A couple of months ago, I was speaking to parents at a private school. One asked me, “When do they grow out their ADHD?” My response was, “Instead of asking when do they grow out of ADHD, let’s ask, “When do they grow INTO their ADHD?”
My answer is that it depends on where their challenges lie. By the time I was 30, I had two Master’s degrees but hadn’t been out on very many dates. My longest relationship, until I got married, was TWO MONTHS! That’s where I struggled – relationships. Some of you have children who just can’t get excited about school, some have lonely children who don’t have many friends, and some of you have forgetful and disorganized children who just can’t seem to manage life as a whole.
But that doesn’t mean their lives will be worthless. I may not have been lucky in love as soon as my friends were, but in the meantime, I was a teacher and then a school counselor for 30 years and, as an adult, I was married and have loads of friends. Your child may not be great at school but he or she could be marvelous in the workforce (see example below).
I coached quite a few men (when I was coaching adults) that were very successful UNTIL they had a child. All of a sudden, they couldn’t manage their schedules and there was tension in the house. They needed to reconfigure their lives and, for that, they wanted coaching. Late-bloomers in another way.
These are temporary limitations, if they are limitations at all. The brain is quite capable of changing to accommodate new dreams and goals.
Applying conventional thinking or techniques to “get” you child to behave in a certain way just don’t work with ADHD because people with ADHD aren’t conventional!!!! Trying to make someone with ADHD fit into some model of what a successful person looks like is going to be an uphill battle.
Here’s what to do instead:
- Get some professional help: how much help you need depends on how inconvenient, uncomfortable, and overwhelming your child’s/teen’s ADHD is, to you, to your child’s teachers, and to your child. And that help could be a series of DIY experiences, it could be classes, it could be coaching, or it could be therapy. Between therapy and coaching, I became a good friend and a person that other people want to be around. It’s a dream come true.
- Notice the great things your children do: Your worrying about your child does nothing except possibly make him or her worry too. I want to be around people who uplift me, who encourage me, and who believe in me, even when I don’t believe in myself. I think people who worry about me must not really know me, whether they be my sisters, my kids, or my M.D., because worrying just brings me down and will not get the results anyone wants.
- Understand that, for late-bloomers, progress may be slow at first, but once that brain makes its major changes, progress accelerates. If your child’s challenge is being inattentive, distracted, and disorganized, he/she will need a lot of help in the beginning but eventually the brain will change and become used to attention and focus. At that point, it’s like floating down a stream.
Example: my stepson is 38 and he just graduated college. He was a late bloomer academically. BUT, he started work at age 19 and worked his way up through the company from being a host at the front desk to becoming accounting manager of this large company in Greater Seattle. He continued learning, incrementally, while working, and then went back to college at night. In the meantime, he has developed into a smart, quick-thinking, professional, who is not only great with numbers but is great at managing a team of people. And he did this without any financial help from family. This is his accomplishment and we couldn’t be prouder.
Being a late-bloomer is not a bad thing; it’s just a thing. With the right help, it is totally possible for your child to become the person he or she dreams of becoming.
Where is your son or daughter a late-bloomer and what have you done that works?
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Copyright 2017. Yafa Crane Luria. All Rights Reserved
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