Raising a teenager with ADHD can be overwhelming and challenging.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common childhood disorder in which a child’s inattentiveness and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity cause problems in functioning at home and school. Raising a teenager with ADHD can be overwhelming and challenging, making it crucial for parents to seek out support, education, and guidance from a professional. Research indicates that some symptoms of ADHD, such as hyperactivity, tend to become more subtle in adolescence. However, many teens with ADHD actually experience increased difficulty in school performance as academic demands and expectations increase in high school and beyond. Further, teens with ADHD experience deficits in executive functioning, which can cause difficulty in a wide range of critical areas including: planning, time management, frustration tolerance, thought shifting, working memory, and cognitive flexibility.

Several conditions commonly co-occur with ADHD, including anxiety, depression, disruptive behavior disorders, substance abuse, and specific learning disorders. Your counselor will conduct a comprehensive evaluation-- clarifying which of these clinical concerns might be impacting your teen and creating a comprehensive treatment plan accordingly.

It is common for teens with ADHD to feel embarrassed and self-conscious about their diagnosis. Some teens may feel “different” or even “stupid” as they view school as more of a struggle for them compared to their peers. Your therapist will encourage an open, honest discussion between you and your teen about the impact of ADHD, while focusing on identifying your teen’s unique strengths, learning style, and resiliencies.

In working with a therapist, your teen will learn key strategies to improve self-esteem, executive functioning abilities, and overall academic/social performance. As a parent, you will develop confidence through establishing positive discipline and feedback strategies, increased structure and consistency, school advocacy, and reasonable expectations for your teen. Forming a therapeutic relationship with a counselor will help build your teen’s confidence, compliance, and successes, leading to a calmer, more harmonious home.