Dear Teen Parenting Coach

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

    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.

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