Helping Your Child Deal with Anger and Criticism
Teen ADHD symptoms may inhibit your child's ability to appropriately interact with others at school or work, be a good team player, handle criticism, deal with authority figures, and conduct himself appropriately during class or with friends. These factors often play a significant role in how teachers and mentors perceive him, and can be the difference between him getting ahead and falling behind.
Many teens with ADHD have fragile egos. If your child's self-esteem is wobbly, he may need to be especially careful about acting defensive, continually putting himself down, or letting other people's perceptions or opinions of him affect his conduct.
Instead of letting a bad temper or inappropriate comments jeopardize his schoolwork or job, have your teen role-play managing his temper and communicating thoughts to colleagues instead of keeping them bottled up.
Managing the Effects of Low Self-Esteem
Many teens with ADHD have low self-esteem, and this can manifest at school in a variety of negative ways that can be detrimental to establishing, maintaining, or advancing their career. For instance, low self-esteem may cause your teen to be overly concerned about or sensitive to what others think or feel about him, and cause him to put more time and energy into worrying than working.
Your teen's low self-esteem may cause him to be very selfcritical, defensive when it comes to accepting criticism, or angry because he feels he isn't valued or appreciated. A therapist can help your teen uncover some of the reasons or dysfunctional thinking behind his poor self-esteem and help him look for ways to improve or bolster it.
Dealing with Authority Figures
Many teens with ADHD have trouble dealing with authority figures like teachers, professors, and bosses. Many teens with ADHD simply believe they are right about everything most of the time, despite all evidence to the contrary, and that other people are wrong most of the time. Before your teen lets his stubbornness get the best of him, encourage him to consider the possibility that he could actually be wrong this time (or any time).
If your teen still thinks he's right and his teacher or boss is wrong, encourage him to think carefully about what confronting his teacher or boss would accomplish, taking into consideration his personal track record and his personal relationship with the authority figure. Would the teacher or boss be likely to listen and thank your teen for his input, or be so impressed by your teen's insight that he'd change his mind? Or would he be more likely to be annoyed and insulted that your teen had the nerve to defy him and, in turn, give him a low grade?
Discovering Your Teen's Academic Strengths and Weaknesses
ADHD can hamper your teen's ability to look at himself realistically and gauge his strengths and weaknesses. Not knowing what he's good at (or bad at) can have an impact on his academic and job performance in many ways.
He may struggle with a subject, major, or career path that doesn't match his innate talents, or become bored, disgruntled, or disappointed when his efforts don't yield the results he had expected.
A good therapist can help your teen zone in on his strengths and weaknesses so he can minimize shortcomings and maximize his many gifts. Many teens with ADHD decide to change college majors after working with a therapist and wind up in a different career that better fits their ADHD skills and temperament.