Going from childhood into teenage years can be difficult for anybody. But for teenagers with ADHD it can be particularly difficult to cope. Teenagers have to deal with normal anxieties and physical developments, but teenagers with ADHD have a much lower tolerance levels and so may react far more strongly to the changes they go through.
It is likely that controlling the ADHD will become harder as a child progresses into a teenager. 400% more teenagers with ADHD are linked to traffic related incidents or speeding fines. And twice as many teenagers with ADHD run away from home. Furthermore, 50% of teenagers in juvenile delinquent centers have ADHD which has not been treated.
Managing ADHD is crucial as many teenagers rebel against the therapies and treatments they were using as a child. Parents may notice that their teenager has stopped taking their medication or is using it less frequently. If this is the case, be sure to communicate to them the importance of using the prescription and try to understand why they have stopped using it.
The excuse parents often hear is that they forgot to take it. In this instance, try to get them to establish a system or particular routine so that they don’t forget. Other problems are that taking medication at school is embarrassing and they don’t like to do it. If this is the case, speak to your doctor who may be able to prescribe a slow-release alternative which will only need to be taken once in the mornings.
All teenagers have a tendency to rebel against their parents. This is why behavioral management techniques tend to fail with teenagers. If you set many different rules that have to be stuck to, they may do the opposite. At this stage as well, they have out-grown reward systems such as treats and star charts and may find them to be patronizing.
Here you must learn to negotiate with your teen. Compromising on house rules will let them think that they have achieved a small victory and will be more likely to stick to them.
Social isolation is another common problem for teenagers with ADHD. Because one of the main symptoms of ADHD makes you impulsive, it may be difficult to wait for appropriate conversational queues and constantly interrupt others, or speak without thinking. This can be hard for friends to deal with and they may start to socialize with others instead.
It is not uncommon for parents of other children to encourage their child to avoid a teenager with ADHD as they may not understand the condition and label them as a trouble maker. Furthermore, peers that do not understand the genetics of the disorder may pick on or even bully your teenager.
It is understandable, therefore that teenagers with ADHD act out as a result of this. Often over compensating as the ‘class clown.’
Parents can encourage friendships by allowing your teen to have friends over to the house and by teaching them to understand social queues. By doing this, your teen may start to recognize when they have acted inappropriately and their peers are getting fed-up of them and try to tone down the behavior.
Not only this, but it is important to try to boost self-esteem wherever possible. Praising teenagers with ADHD can greatly help to boost their confidence and may counter-act the ‘class clown’ syndrome.
It has been noticed that teenagers with ADHD are considerably more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol. There are various reasons for this, mainly because of who they end up hanging around with, but it is also due to the impulsiveness that accompanies ADHD.
Here education is key. As a parent, try to teach your child from an early age the dangers of drugs and alcohol and the consequences of becoming involved in them. However, do not use scare tactics as this may result in your teen rebelling against you.
Alongside this, it is important that as a parent you are aware of the signs of substance abuse and so can recognize if any problems do arise and act immediately.
There are various support groups and educational websites available to both teenagers with ADHD and parents. Utilizing these tools will be hugely beneficial to both parties not only as it will be a great source of education, but because you will be able to meet and talk to people with the same problems and difficulties as you share solutions that have worked.
Being a teenager with ADHD can be extremely hard to deal with, particularly coping at school and with peer relationships. However there are measures that both parents and teens can take to ease the symptoms and problems linked with ADHD in order to live a normal, happy life.