Inattentive ADHD is the rather silent sister of the more gregarious and apparent hyperactive ADHD. As such, it can often go unnoticed for a number of years. Because it can go undetected, it isn’t unusual to become apparent in the teen years. As if growing up wasn’t hard enough! When a diagnosis is made, the surprise of the diagnosis often carries particular challenges. Because this type of ADHD is often latent until the teen years, it’s important to keep the developmental stage of your teenager in mind when processing through the shock of an initial diagnosis.
Teens are, by nature, inclined to exercise their independence in thought and action. So give your teen SPACE. Allowing them time to process and think about the diagnosis and the struggles he or she is experiencing can pay great dividends. It shows great restraint to give your teen that space; at the same time, it communicates to him or her that her opinion and perspective is respected and crucially important. The poet E.E. Cummings once wrote, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” The process of embracing one’s particular strengths and weaknesses takes courage. It’s hard work and takes time. When your teen is ready, draw him or her out about their thoughts rather than filling the time with your perspective.
A strong relationship will build a bridge that these more difficult conversations and processes can travel over. So continue to do stress-free activities with your teen. Make these times a regular part of each week, a priority. Not only will you have a more vibrant relationship with your teen, but you’ll also be able to strategize about his or her learning and/or relational struggles together. The long-term effect? Your teen is more prepared to embrace his or her unique strengths and weaknesses, thus becoming more successful in the future. And you get the added benefit of a strong friendship that will last for years to come!
If you find yourself facing a recent diagnosis or have a child struggling with organization and study skills, let Fick Education help. Check out details about our Executive Function and Study Skills course here: https://fickeducation.com/executive-function-study-skills/. We offer this course periodically throughout the year, but also as a one on one option. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org more information.