Reply To: 14 Year Old

Penny Williams

What you’ve tried isn’t working so it’s time for a new approach. You’re missing the key step to improving this situation — finding out WHY she’s not completing tasks. It’s not that she doesn’t care. It’s not that she lacks the desire to please you. It’s not even that she doesn’t want to be helpful. If those were the reasons, punishment and rewards would work to resolve your issue.

Instead, think about this from the ADHD perspective. The ADHD brain is physiologically motived by interest and urgency, not by importance. So knowing she needs to do something for you doesn’t make her brain kick in to get it done.

Secrets of Your ADHD Brain

As well, those with ADHD struggle with task initiation, planning and sequencing multiple steps, and finishing without getting distracted. What can help is a written, posted schedule of tasks for each day. Create a family calendar on the wall. Write up each task in step-by-step detail in a portable fashion (post-it-note, laminated note card, etc) and put it in her tasks on the days it needs to be done. When her tasks are done, she gets free time. Make each task as routine as possible.

And, remember, developmentally she’s 10 or 11. Make sure your expectations are appropriate and achievable.

ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism