Aug 17

To the Parents of ADHD Adults in Career Transition

Are you the parent of an adult son or daughter with ADHD in career transition?

ADHD Adults, Career ChangeIf so, you will find the information contained in this article quite helpful. Parents who support their adult children through this process, as often stressful as it can be, are to be commended. If this is YOU, kudos – it’s not easy and perhaps one of the greatest parental tests of all!

Let’s assume, for the purpose of this post, they are between the ages of 18 and 34.

 

Career transition pre-supposes that your adult child is:

 

  • Stuck/overwhelmed regarding a clear career direction
  • Interested in so many possibilities, they are “paralyzed” and make no decision
  • Dislikes his/her current job and as a result makes mistakes that could put them in jeopardy of being fired, and/or risk their emotional and mental health
  • Job hopping – taking a job just to make ends meet but ultimately failing due to ADHD characteristics
  • Is ready to find a career direction that will sustain him/her over the long haul, and is open to “outside-the-box strategies and opportunities.

As the parent of an ADHD son, I watched my son (then in high school) make the decision to go to a university of 30,000+, with a focus on engineering starting in his freshman year. He insisted on going to a university, even though he had opportunities to go to smaller schools that might have been more suitable for his personality. He is an introvert with inattentive ADD and is easily overwhelmed in crowds.

For many reasons, he dropped out after the first year to work full time. One reason is that the university environment was simply too overwhelming. Luckily he has a career coach mom who helped direct him to a job and company that fit his personality. He has remained with this company for over 4 years and is now receiving full ride college tuition with them.

Looking back, he says, “Mom, I wish I had gone to a community college first.” Sound familiar?

It is not unusual for your adult child to feel pulled in many directions, particularly with regard to determining a strong career path or choosing an educational program specific to their career direction. Adult children, like anyone, can be influenced by others and have a multitude of self-doubts and confidence challenges to make career decisions that are not simply based on what others want for them v. what they love and can ultimately sustain.

For this reason, you might notice that they pay attention more to things like job titles, wages, educational requirements and job opportunities versus what is the best for our kids because they truly resonate with and are fascinated by a particular field. Outside influences can and do lead to hasty decisions – like enrolling in the wrong school or the wrong major.

You might have noticed that when they love a subject (of any kind) they can spend hours focused on it. Zelda anyone? This is nothing new in the ADHD world. It only makes sense that in order for them to have any degree of success, they need to have the same kind of passion and energy for the work they do.

In the right job, career or field of fascination, they can easily become superstars. This was the case with me when I finally landed on the field and type of work I was always meant to do. It just took me a bit longer to get there. I was 32 when I finally began my career.
In my experience, a large percentage of parents of ADHD kids also have the diagnosis. If this is true for you, it will serve you well to make sure that your adult child gets the specific help they need, as it will impact how you can support him/her to stay on track.

I would encourage you to listen to your son/daughters’ journey with an open mind and without judgment about what direction it may appear they are developing. For some parents, it might be best to simply wait until a direction has been developed to avoid feeling the need to chime in. I certainly understand the challenge, particular if the field or direction is something other than what you might feel is in their best interest.

I can tell you this from 30 years of experience in my field and in my life with ADHD – if we are not doing the work we love, it will not last. No exceptions. This might sound like a cliché, but for ADHD adults, this is reality. The more you can support your son or daughter to freely explore any and all possibilities they are drawn to, the greater opportunity for them to succeed, and ultimately to make a great living.

What cannot be valued in dollars, however, is the confidence, clarity, focus and commitment you will see when they are finally doing their life’s work. That is when you will begin to see how our “super powers” kick in and what real transformation looks like in your loved one.

Please feel free to contact me via email at shell.mendelson@gmail.com or text me at 830-237-2735 if you have questions. My joy and mission is to guide, uplift and empower everyone to love the work they do.

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