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Getting Through to Junior
"My 14-year-old son has been diagnosed with ADD, learning disabilities and a conduct disorder. He believes the problems will go away on their own. How do I help him understand the damage he is doing to himself and his future?"
Many early adolescents find being different so painful and so unacceptable to their friends that they deny any problems, even at the price of causing themselves more difficulty. You are doing the right thing in having him see a therapist. Hopefully, he will slowly be able to see what his problems are and accept them. Until he does, you may not make much progress in getting him to cooperate. As a worse scenario, often, by age 15 teens feel more secure about themselves and begin to accept their problems again.
Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.