School for children with ADHD, under the best of circumstances, can be difficult at times. There are the rules and regulations to follow that are constantly at war with the impulsive behaviors that go along with ADHD. Many times over the years, I have made excuses for J. when things have happened at school and blamed the majority of it on his ADHD. I did neither one of us any favors by doing so – and I am finally starting to see that, realize that.
As J. grows up (in leaps and bounds some days it seems) he is having to find his way in the world. He is having to figure out where he fits, what his likes and dislikes are, and he is starting to think about his future and what he wants. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s quite grasping the concept that without a solid education under his belt – his plans for his future are not going to be what he wants them to be.
I feel responsible. Parents who constantly make excuses for their children – be it for their behavior, their incomplete assignments, their disinterest in anything going on at school except for the social interactions with their peers – do their children no favor at all. J. has the belief (so it seems at times – not always mind you) that if he stonewalls and shuts down and becomes belligerent that I will make excuses for him and allow him to get away with not doing whatever it is he is supposed to be doing. I gave him that belief based upon my actions. I’ve done all of those things in the past – and never really realized the damage that it can cause. I felt as though I was protecting him from a world that didn’t understand him. I didn’t see that I was hurting him – not helping him.
That changed as of yesterday. J. is currently being homeschooled for an undetermined amount of time. (We are waiting on the school board to make a ruling on the matter today or tomorrow.) He has an absolutely wonderful homebound teacher – Ms. Betty – who is exactly what he needs. She is an excellent teacher, she truly cares about him and wants him to be able to learn what she is teaching him, and she is doing everything within her power to help him. His dad and I are making a conscious effort to ensure that he gets the education he needs, but he has to step up and put forth an effort as well.
Math is his favorite subject, yet for the past several days he has absolutely refused to even attempt to work out the pre-algebra problems that Ms. Betty has given him. He only has three to four problems to do – and he refuses. I have cajoled, begged, pleaded, threatened – done everything short of attempting to do them myself – to get him to at least ATTEMPT to work them out (even if he gets them wrong) so that Ms. Betty would at least have something to go on to figure out what he is or is not getting.
I know that homeschooling isn’t easy – for him or for Ms. Betty. I think that J. thought this was going to be an easy cake walk and he’d be able to do minimal work and spend his days playing video games and sleeping and eating for the rest of the year. He was up extremely late Monday night (till almost 3am Tuesday morning) and yesterday when Ms. Betty arrived – he dug in his heels and acted a pure ass for the first part of her time here, refusing to do most everything. So I called his dad (which seems to be the only recourse I have left when he gets to that point) and once he came in and saw what he was doing and how he was behaving – he had a chat with J. and got him straight so he could make the last portion of his classroom time productive.
His dad and I had a long talk with him last night … told him that things were going to change effective immediately with regards to his game time, his homework, his responsibilities – and that it was up to him on whether he wanted to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done … because in the end, he is hurting nobody but himself if he does not.
He is trying today. For some reason, however, when I’m around – he wants to get an attitude. Unacceptable behavior. He lied to me about completing his work (yet again) – again, unacceptable behavior, and that is something that we will discuss in detail this evening. He has made good progress with the math though – but it isn’t going to be the cake walk that he thought it would be – and I think he is finally beginning to see that, just the tiniest wee bit.
I’m beginning to see that as well – and will have to adjust my way of looking at this and helping him.