Childhood ADHD can be a predictor of risky sexual behavior in the teen years. According to the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology (2006), childhood ADHD predicts earlier initiation of sexual activity, more sexual partners, more casual sex and more pregnancies compared to teens without ADHD.
Below are three ways to help keep your child safe and healthy during their teen years.
Understand their vulnerability: Impulsivity is one of the hallmark symptoms of ADHD. When it comes to teens and sexual behavior, this might translate into “act now and think about the consequences later.” Protecting your teen may involve a greater level of supervision when they are with the opposite gender in comparison to a teen without ADHD. Remember, you are not being mean or untrusting. Rather, just like when they were younger, you are providing the extra support they need to succeed.
Never underestimate the power of parents: In a study of college students, female students with ADHD were the least likely to use condoms compared to males overall and females without ADHD. The researchers found that the only moderator of that risky behavior was a high quality relationship with parents (Huggins, et al., 2015).
Help them to just say no: The adolescent years can be a time of experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, alcohol and marijuana use can contribute to risky sexual behavior in teens with ADHD according to the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (2014). Early identification of drug and alcohol use and the appropriate treatment can help keep them safe sexually.
This information about teens with ADHD can be overwhelming. Do not let it be. Instead, just remember that the supports your child needs will change as they enter their teen years.
See more helpful articles:
Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. Learn more about Tracy and what healthy living services and products she can offer on her website. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.