Teens with ADHD: Strategies to Help at Home
As a teen with ADHD, you may feel you are constantly getting into trouble at home; you try hard and yet everything you do somehow ends up wrong. You forget to take out the trash, you are late coming home, you get wound up and end up breaking your mother's favorite vase, your frustration boils over and you yell at your younger sister or your parents. No matter how hard you try, you never seem to get it right. The following are five strategies that you can use to help keep your home life running smoothly.
Remember, because ADHD is different in each person, some of these tips may work for you and others may not. Choose the suggestions you think will help and try instituting one change at a time. Once you feel comfortable with that change, work on a different behavior. Trying to change all your behaviors at once will often leave you feeling frustrated and believing that nothing is going to work.
Create a schedule. Use a daily planner, your phone or make up your own schedule to help remind you what you should be doing and when. Include everything you normally do, such as getting ready for school, after-school activities, homework and chores. Remember to add in some "down time" like spending time with friends, playing video games or other activities that help you relax. This helps you see what you need to accomplish each day and reminds you what still needs to be done. Some teens may find it helpful to make their schedule into a checklist, marking off when each item is completed. For more information on effectively managing your time: Five Tips for Time Management for Children and Teens
Use your phone or IPod to remind you when to be home. With ADHD it is easy to get distracted and lose track of time and you end up getting home late for dinner or past your curfew. If you have a phone or IPod with an alarm clock, take a moment to set it for approximately one half hour before you need to be home and then again 15 minutes before (or whatever time increments work for you). This gives you a warning that it is time to stop what you are doing and get home. It also gives you time to transition from your current activity to getting home on time. You might also want to see: Guide for Improving Chronic Lateness
Work on problem solving skills. As you get older, you are going to come across more problems, and be expected to solve some of these problems on your own. Create a plan of action for making decisions and solving problems. For example, you might outline steps like:
- When you come up with a problem, stop and think
- Determine what the problem is, being as specific as possible
- Think about different ways you can solve the problem. The more ideas you have for solutions, the more choices you have
- Choose which solution you feel is best
- Create a plan of action for reaching the solution
By having a series of steps to take when confronted with a problem or decision, you are more apt to handle it without frustration.
Find ways to relax. Being a teenager with ADHD is stressful. Use relaxation techniques to help you better manage daily stress. For example, you may want to meditate each day, develop hobbies to help give you something to do when feeling stressed, start a daily journal to write down your thoughts, exercise every day. See also: 10 Ways to Relieve Stress in Less Than 5 Minutes
Ask for help when you need it. As a teenager, you want to become independent but sometimes you still need help. Remember to ask for help when you need it, otherwise your stress level may rise and you may end up taking out your frustrations on the people in your home or your friends. Remember that everyone, even adults, need help sometime; asking for help doesn't mean that you are incapable, it means you are mature enough to realize when you need help.
This post was written based on my personal experience in raising a teen with ADHD.