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Worried Father/Troubled Daughter
"My ADHD daughter has been experimenting with drugs and engaging in risky behaviors since her mother died nearly two years ago. I'm worried about what will happen next."
My recommendation would be that when she comes to visit, you do more than just play bridge. Talk with her. That means listening and really hearing what she has to say. Ask her what her hopes are for the future. Discuss options in a non-judgmental manner.
There are many fine schools for at risk teens and adolescents with ADD and learning disabilities. Two that you might investigate with your daughter are the Monarch School in Houston, Texas, and Glacier Mountain Educational services in North Idaho (800-944-1070). A GED is also a possibility. Being open minded about all the different possibilities and options may encourage your daughter to set some goals for herself.
You have a very troubled young daughter and my heart goes out to both of you for the loss that you each have experienced. Have faith that things will get better and continue to let her know you love her and want her to be safe and happy. Take care of yourself and be a good example for her to follow. Above all keep the lines of communication open.
It is very hard for many ADDers to communicate effectively. Impulsivity can turn a conversation into an argument in seconds, so it important to learn as much as you can about communicating effectively so this doesn't happen.
Believe in your daughter, so she can begin to believe in herself. Above all, continue to love her.
Sandy Maynard lives in Washington, DC where she operates Catalytic Coaching. She was instrumental in the development of The National Attention Deficit Disorder Association's Coaching Guidelines and a founding board member for the Institute for the Advancement of AD/HD Coaching (IAAC). Sandy lectures internationally and is a regular contributor to ADDitude.