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How to Help Your Teenager with ADHD to Develop Independence

Social and academic strains can be a challenge for teenagers with ADHD. Parents play a pivotal role in supporting their teenagers with ADHD to develop their own independence. Support and encouragement from caregivers is instrumental in teaching teenagers to thrive. Here are 5 important tools and strategies that will help your teenager to develop independence.

1.Finding positive activities: 

Teenagers with ADHD tend to struggle with social interactions, which can include having difficulty to take turns or understand how to partake in conversations. It’s important to help teenagers to find positive activities that they enjoy, such as the swim team, theater club, or martial arts. Teenagers can find more social success when they find other kids that have similar interests. Teenagers with ADHD also especially benefit from high energy activities that allow them to release their extra energy. 

2. Creating and following daily routines and structure:

Routines and structures are extremely important for teenagers with ADHD. Teenagers can become easily distracted and have difficulty organizing activities. They tend to do better when they have a predictable schedule to follow. To help promote independence, start encouraging your child to develop their own lists and routines to follow during homework or afternoon times. 

3.Developing an organization system:

Teenagers with ADHD may struggle to keep their belongings organized. They may often lose important items such as pencils, notebooks, sports equipment, etc. To help promote independence, work with your child to develop organization systems for school work, homework, sports equipment, and clothing. Spend some time working with your child to come up with a system that will work for them. Show your teenager how to find a place for each item, and label items accordingly. 

4. Talking to someone they trust about new topics that arise: 

Becoming a teenager offers many new hurdles, such as school, friendships, dating, driving, alcohol, and drugs. Teenagers with ADHD can often be impulsive and are more susceptible to risky behaviors. It’s important that teenagers have someone that they trust and feel comfortable talking to. Many new topics will arise, and these conversations are very important in informing your teenager and helping them to thrive in this new step of their lives.  

5. Discussing safety precautions:

Teenagers tend to have more unsupervised time, which can be challenging for a teenager with ADHD. A teenager with ADHD may be impulsive and forgetful, so it’s important to discuss safety precautions such as always wearing a helmet when riding a bike, always buckling their seat belt when getting in the car, or wearing specific protective gear when playing sports. These conversations will help to remind your teenager how to make safe decisions when they aren’t supervised by an adult. 

Parents play an extremely important role in ensuring the success for teenagers with ADHD. Having open and honest conversations and sharing successful tools and strategies will be extremely important as they become independent adults. 

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