Tips for Parenting ADHD Teens

Explore strategies for managing the challenges of parenting an ADHD teen

mother and teen daughter arguing
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The teenage years can be a difficult time for any child. It is a time of great change as an individual begins the transition from childhood to adulthood and independence. Responsibilities, expectations, social and school pressures increase. Hormones peak. Boundaries may be tested. Risky behaviors may be taken. Insecurities, feelings of self-consciousness, moodiness and irritability all multiply during the teen years.

Add ADHD to these normal teenage issues, and life can be very challenging. 

Strategies for Safety: ADHD and Driving

All parents worry when their teen reaches driving age ... and for good reason. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 16 to 20 year olds. The problem is worst among 16-year-olds, who have the most limited driving experience and an immaturity that often results in risk-taking behind the wheel. For a teen with ADHD, these risks may be even greater. Driving requires maturity, concentration, focus, good decision making and judgment, and the ability to stop and think without impulsive responses. It is important for parents to talk with their teens about how ADHD can impact their driving ability and together develop strategies to help limit distractions, focus attention and make driving a safe experience.

Addressing the Risk of Alcohol and Drug Use

We all want our children to be responsible and make good decisions, but for a child with ADHD, impulsive reactions can sometimes lead to poor choices.

As parents, we can make a difference. We can help our children face these challenges with a sense of responsibility, healthy self-confidence and stronger decision making skills. Learn ways parents can help their children safely navigate alcohol and drug temptations.

Improving Homework Strategies

The homework process involves numerous steps.

One missed step can create loads of problems. The middle and high school years can be an especially hard time. Students receive less supervision. They have multiple teachers with multiple teaching styles. Expectations and responsibilities are much greater. Self-esteem is more fragile and feelings of self-consciousness skyrocket. Check out the links below to learn tips for making homework time more productive for your teen.

Planning for College

The transition to college can be stressful for any child, but it can be an especially challenging time for a child with ADHD. Learn more about classroom accommodations that can make the move a little academically smoother.


FAQs for Parents of Teens

ADD Behavior or Normal Teen Behaviors?

“Our 13-year-old son was diagnosed with ADD and GAD [generalized anxiety disorder] four years ago. My question is how can I tell the difference between typical teenager behavior and ADD behavior? We have four other children (both older and younger than our ADD son), and you would think it would be easy for me to distinguish, but at times, it is so difficult and I doubt myself on the way that I parent certain issues. Lately, he is more inattentive and distracted and showing some hyper signs that he has not shown before.” Read response.

My Daughter Can Be Very Argumentative. What Do I Do?

"I have a 12-year-old daughter who is currently being assessed for ADHD. I raised concerns to the school nurse when my daughter began stealing. During the discussion, the nurse mentioned ADHD, and when I began researching ADHD, it was as if I was reading about my daughter. She has since been referred to several professionals who I feel are dismissing ADHD. My daughter does not respond well to the word no and can be very argumentative. What can I do?” Read response.

How Can I Help My ADD Teen Daughter?
“I have a 13-year-old teen daughter with ADD, and she is homeschooled. She often refuses to do what she is told, is very impulsive, lies, has taken things from family members, etc. I am at my wit’s end. We’ve tried therapy, changing meds, adjusting her diet. Any advice?” Read response.

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