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Parents of ADHD Teens and Young Adults

What has worked with your teen who has inattentive ADD?

I am a single adoptive mom of a 17 year old daughter with inattentive ADD and am hoping to find some other parents with helpful ideas on how to motivate her.  She was just diagnosed last year as everyone kept telling me she’d grow out of it, or I needed to enforce more consequences.  Since diagnosis I have attended numerous online parenting webinars and read books and articles but most are written about younger children and I need things related to teenagers.  She doesn’t remember to do things she is responsible for and gets mad when I remind her.  She refuses to set tasks in her phone because she “doesn’t like a bunch of stuff on her cellphone”.  She will write a note to herself if I push the issue but then will overlook the note so it didn’t do any good.  When I have asked her repeatedly to do something that didn’t get done, I will take away her cell phone for a few hours.  When I take her cell phone away she acts like a drug addict going through withdrawals, what with all the yelling and anger!  I met with a therapist who suggested starting a behavior chart giving points for every positive thing I see and if she has enough points at the end of the week, she earns things like being able to hang out with her friends, being driven someplace, money to do something fun, etc. I’d like to know if anyone else using a behavior or chore chart that has worked with teens.  I know my daughter tries oftentimes but other times she says she could care less learning how to help make her life easier.  How can you help someone who doesn’t care?  Any suggestions that have worked would be greatly appreciated.


I hear you…...we have a son who needs to take medicine every day (thyroid) and as long as his alarm-pill box works he does.  But when the box malfunctioned (and he knew it) he did nothing about it.  His doctor sat him down and talked with him.  I printed off info from the internet about uncontrolled hypothyroidism… far he seems to understand.  But we, too, struggle with convincing him to use his phone alarm or wrist watch alarm to keep track of times/things.  i don’t know if all this is because he maybe hasn’t come to grips with his ADHD and the need to have these reminders?  I read and see people with ADHD that use EVERY possible thing to help keep them on track and I wonder why my child seems so resistant to use them.  I wonder if a support group would be helpful…..hearing those with ADHD explain why they use external reminders and how important they are?  I hope you question brings in some great answers….

Posted by greyhairedmom on Dec 29, 2012 at 1:16am

I also encourage my 16 year old to use his cell phone to schedule reminders.  I take away the cell phone when his behavior requires doing so and he must earn it back.  Like your daughter, my son at times shows little interest in utilizing the tools available to him to manage his ADD.  Therefore, if he forgets his money when we are shopping, no purchases are made for him.  If he waits until the last minute to give me details on a school activity, he doesn’t attend. Our teenagers need anything that will result in a positive therapeutic effect on their ADD.  “Teenagers with ADD and ADHD” by Chris A. Zeigler Dendy is a good read.  Blessings!

Posted by BDogsMom on Dec 29, 2012 at 5:43am

My son is 14. He has been diagnosed since grade 2 and this has always been a challenge. I know all of the literature suggests “catching them being good” and rewarding those actions with positive reinforcement. Trying to only choose 2-3 issues to deal with at a time and have clear set rewards and consequences.
I have tried posting something on the fridge like>>>
1. responsible for getting to the bus on time (showered,dressed, breakfast,teeth brushed, homework and lunch) Reward ? $2/day
Choose the top 3 things you want to improve. The carrot or reward should be something worth working for. Once my son has the money he’s earned he buys computer time or long distance phone time, etc.
I think it’s individual to each child but definitely worth a try.

Posted by JulieBmotherof3 on Dec 29, 2012 at 7:04am

This is a great book! I’ve read many and this one actually has charts and usable information.

Posted by JulieBmotherof3 on Dec 29, 2012 at 7:07am

If your insurance or finances permit try getting him an ADHD/ADD Coach.  Similar to therapist, but job is to teach clients life skills and coping mechanisms for succeeding with the condition.  They can set goals together and monitor successes.  It’s someone your child can develop a relationship with independent of you without all the drama that the parent/child relationship brings.  Sometimes they just need to get it from someone else

Posted by Jeanette66 on Dec 29, 2012 at 8:47pm

I can totally relate to your post….my son will be 18 in a month.  He was not diagnosed until a few months after he turned 17.  He will not put much work into building habits to benefit himself.  As often as there are natural consequences to his actions or lack of actions, he often tends to blame someone else or not really care or acknowledge that he could have done better.  I tried to help him in many ways, by attempting to reward good behavior and punish the bad, but he has pushed back in so many ways that we feel it’s time to back off and allow him to make mistakes without our intervention.  I read once that the problem with helping too much is that they don’t end up taking responsibility for anything, good or bad.  We have found that we are/were too involved.  So when he fails, he does not really translate it as his failure, since we didn’t let him do it his way.  And when he succeeds, internally he does not accept responsibility for the success since we helped to such a degree.  Sigh.

Posted by ngfield on Jan 03, 2013 at 12:08am

Hi, I’m brand new to your group and it’s a relief to find other parents/ carers in a similar situation.
I have a 20 yo son with Aspergers and ADHD and my 15 yo daughter has just been diagnosed with ADHD and she is a whole different kettle of fish to my son. She is really struggling in high school after managing well in middle school, and now her regular mood swings are proving to be more than challenging. I feel I am walking on eggshells with her now. She is convinced eveyone hates her and that she is ugly/ stupid/ nasty etc . . .  despite me telling her the opposite. I have tried to help her with her school work revision but it ended in her throwing a huge strop and storming off to lock herself in the bedroom. She has just started a course of medikinet. I feel I have lost my loving fun happy daughter and she is pushing me and her brother away. I feel completely lost and low and worry so much about her. Any tips on how to rebuild our relationship would be gratefully received. Thanking you in anticipation. Sandra

Posted by Sands12 on Jan 05, 2013 at 2:02am

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