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Dear Teen Parenting Coach: Ask Your Question!

ADDitude’s team of teen parenting experts will answer questions from readers about everything from independence & responsibility to homework & grades to relationships & sex to organization & time management. Submit your questions below!

In the New Year, ADDitude’s team of teen parenting experts will answer real questions from real readers like you. Use the form below to submit your question to the following ADHD experts:

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  1. My son had a difficult semester in school, a combination of his ADHD challenges and depression. I’m not sure which came first. He started doing badly in school and became depressed which caused him to do worse and become more depressed or that the depression was the the initial trigger. In any case, how do I get him back on track and help restore his self-confidence. He probably needs both therapy are and executive skills coaching,
    He’s very smart and the academics themselves aren’t the
    problem. His biggest challenges are focus, organization, and getting overwhelmed. I know he needs help, but my
    husbands been out of work. So, it’s really not an option. I
    feel very stuck and I’m sure he does also. Any
    suggestions?

    1. Does your son have a 504 plan or IEP? I recommend a 504 plan with accommodations such as extended time for all assignments and homework, as well as for testing. A reduction in homework is a reasonable request. Breaking down large assignments into smaller ones. If possible, he should have a supervised study period where he can get help with organization, make up missing assignments, get tutoring, and finish tests. You can request services from a special education provider, counselor, psychologist, social worker, etc… to help him with the executive functioning as well as provide support for the depression. Over twenty years of experience working with children and adolescents has provided me with enough data to say that medication for the depression is NOT something to consider. Children don’t need SSRI’s, they need good therapy, and to learn coping skills, cognitive behavioral skills, and healthy habits. It’s depressing to be struggling the way he is, and if your having financial difficulties, this may be having an impact as well. I’d never medicate for a life-phase problem. The demands of school ARE overwhelming for people with any interference with the skills necessary for academic success. It’s not enough to be smart anymore, kids are being asked to do things that they’re not developmentally prepared for and kids with ADHD, anxiety, depression, etc… have it the worst.

  2. My 14 year old daughter is headed down a dangerous path. This is her freshman year of high school. She started out the year ending the first semester with a 3.85 GPA and working hard training for highschool softball tryouts and had goals to go to college and become a pharmacist. She was very anxious thr last few months with tryouts approaching and had spme terrible panick and anxiety attacks. She was currently on adderral XR and they added paxil due to her heightened anxiety and it helped a lot. She did great at tryouts and made the JV team. She was so happy and this was just teo weeks ago. Now this current semester she is beginning to take a turn for the worst as she has started hanging with a new group. Her grades are falling, she has been tardy repeatedly for many of her clases, her teachers say she is less focused in school, last weel she decided to skip school with a new friend and got caught. She hasn’t had social media in a long time as she had issues with peers and unacceptable behavior so we took those privileges away. Yet she has snuck old phones and created new accounts. We took those away and she found out she can log on to friends phones. She has started vaping in and out of school. When we caught her with them we took them away and toom privledges of having cash. She then stole money from us and bought more vape pens and old smartphones so she could use social media. We sat her down after finding out last week that she skipped school and spoke to her teachera about grades and we took her phone away and explained that she is headed down a terrible path and she is ruining her future. She told us she hated us and wanted to move in with her dad and never have contact with me or her step father again. The next day she never got off the bus after school. Myself, her father, and my husband spents hours driving around. Her friend tipped us off she may be with some boy. I tried texting the boy from her phone and received no response. We ended up at the police station and an officer called him and spoke to our daughter. She allowed her father to meet her and pick her up. She is now staying with him temporarily because she told the officer she needed a breal from her mother. Since she has been there she has texted me cussing saying that I make her life miserable and I am a stalker. Her father allowed ger to use his phone for Snapchat to contact teammates to try and find rides to softball practices because he cannot accomodate her schedule. She tells her father she hates me and does not want to live with me anymore. My fear is that she is getting away with the things we do not allow due to her past and because she is allowed to do them there to her she is getting her way. Whether or not it ruins her future. She said she doesn’t care about anything anymore. Her grades, softball, school etc. Because she just wants freedom with her friends and social media. Help. Where do we go from here?

    1. Also after looking through her phone we found she was using a letgo app to try to buy vape pens from stranges in dangerous areas and offering to pay them extra money to drive and meet her with them. She was using social media to meet old boys from allover and giving out her personal cell number and we have talked over and over again about the dangers of online predators and sex trafficking. She feels it would never happen to her.

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