Parenting Teens with ADHD
Being a parent of a teen with ADHD can be difficult, sometimes explosive. Here are some tips from a former teenager (now an adult social work student) with ADHD:
Don’t assume that it is personal. Most of the time when I did not do something I was asked to do, I just forgot. However, because it happened so often, it was not seen as forgetfulness but a sign of disrespect. Whether the situation is failing to turn in an assignment or forgetting to unload the dishwasher, 99.9% of the time, it was most likely just forgotten.
Procrastination does not mean laziness. I know this can be difficult for some people to understand, but sometimes writing papers can be like trying to catch air molecules, even after spending hours convincing myself to do it. Praise can work well but not all the time. However, also being reminded that a task is just a task and does not define their worth as an individual is important to hear.
Anger is walk-away time. I cannot stress this enough. Arguing with a teen who has ADHD is a battle that will never end. This can also be difficult if someone has been disrespectful on either side. Walk away if possible, regroup, recoup, whatever. Just separate. Come back at a later time to discuss the problem, peacefully. This also includes not giving ultimatums that will most likely lead to more arguing.
Respect boundaries, but also offer reassurance. This advice goes for all teens. Sometimes teens just do not want to talk, especially to their parents. Do let them know that they can come if they need assistance. Tell them they are loved and they are an important part of the family. Not enough value is placed on hearing these words.
Being a teenager is hard. Emotions are high, social status is everything, and adulthood is on the horizon. Being a parent to a teen is hard–wanting to help, but being shunned.
And remember, while we may think that we never acted this way towards our own parents, our parents say “yeah, he/she/they are just like you!”