Getting back into the school routine can be tricky for everyone, but parents of teens with the hyperactive/impulsive presentation of ADHD face an additional layer of challenges. Different from the inattentive presentation, hyperactive/impulsive ADHD often includes the following behaviours:
- A constant need to move or fidget
- Inner sense of restlessness
- Interrupting conversations or speaking out of turn in conversation
- Not able to stay seated
- Talking excessively
Here are 4 strategies parents can use to help these teens succeed:
1) Set clear expectations and rules. Create bidirectional contracts between you and your teen with clear guidelines and boundaries that they can easily follow that clearly outline the consequences if rules are broken. For example, you can write down rules about household chores, curfew, homework deadlines etc. and have you and your teen sign. Keep it to a few important rules rather than a long, tedious list that will not be remembered or fully enforced.
2) Encourage (and model) being active and healthy. Go for walks with your teen. Not only is this good exercise but it also gives you quality time with them to hear what’s going on in their lives. Create healthy meal plans together. Have your teen participate in preparing dinners for the family. Once a wekk have them choose the meal for dinner, including getting the ingredients from the store and helping you prepare it, or prepare it themselves.
3) Pick and choose your battles. Don’t get caught up in a power struggle. You know your teen, how they react and behave and what they value and prioritize in their life, so always keep this in mind when deciding whether or not you should step in and intervene when there’s a problem.
4) Don’t give an ultimatum, provide a choice. Your teen will probably not react well to you saying, “Clean your room, or you can’t go to your friend’s house tonight.” They may get defensive and say something like, “Whatever, I don’t care!”. A more beneficial way of getting your point across without causing defensive behaviour is to say something like, “Your room needs to be cleaned. You can do it now or after dinner.”