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Parenting teens with ADD

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I can appreciate how challenging it has been to keep your teen with ADD, on course with all he/she needs to learn and accomplish in order to become an independent young adult.

Have you noticed how irritated responses do nothing to motivate your teen, and only serve to damage your connection with each other? You are both better served by trying to understand why your teen is struggling, such that you might help remedy the problem.

Teens often do not understand the reasoning behind the general education classes, assignments and tests they are required to complete. For teens with learning challenges, it can be like trudging through molasses to turn in assignments. Your teen desperately needs you to understand why he/she is so frustrated, accept that they are doing the best they are able to do in this moment, and guide them in how they can do better.

A major goal in my working with teens with ADD is to assist your teen in moving beyond their helpless or defiant stance about school. A tough love approach usually does not work, as teens do best when they feel supported and connected. Also, please know that ADD is not a quick fix. Patterns of reaction may be in place between the two of you, as well as with your teen and their schoolwork, that will need to be turned around.

Parents need to be able to enter into open discussions with their teen where they can learn what their teen is experiencing, as well as help their teen explore their feelings of frustration and upset. Perhaps it's time for you and your teen to have a chat with the academic counselor at their school about their homework challenges, that the counselor might help you explore options for making up any missed work.

Remember, is never helpful to add insult to injury by berating your teen over their learning challenges. It is also not your fault that he/she is struggling. You do not have to feel you must appear angry in order to express your concern. Anger can feel like a retaliation for not pleasing you, and confuses the issue altogether. His/her not doing their homework is not a personal defiance of you. It is a cry for help.

In closing, we can sort this out! Your teen's hope and enthusiasm, as well as his/her sense of capability intact as they leave school to finally enter the world. Battles over homework will not accomplish that. There is a better way.....

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