How do you handle failed classes (ADHD)? Do you take away anything ?


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Do you not let them play outside or go to their extra activities.. no electronics until the grades go up? What do I do? Hes on Daytrana Patch was 10mg over two weeks did nothing, now I put 15mg over a week ago and teacher said no improvement. Im going to his Dr for the new prescription 2morrow so do I argue to go to 20mg? He only wants to change once a month but I read on the net it can be changed once a week. Also, the insurances will only pay once a month. If my son looses time for another month I don't know how he can catch up.

Techniques besides medications? Hes throwing a tantrum now because his school is having a fundraiser at a fast food place and wants to go but we are flat broke to go. ( They just got pizza yesterday anyways- that used the last of spending funds. He claims they demanded him to go all kids there have to! But they suggest and ask us to if we can!


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My hard fast rule - if the incident was a true manifestation of his issue(s) (adhd, bipolar, learning disability, etc.), I never took away anything. His consequence for not doing his work in class was finishing it at home which translated into less play time (this worked great when he was little). He knew ahead of time that was the price to pay.

You really have to ask yourself "Am I asking for something that he is not able to give?" If you even suspect that answer is "yes", then consequences only serve to frustrate both of you and make him less willing to comply in the future (in other words, counterproductive). There are many accommodations that can be made on school work with a good IEP.

At some point as our difficult children age, they, and only they, need to be held responsible for their actions or lack of actions. I apologize, but I cannot remember how old you son is. You might want to do a signature profile so we can remember your situation as we respond to your posts.

We walk a fine line between what behaviors are their "disabilities" (poor executive functioning/learning disability/anxiety/social que problems and what issues are just plain obstinance/willful disobedience, etc.


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Does outside play and other activities help him function or teach him skills or not? If they do help (like they certainly did with my son and many other ADHD type children I know) I would do my best never take them away. You don't take a wheelchair away from a kid, who can't walk, if they are not moving fast enough. Free play outside is often just as important for children, especially children with ADHD-type issues, for them to be able to sit down and concentrate on learning than wheelchair is for a paralysed kid to be able to get from one place to other.

You want him to learn, concentrate to things that actually help him learn. Things that help him concentrate to his school work and make it easier for him to sit still during the school day. Homework can be divided to smaller pieces and he can be rewarded finishing one portion, given some time to do other things and then do the next portion etc. School often is not very good at teaching kids to learn, if they are not learning standard way. Special Education. can help, but often most of work fall to parents, if child is not having actual learning disabilities. With child who has trouble focusing, sitting them down for long periods of time and being told that they are not allowed to do anything else till that huge pile of work they are not able to even organize enough to know how to start with it, is done, simply doesn't work very well.

And when you are trying to teach a new skill (like how to study), the best way to do it is through positive reinforcement. To be honest, the best results I ever got with my kid were when I trained him like a dog (meaning with new evidence based animal training techniques.) I didn't actually use a clicker, because I thought he would find it humiliating, but I worked around that and used a lot of techniques I have used with both dogs and horses and read lots of theory about.

Here are some basics of these techniques:

We did have a period of time, when we tried much more old fashioned methods, because his behaviour was so out of control. He was habitual truant and running from school several times a week, and he was just around ten at the time. We did take everything fun away, went all commando parent on him, because we felt we absolutely had to break that habit. It was unsafe among other things. Things deteriorate really, really fast and in the end we ended up with horrible situation. We should had known better, punishing and taking things that helped him cope or taught him skills away, had always had bad consequences before, but we had never gone so far with them and neither had he got that much worse so we somehow didn't see it coming even though we really should had. Very bad memories :(
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Wiped Out

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We basically followed what Sharon followed. There was so much our difficult child wasn't capable of and so we never had consequences for that (believe me, he had consequences for other things-lol).


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I have felt your pain and it's not a good place to be in for sure. When my difficult child was young, I am ashamed to say that we did with hold playtime or other activities. It is not helpful to punish as our difficult child's would spend their lifetime being punished! If you could dangle a carrot of some sort in front of your son to try to get him to do what you want, I believe you would see some positive changes. Your expectations will have to be for the small stuff to begin with and your reward will need to be immediate or at least the same day. It will need to be attainable. The rewards do not have to be big ticket items. It's amazing what younger children are impressed with. Some of our carrots were, choosing a book for me to read to them that evening, them choosing dessert for the evening, getting to help prepare dinner, going for a walk alone with you, a trip to the park, extra time playing video games, get to stay up 15 min. later, things like that. It's a positive children enjoy, it's not costly and the options can be numerous. Hope some of the advise you've gotten give you some idea's to work with and more importantly, helps to get results!


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This is exactly right, I believe. Change is effected by a system of rewards and encouragement, not punishment and deprivation. Probably true for all children, particularly true for our children. And personally I would not see grades or schoolwork as a behaviour issue.


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LittleDudesMom- My head is so full of confusion.. I mean, I think its because of my grandpa and a few others saying" theres no such thing yada yada and punish him hes being lazy" And honestly I know at times he is but as bad or deffient as he his, he has to have ADHD etc like the Dr said. I feel he still needs to learn a consequence and I also agree that finishing classwork at home( this teacher does not allow this -Im going in to talk to his Dr today about an IEP) When I decided to leave here I erased it all and closed my account, but I came back because I missed you all and issues started to arise again. I will make a new one. My son is 8 years old, ADHD. Sleep Issues, ODD off paper ( long story)

SuZir- You have a great example and great links. I know and what your saying makes sense. Yes his outside time is wonderful for him and we have tried these different ways. One way was to come home,change and play outside to burn energy for a little then homework and back out if done. Second way was between each subject a break. Neither worked as he would never want to come back in to finish. So now, he comes home, sometimes changes and sits and does his work. This is actually working a little better because he wants to go out and play and stay out with his friends who stay out until 8pm. ( Im with him outside of course). Hes learning from being outside, talking with neighbors, helping them with their yard, playing etc! Im sorry you had to have more of the old fashioned consequences :( Im sorry you you feel that wasnt the best way but I think we do the best we can, and then listening to others advice too adds to it. I agree, I wish I did things differently too. Im sure your son and you all made new wonderful memories though!!! Hugs

Wiped Out- Thank you to, Im glad to see how everyone raises/raised our lil ones , I guess thats how we learn eh?

mom_to_3- Yes, Im in pain and torn. I feel guilty that my genes made my kids ( daughter has issues too) with issues, the way I handled things etc. I hate seeing my kids going through any pain or troubles. I also took playtime away. I listened to others instead of what I thought- didnt help! Great ideas and all of you over the years have given great ideas!

Malika- Thank you as well! I know, it also is better to have a better way of handling things.

***Some examples...

***School sent a flyer for a fast food and gave the times it would give 15% to the school. Son saw it has we had no choice to go, and for the total hours it had as well we had to go inside. (Theres no where to play and if everyone stayed for 5 hours people would be outside eating and parking at other places. )

***Teacher told class a black dress shoe for mass, straps if you CAN so no one slips out and only if you cant tie a shoe- Son saw it has a strap shoe was the ONLY type of shoe he can have( we talked to her she she said his slip on shoe is fine, its only if it didnt fit right for example.

***He just informed us his teacher DEMANDED small plastic water bottles at school for P.E. and recess and he cant use his theremas! Then he added a big water bottle and added a 24pack she DEMANDED to have at school!!

***He also told me this morning the school is FORCING him to eat lunch there because he doesnt finish the lunch I fix him!!!

***On his failing, its the teachers fault because shes stupid and a dumb%$ as well as mean! ( shes not mean, shes is now sitting with him during the day trying to help him while helping the reast of the class at the same time-poor teacher!! and yesterday she said the medications are just not working still no difference but he is very smart!)

***Hes obsessed with this KIll talk. So when he goes to the counselor next month hopefully they can help. He has heard that on some games hes plays ( I have now banned the games and shows)

**** when doesnt get his way, he slams, damages, nasty mouth etc...Still can be flip of the switch from happy and laughing and one second later hes angry and irritated. It can be over anything or over nothing!

***On the wonderful side of him he still knows how to help my disabled grandpa and will check on him, knows how to use the stove and micro, follows recipes, loves loves to vacuum, plays with the dogs a lot ( takes care of them more now) is an ace on his bike and learning how to roller skate. Scouts is teaching him how to build and fix things ( although he never tries to fix what he broke) Looking for a sport again too! Well Just wanted to add what was old, and new, examples of not comprehending something.

Thank you all


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Confused, we all learn with trial and error, also in parenting :) Sometimes one just needs to give themselves a little shake and make sure we stay open to different kind of possibilities or methods. It is so easy to get stuck to doing one thing again and again even if it doesn't work and only makes everyone more and more frustrated. I found ti helpful to stop every now and then and try to brainstorm as many different ways to do things with my kids as possible and after that tried to be open and try to do things differently if what we were doing wasn't working. At times that yielded much better results and ways that actually worked instead of just staying bullheadedly stuck to that one method which was the 'right way of doing things' or 'how things had always been done' or something like that.

There I'm from, kids have very short school days (usually 3 to 5 hours at elementary school, up to six hours at mid school and really depends at High school), so for us it was easier to let our boys to have some outside playing time before homework and make it working schedule. If the days are longer it is easily so that, either play time gets so short, it is difficult to get a kid back inside, or homework time gets so late, that kid is already tired. So if that doesn't work for you, maybe some easier to control break before homework? Does he like to be read to? Maybe giving him snack and then cuddling with him and reading one chapter from the book and after that starting homework? It was something that worked with both my kids to unwind. Or even helping you with some easy chore? Just throwing some ideas here.

And even if making him do homework in smaller pieces doesn't work maybe it could still help him to organize it a bit for him. I mean basically sitting down with him, asking what homework does he have, and then helping him plan what he does first and how, how long that takes and what he does then and so on. Organizing can be difficult to any 8 year-old, even more so for one with ADHD. Helping him plan the homework time also teaches him to plan and makes homework much more manageable for him.

Do you think he has right amount of homework? How much he has daily? How long it takes him to do it (and how long would it take, if he would do it efficiently)? In our schools there is a kind of rule, that in elementary school, homework should not take over half an hour a day and usually it is less and most Fridays there are no homework. I do know you work your kids harder than we do, but if you feel it takes your son too long to do his homework, that is something you should talk with his teacher. Ask her how long it should take to do the homework and if your son takes much longer, maybe ask, if some of the homework could be skipped (often there are some busywork involved, that is not actually needed to learn.) Prolonged battles over homework don't make kids learn. They make both kids and parents miserable and make kids hate school. Also it is useful to remember that in your son's age, he should learn to read, write and do little bit of math, everything else is something he can catch up very quickly any time at future. If school work gives him trouble, it may help to focus on things that he actually needs to learn and let the other stuff more or less slide. But these are of course things you need to discuss with his teacher.

It is trial and error with our unique kids, but it helps when you keep your mind open to many different options. Then if something simply doesn't work, ditch that and try something else. And when something works for your son and for you, keep that. And when you find some things that work for you, it becomes easier to guess, what kind of methods and tactics will work and what don't. Just don't let a neighbour or the mom of the superkid on your kid's class or someone else like that to tell you, that you are doing everything wrong and their method would work to every child and also your child, if you would just be consistent or whatever. Their method may be worth the try, but not worth sticking with, if it doesn't work with your kid.

I have one kid with whom some things worked somewhat, some quite well and many, many things not at all. Some were disastrous. And I have another kid with whom most everything we ever tried work either well or super well. it would had been very easy to be super smart supermom of the superkid, if I only had my youngest ;) Though I sincerely believe that having to work hard with parenting because of my oldest, I was better parent also for my easy child.


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He's unhappy in school isn't he?
I feel for him.
Too much homework isn't the answer, and struggling with homework isn't the answer. It can just turn into a battle between parents and kids and is destructive and unhelpful, especially at his young age.
I feel that he needs support and an understanding talk about why he is unhappy in school, so that it can begin to get fixed. I think that punishment for failing at something he is unhappy and struggling with is the last thing he needs.
Just my viewpoint - as someone who hated school and then grew up to become a teacher.


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SuZir-- You gave me a lot of info and great points! It makes sense on the shorter and longer day thing. We do sit down with him while he does homework, always have. He likes books but for him to focus on actually reading it is a whole other thing. Hes even that way with math word problems, he skips it because he has to read and understand it, to much focusing? At first would punish ( no outside time no electronics) usually for that day sometimes the next. But I agree that the night he worked on it was hard enough on him. He knows hes failing and hes scared of failing the class. Im happy with my kids when they actually sit down and study everyday even if they fail.. because I know they tried.

He is in third grade now, and everyday he has 1) 17 spelling words... Monday he writes the words three times each and ABC order, Tuesday he rewrites the words in different colors, Wednesday he does a pyramid thing with them, and Thursday writes a sentence for each word Also starting on Monday or Tuesday he gets a 5-10 chapter book for a second/third grade reader ( 70-99 pages) pictures and big printed words so its not that bad, and starts reading 20 minutes or so a day and at the end of the week a book report is due. He can actually start Friday on the new book so he has time. Class work isnt that much but I will talk to the teacher when I see her again. Im glad you found what what for your kids and your right, no matter the child, or persone everyone learns differently. Ok, confession of a 30 plus year old-- I LOVE using flashcards still when I have to study something!!

LucyJ- I worry about if he is happy or not and everything I talk with him and drive by the other school he would go to he gets angry and cries he doesn't want to go there its just the work is so hard and she doesn't give him enough time( all his time is spent wandering around or playing at his desk) I agree, it turning it to a battle makes things worse. I hated school to since the 4th grade because of a teacher, started to become a Teacher but quit because I just felt I didnt have the smarts to teach. Its hard for me to get my point across depending on the subject. I still feel off when I go into a school, incl colleges! How come you hated school?

***My daughter is home sick, first day missed in many years and my dad went to get the refil for my sons patch. Well, Dr went to 20mg now but I forgot to remind my dad to ask about an IEP or 504!! Ill call the Dr or drive by Monday to see what he says. I think it would really help my son and I dont know why they havent gave him one.


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"I think it would really help my son and I dont know why they havent gave him one."

Ok, I just figured out that because hes in a private school they dont have to do IEPS/504 but I will check with the school anyways and decide if I have to pull him out anyways. ( he will not be happy if he has to be pulled out)


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Thank you for the links. I looked at them but it looks like my kids are going to public. This morning my daughter is all of sudden still sick and would be her second day missed ( after not missing for over 4 years even one day) and homework is a complete refusal. My son wont get up either and has already missed 2 days so, I always taught my kids tell me when your not happy dont act up, we can talk, etc. But it came to this. Anyways thanks again and you all take care.


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Confused, when Sonic and Jumper were little (like 1st and 4th grade) they were in a Catholic School. In Wisconsin, private schools of any kind do not have to make accommodations for Learning Disability (LD) problems. And this school did not have the staff to give them all the special attention they needed. Sonic is on the spectrum and Jumper had ADHD and learning disabilities. They didn't learn and did much better in public school. Jumper is in college now!! Sonic has a job (autism and all) and is doing well in his own apartment.

It can happen :)


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Im glad your kids did better, I remember you telling me that! Congrats on Jumper being in College now!Glad Sonic is still doing well with the apartment! It must be a wonderful relief to know they will be ok. I know private vs public has their issues. My daughter doesnt want to do any school work or even go to any school it looks like and all she does is stay connected to the computer, tv and xbox non stop. She hates me right now because I told her no electronics for a while. And she says we treat my son different, well yes, besides his violence that she doesnt have and the age different, big difference. So, I said fine, Ill treat you the same. So now I wont allow her to be home alone anymore, all special 14 year old privileges lost as well as extra privileges because of her school record and old grades are now gone. She has been lying to me about taking her electronics to school as well as refuses to give me her usernames on sites. No drugs, she doesnt even go anywhere! I try to get her and a friend to go to the movies and drop them off even and nope!


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I hated school to since the 4th grade because of a teacher, started to become a Teacher but quit because I just felt I didnt have the smarts to teach. Its hard for me to get my point across depending on the subject. I still feel off when I go into a school, incl colleges! How come you hated school?

Hi Confused
I hated everything about school really. I hated the conformity of it, the sarcastic mean teachers, rigidity of classes, school uniform, meal times, enforced religious worship, bullying, it goes on and on. I became very unhappy, from about the age of 10 onwards. It started with a particularly horrid teacher. In high school I would regularly just walk out and go home or to the library and read. I have always loved reading and learning, it wasn't about not wanting to learn, in fact I was probably quite well self-taught and did really well in exams and then got a Maths degree. I was always in the top group in the class, even though I spent most of my time trying not to be there. I would say that I have succeeded despite school, not because of school. The school system isn't for everyone, and I have real sympathy for children who hate it. I still dislike schools now (I taught in a college), and get pretty wound up with all the controlling, self-satisfied nonsense that I get from my daughter's primary school. I would love to home school her, but unfortunately she loves school and wants to go!


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Confused...I never punished my kids for things that happened in school, especially if it was work related. I let the school do that. There WERE natural consequences. Jumper loves sports. In her freshman year she was failing history and it was from a hard teacher who liked to fail kids. But while she had a "fail" on her record, she had to sit out her sports and sh e pouted big time and talked about "not fair" but it wasn't on me. It was the rules of the sports league in Wisconsin. She got her grade up to a pass before long. She went for extra help. Watching her friends play basketball while she had to sit in the bleachers was enough punishment for her.

Sonic had "no homework" written in his IEP and that was a Godsend. His Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) makes it hard enough for him to sit through school let alone extend school to after school hours. He had some wonderful teachers and they jmade sure he got all of his work done before he came home. But we fought hard for the supports he got.

36 got into a different kind of trouble, like the time he pulled down his pants in front of a passing car, on a dare, and it was his sixth grade teacher's car. LOLOLOL! He was so scared that that alone was a wonderful punishment. Other than forcing him to write an apology and going to school, blushing, to apologize to his teacher myself, his nerves were a great consequence. This was the kind of thing we dealt with regarding Mr. 36. I got called to school all the time, but I let the school handle it. Trust me, they did.