by Patti Schwab
As an adult with ADHD Evelyn Green is all too familiar with the challenges of meeting the responsibilities of everyday life but guiding her adult children who also have ADHD is a new one. As she has always devoted herself to doing everything possible to provide a strong foundation leading to a productive meaningful life for her children, she now sometimes struggles to be confident that she is doing the right thing in helping them find their own way in the world by building on their strengths and giving them the right kind of support in the areas where it is truly needed.
Evelyn knows the feeling of failure as she dealt with the pitfalls of having a job that left her bogged down with paperwork and the pride in her success as she excelled in jobs working with people. As she dealt with her children’s ADHD as well as her own Evelyn became involved with ADDA and CHADD. Her experiences with these organizations gave her the knowledge and strategies necessary to help her children navigate the various roadblocks they faced in school and the emotional rollercoaster of growing up with ADHD.
Now as they are older they must also face societies standards and expectations on what their place in life should be that are difficult to meet even by neurotypical young adults.
For generations, a college education was considered a basic necessity in order to have success as an adult. Then of course was the imaginary timeline of when to have your own home or find a partner or start a family. There is a lot of pressure on young adults to meet these expectations and entering adulthood with ADHD is an added burden as they struggle to find their own way.
Parents of young adults with ADHD understand that they truly need more help, but how do you determine what is really needed. How much is too much?
Some parents, if they’re able, may take on all financial responsibility and pay the phone bills, car payments, insurance premiums and rent. Others let their children live indefinitely at home or come and go as needed. Where do you draw the line between giving them the help that is truly needed or giving too much thereby hindering their ability to learn to do things for themselves. Do you just throw them in the water and they will sink or swim? Or how big of a life preserver do they need?
As they say there are no two people with ADHD that are alike there are also no two situations that are the same.
At the International Conference on ADHD in November in Atlanta, a special panel discussion, “Impacted Roots and Broken Wings” will bring together parents to discuss the joys and challenges of launching their young adult children into the real world, and giving them perspectives and strategies from experts in the field and young adults themselves. This session will help parents reach out to each other to find the answer of what’s normal and what’s not, that there is not one answer but with ADDA there are countless answers and let them know they are never alone.