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How to Parent ADHD Teens With Love & Logic

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

It would be awesome if kids outgrew ADHD by their teen years, but that doesn’t usually happen. Kids who were impulsive, inattentive, forgetful and hyperactive as children tend to display these same characteristics as teens and beyond, and the characteristics can intensify because of hormonal changes, according to WebMD. Before you run screaming from the room, realize that parenting your teen with love and logic can help you maintain your sanity and encourage responsibility in your teen.

Set clear expectations and limits for your teen, suggest Foster Cline and Jim Fay, authors of "Parenting Teens with Love and Logic." If your teen makes bad choices, such as underage drinking, unsafe driving or failure to do schoolwork, he suffers the consequences which can include jail time, poor grades and loss of driving privileges. Explain, “If you want to drive my car, you will maintain your grades, use the car responsibly, return the car with at least as much gas as it had when you left with it and you will not drive under the influence. Violate the rules and I will not let you borrow the car. You can walk, take the bus, ride a bicycle or find another way to get around.”

Admit that you can’t control your teen’s choices or ADHD symptoms, but you can consistently enforce logical consequences based on your teen’s choices. If she makes healthy, responsible choices, she gains more privileges and you extend more trust. If she makes irresponsible, impulsive and risky choices, you revoke privileges and force her to take responsibility for her actions by not rescuing her.

Offer your teen choices and understand that he could make mistakes, such as staying out too late, returning the car with an almost empty gas tank or forgetting to bring home the necessary items to do his homework. Don’t rush in and rescue him. Explain and enforce logical consequences for these actions. Offer your teen options about how he can deal with those consequences, such as finding alternative ways to school, sitting out extracurricular activities because of poor grades, doing extra credit work to bring his grades up or paying off a ticket or fixing the car if he becomes distracted and runs a stop sign.

Remind your teen often that you love her unconditionally and that you want what is best for her. Explain, “Your boss won’t care that you came home late. He will care that you didn’t show up for work on time and could fire you for it. If you make responsible choices, you could earn his respect, get a raise or a better work position. That’s how the real world is -- consequences follow actions.” Remind her, “You are in charge of your actions, and therefore in charge of creating the consequences you want to live with. Choose wisely.”

References

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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