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Disorganised Tween.


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#1 BeAwesome

Posted 15 August 2019 - 10:53 AM

I have an very smart 11 year old DD, who's one of the top students in nearly all subject areas, excels in extra curricular activities, loved by her teachers.  She loves learning and school, has never had to be prompted to do her homework.  She makes mature contributions to discussions across a range of topics.

She also can not keep track of her stuff.  Each week, hats are lost, drink bottles are left behind, jackets don't come home, library books fall into black holes,  instruments are left home on music days.  She shrugs it off, I get frustrated.  I was never the parent to drop off a forgotten hat to school, if she left it at home, she took the consequence and stayed in at lunch.    There's no additional needs at play.  Her younger sister with ADHD keeps better track of her stuff.  

She typically keeps her room fairy neat, so it's not through lack of organisation of possessions.  She has no concern about this whatsoever, and has the "they'll just turn up again" attitude.   Annoyingly, I've actually had to replace very little, as things do tend to turn up again a day, or a week, or a month later.

She just constantly seems to have her mind on "more important" things.  (Random facts about the periodic table, jokes, singing,  catching a Pokemon that turned up in the yard, what she's wearing to the dance, the accuracy of the Spotify vs Aria music charts, global warming,  what her friend had for lunch, playing guitar, politics, what she watched on Netflix, playing with the dog, more singing, etc, etc).

#2 FeralRebelWClaws

Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:17 AM

My brother was like that. If it helps he did exceptionally well in his year 12 and at uni and in his career. His now in his 40s, and is still the same (though slightly improved). Having a secretary has helped lol!

For some people it is hard for them to keep track of things they don't find interesting or important. It is incredibly frustrating to live with.

#3 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:29 AM

I was (am) like this.  Through luck or cunning I always had a friend group who would keep me in the loop of due dates, exam times etc.  

It’s still well known not to give me keys, tickets if there is any other solution.   I also have an extremely efficient secretary.  

I have got more organised and better at keeping track, but it was only through the repeated pain of suffering the natural consequences (like having to replace al my cards etc).

#4 Let-it-go

Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:38 AM

Lol.....my 10yo DD is morphing into this person!

No advice but it is frustrating (although a little bit funny sometimes too).

#5 Demera

Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:51 AM

I'm like this.  I lose stuff all the time, and I don't stress about it because eventually it will turn up. I lose my phone on an almost daily basis. I lose keys all the time.  I lost my lanyard/key/ID at work and it turned up 18 months later in a work vehicle - I knew it wasn't lost anywhere public so I wasn't worried.

Yet I'm a perfectly normal functioning member of society. It frustrates my husband but he's used to it.  The people around your daughter will get used to it too. :yes:

#6 kerilyntaryn

Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:53 AM

they call it the absent minded professor.  sounds like ADHD too.  I have one like this at Uni now getting straight 7's and I never took things in if left behind either, help them with strategies/charts too.  Mine even came home on the bus in Yr 8 without his bag on,  just totally off with the fairies

Edited by kerilyntaryn, 15 August 2019 - 11:53 AM.


#7 Crombek

Posted 15 August 2019 - 12:15 PM

Visuals, visuals, visuals. Checklists for each task. Then she will need reminding to look at the checklist. A daily board with items needed for that day. One near her bag at school for what to take home. A kids smart watch with reminders. Particular spots where items have to go (eg library bag on non library days).

If it is more of an attitude thing build in rewards. But ultimately if it doesn’t bother her to drink from a bubbler rather than a drink bottle then I wouldn’t sweat it.

#8 PrincessPeach

Posted 15 August 2019 - 12:51 PM

Are you 100% certain she doesnt have ADHD inattentive?

Just she sounds so much like my younger brother, very high IQ, no concept of organisation. He's also been assessed as pure right brained thinking as well, which accounts for the lack of timeclock in his life.

#9 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 15 August 2019 - 01:00 PM

Both my two are like this, and I am a bit as well.    Drives DH to distraction, as he's the only really organised person in our family.

DD is now 16, and has really pulled her life together.  She still forgets things occasionally, but is so so much better.

DS 14 is still hopeless.  He can have 4 lunchboxes left at school and none at home.  The office ladies know him personally (and us) from finding his stuff all the time.

High school is a bit of a struggle for him, as he forgets things for every class, loses books, test results, forgets to go to lunchtime workshops..... he's totally away with the fairies.  But still a great student.  

And me...... well, I've been the bane of my parents life, and now DH's life.  I can get up in a restaurant and leave my handbag under the table.  Or my jacket on the chair.  Take my shoes off at home and have no idea where they are the next morning.  

Sorry - I'm no help.  Lists help unless you lose the list or forget to look at it.  There are many tips and helpful hints around and all are worth a try.

IME - Some people grow out of it (DD), some are still trying (DS) and some are a lost cause (me).

#10 Molondy

Posted 15 August 2019 - 01:21 PM

This is my daughter (nearly 13) although she's not quite as bad.

We are working on "micro goals" - so instead of "be more organised" she has little checklist of the things she most often forgets: jumper, lunch boxes etc.

Not sure its working yet ….

#11 QuirkyMum

Posted 15 August 2019 - 01:26 PM

OP, sounds a lot like one of "classic" inattentive ADHD + high IQ profiles.
ADHD symptoms might not affect academics until things get more serious and workload (and pressure) increases significantly in high school or in uni or even only at a more stressful point in her career.

#12 Abernathy

Posted 15 August 2019 - 01:31 PM

I have a kid like that. Drives me insane sometimes but I kinda find her quirkiness really endearing. She’s always thinking about something else and I love that. Doesn’t get bogged down with the dreary stuff.

#13 robhat

Posted 15 August 2019 - 01:43 PM

Both my husband and son are like this, my daughter and I are not.

I've even checked the ADHD checklists and reasonably sure neither my son or husband are ADHD.

I keep both my kids organised with a range of checklists. Works well for my daughter, only half the time with my son.

My husband however has managed to improve the worst of his difficulties with various brain training and memory techniques. He loves to watch those magicians that manage to memorise 30 people's names etc and has used some of their strategies quite effectively to be able to remember his wallet and keys etc. Unfortunately I think the key here is my husband realised that some things were an issue and that he needed to do something about it. I suspect that if your daughter doesn't see the problem, she won't care to much about changing her behaviour. I have found that incentives help somewhat with my son. So instead of letting him deal with the consequences of not having his library book or instrument, bribing him to actually remember it often works better.

#14 blimkybill

Posted 15 August 2019 - 01:49 PM

I am a little bit like that. Overall my life is well managed but I lose stuff frequently.
My eldest DD is a lot like that. She is incredibly high achieving,  has graduated and doing amazingly in her career. But she loses stuff. She left a passport in a hotel once and continued her travels to another country. Then amazingly managed to get it posted to her. The number of things she has lost while traveling the world quite amazes me.

#15 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 15 August 2019 - 01:57 PM

I'm not sure disorganisation needs a label...... it is a pretty normal part of development for many kids (and adults).  

Yes, it might be a sign of ADHD for some..... but it wouldn't be my first suspicion.  We are quick to look for reasons, but sometimes it is just what it is.

#16 froglett

Posted 15 August 2019 - 02:55 PM

This was me as a child OP (and still even now to a degree!). I'm fairly confident I have ADHD (my brother was diagnosed as a young teen and my son was diagnosed at the start of the year - I don't think it'd add anything to my life to be formally diagnosed at this point).

From what I've read there's a strong genetic component to ADHD and amongst siblings there's a good chance if one has it the other may too.

I'm very good at remembering things that I'm deeply interested in. But terrible at things that are kind of irrelevant - I'm very much a 'lost the house key, oh well, it'll turn up' kind of a person. Drives DH batty.

Just as a side note I did really well at school, but had a bit of a break down in year 11 when it all got too much - I just couldn't function. So if it turns out she does have ADHD then she may well continue to excel, but there may come a point where it gets hard.

#17 Gudrun

Posted 15 August 2019 - 04:02 PM

Chances are it's generational. Ask me how I know.

Run with it.  Not worth the battle.  Decide on a bottom line for you.

Room out the back.  Keep the door shut.  Must do whatever once a month...

#18 rileys-mum

Posted 15 August 2019 - 04:07 PM

Yep this is me and my DS12.
I spend countless hours a week looking for my phone and keys. Despite best intentions, I am always doing a submission at the last minute, writing and agenda with 5 minutes to go and submitting government reports at five minutes to midnight on a date deadline.

I have operated businesses successfully all my adult life and people pay me to help their businesses. I am always late (usually can't find keys) have convinced myself I can get anywhere in 20 minutes and do not allow any more time and often do not have business cards on me despite having 1000 on my desk. My mobile is always between 1% and 10% charged and I have 462 voicemails and 289 text messages unread.

DS12 looses a variety of things, gets on the wrong bus, forgets to charge his phone, take lunch and looses clothing. He is thinking about chess games, shark conservation and a new strategy for beating the zombies on Minecraft.

I get it. There is nothing more important at any point in time than the idea that is in my head and the potential it brings. I cannot think about social functions and mundane house tasks whilst in work mode. I am lucky my local supermarket is open 6am - 11 pm so that I can grab what I need when I need it as I would not have prioritised that thought at any time that day.

DH is an organiser and does not understand.

Your daughter will learn to cope too.

#19 suzyr

Posted 15 August 2019 - 04:11 PM

She sounds like a very normal 11 year old to me:}

#20 Lalala4

Posted 15 August 2019 - 06:49 PM

Does she have a phone, OP? Could she set some reminders?

#21 CallMeFeral

Posted 15 August 2019 - 09:31 PM

 Ruf~Feral~es, on 15 August 2019 - 01:57 PM, said:

We are quick to look for reasons, but sometimes it is just what it is.

Although I get what you're saying, most 'disorders' actually ARE just names for a certain pattern of behaviour, not 'reasons' as such. And this sort of stuff is pretty characteristic for inattentive ADHD. And with ADHD already in the family it's a pretty good chance.

Doesn't necessarily affect how you deal with it, but can help people tell what to look out for and what things help, once it has a name. Often those things will work even if the issue doesn't fit neatly into that particular label.

#22 Ellie bean

Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:23 AM

I’m a bit like this, constantly losing my keys, putting jewellery down in weird places in the house where it gets found a month later, putting the milk in the pantry, etc. it drives DH nuts whereas his need for high level organisation of household stuff baffles me (we are actually a good team). I live in my head and not really in the real world. I’m excellent at my job and pedantic about my work, I’m usually thinking about that and not where I’m putting the milk...

#23 eachschoolholidays

Posted 16 August 2019 - 06:25 AM

It doesn’t sound like ADHD to me.  It’s just sounds like low executive functioning. If you child is also ‘bright’ or gifted, you tend to also expect their executive functioning to be better than it is

Ie If you have a child who is above their biological age in terms of social skills, language, reasoning, and/or  maths, even if their executive functioning is age appropriate, it will seem worse.

#24 CallMeFeral

Posted 16 August 2019 - 09:31 AM

 eachschoolholidays, on 16 August 2019 - 06:25 AM, said:

Ie If you have a child who is above their biological age in terms of social skills, language, reasoning, and/or  maths, even if their executive functioning is age appropriate, it will seem worse.

The level of losing stuff that the OP has described does not seem age appropriate. And she has noted that her younger child keeps track of their stuff comparatively better.

#25 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 16 August 2019 - 12:37 PM

 rileys-mum, on 15 August 2019 - 04:07 PM, said:

Yep this is me and my DS12.
I spend countless hours a week looking for my phone and keys. Despite best intentions, I am always doing a submission at the last minute, writing and agenda with 5 minutes to go and submitting government reports at five minutes to midnight on a date deadline.

I have operated businesses successfully all my adult life and people pay me to help their businesses. I am always late (usually can't find keys) have convinced myself I can get anywhere in 20 minutes and do not allow any more time and often do not have business cards on me despite having 1000 on my desk. My mobile is always between 1% and 10% charged and I have 462 voicemails and 289 text messages unread.

DS12 looses a variety of things, gets on the wrong bus, forgets to charge his phone, take lunch and looses clothing. He is thinking about chess games, shark conservation and a new strategy for beating the zombies on Minecraft.

I get it. There is nothing more important at any point in time than the idea that is in my head and the potential it brings. I cannot think about social functions and mundane house tasks whilst in work mode. I am lucky my local supermarket is open 6am - 11 pm so that I can grab what I need when I need it as I would not have prioritised that thought at any time that day.

DH is an organiser and does not understand.

Your daughter will learn to cope too.

Rileys-mum - I think you are me!




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