Enabling vs Empowering

Ever wonder if you are doing too much for your teen or young adult with ADHD?  It can feel tricky to find the balance between support and doing too much!

This short video from Attention Talk Network features Adult ADHD Coach Jeff Copper interviewing Youth ADHD Coach and Coach Trainer Jodi Sleeper-Triplett on the important distinction between “enabling” and “empowering” teens with ADHD.

Sleeper-Triplett offers a useful tip to parents of children and teens with ADHD:
Instead of doing things for your child, sit with your child to consider options together. Ask questions to help your child think through issues such as scheduling, prioritizing rather then telling them what to do. This will help your child learn those important skills for him- or her-self and be ready to manage such tasks when it comes time to leave home for college, work, or other adventures of young adulthood.

Sleeper-Triplett encourages parents to start this process early.  As part of this process, she urges parents to allow children room to fail and thus learn from mistakes when they are younger. This way, the consequences – such as missed assignments or poor test grades, for example – are less concerning than when a child is older – a senior in high school for example when the young person is less likely to be open to help and grades are likely to impact college acceptance.

Sleeper-Triplett’s book Empowering Youth with ADHD  includes a chapter on this important topic.
 Other resources that can help with this key issue of gradually handing over the reigns to your child include:

Smart but Scattered
Smart but Scattered Teens
Parenting Teens with Love and Logic
Ready for Take-Off

If you are wondering how to find the balance between helping your child and encouraging independence, several sessions with an ADHD coach, particularly one having training and experience working with young people, might be useful. Some parents also find that they can back-off more easily, giving their children room to take over tasks for themselves,  if a coach works with the pre-teen, teen or young adult for a period of time.

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