I’m so incredibly frustrated right now

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I’m so frustrated with Gavin right now. We’ve finally decided to take a hands off approach to Gavin’s homework, as recommended by just about everyone.  However, now that we have done that, he’s coming to us and asking for help. 

Why now?

I don’t understand why he would do that, unless he’s just trying to drive us crazy, which is entirely possible and at this point, probably not the most difficult thing in the world to do.

If we cave in and help him, then it feels like we’ve backed down and that’s a dangerous message to send to a child like Gavin. 

He acts like he doesn’t know how to do his homework and yet his grades are pretty darn good.  I’m so confused by this because I hate, Hate, HATE assuming that Gavin is playing us.  That said, there really isn’t any other logical answer to this. 

Last night, Dr. Pattie pointed out to me that part of my problem with this whole thing and why I just can’t accept that Gavin is lying about all this stuff is because I’m trying to apply logic and reason to a situation where there is none.  There’s no logic behind what Gavin does and so I have a really hard time understanding and accepting that things are the way they are. 

I spend so much time and energy trying to reason with him and I drive myself crazy in the process because you simply can’t reason with him. 
Deciding to take a hands off approach to his homework and school work was a very, very difficult thing for me personally.  I feel like as his parent, I should be helping him through this and pushing when necessary. 

Now that I’ve done that, and struggle to be okay with that, he now wants our help.  At least he says he needs our help. 

How do I find a balance here? How can I in good conscience, refuse to help my son when he needs or asks for help with his homework? It really feels like I can’t do anything right here.  I mean, what if he really does need help and we aren’t there to give it to him? At the same time, what of he’s just trying to manipulate us and we cave in and help him? 🙁

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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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maybe since he feels the pressure is off he can come to you for help. maybe he wants good attention. he has the good grades tell them at school “no busy work required” lol

Gwen Curriden

You could try referring him back to the teacher for help , so you are sure he is learning how to do the work the way the school wants him to do the work.

Dwayne Murphy

Lost and Tired  KathyKohlBuehler The one thing that you have to realize, Rob, is that Gavin is mentally ill, and one of the hallmarks of mental illness is lying, manipulation, and splitting. It is quite remarkable how well Gavin has done in school so far this year when we take into account how he spent most of the summer lost in his imaginary world. MB13’s advice makes a lot of sense.


Is there any way he overheard Dr. P telling you to take a hands off approach? If so he may be trying to use that against you to split again. I know you are struggling with this and I cannot imagine going through this. Prayers for your family

Lost and Tired

KathyKohlBuehler once again, I’m thinking you for your honest and we’ll written comment.  I know you understand and I’m unbelievably grateful for your willingness to share your insight.  🙂


He wants all the attention.  Just remind him that school is school, and home is home, and they don’t cross any more. Dr, P, is right.  You have to accept the Gavin you see before you, not the one you wish you had.  What good could possibly come of you  working yourself up into a stroke or worse?  He is a high-need person, and could easily use up all resources, but you can’t afford that much attention for him, because he will always want more,  He is like filling a bucket with a hole in it.  The more you pour in, the more pours out, and he will never have enough, nor could you ever give enough.  The only way to survive a kid like that is to step back emotionally, and just deal with him on a different level. Doesn’t discount that you love him. just quit wasting your energy hoping he will change, or tell the truth. or do his work independently, because his reality is  different. Your acceptance is half the battle for survival here. Not saying any of this without having lived a similar tale of a RAD adopted kid.  Hard but true lessons. Just don’t give in.  He will just then look elsewhere for your attention…


Can you help him but make him do the work? In other words, sit with him and say “What do you not understand? Was there another problem like this one we can look at? Why don’t you tell me each step and we can talk about whether that will work?” That way you are helping him if he needs help, but you aren’t doing the work for him. You could even set a timer for when you need to be done by – my mom used to make me do my work with a timer because otherwise I would dawdle over it and take all night.

Carol Stout

Wow, he’s good! 🙂 He hasn’t needed your help (according to his recent homework problems) and now, all of a sudden he does. So if you help him, you lose, and if you don’t help, you’re a bad parent… I don’t think you need to feel guilty because if you refuse to help him, there are still his teachers at school if he really needs it. You’re not leaving him with no recourse. 
The mental games must be exhausting! I’m so sorry.