If you truly love your son you will NOT enable him. Enabling sometimes starts out with a right motive; but, it quickly dissolves into a stealth form of mental and emotional castration.
Over the course of the past thirty years, new societal “rules” have emerged that enable and equip girls to grow into successful, self-reliant women who shatter glass ceilings, bring home the bacon, fry it up in pans and then, on top of all that, blow kisses to daughters of their own as those young women board jets to Harvard or accept multiple awards for their contributions to science, medicine, engineering and more. It is terrifying and so unfortunate that in the 21st Century, boys and men are still operating under “Good ole boy” and “Male Entitlement” rules.
There is a way to help your son. Look at the model used by millions of successful women over the past three decades and apply it liberally to your son’s life. It really is never too late; but of course, the sooner you act to implement this model with your son, the better!
If your son has ADHD, he has likely developed bad habits that involve taking the easiest routes possible and doing the least amount of work that he can get away with. Stop this negative behavior and entitlement mindset now.(Uh oh! Did that last comment piss you off?) Are you thinking, “What the hell does this therapist, know about me and my son? I love my son and want him to have the things and experiences I never did!” I here you mama. I’m a mama too… got two grown ADHD kids.… two ADHD grandkids… I know, first hand, that sometimes tough love can be the best love.
Giving your son gifts, ON OCCASION, is just fine. Most of the time, however, you need to teach your son to expect nothing to be handed to him. You insure a future for your son rife with relationship, financial and mental health problems if you never outline any clear expectations for him and if you never provide follow-through on what you say. You need to be giving to your son in ways that help your son become self-sufficient, confident in his own abilities and successful at relationships. Life takes effort for EVERYBODY. The ADHD will not just disappear one day. Your son must be able to function out in the real world without you.
If you truly love your son you will NOT enable him. Enabling sometimes starts out with a right motive; but, it quickly dissolves into a stealth form of mental and emotional castration. Ew. Harsh words, I know. You enable your son when you do for him that which he can do for himself. You harm your son when you fail to set high standards. Of course, he will not always rise to the height of those high expectations; and that is okay. You can be there to catch him when he falls. Hug him. Tell him you love him and believe in him and that you are confident he will figure things out. I love how one sage father put it. “I learned that I just needed to put my foot in his ass and push him back out the door!”
Eating Ramen and bananas for two weeks in a row every once in a while will not kill your son. It will be good for him in actuality. (Unless there is some medical condition triggered by Ramen and bananas and most likely you are already aware of the condition…)
Enabling sometimes looks like paying off your son’s debt or paying his rent every other month or going to the college to “set the Dean straight” regarding your son’s poor choices that led to his being kicked out of his dorm. Sometimes enabling looks like allowing your on to use his ADHD as an excuse – for every difficult situation life throws at him. Teach your son accountability. He will love you for it. Sure, he will be 45 when he admits to this, but he will surely love and appreciate you all the more.
Video games by design, serve to activate neurotransmitters in your son’s brain that are associated with pleasure, reward, motivation, mood, and impulse behaviors. Gaming creates a virtual serotonin – dopamine orgy in your son’s ADHD, stimulation seeking brain. Gaming provides a stimulation “fix” that also serves to relax and focus you son.A couple of surgeons with whom I am acquainted have told me that they use video and computer gaming to hone their surgical skills. And that’s great! However, these docs have already mastered independent life skills. Your son has not; and neither is he a surgeon (yet).
Boys and young men with ADHD love gaming because these games provide intense stimulation and serve to focus and calm their sensory-seeking brains. These games have nothing to do with their reality.Games are all reward and no real consequence. They can strategize and plot to bring down the enemy and if maiming, or worse, happens – well, “it’s just a game”
Gaming, in small doses, is all well and fine. For your son, time spent gaming probably serves to help him “chill out” or escape from the stress of real-life for a while. (And yes, children do experience stress too!) It’s entirely possible, that for your son, gaming is the equivalent of you, enjoying a Friday night out with friends – chilling with Fat Tire Amber ale and karaoke at New Belgium, or escaping on a Wednesday night with a fellow mom / gal pal for a post-dinner “cool one” at Rally King or an Iced Americana at your neighborhood Starbucks.
And of course, electronic gaming DOES have a down side.(But, you already knew that!) These games can negatively impact a young person’s neurology and psychology. For some boys and men, gaming becomes a way to distract from or avoid real life.
It may be that you are feeling overwhelmed by life in general. Life is hard! Add children and ADHD to the mix and parenting can be enough to make you want to flee the country – no matter who is President!
Maybe you are experiencing just a little bit of guilt over your son’s self-absorption and his entitlement mindset; but, you have no idea what to do about it. Maybe you have been under the illusion that all teenagers are undisciplined a#*#*#*#* (narcissists). Maybe I can help! Call me.