Get Closer to Your ADD/ADHD Teenager
Examine your fears. A parent's anxiety about her teen creates tension between them. "Analyze how realistic your fears are," advises Jolene, from Madison, Wisconsin. "Ask yourself, 'What is the very worst that can happen, and how likely is it to occur?' Talk about your fears with others in a parent support group or with a therapist. This will help you work through your fears and take control of your feelings." A calmer parent often results in a calmer teen.
Adjust your expectations. Remind yourself that your teenager has ADD/ADHD, says one dad, and you are less apt to expect perfection. Focus on your child's assets and abilities rather than his shortcomings. Believe in your child, even when he doesn't believe in himself.
Listen to her. Teenagers who talk to, but are not heard by, their parents often drift away from their families. Be open to what your teen has to say. Don't be judgmental. Teens with ADD/ADHD need to be heard -- possibly more than other teens do -- because they are always listening to others' instructions.
Be available. Set aside 15 minutes a day and give your teenager your undivided attention. Like youngsters, older children appreciate special time with Mom or Dad.
Repeat rules. Although establishing, and periodically reiterating, rules about sex and dating works with most teenagers, those with ADD/ADHD need to hear the rules more frequently -- possibly before every date.