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    Joined: Jun 2016
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    sanne Offline OP
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    Hi @Indigo!

    Coming out of therapy today, it was suggested he have 2 days to work on his work at whatever schedule he wants and if he can complete his work he can earn more freedom over the next 4 days.

    I predict he will not do better with less structure, but we will find out soon enough.

    I wish unschooling would work for him. I strongly believe in unschooling and am so disappointed when it hasn't worked for him. He has done best with intense structure because he has not developed sufficient self-regulation. He uses both the lack of self-regulation and the structure as excuses tying to blame external forces for his choices. :facepalm:

    His therapist hasn't gotten to the root of the defiance, but what I've been hearing is "I'm too smart to have to do schoolwork or chores." Sometimes that literally. Oy.

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    Sanne, like the others I can really sense your frustration for him, and your love for him. Being in another country I can't offer any practical advice about working within the possible systems available to you... But I have a child who absolutely only engages, learns and functions well when challenged enough (which is often VERY hard to keep up with). And yet lacks the EF to cope with the "boring" challenge of presentation and polishing (ie preparing for a music exam by polishing work which is at the correct level for her to get excellent grades on the exam but below her current interest level for learning music on that instrument). We never know when she will get As and when she will fail. She refuses utterly to use any sort of diary or personal organization system to support her absent EF, and if we push a diary or documentation system she fails more through pure obstreperous behavior. Trying to explain to her that she has to prove she's capable of more for school to understand what she needs is completely pointless... I would say that 8-10 were the worst years. She's 3 years into steadily improving and some of that seems like it must be neurodevelopmental as she goes through puberty. Some of the improvement has definitely been finding the thing that allows continuous challenge and the benefits of that spilling into other areas. I hope you find something soon which helps unlock the stalemate situation you are in.

    Asking him what would help, and what he thinks is going on, and really listening (however long that takes) and investigating online college courses sound like excellent advice.

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    I don't have much for you. In my own experience, desire and drive are big factors. Just because there is underlying talent, intelligence, doesn't mean they are going to be into it. I think that finding something that gets them really interested. Maybe space? Going to the planetarium, getting a telescope. Or seaside visits, investigating tide pools. Not sure what gets your DS interested, but something that gets him into something And it might be good to if he is active to get his energy out. Good luck.

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    sanne Offline OP
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    His interest is classical music, especially trumpet. He refuses to practice trumpet (hence no more lessons or summer camp), and rarely plays it at all. However, he claims it is his passion and his "reason for living". Is he ever dramatic!

    I am most concerned because he is unwilling or unable to persevere at activities he is genuinely interested in or passionate about. This is the one thing that leaves me uncertain of how to respond. I used to think this supported ADHD diagnosis, but as we (therapist and I) dig into these behaviors they seem more and more about power. Yet he refuses to control the things he should control in his life. I just cannot understand. frown

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    aeh Offline
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    So what is he doing with all of his time, if he isn't doing schoolwork, chores, or practicing his instrument? If this is about control, then what does he actually have overt control over (as in, to the point of being allowed to take failure as a natural consequence, or lose access to a desired task, object, or experience as a natural consequence)?

    If he is genuinely interested in something, yet is unwilling/able to do it, that also suggests looking at depression. Or could there be any aspect of perfectionism/performance anxiety involved, for instance, where he avoids doing things he likes because early attempts don't match his internal expectations? Or that he self-sabotages, because it feels more acceptable to fail intentionally (control) than to fail when he was really trying (out of control). I know you've spent time working with him on growth mindset, but sometimes environmental feedback speaks louder, and the objective outcomes of his school failures these past years have been moving backward in instructional level, and a great deal of psychic distress for both him and you. Recognizing how one learns from these difficult years is usually possible only in hindsight, with a longer-term perspective--a challenge certainly for any young person, and, really, for everyone still in the thick of the situation.

    Thinking of you.


    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...
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    Your most recent post brings to mind an article I read sometime in the last years from a psychiatrist with a specialty in gifted children with mental illness and a particular pattern of self sabotage. I will see if I can remember enough detail to track it down, or maybe remember what brought it to my attention.

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    I found that article, Iím not sure if this will be of any use to you, but have a read.

    https://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10421

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    Originally Posted by MumOfThree
    I found that article, Iím not sure if this will be of any use to you, but have a read.

    https://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10421

    WOW!
    smile
    MumOfThree, that article inspired a few web searches. Here's a bit of what I found:

    1) Article is backed up on the WayBackMachine, internet archive, here:
    Archive: Underachievement in Exceptionally Gifted Adolescents and Young Adults: A Psychiatrist's View
    (http://web.archive.org/web/2017*/https://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10421)

    2) Author, Jerald Grobman, located here:
    Psychotherapy Services for the Gifted - http://psychotherapyservicesforthegifted.com/
    1044 Madison Avenue
    New York,N.Y. 10075

    3) Author, Jerald Grobman, related with this gifted website:
    Gro-Gifted, Research & Outreach - https://www.gro-gifted.org/
    A contact email address is provided on the header of each webpage.
    IMO, this is a GREAT website to explore.

    Such an important article, information, resources... !
    I'm going to cross-post in the "Adult" forum for those seeking this type of information there.

    Again, I say:
    WOW!
    smile

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    Hi @sanne!
    (waves)
    smile

    Originally Posted by sanne
    ... rarely plays it at all. However, he claims it is his passion and his "reason for living"...
    It sounds to me like he may be "living in his head"...
    he may be thinking about it A LOT, and may be mentally practicing... envisioning it...
    but not following through physically.

    I wonder if, as music is a cherished part of his self-identity, a type of perfectionism may be keeping him from practicing...
    as practicing includes the risk of hearing himself hit an occasional bad note...?

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    sanne Offline OP
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    I am currently reading the article you shared @Mumofthree and laughed out loud at "One father recalled that his son was the only one in his grade-school class who refused to start his sentences at the margin."

    My DS12 does that too. LOL!

    Thank you for the link, the article looks promising.

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