Teens With ADHD
When rules are broken -- and they will be -- respond to this inappropriate behavior as calmly and matter-of-factly as possible. Use punishment sparingly. Even with teens, a time-out can work. Impulsivity and hot temper often accompany ADHD; a short time alone can help.
As teens with ADHD spend more time away from home, there will be demands for a later curfew and the use of the car. Listen to your child's request, give reasons for your opinion, listen to his or her opinion, and negotiate. Communication, negotiation, and compromise will prove helpful.
Teenagers, especially boys, begin talking about driving by the time they are 15. In some states, a learner's permit is available at 15 and a driver's license at 16. Statistics show that 16-year-old drivers have more accidents per driving mile than any other age. In the year 2000, 18 percent of those who died in speed-related crashes were youth ages 15 to 19; 66 percent of these youths were not wearing safety belts.
In their first two to five years of driving, teens with ADHD:
- Have nearly four times as many automobile accidents
- Are more likely to cause bodily injury in accidents
- Have three times as many citations for speeding as young drivers without ADHD.
Most states, after looking at the statistics for automobile accidents involving teenage drivers, have begun to use a graduated driver licensing system (GDL). This system eases young drivers onto the roads by a slow progression of exposure to more difficult driving experiences. The program, as developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, consists of three stages:
- Learner's permit
- Intermediate (provisional) license
- Full licensure.
Drivers must demonstrate responsible driving behavior at each stage before advancing to the next level. During the learner's permit stage, a licensed adult must be in the car at all times. This period of time will give the learner a chance to practice, practice, and practice. The more your child drives, the more proficient he or she will become. The sense of accomplishment your teen will feel when the coveted license is finally in their hands will make all the time and effort involved worthwhile.