Teen boys tend to lag behind the emotional and social skills of girls during adolescence. Just as in their physical growth, boys tend to bloom into their adolescence a little later than girls. To make matters worse, boys can be more impulsive and restless in the classroom. However, if there’s a boy who also has ADHD, this can make going to school and other teen experiences difficult.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is an impulse-control disorder that is a common mental illness among children and teens. For the most part, symptoms of ADHD include difficulty with paying attention, difficulty with organization, excessive talking, fidgeting, along with hyperactivity and impulsivity. These symptoms can impair a teen’s functioning in school. Typically, children with these symptoms of ADHD are recognized and diagnosed in early childhood because they tend to result in behavioral issues that are easy to spot in the classroom.
Yet, if you’re a parent or caregiver who wants to support your ADHD teen boy, here are some tips to consider:
- Highlight your teen’s strengths. Look for areas of your teen’s life that is going well. Explore what your teen loves and praise him for his accomplishments. You might also make sure that your teen is doing activities that allows him to use his skills and talents.
- Find good role models for your teen. Many adults today struggled with ADHD when they were a teen. These adults can be models and mentors for your teen who may be struggling with ADHD related issues .
- Be patient with your teen. As your teen gets older, the work load at school may become more and more complex. Your ADHD adolescent may not have the resources to plan, prioritize, and organize appropriately in order to meet the growing academic demands. Often, with ADHD, there are six executive functions that are impaired. These are focus, activation, effort, emotion, and memory. However, as teens get older, boys will break through these challenges and by 15 or 16 years old even ADHD boys will have confidence to manage the greater work load.
- Let your teen make his own decisions. When you do this you facilitate confidence and self-reliance in your teen. You communicate that you believe in him.
Other suggestions for parents of ADHD teen boys include:
- Be open about ADHD and accept your teen the way he or she is.
- Avoid using demeaning and negative terms that are often used when discussing someone with a mental illness or disability.
- Don’t hide the disability from others. In fact, when teachers, doctors, friends, and peers are familiar with the fact that your teen has ADHD, they might be more understanding when arguments or conflicts arise.
- Avoid comparing your children to other teens who don’t have ADHD.
- Notice the positive coping strategies that your teen has. Get to know the good traits of your teen so that you’re not always heavy with having to manage his or her symptoms.
If you find that these tips and other resources do not meet the psychological needs of your ADHD son, and if your teen is experiencing debilitating mental health symptoms, contact a mental health provider today.