How to Motivate a Teen with ADHD and ADD?

Motivation is not the easiest thing to bolster up in most cases, but in dealing with ADHD adolescents it may seem utterly unachievable. You have a teenager who has a low attention span, he or she does need strong motivation, and they need to tackle tasks which may not be interesting at all. Are there ways to get them started, get them going and see them accomplishing tasks?

Society is still requiring its citizens to have certain skills and abilities, which is not likely to change in the near future. We all wish our children to achieve the necessary level of social and professional performance and be aware of their objectives. Growing up, children begin to realize that they can’t actually be coerced into working, and their activity relies on motivation more and more. Unfortunately, they rarely connect their academic performance to the realities of their adult life in the future.

Don’t label them

To begin with, understand that sooner or later you are likely to get frustrated, and you will be tempted to call your teen names – this should be avoided at all costs. Even milder accusations like “lazy” can be hurtful. Your teen begins to feel criticized, derogated, and this demolishes his or her motivation – so you really achieve the opposite effect without gaining headway.

Always stress the positive side

Try to glide past the negative traits in your kid, but don’t miss any chance to hand out praise when it is due. Make good deeds stand out.

Stay in here and now mode

Stay focused on the situation at hand. Going on and on about something in the past isn’t productive and may only irritate you and those around you. This goes for the “I told you so” attitude as well.

Allow kids set their own goals

Let your kid’s goals prevail over your own. Even if the goals the kid sets have nothing to do with their school performance, latch on to their interests, inquire after their success in these fields, encourage them to discover new interest areas. Ask them what can be done with this or that idea, how it can be realized or accomplished.

You need boundaries to abide by

You will hardly be able to go without penalties, but mind you don’t indulge in ones you won’t be able to enforce. While a younger child can be coerced or talked into doing something, as years go by these simple expedients are sure to cease working. The earlier you set sensible boundaries the easier it will be later to control your teen’s activities.

Make sure the right tone is set

It’s up to you to lay down the right tone as soon as possible – your kid is expected to score achievements that will ensure him or her a successful adult life. Both of you are going to pin down a sphere of interest and work in it to see what good can be gotten from it. Your teen knowing that it is a partnership, they will take to it easier than if they were just followed guidelines.

No power games

As you two work with information, bear in mind that younger teens feel surer when dealing with clear information that doesn’t lend itself to misconstruction. Get regulations and penalties on paper, and see to it that regulations work both ways and the parent also assumes certain responsibilities in favor of the adolescent.

Map direction by questioning

As your kid ponders over their goal(s), help them get it clear in their mind by seeking more information from them. Put questions to elicit concrete answers or invite them to share their views, like saying:

  • How are you planning to set about it?
  • Have you worked out a strategy?
  • How will you fit it into your schedule?
  • When are you going to start?
  • What extra information may you need?

Thus you show to the child that it’s up to them to arrange things and you are not going to preside over everything. Of course, the kid may just stare at you unknowingly, and you have to have some options to suggest and ask them to make choices. Or maybe your options will give them a different idea.

Offer related choices

If you engage your teen in a discussion of options it makes them feel more mature and inspire more confidence as well as responsibility.

Do a lot of listening

It’s vitally important for ADHD adolescents to be able to explain what they feel. If they burst out raving, don’t get excited yourself, or worse still, be driven to insulting the kid back. Let no calling names be your inflexible rule. If the situation has got really tense, wait until the kid is through with the emotional outburst, say that you understood their feelings and you need to think it over before you are ready to speak. Wait a while (maybe a couple of days) and resume the discussion.

ADHD teens need assistance with developing social skills

women, friends

Such children can find it difficult to find contact with other people, peers, and adults alike. They need good coaching in social skills, including listening without interrupting, keeping up conversations, agreeing and disagreeing. They are essential for everybody, but many times more for teens with behavioral conditions like autism that prevent people from socializing.

Proper nutrition is a must

See that their diet doesn’t contain sugary food, fatty food and junk stuff. It’s advisable to fix a regular time for meals for better energy balance throughout the day.

Find or think up a strong incentive to help with achieving the goal

Rewarding is a complicated issue that needs to be worked out carefully. Since adolescents with executive function deficits require a lot of practice to master skills and, consequently, rewards that will help them along will come in handy. There had better be a system that allows to observe even not a very significant headway.

Bestow them points for every school activity done right, even if it is only homework submitted in good time or a correctly filled planner. With multiple chores, you can offer the teen a choice of chores with the most important ones earning them more points. The points are then written down and a certain quantity of them allows the kid a perk previously agreed upon or purchasing them coveted presents.