ADDitude ADHD Experts Podcast

Podcast Episode #296: “QuaranTeens with ADHD: Keeping Your Impulsive Teen Safe at Home” with Wes Crenshaw, Ph.D.

Wes Crenshaw, Ph.D., explains how to keep teens with ADHD safe during a pandemic that requires social distancing from friends, resisting dangerous impulses, and devising a routine that works. Learn how rewards and punishments must change, what family teamwork looks like, and how to counter the dopamine hit of video games.

Listen to “QuaranTeens with ADHD: Keeping Your Impulsive Teen Safe at Home” with Wes Crenshaw, Ph.D., episode 296

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School and office closures have thrown the nation — and the world — into a tailspin. Families are strained under the pressure of living together 24/7 without their normal, healthy physical, social, and emotional outlets. In many cases, parents are still working and kids are suddenly expected to productively structure their time from a list posted somewhere in Google Classroom.

For teens and young adults with ADHD, this unstructured life isn’t turning out very well. At ADDitude, we recently reached out to our readers for insight into the biggest challenges facing quaran-teens with ADHD today.

In an effort to begin answering those questions and moving toward solutions, we asked Dr. Wes Crenshaw to lend his expertise. He’s the author of I Always Want to Be Where I’m Not: Successful Living with ADD and ADHD (#CommissionsEarned) and a frequent contributor to ADDitude. He’s also got a new book coming out with coauthor Kelsey Daugherty, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, titled ADD and Zombies: Fearless Medication Management for ADD and ADHD, (#CommissionsEarned), due out in June and available for pre-order now.

To begin, we’d like to address perhaps the most immediate and serious concern expressed by ADDitude readers — and that is teens with ADHD who are resisting state and national guidelines regarding social distancing. They are sneaking out to see friends. They are disregarding house rules. And they are placing their families at risk. At the same time, their parents are mentally and emotionally exhausted, trying to combat oppositional, defiant behavior with logic and scientific fact that is just not getting through.

Here, Dr. Crenshaw explains why this is happening and how parents can navigate the pandemic with non-compliant teens with ADHD taking into consideration the following:

  • The heightened emotionality associated with ADHD
  • The impact of peer pressure
  • The impact of short-term thinking so common in teens with ADHD
  • The propensity for children with ADHD to lie as part of a fight, flight, or fib response
  • The fact that a young adult with ADHD aged 18 has the social and emotional maturity of a 15-year-old yet they are legally an adult, leaving parents with few options

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Updated on November 12, 2020

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