You are here:

Parenting --Teens/Extremely Moody and Condescending 18 Year Old Daughter

Advertisement


Question
Hello,
I am so frustrated with my 18 year old daughter that is a senior in high school. She is very lucky to have the life she has but is so ungrateful and down right mean to the people she loves. She is not going to a 4 year college (like all her other friends) due to her ADHD (her SAT/ACT scores were extremely low)plus she has no appreciation for a good education at this time in her life. She has a part time job that she likes a lot and is very responsible and kind to the people she works with but when it comes to family members and academics......it is a depressing. Everyone is her friend but no one is her good friend. She does have a boy friend for over a year now so she is able to talk to him when she needs a friend.
My questions is: do I treat her the same way she treats me (mean and condescendingly) or do I continue to let her know she is acting rude and try to comfort her through this time in life. I know 2 wrongs don't make a right. At times I am her best friend but most of the time I feel like her door mat.
Signed Frustrated Mom

Answer
Dear Frustrated Mom-

Boy, do I hear you!

I come at this from a different perspective. I had ADHD as a child, but it was not diagnosed, because:
   A) Nobody really knew what it was or what to do about it and
   B) They thought only boys had focus problems.
The closest I ever got to an understanding of my issues as a kid was to be called a "Tomboy."

I did go to college. About 12 colleges and universities, actually. Five different majors. Being told I was the most brilliant student they had ever seen, yet flunking out or otherwise sabotaging my life in some way each time. You remember the film, "What's Up Doc" with Barbra Streisand? It could have been my life story. Do you really want this for your beloved child?

I was finally diagnosed when my youngest child was, and I was 46 years old. By then I had already wasted and bungled my way through most of my working life.

What does your daughter MOST enjoy? Where is her heart centered? Have you ever asked her? Do you know? Does she?

We are all part of a never-ending universe, and we all have a duty and purpose here, but we must find where we fit. I was blessed to have a high school guidance counselor who once asked me the Golden Question: What brings joy to your life?

Nobody had ever asked me that before...at least not in a way where I could ever see myself as successful, but Miss Helen Crowell (May God be blessing her forever now in Heaven) told me I had potential, and could become anything I wanted to become if I was willing to work at it. She literally saved my life.

Perhaps your daughter is good with animals? Perhaps she likes to apply make-up or fix hair. Does she enjoy fashion or costume design? Pre-school Children? Art? Writing? Recreation? Yoga? Not all universities offer programs geared to right-brained learners...in fact, they are so heavily left-brained, rote learning and memorization keyed, ADHD kids are hobbled from the first day of classes. Medication can sometimes help to keep us on task, but what helps most is doing something we love to do, where we can become self-motivated because there is nothing on God's green earth we would rather be doing at any time. A university may be the absolute worst fit for her, and you need to be able to see and accept that if it happens in her case.

I learned best by finding what I enjoyed and apprenticing with someone who did it well. Other methods are career colleges and tech schools. Some states allow those diagnosed with ADHD extra time on SAT/ACT tests. Did you check to see if your state was one of them before sending her in with the lions? She should at least have a fighting chance at survival by taking medication prior to taking the test.

Here are some helpful sites:
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/05/extra-time-for-college-admissions-tests   
http://www.aboutourkids.org/articles/girls_adhd_overlooked_underdiagnosed_unders
http://add.about.com/b/2008/03/12/best-jobs-for-add-or-adhd-individuals.htm
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd-web/article/7107.html

Those of us with ADHD know we're not like others. We kick ourselves twice as hard as we kick anyone else. We often suffer silently from depression we never let anyone see, and suicide is sometimes an outcome. It's a shame, because ADHD is actually a gift. Those with it are empathetic, intuitive, bright shining stars with a different perspective to offer the world. We should be allowed to shine.

Take your daughter out to lunch and talk, just the two of you. Tell her how much you love her and want her to get the most and best from her life. Ask her what she most enjoys doing, and don't say anything like, "You can't make a living doing that, Sweetie." See if there is a career she might enjoy, and figure out a way to get her there.

If she has depression issues, research natural solutions. It has now been proven that prescription anti-depressants do not work for teens in over 50% of cases, yet they are still routinely distributed. Some can cause depression to worsen and teens can become suicidal fast. One drawback of an ADHD child is that they don't fake suicide "for attention" as so many parents choose to claim. When an ADHD child decides to end their life, they end it. There is no recovery for any of us when this is the result.  

In my own case, I have found vitamin D3, a good multivitamin, and the over-the-counter nutritional supplement SAM-e (available from many manufacturers, but I recommend not getting it online or from another country) to be most effective for ADHD-related depression. It is helpful to get a diagnosis from a competent physician (usually a psychiatrist) but keep in mind they sometimes receive incentives from drug manufacturers to promote antidepressants. I have nothing against drug companies or antidepressants (indeed, they saved my life a few times) except to say that none of them seemed to work longer than two years for me, and then I was urged to up the dosage, or switch to another type. Having these chemical remedies in my system was not helpful, and was sometimes much worse. I have been successfully mood-swing free on SAM-e for over five years, and have been able to lower the dose (from 400mg/day to 200mg/day) and maintain a healthy outlook. I must stress that EVERY person is different, and you need to find what works for you. I share this only because it works so well for me. You must first rule out any possibility of bipolar illness, as SAM-e must not be taken for that particular condition.

Maybe you should rent What's Up Doc? and watch it with your daughter and her boyfriend. Make some popcorn and be open to some conversation afterwards.

Concentrate on the positive, ignore the negative, and best wishes to all of you for a long and happy, fulfilled life.      

k-  

Parenting --Teens

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Kjirstin

Expertise

My own dysfunctional youth in an alcoholic family helped me decide to raise my children with love, acceptance, and honesty. It must have worked. We`ve got terrific kids. Those I've answered on this site usually feel I've been helpful in their unique situations. Our world is so much better when we lift instead of crushing. Every child is worth more than any bank can hold. If I can help at all, it will be in teaching both parent and child of their own personal value to humanity, and how to punch through the noise of the moment to find their greater purpose. Together, we can all make a better world.

Experience


Past/Present clients
Tired, poor, huddled masses; homeless, tempest-tossed.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.