ADHD: A Parents Guide To Understanding Your Teen

Has your teen recently been diagnosed with ADHD?

It could be that you’ve spent years with the wrong diagnosis, not getting your child the right type of therapy needed. ADHD can bring several complexities and challenges for parents and everyone in the family.

Learning how to understand ADHD can help you to understand your teen better. This can, in turn, help you to provide your teen with the right type of therapy needed to handle the ADHD symptoms.

Concerns about a misdiagnosis

Believe it or not, a misdiagnosis can occur when it comes to ADHD. This is because many ADHD symptoms overlap with those seen accompanying other conditions. Some of the ADHD symptoms, including difficulty focusing and concentrating, being restless, and having a tough time following instructions, can all be seen across a wide variety of conditions.

ADHD can be a complex disorder, leading to children and adults receiving an incorrect diagnosis. Some children and teens may be diagnosed with ADHD but may have a mood disorder, such as bipolar disorder. They may be on the autism spectrum and be misdiagnosed as having ADHD.

Some of the other concerns that can show similar symptoms to ADHD include:

  • Vision or auditory problems
  • Learning disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Low or high blood pressure
  • Oppositional defiant disorder

ADHD and other concerns

ADHD can bring layers of complexity that can add to the challenges you and your teen face. Another concern is that ADHD can coexist with one or more other issues that can present their types of challenges.

ADHD may coexist with other issues, such as:

  • Conduct disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech problems

If your teen has been diagnosed as having one or more of these concerns, you will need to adapt your parenting style to ensure that you meet all of his needs. Getting the right resources and therapies to help a teen with ADHD is essential for ensuring he is equipped to tackle the challenges that he’ll experience at school and as he grows up and enters the adult world.

Helping other members of the family

Despite his best efforts and yours, your teen’s ADHD will have an impact on other family members. It can be challenging for siblings to understand why their ADHD sibling behaves as they do. Even other adults in the household may struggle to handle and interact with a teen with ADHD.

While you must take steps to help your teen feel confident and avoid any embarrassment that he may feel related to his diagnosis, it’s also essential to help other members of the family understand.

Teens with ADHD can be prone to struggling with poor self-esteem, resulting in increased stress, picking fights with peers and teachers, and a general decrease in their ability to cope. This is why it can be helpful to ensure their homelife is structured, stable, with minimal unnecessary stress.

Parenting a teen with ADHD can be stressful. Help your parenting partner to understand the structure that your teen needs so that he can thrive. This could include reminders to finish homework, get his chores done on time, and get home before his curfew.

ADHD can make it more of a challenge for a teen to follow instructions, so they often need more supervision and reminders than other children and teens in your home. It’s important to keep things upbeat and positive to avoid the potential for a negative tailspin for your already struggling teen.

Siblings can find themselves in arguments with an ADHD teen who is constantly interrupting conversations, fidgeting, or displaying other signs of ADHD that they may find frustrating or annoying. Take the time to sit down with each of the children in your home and have an age-appropriate conversation with them about what your ADHD teen is facing.

Help them to understand that your teen will be going to additional therapy, getting a bit more one-on-one time with each parent, and maybe disruptive to schedules and family plans from time to time. It’s completely normal for other siblings to feel left out and simply not as important as the child with ADHD.

Do your part to reassure them that you love each of your children equally. It can also be helpful to schedule time for each child with each parent, doing something that they enjoy—perhaps going fishing, going for a bike ride, or shopping for a new outfit. There’s no doubt that it can be a challenge to juggle each person’s emotional and mental wellness needs in your home. With a bit of time and care, you’ll find yourself running a household where stress and frustration are a thing of the past.

Getting teachers, coaches, and the school on board

You are sure to find yourself in the position of needing to advocate for your teen. This is particularly true in the school setting. With an ADHD diagnosis, your teen’s school will afford him the accommodations that he needs to better keep up with his studies. The plan that is created for your teen may give him additional time to take tests, preferential seating in classrooms to minimize distractions, and less homework so that he doesn’t get overwhelmed.

It’s very important to ensure that every teacher, coach, and influential person in your teen’s life understands the challenges he faces.

The school counselor may also help with some concerns that you have, and can also certainly prove to be an excellent resource for information that could further prove beneficial for your teen.

ADHD can be a challenge for a teen and everyone around them. Working together as a united team, you can help your teen overcome some of the biggest challenges as he learns how to manage his ADHD.

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