Teens with ADHD

“How Music Inspired My Son to Follow His Own Beat.”

Attention deficit disorder seemed to be a life sentence when my son was first diagnosed as a child. Now, after discovering his passion for music, my ADHD teen is hopeful about his future.

When my son’s ADHD diagnosis was new — a decade ago now — I felt overwhelmed and depressed about what I thought would be a life with limited options. All of my days were filled with chaos, compounding challenges, and uncertainty. We struggled so much that I felt certain my son’s future would be grim. Fast-forward 10 years… Today, at 16, he’s thriving and coming into his own.

A couple of years ago, he got interested in music and started creating digital tunes on his iPad. Along the way, he found that the heavy, fast beats he was creating calmed his body, brain, and emotions. It turns out he likes creating music and he’s good at it. Such a welcome departure from his younger days when he bounced from interest to interest, and nothing stuck (besides video games, of course). Creating music has been the opposite experience. It brings him joy and confidence. Today, we have many hopeful family conversations about how he could make a career of it.

This past summer he managed to intern with a teacher who works as a DJ outside the classroom. My son assisted him in many ways that gave him a sense for a DJ does. Among other tasks, he helped unload and set up the equipment for parties and weddings. Despite the physical demands of the job, he loved the work and looked forward to every gig. He recently started steel drum classes and is always ready to leave 15 minutes before departure time. Now that’s what I call progress!

Stick-to-itiveness is new for my ADHD teen. He used to stay home and avoid trying anything new. Home is easier. It’s predictable and safe and he knows what’s expected of him there. Developing an interest in music has opened the door for him to explore what the world has to offer him instead of hiding from it.

There are still challenges in his life. But, instead of always talking about the struggles, his dad and I find ourselves talking about how proud we are of him and how hopeful we are for his future. It is amazing!

[Free Resource: Transform Your Teen’s Apathy Into Engagement]

Updated on December 13, 2019

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  1. Penny, OMG.. seems we have parallel lives in this regard. Our 15, soon to be 16 year old son discovered making and producing rap and hip hop “beats”. He’s become fairly popular selling some of his music and making great connections. He has made two close friends with similar passions and has found what he wants to do. Music production degree in College, continuing to learn and practice his gift. So happy for us : )

    1. That’s so cool! Sounds like your son is ahead of mine. He isn’t making connections through it yet. Not sure how to help him with that aspect — he doesn’t know anyone at school that is interested in the same. He started taking drum lessons a couple months ago, but it’s just him and the instructor… although they do offer putting students together in brands and instructing bands, which I hope he’ll get into when he gets a little better grip on playing actual drums. 🙂 I’d love any ideas you or your son have for helping my son make connections through his music interest.

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

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