Last week, Neil Peterson talked about how college students with ADHD often lag behind their peers in social and emotional maturity and aren’t as ready as their peers to learn the self-advocacy skills college demands. Neil proposed “gap year” between high school and college to give students a chance to catch up and learn valuable skills in the process. Other parents may choose to send their student to community college or a local university so their son or daughter can continue to receive the support of home while continuing their education. But what happens when your child has grown up and doesn’t appear ready to leave the nest?
We hope you’ll laugh when you hear you missed celebrating “Crowded Nest Awareness Day” last June. If your adult child is still living at home, you know that no awareness day is going to get them to leave the nest. And if you are allowing your child to live at home while attending college, you’ve probably harbor a deep-seeded fear in the back of your mind that your child will never make it on their own. Instead of worrying, why not take some steps now to help your child reach the end of their college degree and their home stand!
Charge room or board: If your child was living away at college your family would need to factor in room and board in the costs. Many families expect their students to contribute to their food or housing costs and by taking full-time summer job or a part-time one during the school year. Asking your child to step up to the plate now, sends a strong message that you will be expecting them to have increasing responsibilities as they get older.
Set house rules: Strike a balance between over-parenting and expecting your child to be respectful to you and your home. Curfew, visitors, cleanliness, noise limits and alcohol/drug usage expectations should be clearly defined in advance. Consequences for non-compliance should also be equally clear.
What are your house rules? Do you agree charging your college student room or board is the way to build a responsible young adult? Are there other steps you can take to get your child ready to leave the nest? We’d love to hear your point of view.
Personally, I think it is unwise for students with ADD to work during a school semester. From what I’ve observed as a college Learning Specialist, this cohort has great difficulty transitioning between school and employment.
ADD students tend to take back-to-back classes and leave college by noon to head to work. They end up doing their HW and studying at home, after work, when they are not at their most alert. Home is also filled with countless, alluring distractions. Before long, the immediate gratification of cash encourages students to prioritize work over school.
It would be far better to consider school a full-time job and spend as much time on campus as possible. Do work in the library. Join a club. The more time you spend at school, the more connected you feel, and this connection often translates into better academic performance.
I know students need to contribute to their support. Winter vacation (about a month) and the long summer break (about 4 mos) should be when students find employment and save for their needs during the school year. At these times, they can work long hours and not not worry about compromising their grades.
Peggy -- Edge Foundation blogger
Great points, Joan! Yes, school is a full time job. Certainly working adds additional pressure on a student. Unfortunately some do not have the option of whether or not to work during school. This is where a coach can help. A coach can help a student keep their priorities in order and juggle all of their various responsibilities. A student who has to work may decided to reduce their credit load at school and take longer to complete their education in order to do well at both work and school life. Or perhaps a coach can help a student develop a proposal to ask their parents to support their working only during the summer. Each situation is different. The great thing about a coach is you set the destination, they help you figure out how to get there.