The Noise In My Head: Teen Boys and ADD/ADHD

Teen boys often seem to be a species in and of themselves. Rowdy, loud, hilarious and sometimes intelligent beyond even their own understanding, it can be exhausting and even impossible to try to keep up with them. Along with their natural tendency for constant action, what is it like for the teen boy with ADD/ADHD?

It can be completely overwhelming and even more difficult to help them, according to Judith Levy Cohen, M.Ed., who is a certified learning specialist in a private practice in New York.

“Adolescent boys with ADD are their own worst enemies,” she says. “They refuse to ask for the help they need; instead, their mantra is, ‘I want to do it all my byself!’ This is not a misprint. Two boys in my class, both with ADD, were so distracted that they reversed their words and never noticed!”

As parents of the ADD teen boy, the management might be exhausting—but it can be done. Besides the therapy, the medication options, and the unconditional love we, as parents, must always have, there are some simple ways to help guide him into seeing himself—and others—more clearly.

Build Up His Strengths: Let him know that you see what he does well, and how much it benefits both himself and those around him. Help him realize how his unique outlook contributes positively to your family.

Let Him Make His Own Decisions: Clearly, there are things that a parent must aid in, but find things that make it safe to decide on for himself: the clothes he might wear, the new shirt you need to buy, and even, sometimes, allow him to make bad decisions. How else will he learn the difference?

Be Patient About How He Progresses: Easier said than done, right? But it is so important. If you get frustrated, he is already poised and ready to feed off your frustration. This never helps. Recognize that for him, it is a daily battle, and he is likely trying his best. Encourage his efforts, praise his success, and sympathize in his failures. He will be all the better for it.

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