Parenting is no easy gig. Parenting a child with ADHD is, at times, even more challenging. Then they grow up and become teenagers, so you along with the symptoms of ADHD, there are the hormones and growing pains. These may be some of the hardest years of your life as a parent. So, what can you do? Where can you turn? We’re sharing some ideas on parenting a child with ADHD when they hit adolescence.
Is Your Communication Failing?
Do you yell, scream, argue, and threaten? Is that the normal communication you have with your ADHD teen? While much of this is probably fueled by frustration, is it really getting you anywhere? When you are constantly combative then communication is really off the table. Plus, it’s even worse when you never follow through with consequences.
The reality is that your ADHD child is not going to be motivated by you yelling at them. There are better ways to communicate that you can learn, and there are strategies for your child to learn, too, that can help him or her listen better.
When he or she listens better, then the communication is no longer at this heightened state. For example, by working with an ADHD coach, your teen can learn how to focus and also curb impulsivity, which is intensified by puberty.
Is Your Teen Setting the Tone?
Parenting a child with ADHD is often complicated when parents let their son or daughter set the tone. This could have started long before your child became a teenager. You have to get control of this and set clear boundaries and expectations.
Your child should be following your tone, not the other way around. If you come into a situation calm and respectful, then you should expect this in return.
Are You at the “Whatever” Stage?
If you’re exhausted by all the fighting, you may have completely disengaged. This isn’t a great way to deal with the situation. You can’t shut down because your teens will, too. This is often the last phase of the relationship, so you have to recover from this. But that doesn’t mean you should throw around discipline inconsistently either. You need a plan to be consistent and engaged.
Here are some things you can do to overcome your challenges:
- Try different discipline approaches. See where the balance is between being too strict and too lenient. Use problem-solving and negotiation to give your teen the ability to offer their own input and bestow them with responsibility. Try a strategy, evaluate, and redesign as needed.
- Talk less. Insert a cooling off period where you calm down and don’t act out of anger. Always listen more than you speak. If the conversation is about the teen wanting something, tell them you’ll think about it before giving your answer.
- Be a team regardless of whether or not you and your co-parent are still together. If there are two parents in your teen’s life, then you both have to be on the same page. You should support one another and not allow your child to pit you against each another.
- Plan ahead. Know the issues that are the most important and are non-negotiable. Talk about them using clear expectations. Always have preset consequences that you will stick to no matter what.
- Let the past go. If something happened and the punishment has already been given and served, then move on from it. If the lesson still needs to be learned, work with your teen to find a new approach.
- Get help when you need it. While you may think that you’ll get support from your school system, they are not fully equipped to handle it. Instead, seek out an ADHD coach with a proven record of helping teens with better cope better, procrastinate less, and reform problem behaviors.
Parenting a child with ADHD is different throughout their growth. What was a big problem when they were younger may turn into something else when they become a teenager. The last words of advice on this subject are to never take the things your teen says personally and show them love whenever appropriate.
If you’d like more advice and information about ADHD, contact Carol today to learn more.