If your teen suffered from Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a child, they are likely still impacted in their teen years. The emotional and physical changes your teen is going through coupled with increased expectations socially and academically can make life difficult for a teen with ADHD. While your teen can handle more autonomy, as a parent, it is your responsibility to help your teen with ADHD to navigate the teen years. Here are some tips that can help.
There are several areas that your teen might have difficulties with and that you should be examining. These include:
- School work
- Relationships with peers
- Home life
- Behavior that is risky
- Sticking to medicine regimen
According to the Child Mind Institute, if teenagers are not getting the support they need, they are more likely to have lower grades and test scores. As a parent, you can help by making sure that your teen has access to special testing accommodations if necessary. Help your teen with organization to stay on track with homework assignments or consider a tutor or homework helper. The most important thing when it comes to school work is to check in with your teen and make sure they are staying on track and getting the help they need.
Relationships with Peers
Research has shown that teens with ADHD are likely to have problems with relationships and be subject to bullying. The reasons for this are likely just a lack of social skills and cues or impulsive acts. There are ways you can help your teen with friendships. Most importantly, get to know who they are hanging out with and encourage communication about any difficulties with peers they may be having. You can also encourage your teen to try a new activity to make new friends.
CHADD The National Resource on ADHD, suggests that households with a teen with ADHD are more likely to have conflict between the parent and teen. As a parent, you must make certain demands on your teen from completed chores, following house rules, and getting school work complete. While this can be stressful, it is important that you give your teen supervision and reminders to comply with necessary tasks. This can cause tension for both of you and can lead to more conflict. It is important to steer clear of negativity. In order to do this, make sure that the two of you have clear communication and that expectations are clearly stated. It is also important to wait to discuss things until everyone has calmed down.
Emotions are going in all different directions during the teen years then add ADHD to that equation and your teen is likely to have more ups and downs. The Child Mind Institute suggests helping your teen by practicing strategies to cope and cool down.
Behavior That is Risky
Teens with ADHD are more likely to use alcohol, smoke, try illicit drugs and engage in sex earlier than other teens. As a parent, know where your teen is at and who they are with. Try to keep them engaged in structured activities. Also, talk to your teen about those issues and the risks involved. Don’t be afraid to tell them these are activities that you expect them not to engage in. Make them feel comfortable to talk to you about these issues.
For teens with ADHD, driving can have additional challenges. Difficulties stem from the impulsivity and inattention that teens with ADHD have. This can lead to more driving errors like accidents and tickets. It is important that your teen knows about good driving habits like wearing a seat belt, staying off their phone, and limiting passengers in the car to minimize distractions.
Sticking to Medicine Regimen
According to CHADD The National Resource on ADHD, almost half of teens with ADHD do not take their medication as directed. There are several reasons for this including teens thinking they don’t need it anymore or they could be giving it away or selling it. If your teen has decided they don’t want to take medication anymore, talk to their physician to see if a trial period could be beneficial. Talk to your teen about what the expectations are for them to remain off the medication otherwise they will have to resume. In addition, talk to your teen about the dangers of the medication for someone that has not been prescribed it and about peer pressure.
Lastly, the most beneficial thing that you can do for your teen is boost their confidence. Show your teen love and support. Show them you believe in them and they can work through their struggles. Help them find their strengths and encourage them to engage in those activities they are successful at.
If you find that you are still having difficulty helping your teen with their ADHD, consider seeking the help of a professional who specializes in working with teens with ADHD.