Coping with ADHD Teens and the Holidays


If you’re a parent of a teen with ADHD, you know how challenging it can be at times. You know there are moments of chaos. You know you have the stresses of your own and that you likely take on the stressful challenges of your teen too. And now, add to all, the stresses of the holidays.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a diagnosis given to those who have issues with their attention. They tend to lack the ability to focus and concentrate – this is the attention deficit. At the same time, the hyperactivity means that a teen becomes restless easily. He or she might easily fidget and squirm. He or she might not be able to finish projects or stay focused on their chores for very long.


During the holidays this might mean that you’re experiencing more of your teen’s symptoms – not only because he or she is home from school, but also because there are greater stresses during this time in general. Below are a few reminders about parenting ADHD children. You can use them all year round, but they might also come in handy now:


Compliment yourself. In this way, you can be a model for your child. By complimenting yourself in front of your child, you show him or her that you’re focusing on your positives despite having any weaknesses.


Hang a copy of the serenity prayer in your home. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This prayer is a good reminder that there are some things in life that we can’t change and that we must accept.


Do something nice for yourself every day. You deserve a break. Read, breathe, do yoga, go for a walk. Take some time for yourself.


Look for funny or humorous things. You can do this simply to keep your life light, and you can also do this with your child. Look for the things that he or she does that might be funny or humorous and laugh together.


Evaluate your day. Enjoy all the things you did right.


Locate an ADHD support group. This is a great way to express your concerns, frustrations, and achievements with your child.


Exercise at least three times per week. This will keep you mental and physical healthy. You’ll be able to keep your stress level low with anxiety, and this might be something that spouses can do together.


Use behavior management techniques. Use these when you need to with your ADHD teen for changing any negative behavior.


Get help. If you’re experiencing depression or anxiety, don’t use drugs or take prescription pills, instead, find a mental health professional to talk to. A therapist or psychologist might be well versed in ADHD and might also be able to provide that additional support as well.


These is a list of helpful suggestions to use with ADHD teens. But if you feel your teen needs professional support – or if you and your spouse need help with parenting – call a mental health provider for assistance.