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Many teens with ADHD may find their condition more challenging now than it was in childhood. The desire to be independent and try new things can lead to unforeseen consequences. Rules for teens with this condition should be straightforward and easy to understand; clear communication between the teen and parents can help the teenager understand the reasons and consequences for each rule.

An Overview of ADHD and Teens

Teens with ADHD have successfully navigated the early school years and are beginning their journey through middle school and high school. Although your child has been periodically evaluated through the years, this is a good time to have a complete re-evaluation of your child's health.

Challenges for Teens With ADHD

The teen years are challenging for most children; with ADHD, the teen years are doubly hard. All the adolescent problems -- peer pressure, the fear of failure in both school and socially, low self-esteem -- are much more difficult for teenagers to handle when they have ADHD.
The desire to be independent, to try new and forbidden things (including alcohol, drugs, and sexual activity) can lead to unforeseen consequences. The rules that once were, for the most part, followed are often now flouted. Parents may not agree with each other on how the teenager's behavior should be handled.

Setting Ground Rules

Now, more than ever, rules should be straightforward and easy to understand. Communication between the teen and parents can help the teenager understand the reasons for each rule. When a rule is set, the reason for it should be clear. Sometimes, it helps to have a chart, usually posted in the kitchen, that lists all household rules and rules for outside the home (social and school). Another chart could list household chores with space to check off a chore once it is done.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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