ADHD and Your Teenager

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD follows a child through puberty. This is usually a turbulent time of a person’s life. The focal point of life shifts from home and family to friends and peers. Acceptance of peers becomes of paramount importance and self-esteem becomes more fragile. There is also a need to try new experiences, to test their wings and be more independent from their parents.

Puberty is double hard for a teenager with ADHD. Peer pressure, fear of failure and low self-esteem are the hallmarks of puberty and these are especially hard for one with ADHD to cope with. For most teenagers, there is tendency to test how flexible the rules can be or how often it can be broken with impunity. This is also the case of a teenager with ADHD. The problem might be that the parents themselves may disagree on how discipline must be administered. So, it is important that the parents agree on how the lapses in behavior must be handled.

Confusion must be avoided. It is more important that the rules be clear and straight-forward than with a child. Since the parent is dealing with an almost adult, it is important to explain to them why the rules exist and must be followed. Make a copy of the rules for both the household and out-of-the-house activities and post it in a visible area.

Teenagers must be assigned chores to do in the house. The assignment must also be posted in a visible area with a space to check-off those that are already done.

Keeping the communication between the parents and the teenager open is important. The parent must be prepared to discuss the issues in a teenager’s life. There will be demands for more independence such as a later curfew. Parents must be able to negotiate with the teenager, learning to concede on some point and not on others. They must be able to explain their reasons for their decisions. Also, they must listen to the opinion of the teenager and try to see their viewpoint on the matter at hand.

The ability to communicate is most helpful when rules are broken as they are wont to be. Punishments must be meted out but only sparingly. As a hot temper accompany a teenager with ADHD, a time-out may be used to give him time to settle down.