ADHD Community

Parents of ADHD Teens: School Issues, Social and Peer Relationships

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Alan R. Graham, and Bill Benninger, are our guest speakers. They have been working with with ADD, ADHD teens and their parents for over 20 years.

David is the HealthyPlace.com moderator.

The people in blue are audience members.


Conference Transcript

David: Good evening. I'm David Roberts. I'm the moderator for tonight's conference. I want to welcome everyone to HealthyPlace.com. Our topic tonight is for Parents of ADD, ADHD Teens.

We'll be covering school issues, social and peer relationships, what to do during the summer, driving issues, how you, as a parent, can help your child, and some good coping mechanisms for yourselves.

Our guests, psychologists Alan Graham and Bill Benninger have been working with children, adolescents and adults with Attention Deficit Disorder and their parents for over 20 years. Besides doing direct therapy, they work with individuals and groups over the phone on a conference call line and they publish the newsletter, ADDvisor.

Parents of ADHD Teens: Helping your attention deficit hyperactivity disorder teen w/ school issues, self esteem, peer relationships. Transcript.Good Evening, Dr. Graham and Dr. Benninger and welcome to HealthyPlace.com. We appreciate you being here tonight. People in the audience may have different levels of understanding Dr. Graham, I'd like you to define ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and then we'll get into deeper issues.

Dr. Graham: ADHD is a disorder of the inability to inhibit behavior and impulses. It is marked by hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattention. ADHD kids are fidgety, interrupt others, break into lines, always have to be first, daydream and are unfocused. ADD (attention deficit disorder) is all the above without the hyperactivity.)

David: For those in the audience, I'm assuming that most of you have, at least, a basic understanding of ADD, ADHD. However, if you have any question on this subject tonight, please feel free to send it in.

It's almost summertime now, Dr. Benninger, and I know parents are sitting around and wondering what they can do with their ADD teen. What are the issues that parents face during this time of year and what are the solutions?

Dr. Benninger: Supervision is a major summertime issue. It is very important that ADHD teens be closely supervised. Even though it can be difficult, even paying a "sitter" for older kids may be important. There are many camps that may also be a good resource.

David: What kinds of things should parents be concentrating on during the summer, in terms of working with their kids?

Dr. Graham: Structuring their kids time so that their environment predictability is a priority.

Dr. Benninger: I think behavior issues and responsibility are very important. These can be worked on by keeping them accountable. Daily reward systems, even for older kids, can be of significant help.

David: I think that's one of the issues that parents deal with all the time -- accountability. How would you suggest they help their teenager with that?

Dr. Graham: If you want, for example, to encourage your child to maintain a job during the summer, make attendance at the job, the criteria for using the car. Develop a set of incentives that the teenager is well aware of that encourages the responsible behavior you want to see in your child.

Dr. Benninger: Structured behavior modification systems work very well.

David: Can you explain that?

Dr. Benninger: Picking out 2 or 3 behaviors that you want your teen to work on, using the rewards that Alan is talking about on a daily basis. This is important because ADHD teens need much more structure and accountability than non ADHD teens.

Dr. Graham: Financial incentives can work too. Your teen can earn money for desired behavior.

Dr. Benninger: It is important to let the teen help select a list or menu of rewards that helps keep them interested. Money, movies, driving screen time, time with friends can all be incentives.

David: Here are some audience questions:

teresat: How can a parent help an add child retain what he or she has learned at school in the summer.

Dr. Benninger: Good question - They aren't going to have much more trouble than the average teen unless they have a learning disability. Adhd is a disorder of doing - not knowing. It is important to strike a balance as you don't want to burn out a teen that already dislikes school.

Dr. Graham: It also depends on your child's attitude toward school. Would they be interested in summer school? Would it have to be a fun course? Is a tutor a possibility?

Sunshine777: Dr Benninger you say there are many camps, but where would one go to find out where or who these camps are? I have looked in the ACA and there are maybe 1 or 2 and they are back east.