It is hard raising kids with ADHD. They can be hyper, emotional, disorganized, forgetful, and so much more. They lose their pencils, lunch, jackets, and any else that’s not attached. They forget to do their homework, or to turn it in. The older they get, the higher the stakes. By the time they get to high school, these challenges can really get in the way of excelling.
One thing to try is using a planner. Many kids with ADHD are very visual, so seeing everything written down can help organize them and help them feel less overwhelmed. This works well for many teenagers, but for others, like my own, losing the planner or forgetting to write in it became bigger problems.
What has been useful for us is using a white board. Each week and each day, I have my son write down his assignments (which we are able to look up on a website that his school uses) and put them on the board with a due date. I then help him to determine which assignments to do first, help prioritize, and plan his day and his week. Again, this is a visual aid, and very helpful for many teens with ADHD.
Many parents end up fighting, often daily, with their teens over homework. If you have the means, hiring a “homework helper” can be life altering. You can get a local college student to come to your home and spend an hour organizing and assisting your teen with his homework, whether on a daily basis or less. This removes you from the equation, thereby lessening the tension between you, which can improve your relationship with your teen.
Keep your child active. Team sports have many advantages for teens with ADHD, not just the physical benefits. The physical exercise is necessary for overall health and helps them to focus better. But working together, being part of a group, and following rules are all important as well.
Make sure your teen gets plenty of rest and eats nutritious meals. Try to limit the sugar. This can be difficult with teens as they gain their independence. But try to teach them about good health, and encourage them to make good choices.
Many teenagers will eventually outgrow or at least overcome the obstacles of ADHD. In the meantime, hang in there. No teenagers are easy, and ADHD is never easy. Combine the two, and you’ve got quite a challenge on your hands. Remind yourself that it will get better.