talk right past each other. Heather has repeatedly pointed out that her ds does NOT have ASD. So if someone is talking about their dc having difficulty with transitions, shifting, flexiblity, etc. and they say it's EF, well fine per the part of the brain it's EF. But if you're ticking the ASD box, then maybe the reason the *degree* is so high and that much support is required is because it is in ASD territory. 

My ds is more like what you're describing, where he actually needs support to comply, support to transition, support to be flexible. In fact, my ds needs *significant* support to o those things, which is why his label is ASD2. But someone could have a straight ADHD diagnosis and NOT be requiring significant support to make transitions, etc., which would make compliance possibly more straightforward. So two parents could be dealing with EF issues in kids and have radically different experiences.

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3 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

So two parents could be dealing with EF issues in kids and have radically different experiences.

So, very, very true!

ETA: I wish I had access to that book when ds was younger - lucky you! That's great.

Edited by TechWife
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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

So if someone is talking about their dc having difficulty with transitions, shifting, flexiblity, etc. and they say it's EF, well fine per the part of the brain it's EF. But if you're ticking the ASD box, then maybe the reason the *degree* is so high and that much support is required is because it is in ASD territory. 

My ds is more like what you're describing, where he actually needs support to comply, support to transition, support to be flexible. In fact, my ds needs *significant* support to o those things, which is why his label is ASD2. But someone could have a straight ADHD diagnosis and NOT be requiring significant support to make transitions, etc., which would make compliance possibly more straightforward. So two parents could be dealing with EF issues in kids and have radically different experiences.


Yeah, DS's issues do not involve ASD; we've never had issues with inflexibility or noncompliance or inability to transition (well, not beyond the age of maybe 6 or 7, which I think is pretty common for NT kids, too). I think it gets confusing when someone who is dealing with one set of EF issues (ASD) insists that certain types of support are not appropriate for college kids with a totally different set of EF issues (ADHD). There's really no reason why a 2e kid with ADHD (not ASD) should be held back until all EF skills are at NT level (which may never happen), or should have to choose a college based primarily on the level of EF support available. I mean, if 99% of someone's brain is totally capable of doing the work at MIT, or any other school that offers the level of challenge that student wants, it's crazy to keep them from that just because they may need a little parental support for the other 1%, especially for the first year or two.

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7 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I personally am pro growth on these choices. If the dc is growing, I think keep plowing.

 

I really like this. It's a simple, clear, flexible, adaptable metric: if you're seeing growth and forward movement, then you're providing the right level of support and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. If you notice that forward movement has stopped, then you need to look closely and figure out why that is. It may be that the dc is stuck in a bit of a rut and gently loosening support may result in a new growth spurt. Or it may be that something new is happening that's causing so much stress the current level of support is just barely keeping them functioning and what they need is more support, even temporarily, so there is energy for growth and forward movement again. 

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I wish I could have been more involved in this thread, but I am just swamped with tutoring and National exams next week.

I was thinking last night about how the OP responded to my Older boy's experience at university, saying some things were parentish and other things were a no go for her.  She was very kind to me, so hopefully she will come back and comment on this post, as I am very curious. 

I provide a *lot* of support for my 19 year old. I would say probably 5-20 minutes every day.  I have learned over they years on this board that he is so incredibly unusual that most of my experience is not very useful for others, but I'm still going to describe it because I would be interested, truly interested, in how different people sort 1) OK-to-be-involved tasks and  2) NOT-OK-to-be involved tasks. My ds is in the very unusual circumstance to be close to an unschooler attending an Elite university in a foreign country.

So these are the categories in my mind of how I provide support.  Not in any particular order:

1) Career advice - help with writing his resume and linked in page, options for jobs, timelines for applying, appropriate wording of emails. Just yesterday ds told me that for the lead on his J-term research position in String Theory (haha can't believe I am saying that) that he needed to meet a postdoc in person. He wanted to know what he should ask as there are 6 different project opportunities.  So I suggested that he ask where he could add the most value given his high end math skill, and which project would help him develop his machine-learning knowledge without assuming he had 2-3 years of background.  He simply had no idea what to ask. 

2) Mental and Physical health - I regularly check that he is eating, sleeping, and exercising.  I also ordered a pile of healthy nuts when I found out that he was eating junk food late at night when studying. I have also made sure in conversations about his day, that he has put in 30 minutes for food. So I do keep an eye on his timetable, timing, and taking care of himself.

3) Transport. Although many MIT students apparently organize their own flights (as stated on the parents' facebook page by many parents), we do all the booking of these flights as they cost 1000s of dollars.  We have to get him to give us dates for exams and work out plans to get reasonable prices and timelines. We orchestrate this piece in its entirety. 

4) University Payment. Although ds is working a part time job actually tutoring someone on this board, we fund his education, room, and board. Because of this, we regulate his meal plan and figure out his housing situation based on our budget.

5) Purchasing. We purchase lots of different things on Amazon that he needs. He just found out for his violin that he needed a humidifier, so my dh researched this, and shipped one to him. He now needs batteries for his metronome. DH will be ordering that next.  This is one of the support pieces that we think he could pick up, but ds just doesn't have the time to get it done. He is swamped with school work, so if he had to order these things, he just wouldn't.

6) Written admin. We do written admin for his passport, his bank account, FAFSA, CSS etc. This is crazy time consuming, but I'm not sure how much of this he could actually do. But dh has also had to do all the leg work to set ds up a paypal account and a venmo account. 

7) Etiquette. America is not NZ. And we have provided advice on appropriate behavior/emails/formality/ dress/ etc.

8.) Homework/study scheduling. DS in the first semester asked for advice most days, now he just wants me to say 'yes, that sounds great.' He is doing all the scheduling now in his 3rd semester, but likes to be reassured. As a close to unschooler, he has quite a lot of catch up in this area compared to kids that went to the Governer's School who took 6 APs in one year. He just doesn't have the experience, but he is learning quickly. 

9) Financial advice. He has yet to figure out the American banking system. NZ has no cheques, so when he got the first one from Grandma, he needed to be told what to do. Also, when he had to pay in a lump sum for his violin lessons, we told him to go get a bank check.  Live and learn! He got a bank check made out to MIT (not the full name), and it did not have the music department or his name written anywhere on it, and he handed it to someone at the music front desk.  We were like, 'well, that $1200 is gone.' Surprisingly, it wasn't. But he just has no idea how the American money system works. In NZ, you would just use the EFTPOS machine at the music desk and just move the money at point of sale. When we dropped him off at age 17, he had to flip all the coins over to see how much they were worth. He was like "what is a dime?" I had never really realized that a dime is not a word that has any meaning to anyone outside America. And when we told him, he wanted to know why the 10 cent coin was smaller than the 5 cent coin. He found that very confusing. That was his starting point with the American financial system!

10) Communication. He asks for help with some emails.  This is kind of subsumed by the above 9 items. But in general, if he is uncertain of an email and what he should say, he will call and ask. He is definitely getting more independent on this one over time, but at first he was just frozen, not knowing what was the appropriate tone, formality, length etc. 

11) Computer advice. DH has put Linux on ds's computer, so sometimes ds needs advice on how to load software on a non-standard operating system. 

Well, that is about all the categories I can think of.  I think the OP was only against #8. And if so, I would be curious as to why that one is the most important for adult independence. I'm not being critical at all, I am just deeply curious as where the boundaries are drawn.  When we have a conversation with ds on the phone, it is pretty free flow, so from my point of view it would be really odd to say let me help you with this, this, this, Oh NOT that, but this and this. Obviously, this is a parenting perspective, but I am curious. 

Our family motto is "we are a family and we help each other out." So ever since the kids were little, if one of us needed help, we would ask, and the others would help. If someone started getting lazy (this was me once when I kept asking my dh to do stuff for me once I was in bed), then the other was allowed to say, 'um no, you really need to be doing this on your own.'  But in general, we are a family and we help each other out. That is our go to motto. This is why I help my ds who is in a foreign land buried in work. I will help him out, just like one day he will help me out when I am in need.  

Ruth in NZ

 

Edited by lewelma
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11 minutes ago, lewelma said:

I provide a *lot* of support for my 19 year old. I would say probably 5-20 minutes every day.  I have learned over they years on this board that he is so incredibly unusual that most of my experience is not very useful for others, but I'm still going to describe it because I would be interested, truly interested, in how different people sort 1) OK-to-be-involved tasks and  2) NOT-OK-to-be involved tasks. My ds is in the very unusual circumstance to be close to an unschooler attending an Elite university in a foreign country.

 

Our family motto is "we are a family and we help each other out." So ever since the kids were little, if one of us needed help, we would ask, and the others would help. If someone started getting lazy (this was me once when I kept asking my dh to do stuff for me once I was in bed), then the other was allowed to say, 'um no, you really need to be doing this on your own.'  So just yesterday, I called out my younger, because I did not feel he was supporting me during my busy tutoring season by doing more housework. And he was like, yep, you are right. But in general, we are a family and we help each other out. That is our go to motto. This is why I help my ds who is in a foreign land buried in work. I will help him out, just like he will help me out. 

Ruth in NZ

 

My DD is going to schol far away (but in the same country....) but other than that difference, I could've typed your entire post. Especially the bolded above. We all pitch in whenever we see a need. Recently, DD2 has been doing the heavy household chore lifting while DS was really busy. Now that he's freed up, he's back helping out, but not having to "repay" DD2 for her help. He'll simply wait for an opportunity to return the favor in whatever manner it manifests itself.

I've found that, so far, when each kid reaches a point they "don't need my assistance or support" it has been very obvious to both of us and I've stepped back. When DD1 was mentally/emotionally having a tough time at college, I stepped in a LOT. I sent her good food and gift cards to Whole Foods, constantly. We talked every day, multiple times. She gave me her schedule and big assignments so I could keep up with them and remind her of their existence. I called before classes on particularly bad days to make sure she was up and heading out the door in time to make it. Now that she's so much healthier in that regard, I barely assist her with anything (I definitely DO order plane tickets! We're paying the bill and I'm willing to check and re-check prices and dates to ensure the best deal!) Once she's graduated, I imagine I'll help her research her future plans because she'll want that help/discussion/camaraderie - not because I'm making her decisions FOR her.

Letting a child fail in 6th grade on a project is (of course, depending on each personal situation) probably a good and safe idea.

However, I often feel that letting them fail at any point beyond 6th grade is a luxury for the wealthy. Grades Matter if you need a scholarship. Juggling a LOT of extracurricular balls successfully Matters if the student is aiming for a higher-level program or university. But, I do try to keep my "help" aimed at teaching THEM along the way, even if I have to repeat the lesson many, many times. And, so far, I do not even slightly regret that decision.

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I do think that because of our family dynamic, I have a deep friendship with both my boys. Yes, I'm the parent, but at this point I am definitely more mentor. He trusts us more than anyone else in the world, of course he would ask for advice. At some point, however, his loyalty will switch to his spouse which is expected and appropriate. But until that time, we are there for him with whatever questions he throws at us. 

Just yesterday he asked what he should write about for his humanities scholarship application.  I was thinking in my mind "how would I know?" but I asked "what are the prompts?" When he said, one is " if you could recommend one novel for all MIT students to read before coming, what would it be and why?" I told him that I had the list of all the novels he had ever read.  Oh boy was that helpful. So I read them out, he chose one, found a thesis on his own, and wrote the most beautiful paper (He read it to me). All he needed was the list of books. I was happy to help. Easy for me, super important to him.

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2 minutes ago, lewelma said:

I do think that because of our family dynamic, I have a deep friendship with both my boys. Yes, I'm the parent, but at this point I am definitely more mentor. He trusts us more than anyone else in the world, of course he would ask for advice. At some point, however, his loyalty will switch to his spouse which is expected and appropriate. But until that time, we are there for him with whatever questions he throws at us. 

Just yesterday he asked what he should write about for his humanities scholarship application.  I was thinking in my mind "how would I know?" but I asked "what are the prompts?" When he said, one is " if you could recommend one novel for all MIT students to read before coming, what would it be and why?" I told him that I had the list of all the novels he had ever read.  Oh boy was that helpful. So I read them out, he chose one, found a thesis on his own, and wrote the most beautiful paper (He read it to me). All he needed was the list of books. I was happy to help. Easy for me, super important to him.

 

Just sitting here nodding my head! Yes to all!!

Honestly, in my daughter's college experience, she hasn't been able to find any peers who sit and have thoughtful / deep / meaningful / productive conversations. I mean, they'll have long, deep conversations where everyone is complaining about something/someone, or about some reality TV show or YouTuber. She needs a "Sounding Board" in her life for her ideas to come full-circle - talking it out increases her productivity a thousandfold. I love being that person for her for this phase of her life.

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1 minute ago, easypeasy said:

I love being that person for her for this phase of her life.

I totally agree! What a privilege and a joy.  I love watching him grow, and he calls because he knows there is no critique, only support. 

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1 hour ago, lewelma said:

Our family motto is "we are a family and we help each other out." So ever since the kids were little, if one of us needed help, we would ask, and the others would help. If someone started getting lazy (this was me once when I kept asking my dh to do stuff for me once I was in bed), then the other was allowed to say, 'um no, you really need to be doing this on your own.'  But in general, we are a family and we help each other out. That is our go to motto. This is why I help my ds who is in a foreign land buried in work. I will help him out, just like one day he will help me out when I am in need.  

I loved your whole post, but this really sums it up for me. We love each other, so of course we help each other out. Why would I put age limits or other artificial constraints on that?

I also find some of the distinctions between what's "acceptable" and not very strange. Like some people apparently think it's weird that a parent would arrange a haircut or make a doctor's appointment for anyone over 18, or send them food or whatever. But I wouldn't even put those things in the category of "EF supports" — to me those are just things family members do for each other because it's nice to make life a little easier for someone who is really busy. Like don't spouses do those things for each other? Do people not ever call a friend who's really swamped and ask if they can drop off a meal or run an errand or something? 

I think it's an interesting thought experiment to flip the scenario and ask what the "age limit" is for older people needing help. Like is it OK for an adult child to ask a 70 yr old parent if they're eating well, and maybe send over some healthy meals if it seems they aren't eating enough, but not appropriate at age 60? Is it OK for a 22 year old to pick up a prescription for a 55 year old parent, but not the other way around? I just totally don't get the age limit thing.

 

38 minutes ago, lewelma said:

I do think that because of our family dynamic, I have a deep friendship with both my boys. Yes, I'm the parent, but at this point I am definitely more mentor. He trusts us more than anyone else in the world, of course he would ask for advice. At some point, however, his loyalty will switch to his spouse which is expected and appropriate. But until that time, we are there for him with whatever questions he throws at us. 

Ditto to all of this. The idea that it's OK to ask for advice and help from some random stranger sitting in an office, who knows nothing about you and whose knowledge and judgment you have no clue about, but unacceptable to ask the same thing from the person you know and trust most in the world, is just so bizarre to me. DS and I are super close and have been having long intense discussions about everything under the sun for two decades — why would that stop just because he's in college? Like you, I think a lot of what some people might consider "support" is just normal conversation for us. I know the frequency and intensity will lessen over time, but I sure hope those conversations continue for another couple of decades.

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5 hours ago, lewelma said:

 

Our family motto is "we are a family and we help each other out." So ever since the kids were little, if one of us needed help, we would ask, and the others would help. If someone started getting lazy (this was me once when I kept asking my dh to do stuff for me once I was in bed), then the other was allowed to say, 'um no, you really need to be doing this on your own.'  But in general, we are a family and we help each other out. That is our go to motto. This is why I help my ds who is in a foreign land buried in work. I will help him out, just like one day he will help me out when I am in need.  

Ruth in NZ

 

I like your motto, I may borrow it. 

I don't have any objections to the assistance you give your son, I'm frankly impressed that he asks; learning to ask for help is something that took decades for me to figure out.

As an American kid who moved back to the US for college after many years overseas during an era when communication was still difficult and expensive--I was very much on my own. I survived and made it through but I think we are all better off when we have family and community support. 

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9 hours ago, lewelma said:

 

Our family motto is "we are a family and we help each other out." So ever since the kids were little, if one of us needed help, we would ask, and the others would help. If someone started getting lazy (this was me once when I kept asking my dh to do stuff for me once I was in bed), then the other was allowed to say, 'um no, you really need to be doing this on your own.'  But in general, we are a family and we help each other out. That is our go to motto. This is why I help my ds who is in a foreign land buried in work. I will help him out, just like one day he will help me out when I am in need.  

Ruth in NZ

 

Thank you, Ruth for your detailed post. As I said, this thread has been fuel for thought for me to understand where and why I draw certain boundaries. The reason your #8 crossed a line for me is that in my imagination it would require a level of entanglement and detailed involvement that I don’t anticipate having with my kids in college. I don’t want to know that they are going to have a really tough 9 day period without them telling me that, because that means I would have reviewed and internalized their syllabi and deadlines. Now, maybe that’s not how it happened. Maybe your DS said “mom, I have a rough 9 days coming up. Could you help me prioritize and plan?”  If it we’re option B, I think I’d be ok with that. If it were option A, I’m not, because I cannot continue to be the keeper of the calendars and schedules and lists for 5 people forever. 

We all draw on our own experiences and this thread reminds me (again) of why I need therapy to work through some of this. I could not wait to leave home and vowed to never live at home again (I didn’t). I never once asked my parents for the kind of advice you’ve listed above. Best example I can think of - my parents found out I graduated first from law school when they got to the ceremony. It didn’t occur to me to discuss my life in that level of detail with them. 

So some of my boundaries are driven by pure mental exhaustion. And some are driven by my own relationship with my parents. The first probably won’t change. But the second deserves a closer look. I don’t want to have a kid who needs me so much that they text me multiple times a day to remind them what’s due on Thursday. But I would love a relationship where I’m one of the first people they tell about their successes and dreams. Or who they turn to for advice. That’s not the parent child relationship I have, so it’s hard for me to create it.

When I find myself unsure what to do as a parent, I use my MIL as my example. However, she can’t me my example in this area (dealing with ADHD in a child) because she likely has it herself and didn’t do any modeling / scaffolding / supporting in that area. So I’m flailing in a vacuum a bit. Which is why this board is very very helpful. 

As a fun comparison, our family motto is “never give up!” 

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10 hours ago, lewelma said:

I wish I could have been more involved in this thread, but I am just swamped with tutoring and National exams next week.

I was thinking last night about how the OP responded to my Older boy's experience at university, saying some things were parentish and other things were a no go for her.  She was very kind to me, so hopefully she will come back and comment on this post, as I am very curious. 

I provide a *lot* of support for my 19 year old. I would say probably 5-20 minutes every day.  I have learned over they years on this board that he is so incredibly unusual that most of my experience is not very useful for others, but I'm still going to describe it because I would be interested, truly interested, in how different people sort 1) OK-to-be-involved tasks and  2) NOT-OK-to-be involved tasks. My ds is in the very unusual circumstance to be close to an unschooler attending an Elite university in a foreign country.

So these are the categories in my mind of how I provide support.  Not in any particular order:

1) Career advice - help with writing his resume and linked in page, options for jobs, timelines for applying, appropriate wording of emails. Just yesterday ds told me that for the lead on his J-term research position in String Theory (haha can't believe I am saying that) that he needed to meet a postdoc in person. He wanted to know what he should ask as there are 6 different project opportunities.  So I suggested that he ask where he could add the most value given his high end math skill, and which project would help him develop his machine-learning knowledge without assuming he had 2-3 years of background.  He simply had no idea what to ask. 

2) Mental and Physical health - I regularly check that he is eating, sleeping, and exercising.  I also ordered a pile of healthy nuts when I found out that he was eating junk food late at night when studying. I have also made sure in conversations about his day, that he has put in 30 minutes for food. So I do keep an eye on his timetable, timing, and taking care of himself.

3) Transport. Although many MIT students apparently organize their own flights (as stated on the parents' facebook page by many parents), we do all the booking of these flights as they cost 1000s of dollars.  We have to get him to give us dates for exams and work out plans to get reasonable prices and timelines. We orchestrate this piece in its entirety. 

4) University Payment. Although ds is working a part time job actually tutoring someone on this board, we fund his education, room, and board. Because of this, we regulate his meal plan and figure out his housing situation based on our budget.

5) Purchasing. We purchase lots of different things on Amazon that he needs. He just found out for his violin that he needed a humidifier, so my dh researched this, and shipped one to him. He now needs batteries for his metronome. DH will be ordering that next.  This is one of the support pieces that we think he could pick up, but ds just doesn't have the time to get it done. He is swamped with school work, so if he had to order these things, he just wouldn't.

6) Written admin. We do written admin for his passport, his bank account, FAFSA, CSS etc. This is crazy time consuming, but I'm not sure how much of this he could actually do. But dh has also had to do all the leg work to set ds up a paypal account and a venmo account. 

7) Etiquette. America is not NZ. And we have provided advice on appropriate behavior/emails/formality/ dress/ etc.

8.) Homework/study scheduling. DS in the first semester asked for advice most days, now he just wants me to say 'yes, that sounds great.' He is doing all the scheduling now in his 3rd semester, but likes to be reassured. As a close to unschooler, he has quite a lot of catch up in this area compared to kids that went to the Governer's School who took 6 APs in one year. He just doesn't have the experience, but he is learning quickly. 

9) Financial advice. He has yet to figure out the American banking system. NZ has no cheques, so when he got the first one from Grandma, he needed to be told what to do. Also, when he had to pay in a lump sum for his violin lessons, we told him to go get a bank check.  Live and learn! He got a bank check made out to MIT (not the full name), and it did not have the music department or his name written anywhere on it, and he handed it to someone at the music front desk.  We were like, 'well, that $1200 is gone.' Surprisingly, it wasn't. But he just has no idea how the American money system works. In NZ, you would just use the EFTPOS machine at the music desk and just move the money at point of sale. When we dropped him off at age 17, he had to flip all the coins over to see how much they were worth. He was like "what is a dime?" I had never really realized that a dime is not a word that has any meaning to anyone outside America. And when we told him, he wanted to know why the 10 cent coin was smaller than the 5 cent coin. He found that very confusing. That was his starting point with the American financial system!

10) Communication. He asks for help with some emails.  This is kind of subsumed by the above 9 items. But in general, if he is uncertain of an email and what he should say, he will call and ask. He is definitely getting more independent on this one over time, but at first he was just frozen, not knowing what was the appropriate tone, formality, length etc. 

11) Computer advice. DH has put Linux on ds's computer, so sometimes ds needs advice on how to load software on a non-standard operating system. 

Well, that is about all the categories I can think of.  I think the OP was only against #8. And if so, I would be curious as to why that one is the most important for adult independence. I'm not being critical at all, I am just deeply curious as where the boundaries are drawn.  When we have a conversation with ds on the phone, it is pretty free flow, so from my point of view it would be really odd to say let me help you with this, this, this, Oh NOT that, but this and this. Obviously, this is a parenting perspective, but I am curious. 

Our family motto is "we are a family and we help each other out." So ever since the kids were little, if one of us needed help, we would ask, and the others would help. If someone started getting lazy (this was me once when I kept asking my dh to do stuff for me once I was in bed), then the other was allowed to say, 'um no, you really need to be doing this on your own.'  But in general, we are a family and we help each other out. That is our go to motto. This is why I help my ds who is in a foreign land buried in work. I will help him out, just like one day he will help me out when I am in need.  

Ruth in NZ

 

 

I think this is wonderful and I want to copy it for reference for just in case my son were to go away for college. Though I doubt my son would accept much of that or ask for it, even if it would help a great deal. 

I went to college in a different era so much on the list would not have been applicable, but similar for my era would have helped hugely I think.

I was a west coast of USA person going to an east coast university— nowhere near as far, and I certainly did know what a dime was.  But I was very aware that many kids who had family more or less in the area and even more so if they were second (or more) generation at that school had a huge advantage.  Getting needed things, moving in, knowing the ropes... 

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I was talking with dh about this and I do feel that so much of this could be attributed to family culture as much as anything else.

Dh's family growing up was so different from my own and we came up with something in the middle. Dh's thinks his parents were too hands off and I feel my mom was too involved at times. But we are super close with both of our kids, including college boy, and that hasn't changed just because he now has his own apartment. We're actually driving up to see him tomorrow since he's only an hour away. I asked if he had time this weekend and he said he would like to see us Sunday. He's always up for a free meal. 🙂 

Also, I did get a bit defensive when a poster said that me looking at concert/speaking events for my college kiddo was weird. I actually find it weird that anything would think so and I realized I do the same thing for my mom. Especially during the holidays, I always look for things I know she would like to see with us and buy an extra ticket for her. I don't think it's any different doing the same for ds. He's always been super appreciative and he's seen those types of things all on his own as well. It's not like he's never gone to a concert/speaking engagement that I didn't find and facilitate. He just is able to do more of those things because I keep an eye out.

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2 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

I don’t want to know that they are going to have a really tough 9 day period without them telling me that, because that means I would have reviewed and internalized their syllabi and deadlines.

Fwiw, I agree with you about that for my relationship with my own dc. I do not know my dd's class schedule (even though sometimes I wish I did, just so I could time my calls better or whatever), and if she's having a hard time I say I'm sorry, use your tools, and I love you, move on, suck it up. You'll probably be there too.

I want to back up to this point though that people are going to talk past each other because you're looking at the MOST DIFFICULT cases (grad classes at MIT at 18 for someone from another country with a 2E mix of disabilities and strengths). There's no way those hardest cases are reflective of how the majority of people and kids roll. 

So yes, it will probably work out the way you're hoping, with something more middle of the road, something that reflects the dc beginning to use independently the skills you've taught.

2 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

why I need therapy to work through some of this.

That seems like a reasonable thing! And you might like two kinds of professionals, one to deal with your parenting/trauma/counseling needs for you (whatever was going on there), and that other an EF coach/psych/CBT therapist/ed therapist for your dc to help teach them skills so you don't have to be the one or the only one.

2 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

But I would love a relationship where I’m one of the first people they tell about their successes and dreams. Or who they turn to for advice. That’s not the parent child relationship I have, so it’s hard for me to create it.

So, fwiw, that's probably what people were picking up on when you replied and they took you to task. It's interesting that you're reflecting and seeing it. I'll just throw you out a tidbit, that when we took my dd in for counseling (not actually sure why, the years get blurry) in her teen years, the counselor was like ok now *you* come in. So I'm like ok why, what do you want to know, and he's like no, you had trauma (didn't say this in so many words) and that's why you're so disconnected from your kid. 

So I don't know what happened in your world, not asking to say, but just saying I did it. He had me do trauma exercises, I went through them, and like overnight I made 20 friends and started developing those connected relationships you're talking about. It was crazy. It's a rabbit trail to look into. And it wasn't like oh I was abused kind of stuff. It was more violence I was exposed to, some near death experiences, just run of the mill stuff I guess. But it was enough that for me it had caused some problems and the trauma exercises helped.

                                            The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma                                     

                                            Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body                                     

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3 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

We all draw on our own experiences and this thread reminds me (again) of why I need therapy to work through some of this.

 

I think parenting brings out areas where we re-visit our own “issues” and it can help to have a way to work through those.

3 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

As a fun comparison, our family motto is “never give up!” 

 

We don’t have a family motto.  Now that I have learned yours and Lewelma’s, I want one! 

 

 

42 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

So I don't know what happened in your world, not asking to say, but just saying I did it. He had me do trauma exercises, I went through them, and like overnight I made 20 friends and started developing those connected relationships you're talking about. It was crazy. It's a rabbit trail to look into. And it wasn't like oh I was abused kind of stuff. It was more violence I was exposed to, some near death experiences, just run of the mill stuff I guess. But it was enough that for me it had caused some problems and the trauma exercises helped.

                                            The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma                                     

                                            Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body                                     

 

I would like to know more!  How long were you doing the exercises when you experienced “overnight “ change? 

I think the Van der Kolk Body Keeps the Score book is one of the best books I have ever read.

I tried a different Peter Levine book which I did not find as helpful, but on your recommendation am going to try the one you linked and to DO the exercises not just passively read it!!!

Do you (or others reading this) have any familiarity with:

Trauma-Proofing Your Kids: A Parents' Guide for Instilling Confidence, Joy and Resilience https://www.amazon.com/dp/1556436998/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_3Re0DbVSC22TX

also by or partly by Levine? 

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10 minutes ago, Pen said:

I would like to know more!  How long were you doing the exercises when you experienced “overnight “ change? 

I think the Van der Kolk Body Keeps the Score book is one of the best books I have ever read.

I tried a different Peter Levine book which I did not find as helpful, but on your recommendation am going to try the one you linked and to DO the exercises not just passively read it!!!

Do you (or others reading this) have any familiarity with:

Trauma-Proofing Your Kids: A Parents' Guide for Instilling Confidence, Joy and Resilience https://www.amazon.com/dp/1556436998/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_3Re0DbVSC22TX

also by or partly by Levine? 

I was doing TRE. I did it about 40 times over the course of maybe 2-3 months, I forget. I made data and was pretty aggressive about it. It only took a few sessions for me to start feeling different. I felt sort of naked, like people could see through me, and it was really strange. So it didn't take months to get noticeable change.

I haven't actually read the Van der Kolk book, blush. I bought the previous book (Body Bears the Burden), but this book is newer and more comprehensive.

Levine's HT book has a couple good exercises. If you can borrow it or get it on the cheap it will be worth the effort for those couple. But it's not earth shattering, no.

Yes, I have the Trauma Proofing book. Not sure I did much with it, just kinda threw it in the cart.

This is the video I used to learn to do TRE. 

 

Edited by PeterPan
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9 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

I want to back up to this point though that people are going to talk past each other because you're looking at the MOST DIFFICULT cases (grad classes at MIT at 18 for someone from another country with a 2E mix of disabilities and strengths). There's no way those hardest cases are reflective of how the majority of people and kids roll. 

But if you look at Ruth's lists, none of those things are unique to a kid at MIT, and only two relate to being a foreign student. Being swamped with a ton of assignments in a 9 day period at the beginning of freshman year can happen at any university where the student is involved in a lot of activities or projects. A lot of the things on the list aren't even specifically related to EF, they're things a lot of parents would do even for NT kids just because they have a close relationship and that's their family culture. The difference is that when kids have significant EF issues, we tend to do lots of those things at once instead of just a few here and there. That's the point LSB was making earlier when she listed the things she does for her son — he can do each of the functions independently, but he cannot do all of them at once without help.

I don't think it matters one bit which school someone attends, or whether they live an hour away or on the other side of the globe. What matters is what level of support this student needs (and wants) in this particular environment at this time in his or her life, in order to keep growing and moving forward. And that really applies to NT kids as well as those with more challenges. As long as you're seeing growth and forward movement, you're doing it right. 

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@PeterPan glad I asked and got clearer that it was different exercises, not the book (s) that helped so much!

I think the “Body Keeping the Score” concept is extremely interesting/enlightening.

Somewhere or other I also read that, in this category,  “genetic” methylation problems are often epigenetic stress caused mutations.  

Where it would seem that it could be one of many areas where multigenerational stress can cause not only emotional relationship problems, and skill learning problems, but even genetic changes that can then lead to more problems... and on it goes...     

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This thread has been an interesting read. I am so thankful and said so many times before this thread that I come from a "How can I help" family. I don't have a kid in college yet, but I did note when I was in college that there were many students that needed additional help with "life" or "adulting" or EF function that had nothing to do with their "academics". I have many examples but the most extreme was a best friend that got sick and thought it was the flu. Parents told him go to Quack Shack (campus doctor). He did. You have the flu. Friend still very sick. His friends are taking care of him at this point. Dad won't pay for outside doctor. Dad won't offer any help other than go to Quack Shack. Sicker and sicker. Finally, I call MY mom and tell her what's up. She immediately tells us what to do. Seek outside doctor. She helps call clinics off campus to find who will see him self-pay etc etc. She finds one. We take him. He is hospitalized immediately for Diabetes Type 1. Almost dies (not hyperbole). Stabilizes and hospital tells us to send him home. Asks where's parents. Parents won't come. Dad says figure it out. I drive him 7 hours home (our home town). Thank god MY parents were not of the sink or swim variety. His were. They always had been.

I am a super duper, bad ass, high EF functioning, Mary Poppins with a healthy dose of fairy god mother and psychic thrown in, corporate project managing (paid $$$$$$), business owner x 3 woman. Yesterday, I just casually mentioned in conversation about something else that DH and I were booked 4x's (4 places at once) over today with kids and renovation trades. She asked if I needed help. I said, "Nah. I'll work it out. I always do."  She texted me at 8:15am this morning and asked how she could help.

Just like that. She will ALWAYS throw me a life preserver even when I'm doing fancy flips in the deep end. I'm 45.

 

Just my $.02.

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5 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

Thank you, Ruth for your detailed post. As I said, this thread has been fuel for thought for me to understand where and why I draw certain boundaries. The reason your #8 crossed a line for me is that in my imagination it would require a level of entanglement and detailed involvement that I don’t anticipate having with my kids in college. I don’t want to know that they are going to have a really tough 9 day period without them telling me that, because that means I would have reviewed and internalized their syllabi and deadlines. Now, maybe that’s not how it happened. Maybe your DS said “mom, I have a rough 9 days coming up. Could you help me prioritize and plan?”  If it we’re option B, I think I’d be ok with that. If it were option A, I’m not, because I cannot continue to be the keeper of the calendars and schedules and lists for 5 people forever. 

We all draw on our own experiences and this thread reminds me (again) of why I need therapy to work through some of this. I could not wait to leave home and vowed to never live at home again (I didn’t). I never once asked my parents for the kind of advice you’ve listed above. Best example I can think of - my parents found out I graduated first from law school when they got to the ceremony. It didn’t occur to me to discuss my life in that level of detail with them. 

So some of my boundaries are driven by pure mental exhaustion. And some are driven by my own relationship with my parents. The first probably won’t change. But the second deserves a closer look. I don’t want to have a kid who needs me so much that they text me multiple times a day to remind them what’s due on Thursday. But I would love a relationship where I’m one of the first people they tell about their successes and dreams. Or who they turn to for advice. That’s not the parent child relationship I have, so it’s hard for me to create it.

When I find myself unsure what to do as a parent, I use my MIL as my example. However, she can’t me my example in this area (dealing with ADHD in a child) because she likely has it herself and didn’t do any modeling / scaffolding / supporting in that area. So I’m flailing in a vacuum a bit. Which is why this board is very very helpful. 

As a fun comparison, our family motto is “never give up!” 

 

Yeah, look, it's OK to be a person who is mentally exhausted and cannot, for her own sanity, do the amount of coaching some people are able to do.

You are a person, not a mom-function. 

I know this is not a level of coaching I could provide long-term because of mental and emotional exhaustion. I literally can't, without killing myself. 

Everyone's family is different, everyone's life experiences are different, and frankly, you sound like you are doing fine to me. And your dd is doing OK.

Don't buy yourself grief about what things might look like in 10 years time; you don't need to be anywhere but here, with dd in 6th grade, atm, and the two of you did just fine. That's all and that's enough. 

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4 hours ago, lauraw4321 said:

Thank you, Ruth for your detailed post. As I said, this thread has been fuel for thought for me to understand where and why I draw certain boundaries. The reason your #8 crossed a line for me is that in my imagination it would require a level of entanglement and detailed involvement that I don’t anticipate having with my kids in college. I don’t want to know that they are going to have a really tough 9 day period without them telling me that, because that means I would have reviewed and internalized their syllabi and deadlines. Now, maybe that’s not how it happened. Maybe your DS said “mom, I have a rough 9 days coming up. Could you help me prioritize and plan?”  If it we’re option B, I think I’d be ok with that. If it were option A, I’m not, because I cannot continue to be the keeper of the calendars and schedules and lists for 5 people forever. 

We all draw on our own experiences and this thread reminds me (again) of why I need therapy to work through some of this. I could not wait to leave home and vowed to never live at home again (I didn’t). I never once asked my parents for the kind of advice you’ve listed above. Best example I can think of - my parents found out I graduated first from law school when they got to the ceremony. It didn’t occur to me to discuss my life in that level of detail with them. 

So some of my boundaries are driven by pure mental exhaustion. And some are driven by my own relationship with my parents. The first probably won’t change. But the second deserves a closer look. I don’t want to have a kid who needs me so much that they text me multiple times a day to remind them what’s due on Thursday. But I would love a relationship where I’m one of the first people they tell about their successes and dreams. Or who they turn to for advice. That’s not the parent child relationship I have, so it’s hard for me to create it.

When I find myself unsure what to do as a parent, I use my MIL as my example. However, she can’t me my example in this area (dealing with ADHD in a child) because she likely has it herself and didn’t do any modeling / scaffolding / supporting in that area. So I’m flailing in a vacuum a bit. Which is why this board is very very helpful. 

As a fun comparison, our family motto is “never give up!” 

I just want to say that I am deeply impressed that you are able to continue to engage in and learn from this thread given what seems to be some very different points of view.  And I *love* your family motto!

As for #8, thank you for taking the time to help me see different points of view. Part of the reason I am writing up all these things that I do for my ds, is that there is national obsession with helicopter parenting that I want to have a nuanced discussion about. How much is too much? How can you tell?  How does this depend on your child?  I think these are tricky questions, and it is very very hard to know if you are getting it "right."

I have not even begun to discuss my younger boy, who is the 2E child. The older boy is not 2E, just asynchronous. The difference being asynchronous means he 5 years advanced in math and average in EF.  My younger boy is the 2E child. He was 4 years advanced in composition while at the same time be 5 years behind in encoding language -- so *composing* at an advanced 11th grade level at age 11 while concurrently *encoding* like a 1st grader.  For the younger it has been very hard to improve his average EF skills when we needed to spend all our time trying to sort out the dysgraphia, so I think EF skills are now below-average for his age. For the older, being able to take courses to meet his crazy high math skills, meant these same courses expected equally advanced for his age EF skills, which he didn't have. Not sure this distinction is useful to all, but it might be to some. 

So back to #8 - helping kids with time management/study skills/scheduling of schoolwork. I really liked your distinction between knowing a kid's schedule/reminding/organizing vs just offering advice when asked. So parent ownership vs student ownership. I do think, however, it is a sliding scale rather than an either or.   So for the past 3 semesters what I have done is sit with him (on the phone) while he gets all his syllabi out (often online) and puts all the deadlines, homework dates, tests, papers, etc into his calendar. He then also gets me a list of the books that we go hunt down (not like the old days when you just went to the book store, it is all a mush of online, e-book purchase, free, pay, print copy, used on Amazon, etc.  Really a huge pain IMHO). At that first discussion each term, I have gotten him to identify his hell weeks so he knew they were coming up. Basically, he had never taken a full load of external courses with external deadlines as a homeschooler, so had ZERO practice in how to do this or even knowledge that it would be a good thing to do.  I just told him, "everyone does this, and so must you." Then throughout the term, when the hell week was coming up, *he* would ask me questions on how best to deal with it, and I would advise. The only time *I* took charge and made sure something happened was when he had a 15-page term paper due at the end of term. He had never written a paper like this, and I figured he had no idea how long it would take. So I initiated the conversation on scheduling the paper into the last 6 weeks of the term, and he realized that he had to get it done super early (as in a month early) because of the end of term exams in his other subjects.  But that was really the only time I had to initiate the scheduling.

One of the things this thread is helping me with is thinking about my younger and all the work I need to get done with him.  So much. But as long as he is keen to try, I can help him to master the skills he will need.  Success breeds success. Family motto number 2!

Ruth in NZ

 

 

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