A mom reached out to gain ADHD coaching support for her eighth grader. But after many questions, I found a child who felt bad about himself; and a mom full of frustration and guilt, as she had continued to be the enabler of this child during a very difficult homework process. And the question was why was her child failing? Why could he not write an essay without her support? Why was he unable to hand in or even send in homework via his iPad, despite completing it with her help? Why were his grades plummeting along with his self-esteem?
Well, the school had let them both down. There was no 504 plan or IEP plan with needed ADHD interventions. There had been no evaluations done as a result of all of the struggles to also confirm the presence of a learning disability that is prevalent in those kids with ADHD.
So goes the vicious circle of the parental enabler followed by the child who does not “own” his work, doesn’t feel capable, becomes dependent, and develops a very low self-esteem. And the parent has a level of frustration and mini vicious circle of her/his own: If I don’t sit next to him, tell him what to do, and insure success, he will fail. But why should I have to do this?
In addition to not developing a scaffold of support is a school system that many times does place the blame on the shoulders of the parent. Why does he not complete this? He has done this before, why not now?
And as the parent continues this role of CEO, the relationship between the parent and child suffers. The parent feels overwhelmed and the child doesn’t understand why he has to do work that bores him and that he doesn’t understand. After all, mom will do it anyway.
So what is the solution? Remember to document and develop a case for a full evaluation by the school. Once support is fully in place with ADHD modifications and accommodations as well as ADHD interventions, homework can then represent something that can be successfully done with support and structure at home. As a result, the parent can be available without having the responsibility of secretly doing homework. I am quite sure that not only is this against district policy but also does not contribute to the journey and paper trail that can continue to allow the tweaking of needed support of this child with ADHD. Then, coaching that encompasses goal setting can be much more realistic as the child now feels that working hard with structure and support will allow him to achieve.