Managing the Stresses of Adolescence and ADHD

ADHD is a disorder characterized by difficulty in paying attention to details. It includes symptoms of impulsivity, hyperactivity, making careless mistakes, trouble listening to others, problems with organization, and distractibility.  However, if you’re ADHD child is now a teen, life might be getting more and more hectic for parents.

ADHD typically shows up in children around age 7 or 8. About five percent of American children and teens have ADHD yet this number could indeed be higher given the amount of children are diagnosed with the disorder. As of 2011, research indicates that eleven percent of children between the ages of 4 and 7 have the illness, and added to this, the amount of ADHD diagnoses has risen significantly in recent years. In fact, the rate of diagnosing ADHD to children has increased at a rate of three percent per year from 1997 to 2006 and at a rate of five percent per year from 2003 to 2011.

Symptoms of ADHD

Below are some common symptoms of ADHD.

  • Hyperactivity, impulsivity, but not usually accompanied by elation or grandiosity
  • Problems with distractibility, attention, organization, and memory are consistent.
  • Moods do not fluctuate widely.
  • The age of onset is usually under 10 years old.
  • More common in boys
  • Irritability, accelerated speech, and increased levels of energy are symptoms that are stable.

It’s important to know as parents that about 60% of children diagnosed with ADHD will continue to experience its symptoms throughout adolescence and adulthood. It’s estimated that four to five percent of adults have ADHD but only 20 percent of them are actually diagnosed while only 25 percent seek mental health services.

If you’re a parent of an ADHD teen, it’s essential that you seek help. Even parents of those teens without ADHD end up asking for help for their child, whether it’s emotional, psychological, or financial assistance. There’s absolutely no shame in asking for the help you need. In fact, getting help from the therapist or psychiatrist may bring medication and ways to manage life at home.

Managing the Challenges

However, in the meantime, here are some suggestions for ways to manage the challenges of adolescence and ADHD:

  • Keep the lines of communication open with your spouse.
  • Keep the lines of communication open with your teen.
  • Compliment yourself.
  • Remind yourself daily that your child did not choose to have ADHD.
  • Never look at yourself as a bad parent.
  • Do something nice for yourself every day.
  • Look for funny or humorous things.
  • Don’t take everything seriously.
  • Evaluate your day.
  • Don’t try to be a perfect parent.
  • Talk with a caring, nonjudgmental friend or therapist.
  • Locate an ADHD support group.
  • Exercise at least three times per week.
  • Delegate tasks to other members of the family.
  • Use behavior management techniques.
  • Get help.
  • Take a vacation from your child.
  • Set realistic expectations for your family life.
  • Focus on the positive qualities your child possesses.
  • Lower your expectations.

It’s hard to have an ADHD child, let alone a teenager, while at the same time juggle a job, other children, a marriage, and the keeping the home clean. Yet, the above tips are those that might make life at home less intense and more at ease.