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Parenting Tip: Ways to Motivate your Teenager with ADHD

It can be difficult to motivate your teenager, especially if she’s struggling with ADHD. “ADHD acts as a magnifying glass, intensifying each challenge that a teen faces. Instead of approaching head on the demands and pressure they face from parents and teachers, many adolescents deal with this stress in a different, less obvious way. They opt out of the competition all together, and stop trying to do well in school.”

There’s a formula that will help motivate your teenager. It’s called The 4 Cs. The formula is simple, and it involves:

  • Establishing clear expectations – academic and personal
  • Map out what it will take to accomplish these goals and a back-up plan if something gets in the way
  • Have consistency when using the daily routine/plan
Motivate Your Teenager Through Communication

Have conversations with your teen. Make sure to write, draw, and map out your entire discussion. Teens with ADHD need visual representations to help process information. Document all plans and thoughts. It will also help because “everyone can remember what was decided.”

motivate your teenager
Motivate Your Teenager with Clear Expectations

Discuss all expectations for home and school. Talk about:

  • The reality of the circumstances
  • What meeting each expectation will look like
  • Create plans for how your teen might accomplish each task or expectation
  • Account for details such as varying schedules, environment, and obstacles
  • Discuss potential obstacles and how to address them (use an if-then format to lay out plans)
  • Talk about what happens when expectations aren’t met
  • Will there be rewards, privileges, or removal of privileges?
Connect with a Motivator

Trying to motivate your teenager is hard work. It’s best to work with someone who can “help ensure follow-through.” Goals can include: earning better grades, more responsibility, or avoiding consequences. A neutral third party motivator can “help students connect steps to their end goal or reward.” This takes time, practice, and patience.

Motivate Your Teenager with Consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to tracking responsibility and progress. Make sure to:

  • Follow through with rewards or consequences
  • Choose immediate, clear, and consistent consequences
  • Teens feel a sense of security when they understand expectations.
  • There is less room for the mind to wander. There is also a higher chance of a teen achieving her expectations when she knows the outcome.

To learn more about treatment for teens, click here