… but I play one on the Internet

By Mir
May 28, 2015

So I told my children this morning that I was going to be writing an advice column for Alpha Mom as a “teen expert,” fully expecting them to laugh and laugh, but instead they both just looked… puzzled. Like, it wasn’t even FUNNY that I’m pretending to know what I’m doing, it’s just SUPER PERPLEXING. [Is your ego getting out of hand? Try TEENAGERS! They’ll knock you down a few pegs in no time!]

Nevertheless, we’re forging ahead (thanks, in part, to your positive support when I first asked if you’d read it), and the first one is up today. Woohoo! You can hop on over there to read about transitioning your ADHD kid to middle school, which is a scary proposition under even the best of circumstances.


  1. Teri

    Mir, I almost cried reading your AlphaMom column. I have a 10th grade girl with ADHD-PI who refuses medication for the ADHD (though she has just recently tried Zoloft for depression). She went to a fabulous (private) middle school with tiny class sizes, where she excelled — like, she won a major national science fair and was flown to Washington DC, and she won regional fiction writing prizes. She’s smart.

    And then she went to high school, and after two quarters with stellar grades (99.78…) the bottom dropped out. She developed a relationship with homework and schoolwork that is halfway between “I quit” and acute anxiety. Her grades dropped into the 20% range. She was diagnosed with depression/anxiety disorder. She started to self harm. She threatened suicide. She locked herself in the bathroom repeatedly and wrote about death on the walls in a secret code. She attacked us with her fingernails, and screamed at us that she wanted to kill us.

    And you know what? I think it all comes back to the ADHD-PI, and I never put it together, not really, until today when I read your column. Today, 16 months after she crashed, she still is barely negotiating school. She rants about the educational system crushing people’s spirits. Her grades are way below passing unless I get involved (which she hates and resents) and get special permission for late work to be turned in without penalty, and then she’ll get a 99% for the quarter. She dropped math and science and is just barely treading water with her other core classes. Her therapist says that she has something like “academic anorexia” — she reacts to schoolwork the way an anorexic responds to food, and forcing her to do it is just as counterproductive as forcing a child with an eating disorder to eat (she also has an eating disorder and other control/oppositional issues).

    Your suggestions about accommodations were incredibly helpful. I will see what I can do to get my daughter on board with something like the extended time for homework without penalty. I’m printing your response and taking it with me to my next 504 meeting. Any other advice you or your readers might have is more than welcome, but mostly I wanted you to know that you really made a difference today.

    • Mir

      Awwww, Teri. I’m sorry. Here’s to solutions and progress and better times ahead. Wishing you and your girl all of those things, as quickly as possible.

  2. Daisy

    Well said, beautiful. Middle school was a tough time for us. School officials do tend to listen to other school officials, unless that schoolie is the student’s parent. We found that we were more successful when we planned our script ahead of time, and then my husband would do all the talking. Many teachers would listen to him, but they would resent me because I was supposed to be “one of them” and yet I was making suggestions that they didn’t like. Oh, it was difficult.
    Take care!

  3. Leanne

    I’m thrilled that I now get to learn from your experiences and wisdom regarding teens, especially snowflake teens. Your alpha mom post timing is perfect. I’m already starting to prepare for my eldest’s 504 meeting in August. This will be our first middle school meeting. Fortunately our school is a K-8 charter so it’s not quite as scary as it could be.

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