Parents of young adults with ADHD have to walk a fine line between trying to motivate their children to seek assistance, while at the same time respecting their independence and letting them stand on their own. This challenge is further compounded by the inherent dynamic that any adolescent has with their parents at a time when they leave home to go off to college.
ADHD coaching is an intervention that has been receiving growing attention because recent studies have shown that students who received ADHD coaching services show significant improvement in their ability to organize, direct and manage cognitive activities, emotional responses and overt behaviors. ADHD coaches empower students to develop structure, support and accountability on their own terms so they can take charge of their own lives.
Unfortunately in many cases, students often reject coaching merely because it is introduced by their parent. Furthermore, based upon the nature of the coaching relationship, it simply will not work unless the student steps up and owns his or her disability and is willing to partner with a coach.
We often hear frustration from parents who are at their wit's end trying to help their child. A parent recently told us 'If my boy gets his butt moving at all, if he shows any interest, I'm there to help him with the process, but he's got to show that he cares first."
What is a parent to do when they see their son or daughter struggling, while knowing that they have to stepback and let them stand on their own? There is no magic answer, but the following are some guidelines that may help.
- Motivate, but don't dictate - A coach should never be a punishment for a student who is not performing. If a student is indifferent about something, parental pressure will often prejudice and polarize them. Educate yourself about coaching and how it works. Speak with a coach and understand the process and benefits sufficiently so that you can motivate and encourage your child.
- Seek assistance from a coach - Many coaches specialize in working with parents to effectively encourage their child to participate in coaching. A coach can empower a parent to address the situation in a productive way that won't polarize her son or daughter. Edge Foundation has coaches available to work with parents and provide the support and guidance that parents need.
- A coach can be the key to promote your independence and theirs - A coach is a resource for your child and can ease the tension between the parent and the child. It may help your child to realize that getting a coach will get you off his or her back. Parent/child relationships often improve when an ADHD coach is added to the mix.
- Encourage them to find out for themselves - The best way for parents to do this is to encourage their son or daughter to speak with a coach about the process and how it works, and better yet, to speak with other students just like them who have been coached. The Edge Foundation has coaches ready to help. At the Edge Foundation web site students can also access videos and interviews with students just like them who have been coached and who offer their perspective.
The bottom line is that some students may not be ready to own their disability nor are ready to be coached. If that is the case, pushing the issue can often make things worse. In these circumstances, parents may need to step back and revisit the idea later on.
Robert Tudisco, Edge's Executive Director has personal experience with ADHD; he was diagnosed as an adult. He offers this advice, "Don't give up, and remember that you are not alone. We at Edge are here to help and support you and your children. We don't want them just to survive in school. With the help of a coach, an ADHD student can thrive in school and you and your child will have a healthier relationship dynamic to boot."
For more information about how to get started with an ADHD coach, visit http://edgefoundation.org/parents/get-adhd-help-now or call 914-924-7597.
Founder & CEO