On the surface, your child’s behaviors may look like those of a defiant teen. But once you’ve secured a diagnosis — and are confident that it’s accurate — you’ll likely see that they were actually clear indicators of your child’s struggles with ADHD.

In this video, learn what to do to manage the behaviors in supportive, productive ways.

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Where does typical teen behavior end and ADHD begin?

Defiance. Clutter. Disorganization. Poor time management. Difficulty with routines.

Are these typical teenage behaviors? Or indicators of untreated ADHD?

And how can a parent differentiate between enabling bad behavior and providing needed support for a teen with ADHD?

Start with these four steps.

1. Educate yourself about ADHD.

Research how ADHD impacts:

  • Attention
  • Organization
  • Impulsivity
  • Hyperactivity
  • Emotionality
  • Executive functions
  • Motivation

2. Get help.

Find a professional who specializes in ADHD and will work to understand how symptoms manifest for your child, specifically.

3. Assume best intentions.

Start believing that your teen isn’t being purposefully “bad.”

She isn’t meeting your expectations because she doesn’t have the skills to…yet.

4. Adjust expectations.

Resist the temptation to think that your teen “should” be able to do something.

Teens with ADHD can be 3-5 years behind same-age peers in maturity.

Set your expectations based on maturity level, not his age in years.

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