You are here

Question regarding ADHD, Lying, and school issues

kathycrosbyvt's picture

My SO son "mark"  is in middle school. Mark was never what you would call a overachiever and basically just did what school work he had to to get by. He is average intelligence and due to his ADHD has had a IEP(?) program in school since 3rd grade for extra help. Its always been a struggle to get Mark to do his HW but this year its been really bad. He fights/argues with both BM and SO and procrastinates starting his HW. He will "act" like he's totally clueless on how to do 70 percent of his HW so he can't do it. Since SO was NOT in the class he can't help Mark figure it out most of the time. SO will have to call his teacher to ask her to either explain it to Mark again or/and explain it to him so he can help Mark get it done. This has caused Mark to fall behind in school. SO has had Mark stay after school two days a week to try and catch up. The teacher just informed SO that Mark when he stays after to make up work he just pretends to be doing school work but is not. The teacher also informed SO that she has a number of times explained the work to Mark but unless she sits right there with him through the whole prosess he won't do anything.  She  believes he is faking not knowing what to do.  Mark will also lie when SO asks him if all his HW is done.

From what I read about ADHD kids have a issue FINISHING HW/school work BUT Mark has more of a issue STARTING the work all together. He really needs someone to hold is hand through the whole thing and walk him through step by step or he won't do anything. Even doing this its a fight to get him to do anything. Is this normal for ADHD kids or is he just being lazy because he does not want to do it? 

EveryoneLies's picture

Oh Wow, this is literally my life haha. SS12 is ASD+ADHD, lying and fighting him with his homework is just our daily routine.

Since your SS is diagnosed, is he on any medication? My SS12 is on Adderall, and it makes a huge difference when he takes the med.

The lying about "not knowing" is also a daily occurrence. It's frustrating, but DH and I simply don't give in on this, if anything is explained more than 2 times and no question was asked when offered, and he still decide to pretend he doesn't get it, then there is consequence (losing screen time). For a while he could take as long as 3 hours to finishe 8 math questions, if not being supervised (those are like fraction questions). We simply gave him a time limit depending on the difficulty (that is, based on what we know about what he knows), if he goes over the time limit, there will be consequese. 

And, because kids like that don't feel bad at all about pretending the "not understanding," if this is something we have already seen he done it without help, then he can take as long as he likes to whine, just knowing that he will have less time relaxing in his room reading because he wasted all this time whining already.

His SpEd teachers also work closely with us to ensure he doens't get reward until his work is done with QUALITY. 

I read so many books to explain this kind of behavior is not "being lazy," but more like a (shitty) coping mechanism to help them dealing with their anxiety, and the need of being in control (the reason where the anxiety comes from). But yea, I feel you, it feels like they are just lazy and refuse to put in effort to a ridiculous degree, it's infuriating.  

If he's not on med...perhaps you can talk to the doctor to see if any medication might help him to focus. But most of all.. I think your DH needs to stop giving in. 

kathycrosbyvt's picture

SO will tell (muliple times) Mark to start his HW. If SO is busy and can't sit with him Mark will wander around the room, play with the dogs, anything except start his HW. SO HAS to sit with him and walk him through everything and stay sitting with him till mark is done. I think part of the problem at school is the teachers have other students and can't sit with mark one on one like SO does. Mark has gotten spolied that way. So even when teachers give him directions if they don't sit with him he will just pretend to be working. This being said I do believe alot has to do with his ADHD BUT I also think SO has caused this mess by Mark being dependent on SO on holding his hand as alot of kids have ADHD and don't need consent one on one.

Does your Step ever get medicine hoilidays where he goes off his meds? SO will give mark a break on the weekends from his meds and I wonder if that can be causing some of the problems at home and in school. He does go back on them during the week and still having the same issues so not sure

EveryoneLies's picture

SS's doctor said because he's on the spectrum, we should not just stopped the meds. But she also said it's ok to stop if no serious tasks need to be there is really no need to take the meds if he's to watch tv all day. We mostly don't stop the meds, but he had been taking pauses when he's at his mom's (because he would just be watching tv all day, not even a joke).

Is Mark in special Ed class though? My SS is put in gen ed only once in a while to test the water, but he just couldn't really handle it sometimes (especially when the difficulty is beyond what's comfortable for him).

We also have sent him to bed directly if SS just flat out won't do his homework. The logic is if he doesn't want to work, at least he can get some rest, and that neither of us will need to fight him. This means he could be sent to bed as early as 7 if he chooses to be an arse. He hates to go to bed that early so this helped sometimes.

your hubby really need to be firm to impose the consequence though. It's going to get worse before it gets better so you both need to consistent and not giving in.

Ispofacto's picture

Imagine trying to do math problems when you're drunk.  It would be a monumental task you'd do anything to get out of.  That's how it feels for kids with ADHD.  Meds help, a lot.


HolyBucketsIt'sCrazy's picture

My DS19 has ADD diagnosed in 1st grade. First day on meds he hops in the car and said "mom did you know my teacher could talk?" Confused I asked what he meant. He said that all the teachers are like in Charlie Brown WAH WAH WAH. And then he said the "the lights don't buzz anymore". Said buzzing of the fluorescent lights was so loud. Meds helped A LOT! The not doing homework, chores is normal, because honestly he just forgot because he was so distracted. Lying was just an automatic answer to "is your homework done?" I changed the question to "show me your homework" and we went over everything. Had very strict schedule - no phone, electronics, video games until homework was done and reviewed by me. Anxiety level was crazy. Middle school was the worst! High school got better.  Now that he's 19, he'll tell people that ADD is like driving through dense fog in road construction with flashing lights and noise, trying to get where you know you're supposed to be, but you lost the directions, don't have GPS and there's loud banging music that you can't recognize, but constantly keeps changing.  A coach/counselor is great - taught him both executive function and tips to manage the stress and anxiety.  

thinker's picture

Can you afford to get an ADHD coach to help after school?  That person can work with his teacher regarding his homework and helping him catch up in school.  I had a family member struggle with ADHD and using an ADHD caoch is working well for them.  She helps with all kind of things, like organizational skills, time management, etc.  Everyone seems less stressed since she started.  

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

Perhaps he knows how to do it, but needs guidance on how to complete a task. It could be daunting. A bit like we know how to wash dishes, but that one time in your life you walk in the kitchen and go ffs where do I start. 

Maybe teacher could set out some steps.

ie if he has an essay to write fill out a page of where he is going to find his references. 

Say what’s she wants achieved by a certain time. 10 minute break (small snack and quick drink) do a bit more. If tiredness sets in wind up loose ends the next day with a fresh mind may pump the grades up a bit. 

Rags's picture

Every kid has different support needs. ADHD kids are likely no different.  Firm parenting, strictly defined behavioral and performance strucure and consequences for choosing to not meet those standards.

All are the formula for parenting success that gives the best chance for kids to thrive.

Countless centuries of parenting pretty much proves this.

strugglingSM's picture

I second the recommendation above for the ADHD coach or some sort of behavioral therapy. It sounds like Mark needs to hone his executive functioning skills. It's difficult for parents to teach these things on their own, but working with a coach or counselor, both Mark and his parents can learn how to develop and reinforce those skills effectively. 

Some students are difficult to motivate and ADHD can make it worse, but that doesn't mean that Mark can't build those skills. Middle school is the perfect time for children to learn that they will be expected to manage things on their own some day and they need to start trying. 


TwelveLongYrs79's picture

My oldest(stb16) is on medication every day. I do not give him breaks like some parents do, it just doesn’t work for him personally to go on and off of it. 

Ive had to get him to join homework club, or also insist him to get to his homework IMMEDIATELY AFTER SCHOOL, bc his brain is still sort of “school mode” in those instances and can get it done faster than if he’d waited. It would be three to four hours of torture trying to get his homework finished if we hadn’t come up with this method for him. 

Positive reinforcement has also helped with both of my sons big time, as in small rewards for a week straight without missing homework or behavior issues (a treat, a movie night, etc). But I still push consequences at the same time: no video games, no going out, no dessert, etc if they’ve had bad days; you can’t let him think he can just do what he wants and not have consequences. 

Maybe his IEP needs to be revamped, has that been a suggestion or consideration? 


kathycrosbyvt's picture

Quite honestly I’m not sure they could Tweak his program. Now if mark was Struggling for hours trying to finish his homework I could see maybe reducing it but that’s not really the problem. Marks biggest issue is STARTING the HW. At school he lies to the teachers saying he “forgot” his HW at home and pretends to be doing classwork when he’s not. At home it’s a constant fight to get him to START HW and lately he’s been lying saying he finished his homework at BMs. This being said I’m not sure what they could do with his IEP that would help

callmerandy's picture

my ss has adhd also and lying and hiding stuff is a constant issue for us as well

BethAnne's picture

I have just discovered this year that I have ADHD. As a child the signs were there but I was a girl who was not hyperactive and who was conciencious enough to do my homework etc and bright enough to do well even if every project was done last minuite and even late into the night as a teen. 

I have been doing some research as I have been learning about ADHD and difficulty starting tasks is definately a symptom that I have and that I have read is common with others with ADHD. Having someone esle there doing the task at the same time (or a similar task) is very helpful to me. I have heard it refered to as a body double. So for instance for me cleaning the house is a lot easier to start if my husband is also doing chores at the same time. It is difficult to describe why starting tasks is so tricky. I will be sitting there and know that I have to get up and get on with something but I am routed to the spot and fighting against my brain. Even seemingly positive tasks such as getting something to eat or going to the bathroom can be difficult to do sometimes. 

I have been taking medication for the past few months and it works to some extent but I am now questioning if I should be on a higher dosage. I am looking for a new pshyciatrist who will be willing to work out a good dosage for me (my current pshychiatrist is not great). I have noticed on days when I forget to take the medication that I can become more irritable so I am not sure that having medication breaks is a good idea and it is not something that I will be doing deliberately. 

Positive rewards and short time frames have always worked well for me. Negative consequences tend to just make me feel defensive and want to do the thing even less. Big open periods of time are not great for getting tasks done as I find it difficult to start the task and lack the ability to monitor the flow of time until the last minuite when I will then rush around trying to complete the task and then either not do a great job or be late to whatever is happening next. 

Over the years and years of doing things last minuite and not up to my full potential and having had numerous people, parents and teachers tell me that I am lazy and could do better if I tried harder my self esteem is pretty shot and I feel that had I been diagnosed earlier and ADHD had been explained properly to me and my parents that I could have had a chance at coping better and being more compasionate to myself. 

I still have a lot to learn about ADHD and different techniques to try to find ones that work for me. I am not sure what the answers are for your ss but getting some truely expert help and doing your own research and trying lots of different methods along with a compassionate and understanding approach could do your ss a lot of good. 

BethAnne's picture

Some other thoughts that I had:

As well as getting easiliy distracted ADHD also impacts the working memory and so I know that I frequenly forget things and it can be fustrating for those around me. (Parkinsons disease and ADHD have similar biological causes). Your ss not remembering his lessons is not too surprising from othat point of view. When I was in college I developed the habit of extensive note taking during lectures in order to be able to pay attention to the lecture as well as to be able to have the resource to look back on later. My lecutre notes (and later when I was working my meeting notes) were always covered in lots of doodles. I have since learnt that those with ADHD need lots of stiulation to be able to pay attention to tasks (and even more so to tasks we find boring). Things that can help me are being able to take notes and doodle during meetings, chewing gum, listening to music or watching a tv show or listening to a podcast. I know that fidget toys were marketed to help kids concentrate too. Often I need to do more than one of these, perhas some of them might help your ss. 

Your ss is at an age where he should start to have some input into ideas as to how to help himself. Perhaps doing a little research together and letting him decide some methods that he would like to try might help he feel that he has more control over it than being forced to do something that others think should work for him. There are lots of youtube videos about ADHD, perhaps you can all watch a range of them and see if any particular channels resonate with your ss and see if there are any practical tips he would like to try. 

greenskin's picture

ADHD manifests itself differently. Some have problems starting, others finishing and others everything in between. And possibly as the child grows older, he needs adjustments to medications, IEP, etc.

If you want to be involved, I highly recommend you read up about ADHD. But it sounds like you need to disengage from parenting stuff. Leave it to your SO.

ADHD kids are not faking it. When they falter, they need help. Steps do not have to engage in parenting duties unless they want to. But please, at least have empathy for the child with ADHD and how challenging it is for your SO to deal with it.