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Parents of ADHD Teens and Young Adults

How to Decorate Her Room and other things?

I am new here, but have been a bit of a lurker for a while.  My 14 yo daughter who has been diagnosed with ADHD since she was about 8 seems to be the classic kiddo with ADHD.  She struggles in school quite a bit, but started doing a little better once we moved her to private where her class size is about 12-15, but oh my gosh the cost!  She does not see the importance of grades which drives my husband and I nuts.  She’s a pretty sweet kid, and for the most part obedient when given lots of reminders. 

For her birthday we told her we would help her redecorate/repaint her room (we are talking some cans of paint, new bedspread, and curtains - nothing major.)  She and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to ideas which, I know is typical of any teenager.  She wants wild colors and nothing that matches.  I want more neutral walls and then she can express herself in her accessories a little.  I’m thinking she needs calmer colors and very simple things to help her focus better and also so she can SEE where she dumps her homework wink when she doesn’t put it in her backpack like we’ve told her a thousand times - I know I’m not the only one.  She is a pack rat, likes to have her shoes lining the walls of her room by her door, hates to throw anything away, very messy almost to the point of being gross, and likes to hide what I call science experiments in different drawers or under her bathroom sink. 

So, my question is . . . do I MAKE her bend to the neutral walls and more calming and organized atmosphere or let her choose and express herself any way she wants?  Do *I* help her get organized and pick her organization systems or do I let her pick her own?  I can’t tell if her ideas are really good for her or if she’s just trying to be defiant.

Replies

Hi imcmurphy!

On organization, experts agree that letting the child/student be the architect of their system will work best. Give her a few ideas on organizational structure and then let her pick what she feels will work best for her. I can tell you from experience too, this is the way to go. wink I read a fantastic book on this by Donna Goldberg called, “The Organized Student.” She also did a webinar for ADDitudeMag.com you can listen to or read here: http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/10375.html. I read it and it is chock full of great tips!

On decorating her bedroom, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, you recognize that calming colors and patterns may be beneficial to her. On the other hand, she is a teen and she wants to assert her independence. If you told her she could redecorate her room, I imagine therapists would say it’s important to stick to your word and allow her to do it. Maybe you can provide some articles to her on how the environment affects ADHD symptoms and let her know you are only asking her to consider that information before making a final decision on the design of her bedroom. Make it about wanting to do what is best for HER, not about what you would prefer her room looks like. Maybe she’d be willing to choose a calmer, more muted shade of the color she wants for her walls…

Collaboration will always get your further with your children, especially teens. (That reminds me of another great read, “The Explosive Child,” by Ross Greene—your child does not have to be explosive to learn a great deal from this book on parenting!)

Penny
ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Dec 27, 2013 at 6:24pm

Hi imcmurphy!

On organization, experts agree that letting the child/student be the architect of their system will work best. Give her a few ideas on organizational structure and then let her pick what she feels will work best for her. I can tell you from experience too, this is the way to go. wink I read a fantastic book on this by Donna Goldberg called, “The Organized Student.” She also did a webinar for ADDitudeMag.com you can listen to or read here: http://www.additudemag.com/RCLP/sub/10375.html. I read it and it is chock full of great tips!

On decorating her bedroom, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, you recognize that calming colors and patterns may be beneficial to her. On the other hand, she is a teen and she wants to assert her independence. If you told her she could redecorate her room, I imagine therapists would say it’s important to stick to your word and allow her to do it. Maybe you can provide some articles to her on how the environment affects ADHD symptoms and let her know you are only asking her to consider that information before making a final decision on the design of her bedroom. Make it about wanting to do what is best for HER, not about what you would prefer her room looks like. Maybe she’d be willing to choose a calmer, more muted shade of the color she wants for her walls…

Collaboration will always get your further with your children, especially teens. (That reminds me of another great read, “The Explosive Child,” by Ross Greene—your child does not have to be explosive to learn a great deal from this book on parenting!)

Penny
ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Dec 27, 2013 at 6:25pm

Hi lmcmurphy,

I just asked my 14 year old ADD daughter her opinion on your post… She suggested that if you let you girl paint the walls “wild” then do the bedspread and curtains in a neutral color or vice versa.  She also felt that you should help with the organization but only by setting up bins, or your choice, we bought plastic 3 shelf organizers on wheels at Walmart and let your daughter label areas for where she wants things to go.  She also suggested doing a daily chore chart to clean up different areas on certain days for example,  put away all electronics in proper bin on Tuesday. 
We did these things with my daughter and now she keeps her room manageable smile.  She says it really helped her become a neater person and not so frustrated when she couldn’t find something.  I’m really proud of her now.  I think the key is to offer suggestions and then ask them to think about it and come up a solution that suits them,  I’m amazed at how with some thought my daughter is able to put both our ideas together and make it work smile.  Trust your girl !!!

Posted by hanginbyathread on Dec 27, 2013 at 10:15pm

You guys got some good ideas!  So glad I asked.  Today I told her we needed to start plugging nail holes, she opted to take a nap instead smile.  Ha Ha!

Posted by lmcmurphy on Dec 28, 2013 at 9:36am

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