Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a very common condition that affects children as well as adults.
Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the hallmark signs of ADHD. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10 percent of children between 4 and 17 have the condition. Most often, children are first diagnosed with ADHD when they are school age and begin to show symptoms in the classroom. Others may not be diagnosed until they are in their teens or in young adulthood.
ADHD is experienced differently by teenagers and younger children. Many ADHD symptoms tend to be milder in the teen years. However, at the same time, the increasing levels of freedom allowed teenagers can work against them and make ADHD more disruptive. For example, younger kids are generally under greater supervision and more structured schedules than teens. Teenagers are given more autonomy in school and at home, which means they are more responsible for their actions and behavior. Additionally, teenagers have added pressure when it comes to their social lives. Efforts to make friends and dealing with peer pressure can make ADHD more challenging for teenagers.
How You Can Help Your Teen With ADHD
If your child has ADHD, there are certain things you need to look out for and actions you need to take to ensure your child has a safe, worthwhile, and memorable time in their teens. Here are some things to consider.
- Academics – Teenagers with ADHD are likely to have lower grades than other children. This is because inattention and difficulty staying on task tend to become bigger obstacles in high school than in grade school. This factor combined with higher expectations, a bigger workload, and more autonomy in schoolwork can lead to difficulty learning and lower test scores. You can help your child by talking with teachers about his or her condition and becoming more involved with your child’s schoolwork. You may also need to use tutors and extra help from teachers after school to help your child learn better.
- Friends – Teenagers with ADHD are likely to have difficulty developing friendships. They may act impulsively or have impaired social and communicative skills that make it difficult to develop friendships as easily as other children. You can help by encouraging open communication at home about your child’s interactions with his or her peers. Talk about where your child has difficulties making friends, any problems he or she is experiencing with peers, what bullying is, how to recognize it when it happens, and peer pressure. Additionally, keep tabs on who your child spends his or her time with. ADHD increases impulsivity so it’s essential your child spends time with friends who are caring, smart, and responsible.
- Emotional Health – Every teenager has trouble with emotions but teens with ADHD tend to have it worse. This is because ADHD can make emotion regulation more difficult so it can be harder to control anger, stress, sadness, and frustration. If your child has ADHD and struggles with emotional health, you can help him or her by teaching strategies to calm down and cope with emotions better. Discussing emotions and how to deal with them is a learned skill that you can certainly help your child with.
If you have a teenager with ADHD, there is a lot you can do to help him or her manage the condition to make their teen years as enjoyable as possible.
Psychiatrists can provide substantial support to you and your child throughout the teen years. To ensure your teen gets the emotional support necessary to manage ADHD in the very best way possible, talk to a psychiatrist today.
If you are looking for a supportive, understanding, and highly-trained psychiatrist for your family’s needs, consider the Psy-Visions. They offer comprehensive and tailored care for a patient’s unique needs. Call (203) 405-1745 today to make your appointment. You can also request an appointment online.