Teenage Son Needs Help
A parent wonders:
My son is 17 and was diagnosed with ADD when he was 15 and a sophomore in high school. He takes 5mg.of Dexedrene 3 times a day. His grades are usually good - we have to remind him sometimes about projects, tests,and homework. And he really is a good kid. We have had very little trouble as far as drinking, drugs, etc. However, we are concerned about his social skills.
He has friends with whom he goes out, but he always calls them. His friends used to call all of the time, but now it just goes in spurts. I know he talks to his friends on the Internet, but our phone only rings if he has called someone first. I bought your book "What Does Everyone Else Know That I Don't?", and I got some good points from it. But, when I try to discuss with my son the fact that maybe he comes on too strong, or that maybe people don't understand his brand of humor, he tells me his friends know how he is and that he is just kidding around when he says goofy or hurtful things. I have talked to his doctor about this, but he really wasn't much help.
Things just seem to be getting worse, and my husband and I really don't know what to do. I am trying to get him to read your book ( just the summaries at the ends of the chapters, since he also has a reading disability and dislikes reading ), but he really doesn't think there is anything wrong and so he doesn't want to read the book. I don't want to hurt his feelings or make him think that he's weird, but I know he needs help. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks in advance for your help.
Michele Novotni answers:
It sounds like you are very observant and have taken a number of positive steps which could be of help to your son if he were willing to work in this area. Unfortunately if your "help" is not helping, it isn't help. You may need to wait until your son realizes his difficulty before he will be responsive to your feedback and suggestions. Most people strongly desire to be liked by others and be connected. It's a very strong motivator and hopefully will facilitate his desire to grow in the area of social skills and relationships.
In the meantime you could try to support him in the following ways:
- You may find it helpful to leave the book, What Does Everybody Else Know That I Don't?" in a location in his sight but not as an obvious, direct hint. He may pick it up on his own when you aren't watching.
- Since he has a difficult time reading, he may also benefit from some of the short, informative articles or answers in ADDitude magazine. These may also be left around in a convient place.
- You may contact his school counselor and ask the school personnel to help keep an eye on his social relationships, especially when he is working in small groups.
It's a good sign that others are still willing to go out with him and that he's not left home alone so he must be doing something right!
Michele Novotni, Ph.D., is a psychologist and coach in private practice in Wayne, Pennsylvania.
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