4 Secrets to Following Your Passion: Advice for ADHD Teens

Q:

My ADHD son likes so many different things. How can I help him pick a career when he has so many interests he doesn’t know where to start?

Wes Crenshaw, Ph.D., Headshot 100px
A:

Parents need to be more clear, consistent, and involved with ADHD kids than they would with other kids. That being said, every action a parent takes needs to produce greater independence — not greater reliance.

The first step toward choosing a career is to teach your child to Google “U.S. Department of Labor and the [Name of the Career]” to find the best stats on a career’s present and future trajectory. This data will show whether a profession is growing, stagnant, or declining.

Step Two: Encourage your child to take the Myers-Briggs or Keirsey-Bates tests to determine whether they are essentially introverted or extroverted — an important thing to know when looking at career options.

Finally, help kids come up with practical solutions for making money by following their passion. Teach them to do what they love, but find something practical to pair it with. For example, if your child has an interest in museums, suggest working in the business end, like accounting.

The main goal is for teens to learn to live intentionally, and to think before they act. Teach them mindfulness – to stop and think, “What am I doing? What do I mean to be doing?”

If needed, find your child a mentor, coach, or therapist who really understands ADHD. Working with a professional, kids can start to set some very targeted, specific goals, that help to move toward the larger goal while overcoming obstacles standing in the way.

Wes Crenshaw, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist, board certified in Couples and Family Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. Since receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, Dr. Krenshaw now owns a private practice, Family Psychological Services and sees clients in the greater Kansas City metro area. He is a newspaper columnist and author of the book I Always Want to Be Where I’m Not: Successful Living with ADD and ADHD.

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