Parenting Teens With ADD

A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist

It can be challenging to keep your teen on course with all they need to learn in order to become an independent young adult. – Sandra

Unfortunately, angry and irritated responses on your part do nothing to motivate your teen, and only serve to damage your connection with each other. You are both better served by trying to understand why your teen is giving up so easily, such that you might help remedy the problem.
It is important for your teen to discover how to harness their strengths, to help him/her move towards their dreams. Teens often do not understand the reasoning behind the general education classes, assignments and tests they are required to complete. For teens with learning challenges, it can be like trudging through molasses to turn in assignments. Your teen desperately needs you to understand why he/she is struggling, accept that they are doing the best they are able to do in this moment, and guide them in how they can do better.
A goal in my working with teens with ADD is to assist your teen in moving beyond their frustrated or defiant stance about school. A tough love approach usually does not work because frustration, not love, is speaking. Teens do best when they feel supported and connected. also, please know that ADD is not a quick fix. Patterns of reaction may be in place between the two of you, as well as with your teen and their schoolwork, that will need to be turned around.
Parents need to be able to enter into open discussions with their teen where they can discover what their child is feeling, as well as help their child explore their feelings of frustration and upset. Perhaps it’s time for you and your teen to have a chat with the academic counselor at their school about their homework challenges, that the counselor might help you explore options for making up any missed work. Your teen may need to go early to school, stay late, or miss lunch break to complete those assignments.
It is also not your fault that your teen is struggling. You do not have to feel you must act angry in order to express the seriousness of your concern. Anger can feel like a retaliation for not pleasing you, and confuses the issue altogether. His/her not doing their homework is not a personal defiance of you. It is a cry for help.

Your teen’s hope and enthusiasm, as well as his/her sense of capability need to be intact as they leave school to finally enter the world. Battles over homework will not accomplish that. There is a better way…..

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Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

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